10-rules-visionary-business-book

10 Rules of
VISIONARY BUSINESS

How to Get Noticed by Online Influencers (and Boost Your Credibility!)

RadarYou thought if you built a business and did great work consistently and reliably, that should be enough. Instead, you’ve learned that the positive word of mouth of a few happy customers doesn’t cut it.

The steady stream of new customers and sales you need to keep afloat just isn’t materializing. In business, how good you are matters, but how good others think you are often matters more. That’s pretty much the basis of the whole field of marketing.

Building authority in your field requires a slow and steady process of good work for your clients, good content that shares your knowledge, and the extra work of getting that content in front of the right people. For many businesses, that last item is the most challenging.

Amazing content that no one ever sees serves your business exactly as well as no content at all. In order to turn your knowledge into an effective marketing tool, you must get on the radar of the people who make up your target online community.

The good news – you don’t have to start from the ground up.

Every Community Has Leaders

The first step in becoming involved in your online community is identifying its influencers. Most of your target audience is already paying close attention to what a small group of individuals with already-established credibility has to say.

These influencers can be incredibly valuable to you. Not just through the great content and advice they offer (hence their status in the community), but also through the connections they’ve already developed. They’ve succeeded in building a committed audience of the people you want to reach.

If you can get their attention and gain their trust, their recommendation can be an invaluable tool to building credibility with your target audience. Of course, you can’t just approach them cold and ask for a favor.

You Have to Earn the Relationship

Most online influencers have hundreds, if not thousands, of people vying for their attention. Your goal is to become more than just one in a crowd. You need to make them see you as an individual worthy of their attention.

If you alienate or offend them right off the bat, you ruin your chances. Successful strangers owe you no favors. They need a reason to care about who you are and what you have to say.

To convince an online influencer that you’re worth paying attention to, you have to think more about what you can give them than what you want in return. If the influencer you’re out to impress has an engaged community, that means they care about the people in it. The key to gaining their attention and respect is simple: become a contributing community member.

6 Ways to Be an Active Community Member

1. Take Advantage of Social Media

Connecting with people you admire has never been easier thanks to social media. It’s a powerful tool for positioning yourself as part of the larger business community. It’s also an efficient way to make yourself a more visible member of your influencer’s community.

Start Simple

One of the tricks of doing social media well is following the 80/20 rule: make about 80% of what you do on social media about promoting other people’s work.

a) Share blog posts and other content from your influencer that you find valuable.

b) Look for opportunities to interact with them via social media. Do you have a question based on their last post? Did they say something in a tweet you can provide a valuable response to?

Dig Deeper

c) Repeat the steps described above for members of their community – pay attention to the names you see showing up in their blog comments and follow their posts and social media accounts as well.

d) Seek out and become a regular participant in Google+ and LinkedIn groups they’re a part of, especially if they started the group.

e) Keep an eye out for any Twitter chats they participate in. They can be a great way to get noticed.

f) Don’t always just share posts with the given headline; customize what you say so that you’re adding something as you share.

g) When you derive a tangible benefit from some advice given by your influencer, let them and others know. Write a blog post that mentions them, and promote it in as many social media venues as you can. While not a comprehensive list, hopefully this gives you some ideas for ways you can go beyond the most obvious uses for connecting with influencers over social media.

2. Email Them to Ask Questions, Express Gratitude, or Provide Feedback

Some influencers are too busy to answer every email they get, but many will take the time if your questions or comments are clearly genuine.

You get bonus points here if:

a) A question you ask gives them an idea for a blog post or some other helpful content.

b) You’re specific in your gratitude. Instead of saying, “Your blog is so awesome,” say, “Your post on communicating a unique value proposition has really helped me blow away new leads and turn them into customers.”

c) You bring some personality into it. If it just sounds like generic flattery, you might get a quick thank you or response, but you won’t make much of an impression. If you let your personality come through, you’ll start to make a mark in their minds as an individual.

3. Offer to Help

This one can take many forms; you have to look for any opportunity to offer some extra value. Think beyond just the influencer for this one, and look for chances to help their audience as well. If a question is posed in the comments section of their blog or forum and you can help, offer a thorough response.

Whenever you can use your expertise to strengthen a conversation happening in the community, take advantage of it. Beyond that, think creatively about how your expertise can lend itself to providing them some unique value. If you’re a graphic designer, you can use some data they shared in a post to create an infographic to offer them. If you have a better knack for tech issues, you could help with any glitches you notice on their sites.

They’re regarded as experts because they’ve become some of the best at a particular area of expertise, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help them with something you know more about. If you can figure out what that is and solve a pain point in their lives, you’ll definitely make it onto their radars.

