Influencer marketing might seem to most people like a relatively new idea and a product of contemporary marketing methods and strategies, but in truth, influencers have been around for a long time. When someone uses a term “influencer” we usually think of a well-known blogger, YouTuber, or marketing analyst, but an influencer can be anyone who influences the public opinion – this includes intellectuals, journalists, actors, sportspersons, and all kinds of celebrities or public personas. However, influencer marketing today does have its own characteristics and traits, especially considering the huge development of digital marketing over the last decade or so.
Nowadays, there are very few people that have achieved a notable level of fame without being approached by certain brands or that haven’t been involved in some kind of promotional activities. There are several advantages that influencer marketing offers compared to other modes of marketing. The first of them is the fact that influencers are well-trusted by their followers. They can present a brand in all sorts of creative and unconventional ways that will attract attention like no banner or Facebook ad can do. Most importantly, they are the perfect way to bypass ad blockers – this is a huge advantage if you have in mind that 26 percent of desktop users have them installed.
Influencers can spread the word about the brand across different channels, both digital and non-digital ones. Also, some of them are quite affordable. The so-called “power middle”, people with 2500-25000+ unique visitors per month across their channels, actually generate 16 times higher engagement than paid or owned media. This could be good for local businesses who can hire a local celebrity to promote their brand, but also for businesses that are present on the market worldwide, if they can just find the influencer with the right audience. So, they’re not just useful for renowned and famous brands, but also for smaller companies looking to secure their position on the market.
I’m a freelancer, so why should I care?
As a matter of fact, there are multiple ways influencers can be of use to freelancers. First of all, most of them are freelancers in a way – mostly independent content creators who reached a level where they are paid to promote products through their content. Watching them work can be quite inspiring for freelancers of all sorts. Watch how they create their content, what tricks they use to reach those who are more powerful and influential than themselves, which methods they use to expand their audience, and how they communicate with their followers. These are all lessons that can be learned from them, so picking an influencer from your branch and following their work can be very helpful.
However, there’s a more tangible way they can be of help. Connecting with people of influence and having them share or mention your content is not just desirable, it’s actually the fastest and safest way to gain traffic, expand your initial audience, and build your reputation. This is most probably how they got influential in the first place, and their content is more popular not just because it’s good, but because they also outreached to a person of authority at some point and managed to get this person to give them a little push.
So, how do you reach these people? Obviously, either through one of the channels they use, website or social networks, or through email. However, keep in mind that these people receive numerous messages and emails every day with the same content and the same request. Even if they bother to open all those, they will probably just scan through them and forget about it. The trick is to have their attention first, and then go directly to them with your ideas.
A great way to get noticed by an influencer in your field is to share their content or mention them (of course, in a positive context) several times – their influence is basically their main source of income and their content is their daily occupation, so they are normally very interested in who reads, watches, or shares their work. Comment on some of their posts and offer some constructive and valuable advice in your comments. You can even go a step further and offer help if you find any sort of technical problem with their website that you think you could fix.
Once you have their attention and once they know your name, go directly to them with your content and ask for a share, a guest post, or a backlink. Don’t get discouraged if you fail the first time and try again with other people. Of course, before even starting your attempt to reach them, having your personal profiles across different channels in perfect order is a must.
Finding the right person
You could say: “there are thousands of these guys, it’s pretty hard to find the right one”, and you’d be right. Of course, the most important thing is to find someone who’s relevant in your field or at least in a closely related one. Moreover, their fame shouldn’t be the only criteria, but their reputation, knowledge, and approach as well. Make sure you look for people who are particularly creative and spontaneous in implementing any sort of promotion as a part of their content – if you get them to recommend you, it’s crucial that this is done in a natural, interesting and non-obtrusive way.
However, the number of influencers of interest to you may be huge and doing extensive research on all of them might just be impossible. Also, your decision should be based on numerous factors, so making an objective decision can be extremely difficult. Luckily, there are tools that can help you with this, and using appropriate social media analytics might be the right thing to do. Having someone with a huge database to find the perfect influencers according to your needs and your criteria will leave you with more time to create content that can draw the attention of an influential person.
And actually, this is the last and perhaps the most important point – without quality content all the outreach tricks and all the contacts in the world are not likely to help you one bit. Don’t get too carried away and absorbed in finding and contacting influencers that can give you a much-needed boost. First, take care of the content and only after that, use your time to find a person that can offer you the best possible promotion.