Last month our marketing team was dangerously close to not hitting our KPIs.
Not willing to accept our fate, we cracked the whip on ourselves.
We got started pulling new content from existing offers, we joined more conversations on social media, and perhaps most importantly we leveraged our relationships.
As a result, one of the blog posts we wrote for HubSpot was shared by Social Media Examiner on the last day of month. Talk about great timing, right?
That post helped us not only reach our KPIs, but exceed them.
It goes without saying that we were pleased as punch.
If we hadn't established such a strong relationship with HubSpot, we'd have never even written that post.
This very outcome is precisely why marketers should be prioritizing relationship building with industry influencers.
Don't know who your industry's influencers are? Unsure how to get started? Keep reading.
How to identify influencers:
There are a number of tools out there (both paid and free) that are designed to help you pull out the influncers in your industry.
Lucky for you, we've sifted through a few and found that Buzzsumo is one worth your time and email address. Consider this our stamp of approval.
Quite simply, Buzzsumo allows users to identify content that has performed well on social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, & Pinterest.) This content can then be filtered by type to help users narrow their search (articles, infographics, guest posts, giveaways, interviews, & videos.)
While this information is particularly useful for marketer's looking to identify trending topics in their niche, the influencer search option is even more fun-filled.
All users have to do is insert a topic or username to uncover intelligence about influencers in their industry (page authority, domain authority, followers, retweet ratio, reply ratio, average retweets.) An influencer search looks a little something like this:
Insert your search term, adjust your preferences, and easily follow influencers without even leaving the page.
How to connect with them:
Do your research
Before you reach out to an influencer with an inquiry, see what you can dig up online.
If you didn't do any research, you'd probably never know that HubSpot's Dharmesh Shah happens to hate talking on the phone.
So much so that he created a domain (SorryNoCalls.com) to provide a light-hearted explanation of why and how his aversion to telephone conversations came about. Personally, I'm a big fan of reason number 3, what about you?
Aside from their preferred line of communication, you'll want to see what type of information is already readily available about them.
If you're planning on asking them interview questions, it's likely that the answers to more common questions can be already be found online. Use this information to omit any repeat questions so that you can use your time to uncover new, compelling insights.
Don't be greedy
Keep in mind that these people are really busy. With that being said, if they agree to give you an inch, don't try to take a mile.
Avoid leading a conversation with a demand.
Rather than coming in hot by saying something like, "I want to contribute to your blog starting tomorrow!", try something along the lines of "I'm a big fan of the content you've been publishing. I think that the articles we've been putting out would be a great fit for your audience. Would you be open to a quick chat about guest blogging opportunities?"
If an influencer agrees to do something for you, start thinking about what your business can offer them to lighten their load. While you may not have an audience nearly as sizable as their's, it doesn't hurt to extend a helping hand.
At the very least, they make a mental note of this type of reciprocal gesture. Next time you have a request and they're swamped, there is a good chance they'll help you out over the next guy.
It's all about relationship building.
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About Carly Stec
Carly Stec is a Senior Content Strategist and former Marketing Blog Editor at HubSpot. Prior to HubSpot, she got her start here, at IMPACT, as the Content Marketing Manager from September 2013 - March 2015. Carly has a strong affinity for New Haven pizza (#TeamModern) and anything Kate Spade. She currently lives in Boston with her fiddle-leaf fig, Boyd Tinsley.