4. Pitch a Guest Post

Guest posts are a practice designed to be beneficial for all involved. The poster gets a boost to his or her reputation, and the blog gets some quality content, usually for free. Most importantly, guest posting is a means of building relationships.

If your pitch is good and the post is a hit, the blogger will benefit and appreciate your help. Your post idea has to offer value to the blog’s audience. Make sure you’ve spent some time reviewing the most popular posts on the blog and reading blog comments so you know the audience well enough to create content they’ll appreciate.

A guest post also gives you a ready-made opportunity to interact with the blog’s audience. Take the time to respond to comments and you’re more likely to stand out in readers’ memories. If you notice that someone influential shared the post on social media, take a moment to thank them. Do your best to promote the post yourself as well. The further its reach, the more your words help promote your influencer.

5. Seek Out Opportunities to Meet in Person.

For all the ease and opportunity that the Internet has brought to making new professional contacts, meeting people in person is a surefire way to make a more memorable impression. Some good conversation in person is a quick, easy way to turn a positive online relationship into a true friendship.

Personalities shine through offline in a way that’s often hard to replicate in an online persona, so if you spot a chance to meet one of your online idols in person, go for it. Your most likely opportunity will be a conference they’re attending, or an event they’re speaking at.

While attending conferences can get expensive, a good conference will offer loads of networking and educational benefits beyond the opportunity to meet your business idol.

6. Become a Customer

Plenty of popular bloggers do a great job of responding to questions and comments from any of their readers. Nonetheless, those same bloggers make a special point of giving more personal, focused attention to their customers. Jon Morrow’s known as one of the most popular bloggers online, but he got his first big break by joining Brian Clark’s Teaching Sells course.

By spending hours in the class forum each day answering other students’ questions, he got Brian’s attention and over time became a regular contributor to Copyblogger and a teacher in his own right. Jon’s Guestblogging course played a similar role in helping Danny reach the status he has now. Purchasing a course or consulting services from an influencer isn’t required to build authority in your field, but according to the examples of many current influencers, it certainly doesn’t hurt.

You’ll never be an influencer in your field without putting some serious time and effort into reaching that status. Some of that effort needs to go into learning your craft, but you can’t stop there. The most successful influencers in every industry don’t just have skills and knowledge in their field; they have a reputation for having the skills and knowledge in their field as well. Many of them would be quick to acknowledge the help of other influencers in their industry in gaining the recognition and credibility they now enjoy. You can build up that reputation too. You can join the ranks of industry influencers with the right strategy. If you gain the attention and trust of those who have already established their credibility, you’ll gain a valuable head start to joining them.

About Kristen Hicks

Kristen Hicks is a freelance copywriter and content marketer specializing in helping small businesses. Check out her blog at Austin Copywriter, or follow her on Twitter @atxcopywriter.

48 thoughts on “How to Get Noticed by Online Influencers (and Boost Your Credibility!)

  1. As you said, I think it’s important to try to add something of value when you re-tweet or email an influencer.
    Otherwise you might come across as a bit stalker-ish 🙂

    Thanks for the post.

    • It’s also more likely to get you noticed.

      If 50 people just press the re-tweet button, and you’re one of the few to actually say something original, you’ll be more likely to be remembered.

  2. Thank you and I pinned you. Following your advice, here is something I haven’t done before: If you ever need a guest blog about how to better manage any negative feeling keeping you from being all you can be, please think of me. I have 12 Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises that help manage bad, mad, and sad feelings.

    Katherine

  3. Great points, I must say. Though sometimes, its hard to guest post for such authorities. Reason being, they already have enough to get them through the year, or as they’d say.

    But I think when your interaction with them on social media or by becoming their valued customer is strong enough, they just might substitute your post for another, if possible (‘cos it isn’t fair).

    That still bothers me though. What do you think about that?

    Thanks, Kristen.

    • You can’t really fault them for good planning.

      Your options at that point are to consider other blogs that either publish more often and will have more slots to fill, or that might be somewhat less popular (although still have enough of an audience to make it worthwhile) and may therefore be getting less good pitches.

      It’s still worth it to continue working to build relationships with the bloggers with filled schedules so you, and your post idea, may be top of mind when they’re planning out next year’s calendar.

  4. Thanks for this insight Kristin. I’ve heard of the 80/20 rule, but have never thought of applying it to social media. The way I see it, I’m always so flattered when other people tweet or share my blog posts, so I should flatter others by sharing their work too. It’s a great way to get more “followers” or “likes” and more people to visit your site.

