In today's world of content marketing, you spend time and resources on creating your best content to educate, inform, and subconsciously persuade your audience to consider your products or services.

Every individual in your audience will have a different reaction to the content you create. And when someone your audience respects or admires shares that content, it adds weight to the perception of your brand and your message.

For at least a few years now, such influencers -- people with a great reputation in their field and held in high regard by their following --  have been used to assist the marketing amplification of brands both big and small. But the recent high-profile closure of Klout has thrown a wrench into the works.

Klout had allowed users to measure their influence using social media analytics and rewarded them for high scores, expertise and influence in particular topics. Without it, how do you find influencers?

There are many misconceptions about influencers. Lots of people assume that someone with a lot of Twitter followers or, until recently, the highest Klout score, is automatically more influential than someone with less.

This is not the case. Different influencers serve different audiences, and it's vital you organize influencers to help structure your outreach process.

Here's a guide to follow:

1. Influential Influencers

The most influential type is considered to be those who are notably famous in their
field and across other fields, not necessarily business or sector focused. Think of
someone with over 500,000 followers who regularly appears on television or film -- someone with a slim chance of sharing your content, or representing
your brand.

You'll probably have to consider this type of influencer because of the heavy-hitting power behind their fame. However, your efforts are better served elsewhere.

2. Collective Influencers

This is an important set of influencers. Usually, collective influencers are part of sector-focused organizations, institutes or other sorts of groups with like-minded people.

Chances are, there are people in your business who are part of these groups already. Now you need to find the most influential members and start building relationships with them.

The influential members will likely be leading the conversations, sharing a consistent message which is respected and listened to in the group. They'll be listening and responding to others in the group, and focusing on positives.

Get to know these people via social listening, comment where appropriate and you'll start building a conversation and get noticed.

3. Brand Influencers

These are the journalists and bloggers that write for your target audience. They're fairly easy to find, but difficult to build a relationship with.

This is where the power of PR comes into play. These influencers are approached by hundreds, if not thousands, of brands per week. It takes the right approach for them to pledge allegiance to your cause.

What's the right approach? Well, it makes absolute sense to research who is most likely to have an interest in your content.

This is not an exercise in throwing mud to see what sticks to the wall. Search out the influential journalists and bloggers in your sector and make sure what you have to share with them is relevant, timely, and preferably innovative.

Approach them via email with a great subject line and don't be too prescriptive. Give them enough detail to capture thier interest and not chapter and verse about you and your company. Stick to the facts.

Start slow. Gradually over time, you'll be able to get your foot in the door.

4. Local Influencers

For most small and medium businesses, these are the most cost-effective influencers. They heavily spread positive word-of-mouth about your brand online and offline.

Who are they? They're your previous and current customers.

They become an influencer by being an extremely satisfied customer, happy with the service you offer while being a highly valued customer in your eyes. Reward them with promotions and new material before product launches, and they'll keep advocating your brand.

It's important to know the difference between influencers and how to categorize them.
They all bring different benefits, some will be great for amplifying your content online,
and others will be more beneficial for creating a real-life relationship.

Influencer research is an ongoing process that takes time to build. If you do it correctly, you'll be able to position yourself as an influencer with the right content and connections.

Published on: Jun 14, 2018
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