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How to Build a Relationship With an Influencer

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Relationship Building with an Influencer Transcript

Today I am going to explain why you should build a relationship with an influencer, and how you do it.

The first thing to understand is why are Influencers important to me? This is a pretty simple one. Influencers have, well, influence. If someone who is prominent in your industry shares your content, that puts it in front of their audience, and gives you exposure to that audience.

Better still, since they are influential, this acts as an endorsement of what you’re doing. Hopefully, this will cause other people to re-share your content, or even write about it in their blogs or media sites. These are all goodnesses, and for this reason, building relationships like these should be a cornerstone of your content marketing efforts.

Now, keep in mind that extra effort is the Key

Think back to your high school or college days, when there was a “special someone” you were attracted to, and you wanted to get to know them a bit better. One great way to start that was to show a real interest in them, and also to find your common interests. This enabled you to get into discussions about areas you were both passionate about.

While your interest in the influencer is most likely not romantic in nature, the concepts are the same. You are looking for common ground, and a way to create an engaged conversation with them. This needs to be established before you can expect any kind of partnership to be a possibility.

Now let’s discuss how to build a relationship with an Influencer in 7 steps

  1. Find out everywhere they write and read their content, lots of it.
  2. Find out where they are active on social media, and start following them.
  3. Start interacting with them in meaningful ways.
  4. Don’t rush it or force it. Find ways that you can add value to their conversation.
  5. Don’t pitch them stuff, you are building a relationship, not hocking your wares.
  6. Over time, they will begin to learn more about you. How long does this take? Depends on the influencer, and how well you do steps 1 through 5.
  7. Once they have begun to show a genuine interest in you, then you can start to suggest ways to collaborate.

But Wait, There’s More!

The process outlined above is pretty simple in principle, but know that it can take an extended period of time. I have worked on building some relationships for years before ever having an opportunity to collaborate with them or have them share some of my content. For that reason, try to avoid hanging the fate of your entire business on one relationship. You should be working on many different relationships at one time.

Also, remember up above when I talked about that extra effort? If it’s important enough, buy a plane ticket and go watch the influencer speak at a conference or a local meet up. Or, go out of your way to offer major support to some favorite cause of theirs. Or find some other way that will clearly differentiate you from the rest of the people out there.

Of course, always stay genuine. Going the extra mile is often the difference maker in getting a relationship going, but don’t do something that you can’t stand behind in the process. That said, the key to making influencer relationships for you are commitment, patience, effort, and having something of value to them to offer.

More of Digital Marketing Classroom

For other tutorials in this series see: Digital Marketing Classroom.

Thoughts on “How to Build a Relationship With an Influencer”

  1. Great tips, Eric. It makes sense to focus our attentions on the people who can help our businesses the most. Anything else is taking the long way up the mountain.

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Eric Enge

Eric Enge is part of the Digital Marketing practice at Perficient. He designs studies and produces industry-related research to help prove, debunk, or evolve assumptions about digital marketing practices and their value. Eric is a writer, blogger, researcher, teacher, and keynote speaker and panelist at major industry conferences. Partnering with several other experts, Eric served as the lead author of The Art of SEO.

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