    • Yeah, I think the term has been applied to a lot of concepts, but works just as well here as in other contexts.

      That’s pretty much the gist of the whole post! Try to think about what you would respond well to and work from there.

  5. What a fabulous article Kristen – thank you !
    You have expanded & crystalised my thoughts.on how best to increase my marketing efforts.
    ALSO – it gave additional fodder to what I was exposed to today, in a Hangout presented by Alex Mendossian and Brian Harris – The Big Hangout.

    IMPORTANCE OF GOOGLE+ INFLUENCERS ? ?
    This Hangout was Predominantly highlighting the importance of Google+ influencers in particular over others, because Google.com may no longer exist in the future, and search itself may also, no longer be available via Google.com.

    Right now apparently (so i learned today) if you do a search in Google.com, and then do the same search within Google+ you will get completely different results – I haven’t tried this as yet.

    Google+ authorship will be even more important than initially thought, in the near future, as with Google Voice search on mobiles- the search terms in google+ will be coming from those questions already voiced by those with google authorship -AND ONLY those utilizing Googles online properties – Google+, Hangouts, and You tube. This is HUGE.

    Therefore if you believe this – everyone must have a Google+ account, market via Hangouts/Youtube, because you won’t be able to afford not to.

    SO it appears that Google is DEFINITELY not playing nice any more – by forcing people into having to do business their way, and this is linked to their new focus on pleasing advertisers, and of course more Google revenue.

    Apparently this information came out in a statement on Sept 29th from Google.

    It has been dissected by a few, including Seth Godin’s unfavourable recent post .
    So I believe it to be true.

    What do others think?
    Did anyone else attend this Hangout?
    Did I leave anything out- is my perception of what I heard skewed?
    Curious .. Jade

    • That’s a lot to respond to! To start, I definitely recommend Demien Farmsworth’s writing about Google + over on Copyblogger. They’ve done a good job of covering some good techniques for approaching G+ and Google Authorship. This one’s a good start: http://www.copyblogger.com/google-plus-authority/

      It’s hard to know exactly where Google’s going to go with all this, but I do think it’s fair to say a presence on their platforms can help strengthen your online positioning.

    • I think Google are just trying to make great content stand out and get noticed. That means writing great content for people, rather than trying to get one over search engines with optimisation tactics. SEO is an unwinnable game because search engines like Google take-away the advantages. A good thing in my book.

      It was soul-destroying to see a post that’s taken several weeks to write get pushed down the rankings by content that was “written” in 30 minutes flat and sprinkled liberally with keyword phrases that turned into something resembling computer malfunctioning.

  6. Hi Kristen!

    There is one thing that you did not mention. That is the fact that you are not afraid to be YOU. When people get on LinkedIn or other forums, sometimes I feel like they busy themselves trying to act/write/think in accordance to the group or the topic. (myself included). I came to realize that the best way to present and promote is to be me.

    Although you did not specify this idea, it is very clear that you are not afraid to be YOU. I honestly believe that because you’ve been genuine and honest, you are where you are today. It’s a nice feeling to know that if we just stay true to who we are, we can actually be successful. You are the prime example of that. Thank you for a genuine, helpful article. : )

  7. Thanks for that Kirsten, yes I do follow copyblogger – shall search for any posts after Sept 29th – Demien Farnworth posts are always well researched.
    Thanks for the response.!

    Woops! It was not Brian Harris – it was MARK HARRIS on the hangout…

  8. Hi Kristen, thanks for such a clear and concise step by step system to follow. I’ve read a lot about social engagement but these are simple steps I’ve written down and can start today! I appreciate your insights.

    • Thanks for the comment! That’s exactly what I was going for.

      As for the photo, I believe on Firepole (as well as in a lot of other spots around the web), the trick is to have a Gravatar account. If you have a photo uploaded there and are logged in whenever you comment, the photo gets pulled in automatically.

    • Hi Celeste, I wondered exactly the same thing so I emailed Megan at Firepole Marketing and she said: If you go to gravatar.com, make an account you can upload your photo there. It will then appear in many places around the web. I haven’t done mine yet, but will soon.

  9. Hi Kristen,
    Your article is a through description of how to gain the attention of influencers, who by the way are usually busy. The first step is to be helpful and insightful. To contact anyone, influencer or not, and try to ask for help without prior communication is rude.

  10. Hello Kristen,
    This is a very superb post indeed and, i will call it the best post I’ve read so far this week. Come on, everything you mentioned is true and, i can’t agree more.

    When it comes to building a successful internet business, you really need the help of top influencers to push you up the ladder and, if one can diligently follow all the steps you outlined here then, he will surely make it.

