Building an audience and gaining influence is not something that happens overnight. It takes work. You need to be producing quality content, you need consistent branding and you need to be in all the right places. This means social media, the "blogosphere" and so on.
Are There Shortcuts?
No, and yes. If you want to truly build a community of loyal followers that become clients and customers, you are going to have to put in time and work, but there are ways to speed the process. One way is to get the attention of a social influencer.
How Does This Help You?
Well, instead of trying to gain attention from an audience all on your own, you are gaining access to your target audience via someone else's influence. The influencer already has the audience. When you get their attention, you also get the attention of their audience.
How Do You Achieve This?
So, do you just send a message to an influencer asking them to share your latest blog post, promote your product or evaluate your latest service?
No, you don't. You don't do this because first off, hundreds, if not thousands of people are using that same approach, and second, you are offering nothing of value to this influencer, which means you are wasting their time.
Fortunately, there are ways to get the attention of influential people in your industry that aren't cheesy, greedy or just plain obnoxious. Here are 10 of them:
1. Spend Time Getting To Know Them
This is a great way to start. Don't be one of those people who promotes or contacts an influencer without learning more about who they are, what they do, and WHY it is that they are influential! Do your homework.
2. Share Their Content
This is something you should be doing regardless. When it comes to content, sharing is caring, and it's also a good way to provide additional value to your audience. Sharing the content of influencers is a great way to begin your relationship with them.
3. Let Them Know You Are Sharing Their Content
Yes, it's a good idea to let them know you are sharing their content on your blogs or social media channels. Let them know on their social media pages and in blog comments.
4. Add Thoughtful Commentary To Their Content
When you share their content, talk about why you are sharing it. Briefly explain what it is about their latest post that moved you to share it. And, don't forget to add to it by commenting, asking questions and participating in discussions on their blogs and social media pages.
5. Use Their Products Or Services
If an influencer offers a course, book, service, etc., use it yourself. Then, write a blog post highlighting what you loved about it. Post it on your social media channel and tag them in the post.
6. Repurpose Their Content
Do NOT do this in a way that plagiarizes their content! You have to be careful about this, but when done correctly it can be very effective. You can create a video short, an infographic or a slideshow presentation that takes their content and condenses it, expands on it, visually represents it, etc. Obviously, you'll credit them, link them, etc.
7. Quote Them
This is self-explanatory, and it's a great way to show them that you are familiar with their works and find value in what they have to say.
8. Show That Their Methods/Products/Services Work
You've taken their course or read their book, now show your audience that it works. Create a long-form post highlighting your journey using what you've learned, or create a video.
9. Contact Them Directly
Yes, you can do this. Ideally, you'll do this after you've completed the above steps. Be yourself, be respectful of their time and don't be pushy.
10. Offer Them Value
What can you do for them? That's the best way to approach an influencer. Don't make the mistake of asking them for anything the first or even second time you make contact with them.
Remember, influential people are busy and often used to being approached by people who want what you want: For them to mention you, promote you, work with you, etc.
In order to achieve your goal, you have to do something different and you have to stand out in a good way, not a negative way. Take the above steps to heart. Make sure you give more than you are asking for, and be sure you over-deliver in everything you do.