Ever had a big-time influencer you respect share one of your posts, give you a shout out on social or include you in an article? I can tell you, it’s a pretty sweet feeling.
But I can also tell you it will probably never happen unless you build relationships with those influencers.
So how exactly do you do start relationships? What if you’re only starting out and nobody knows who you are? I mean, those influencers are too busy and too important to pay attention to you, right?
In truth, most influencers aren’t that hard to connect with…if you take the right approach.
And that’s what we’ll talk about today in this post. I’m going to share with you seven ways I’ve connected with influencers when I was starting out.
1. Comment on Influencers’ Blog Posts
Commenting on posts is a great way to start building a relationship with influential bloggers, especially if you see that they read and reply to their blog comments. Even bloggers that don’t have time to reply to comments often read them for feedback on their posts.
When I started blogging, I would consistently comment on a couple of blogs, including a one called Leaving Work Behind by Tom Ewer. I liked Tom’s writing style and let him know about it.
And when he published a post about an SEO “mystery” (why one of his posts was out-ranking all others), I gave him my personal insight:
Later, when I invited Tom to be part of an expert roundup post, he participated.
Always remember, one of the keys to blog commenting is leaving a thoughtful question or comment, rather than just a generic answer.
Bloggers appreciate insightful, relevant comments (and questions) because it shows people are reading and getting value from their posts.
2. Engage with Influencers on Social Media
Most influencers communicate with their audience on at least one social media platform. Check to see if your target influencers are active on Twitter, Facebook and/or other channels.
My first interaction with Mike Kawula, CEO of Social Quant, was on Twitter. He shared an article that I published on his Twitter feed. I responded, thanking him for sharing, and the seeds of a relationship were planted.
Fast forward a few years and he’s one of the people that took the time out of his busy schedule to speak at my virtual summit. And it all started with a friendly exchange on Twitter.
Speaking of Mike, he is a master when it comes to engaging on Twitter and a shining example that influencers DO engage on social.
3. Try Out Influencers’ Techniques
One of the best ways to connect with an influencer is to try out their techniques and share the result with them. This approach is particularly true for influencers that are selling their own courses or software tools.
The reasons why these works are simple. One, it’s validation that what they are teaching is benefiting other people. And that’s actually one of the most important reasons that influencers do what they do.
And, two, influencers will often use your success story as a case study or social proof that their products have value for potential customers.
I read Brian Dean’s article on the Skyscraper technique when he first launched it and tried it out myself. Then, I commented on his blog mentioning that I had gotten good results:
Later, he actually took the time to email me with some tips on how to improve my results even further.
Since then, lots of other people have tried out his technique and some of the success stories became case studies on his blog.
This approach sometimes takes a good amount of work, so it’s a great way to get an influencer’s attention. Most people won’t put the time and work into actually trying out an influencer’s methods and sharing the results.
4. Buy Influencers’ Products
A quick note: I’m NOT recommending you buy an influencer’s product solely to build a relationship with them. If you have no interest or need for the product, that will quickly become apparent and you’ll end up wasting your money and everyone’s time.
But if you have a legitimate need for the product or service, a relationship may naturally arise. I advise that you ask questions and become active in their community to stand out from the crowd.
I’ve purchased many books and courses, including Navid Moazzez’s Virtual Summit Mastery course. I asked Navid a lot of questions because I wanted to make sure I was doing everything I could to ensure that my virtual summit was successful.
Along the way, we developed a rapport and eventually I invited him to participate in my virtual summit. Navid is a super busy guy and I believe declines a lot of interviews, but he agreed to speak at my Traffic and Influence virtual summit.
A natural and very cool side effect is that I’ve gotten to know some influencers a lot better after buying their products. Because I was one of their students and participated in their communities and coaching calls, they actually got to know and remember me.
5. Include Influencers in Expert Roundups
Expert roundups are another way to build relationships with influencers. In fact, one of my most shared blog posts is an expert roundup with over 6K social shares.
Basically, you invite a lot of influencers to participate in the roundup by answering a question. You then compile the answers into a single blog post. Many of the influencers will share it on social media, which can result in a boost in traffic.
It’s a win for the influencer because they get a link back to their site and some exposure.
It’s a win for your audience because they get a piece of content that compiles a lot of advice from known experts on the subject.
And, of course, it is a win for you as these posts drive traffic and solidify relationships with the influencers that participated.
Creating a successful expert roundup is actually more challenging than simply inviting a bunch of experts and asking a question, which is why I wrote a detailed expert roundup guide with more details on how to make them work well.
6. Stay Plugged In and Know What Influencers Want
Another great way to build relationships with an influencer is to pay attention to what they need help with. And to do that you need to follow them on social media and join their email list so you’re tuned into their online conversations.
This is just a fun example, but it goes to show how easily you can help out an influencer if you pay attention and know what they want. Not too long ago, Larry Kim mentioned on Twitter that he was getting close to getting 99+ endorsements for “Zombies” on LinkedIn.
So I went over to LinkedIn to endorse him. And just in case anyone is wondering about the results of this campaign:
Congrats to Larry – he got his endorsements. And, through this, I was able to connect with him on LinkedIn.
By staying plugged into what’s going on with influencers, you can be one of the first to comment on a new blog post, answer questions they pose to their email subscribers and more. So join their list and follow them on social media.
7. Work on Growing Your Own Influence
One of the people I interviewed for my Traffic and Influence Summit was Daniel DiPiazza, who founded Rich20Something and grew it into a 7-figure business. During his summit interview, I asked him, “What advice would you give someone to build relationships with influencers?”
His reply was to focus on your own hustle and growing your own presence instead. I would say that Daniel’s advice is one of the best tips to build a relationship with an influencer.
People naturally like to connect with others they have something in common with. When they see you’re also willing to put in the hard work required to succeed, they’ll start to notice you. Collaborations will be more mutually beneficial as well.
Activities like guest posting on popular blogs helped me get seen by other influencers and some of them even reached out to me, which was very flattering. Work hard and show other people that you are in the game to stay and not a “fly by night” marketer and building relationships with them will be a lot easier.
Final Thoughts on Influencer Relationships
Most influencers enjoy connecting with and helping other people. But they’re busy and unfortunately can’t reply to everyone.
Approaching an influencer the right way can lead to long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships and collaborations. And one of the keys to doing that is focusing more on how you can help them versus how you want them to help you.
By consistently applying at least one (and preferably more) of these techniques, you’ll get on the radar of influencers and start building relationships in no time. Also, you should give a read to our article about 10 influencer marketing mistakes you should absolutely avoid if you want to keep your reputation stellar.