    You know, whatever you think you are or however you see yourself does not really matter in this business and just as you said, the most essential thing is how other people see you.

    Guest posting is indeed one of the best ways to get that notice and influence if you do it well.

    Seriously, i think its time we start connecting and building more solid relationship with more influencers, isn’t it:)?

    Thanks for sharing dear, really enjoyed the post :).

    And, thanks Danny, i love what you’re doing here, please keep it up.

  11. Hey Kristen,

    Great post!

    I think that a lot of people overlook the importance of connecting with opinion/thought leaders.

    I actually think it’s a lot easier than many people think – a lot of the time these leaders are happy to know that people gain value from the content that they produce, even in the “unofficial” areas of blog and forum posting.

    But I think that the most important point here is that your connection MUST be genuine, and you definitely do have to earn the relationship. I hope people keep in mind that relationships are often formed over time, so simply a one off message before sending in that guest post request will NOT do!

    • Yeah, it can work for smaller blogs still working on building up an audience (which are good connections to have too!). For people who have already put in the work of gaining authority and influence online, you’re just one of many people they’re hearing from.

  12. Pingback: How To Boost Your Credibility
  13. Hey Kristen,

    Excellent points. I’ll add one — one of my favorite ways to reach out to people is to send them HARO queries that fit their story/business.

    I’m generally skimming through these HelpAReporter.com emails anyway, and most often none are good fit for me, but might be a good fit for someone else online. I’ll forward the query and a short note that just says, “hey I saw this and thought of you.”

    I feel like that kind of helpful engagement is appreciated, or at least it seems to be well-received so far.

    Cheers,

    Nick

  14. Hi Kristen,

    I just want to thank you for WONDERFUL post. I really love writing style; the flow is very interesting.

    I’m not yet a blogger but really planning to be VALUE “ADDER” to my generation. Thanks so much for that information.

  15. There are many important things that come into play when you are talking about online marketing. Having great content on your website will only take you so far and you need to make sure that the customers not only come but also stay.

  16. So glad you mentioned actually meeting in person. In my experience, this is the most overlooked aspect of connecting, especially among bloggers and others with “online” businesses.

    Ask any top online personality how his most important business connections were made and he’ll tell you, “In person.” Once you have that, it makes anything you do via phone, email, or Twitter 10x more powerful.

    • Yeah, it’s not practical in every instance, but if you can pull off meeting someone in person it can really make a difference. You see a person’s personality so much more in person than via blog posts, emails and social media interactions.

  17. Awesome and very practical resources,
    it only makes sense to generate the kind of content you KNOW is being shared and liked by your potential readers.

    Didn’t know about a couple of them (like SEOGadget one); off the check them out; thanks!

  18. Kristen, this is the stuff any newbie entering the online marketing world will have been blessed to set eyes on. It gives immediate direction – where just getting to grips with the concept of ‘online marketing’ is such a wrestle.

    Thanks and am looking out for another lifting insight from you.

  19. Excellent tips! The only thing I would add is that you have to be honest in the way you do this. Don’t go contacting influential people just to improve your own authority. Interact with people who matter to YOU rather than focusing on connections that matter to other people. Those are the ones that are going to work out.

  20. Some real useful tips here, Kristen. Connecting with influential bloggers is a major strategy for getting noticed online and boosting credibility. Endorsement and recommendations from influential bloggers either in links, shares, tweets, or mentions can do wonders for a blogger’s growth and audience creation. A lot more than social media can.

    One way I do use social media though is to find out what the influencers (and potential influencers) are tweeting about on Twitter. I add columns in TweetDeck for this. It gives a good insight into what each person is interested in and supporting. Add this to reading their content and joining their webinars.

    Good tip about starting small. Slowly does it is good advice.

    This is a great post which adds extra information to my post just out here on FirepoleMarketing.com.

  21. A well written article, does highlight some important points. Being in the online freelance industry, i must say that the industry is getting more and more competitive. I do believe that its important to show your advocacy in your field. Its important to engage in blogs, articles etc. and contribute something extra. Creating a social presence is also important in the field of freelancing. Lets not forget that the freelancing market is growing by the day and the competition is getting tougher..

    we have posted a new blog on tips to be a credible freelancer.. Please do give it a read and let us know your thoughts.. Cheers !!

  22. Pingback: The 4 Essential Expertise Each Blogger Must Develop | Posts

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10 Rules of
VISIONARY BUSINESS

10 Rules of Visionary Business Book

(Plus 10 lessons learned growing to 60,000+ subscribers, $2M+ revenues, and 25+ team members, without losing our values, or selling our soul.)

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