Call them what you will—influencers, ambassadors, advocates—but having people with the resources to successfully talk up your brand can make or break the success of your company. Modern-day consumers are wired to tune out traditional forms of advertisement. The peeling billboards, muted TV commercials and desire to buy radio services without advertisements tell us this. It’s probably a good sign, really, because it means people are getting smarter and will not accept a brand’s word that it is “awesome.” Instead, consumers are looking to friends and influencers for recommendations via word of mouth.
In order to be talked about via word of mouth, you need to reach the people with a loyal following whose audience trusts and soaks up their recommendations. Luckily, marketing research has clued us in on who to target—bloggers, since the majority of influencers have at least one blog.
Context is the Key
The bloggers are consumers' virtual "friends" who talk about brands to their followers. Many of these bloggers have an influential following and some of these bloggers fit snugly within the niche of your brand.
This is where it gets tricky. An influencer isn’t an influencer for every brand. What really matters is context. Before Twitter followers and Facebook Likes are analyzed, the first consideration needs to be: Is this person’s audience the right fit for my brand? Reason being their post topics are what they’ve created their audience around, and this is what their audience wants to read about.
For example, you could maybe talk a fashion blogger with a ton of followers in to writing about a new restaurant in their town. However, her audience is there to read about fashion, not food, and, though they are all exposed to your restaurant, they are not going to act on that exposure.
Make an Influencer Outline
In order to find the right influencer for your brand or campaign, you need to first make an influencer outline to hone in on what exactly you are looking for in a blogger. If an influencer doesn’t fit snugly in to your mold, move on, no matter how many Twitter followers they may have. Your outline should include:
- Overall Genre: This is one big genre, such as mommy blogs, fashion blogs, foodie blogs, etc.
- Niche: This can be between one and three niches the blogger falls in to within his genre, such as vegetarian, shoes, recipes, parenting tips, budget advice, cleaning products, etc.
- Post topics: These are topics narrowed down within niches by one to two keywords. Again, three is a good number to have in your influencer outline. Examples: animal friendly clothing, green cleaning products, recipes that use beer, tips on parenting kids with autism, etc.
*These are going to be your target posts (posts you reference when emailing the blogger)
- Social Media channels that may be important to your campaign: This may be an irrelevant category for your outline. However, many fashion and foodie campaigns are visually driven, so they may require a blogger to have a presence on Pinterest and/or Instagram.
Locating Your Brand’s Influencers
Start with the customers who love your brand. You should already know who they are from their tweets and comments. Incentivize them in some way to keep them recommending you!
Once you have a clear idea of what your ideal influencer looks like, it’s time to make a list of influencers to reach out to and attempt a relationship. But, where to find them?
Google blog search is a good free tool. However, you will manually have to read through the blogs, look up stats and determine whether or not each blogger is a good fit.
If blogger outreach is going to be a regular part of your strategy, a blogger outreach tool like GroupHigh is worth checking out. GroupHigh allows you to search for blogs within genres and niches and then locate post topics, as well as social media influence, SEO stats, contact information and more. Look at it as super-personalized influencer targeting.
Once you have outlined your influencer and have listed the influential bloggers you want to align with, let the outreach process begin.
What traits define an influencer for your brand or campaigns?
Kristen Matthews is the Marketing and Community Manager for GroupHigh in Boulder, Colorado. She loves inbound marketing because it involves a lot of collaboration, so feel free to contact her any time to collaborate at Kristen@GroupHigh.com
photo credit: MrSchuReads