10 tips to bolster your influencer outreach programs

Yesterday, friend and fellow blogger, Greg Swan and I co-presented at the wonderful MIMA Summit in Minneapolis. Our topic? Influencer outreach and tips and best practices for brands considering integrating this discipline into their marketing efforts.

I’ve written about this topic many times in the past, but today really just wanted to share the deck from yesterday’s presentation as it includes many specific examples and pitches Greg and I have either received or been on the brand side of pitching (with clients). And since slide decks can’t tell the whole story, I thought I’d at least lay out the 10 tips for you with a bit of context. Here goes.

1-Personalize. Whatever you do, don’t send a pitch and paste the pitch list into your email. Please people. Personalize.

2-Be brief. Great pitch from Jessica Malnik highlighted in the deck. But, larger point, just keep your pitches short. Bloggers don’t have a ton of time. Don’t make their lives harder.

3-Don’t focus solely on the A-listers. Common issue, but one that’s easy to get around. Remember, A-listers don’t have a lot of free time. And, they get pitched all the time (read: tougher to cut through). Besides, the “B-listers” are frequently just as influential (just with a smaller audience) and happy to engage with brands (and have more time)

4-Don’t forget about offline activities. Keep in mind the full breadth of activities of an influencer–online and off. For example, a client of mine reached out to Sarah Evans. One thing we had in the back of our mind was that she’s also a trained spokesperson (by trade). Wouldn’t she make a great potential third-party endorser in front of a camera at some point?

5-Make your ask compelling. Think about the “what’s in it for me?” question (for the influencer). Why should they care? If you can’t answer that, you probably should be reaching out to them.

6-Lead with them–not you. Your first graf should contain nothing about you–and everything about them. Insert a link to a recent post the influencer wrote (and why you liked it). A conference you saw them present at. Whatever. Just make sure you stroke their ego, before you stroke yours (or your brands).

7-Collaborate-don’t preach. You know what bloggers don’t like? Being told what to do. Not surprising, right? Most people don’t like that–especially people with strong opinions (see The Bloggess issue with a PR firm recently?). Instead, collaborate with bloggers. Ask them for their thoughts (novel concept). And figure out ways you can work WITH them.

8-Always have a follow-up ask. Ever hear the phrase “Always be closing?” Applies here. In this case, you should be closing by thinking about the next ask. Can they serve as a media spokesperson for your brand? Can they participate in a Twitter chat you host? Think about other ways to get the influencer involved.

9-Disclose paid relationships. If you pay a blogger for a post or give them product for free, make sure you both disclose that. Period. Just ask the FTC.

10–Measure, evaluate, adjust. After all these tips, just remember to take a look at what you’ve done and tweak your approach the next time around. Learn from your successes–and your mistakes.

 

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