Articles on how your brand can influence influencer marketing are everywhere. I can hardly go to a blog on blogging or content marketing without seeing a title like “How to Market to Influencers”.
You have probably read some of them and thought to yourself that the idea is genius; and in many ways it is.
But, it’s also a trap.
It’s a trap that can leave you struggling for a very long time.
I recently received an email from Cathy. She said she learned about influencer marketing and thought it made such great sense. She set out a plan to find a way to get those she respected with large audiences to do her bidding for her and help her get more traffic to her website and hopefully earn her some sales and money in her bank account.
- Leaving comments on the blogs of influencers.
- Connecting with them on social media.
- Sharing their content and tagging them.
After months of doing this she was getting nowhere. How many hours, days, weeks and dollars had she lost chasing people who were never going to give her a chance?
She was frustrated and the truth was she just wanted a break, an opportunity and a great business.
But she wasn’t ready for it and I’m going to tell you why.
See, Cathy made two vital mistakes and I’m willing to bet you are making at least one them if not all of them yourself. Let’s learn together what was happening so that we can attract the right influencers who are able, willing and ready to assist us.
Mistake #1 – She Didn’t have a Working, Purposeful Definition of an Influencer
One of the most common mistakes people make is that don’t understand what an influencer is for the purpose of marketing.
Influencers are commonly confused with being popular or having some kind of celebrity status.
As a result Cathy was trying to connect with the most popular people that she could. People like John Maxwell, Mark Schaefer, Gary Vaynerchuk and Chris Brogan.
All of these folks are amazing and teach us incredible things but let me be really honest here. These are not the type of influencers you should be trying to connect with.
You are just one of tens of thousands who are trying to get their attention and the truth is they don’t care about you personally. They can’t. Each human being has a capacity level that they can personally handle.
In addition their business has also changed. It evolved because both they and their business had to as they experienced growth. It’s not that they don’t network but the way they network has changed and who they sell and how they sell to their audience has changed as well.
So let’s think about who an influencer is for our specific purpose; an influencer is someone who:
- Has a respectable audience that is engaged with them personally and they with their audience.
- Has a unique message and something to say that is relevant to their audience.
- Is interested and capable of developing relationships with their audience.
- Is hungry to grow their business.
- Understands the concepts of networking.
Influencers are active in connecting and they seek to connect online. They are avid networkers.
But let me share one idea that really defines an influencer:
An influencer’s audience respects them so much that when the influencer asks the audience to do something they do it.
That’s who you want to find. It’s not always about size of audience. It’s about quality of audience. That’s the type of influencer who you want to start engaging with and most importantly and often forgotten is that’s who you want to develop a relationship with.
Mistake #2 – Cathy Didn’t Have an Intentional Strategy and Goals
Cathy began identifying influencers with a Google search. She typed “Marketing Blog Influencers” and articles and names started popping up.
Not a bad idea at all.
But where she fell short is that she didn’t know the types of influencers to follow because she didn’t have a working definition as I shared above.
But there is more.
Cathy had the Wrong Mindset
How many people have you met that were so desperate for attention or an opportunity?
They talk about themselves, how wonderful they are and they try to convince us to do something for them.
I’m reminded of the one person at the networking meeting who is walking around handing out business cards and looking for a sale. It’s really nothing more than the offline equivalent of spam.
It’s funny that we all know when we are being spammed but have an incredible way of not recognizing it when we are doing it ourselves.
Cathy was just out there commenting on blogs and social media pages. She was spamming instead of creating value that would lead to a relationship.
Unintentionally she is just screaming buy me, refer people to me, do something for me.
Me, me, me, me, me…
Her comments were all about her and void of any real value.
Stay with me because in a moment I’m going to share with you what value is and how value can turn the tables for you!
Unfortunately, Cathy’s comments were about her. But, how can she stop talking about herself when she isn’t even aware she is doing it or if she is she doesn’t know how to change it?
I’ll get to that solution in just a moment as well.
Here is the reality and I’m going to say this again because it’s so important; influencer marketing is about NETWORKING. No one is going to network with someone who makes it obvious they are in it for themselves.
Her two problems again were that she was all over the place and did not have a cohesive or consistent message and the result was she was unintentionally spamming and turning people off.
It’s easy to see why influencer marketing wasn’t working for her from a distance but up close and in the moment it was hard for her to see it for herself.
The good news is that it’s not hard to see the lack of results which means something had to change.
What had to change first was her mindset that this was about others and not herself and then second how to create a message as a result that is relevant, meaningful and compelling.
How to Connect with the Right Influencers
This is really want you want to know isn’t’ it?
Cathy realized she was obviously doing something wrong and something needed to change and that change had to start with her message.
Messaging is your brand and your brand is your message
I cannot emphasize this enough. When it comes to online marketing nothing trumps our message. We have content on our website, blogs, videos, podcast, social media posts, email, comments on other blogs and more.
Is there one thing that people can identify and say that’s you!
You message has to be consistent.
How do you discover your brand and your message?
- The problems you are passionate about solving
- The tangible value people experience and how they feel about the experience
- The “specific” problems from each tangible value.
- Who you “specifically” solve each problem for.
- How your product or service is “a” part of “a” solution.
Going through this process is eye-opening (learn more on the Begin Here page – opens in new tab). When you know the in-depth answers to these questions your businesses will be radically transformed because your message informs your strategies and the execution of those strategies has a way of branding you in the minds of you audience as to what you do in a way that is memorable and meaningful.
Whew… that’s a mouthful, lol.
In the comments of her article titled “Your Blog Is Your Business Card”, Donna Merrill wrote in her reply to me the following:
When I think “Don Purdum” I immediately know what you are all about. What you teach others, what you stand for and how you help. You sure have that certain “feel” like an embossed business card…you know…the kind that is memorable.
I want to share how three incredible opportunities came my way through my branding, messaging and mindset.
In May 2014 I started this blog with the goal of providing over the top value and connecting with influencers.
Remember I said earlier I would share my working definition of value. Here it is:
VALUE is when you solve one problem or meet one need for one person with one solution
Your goal is to leave your audience with something that will benefit them. That could be on your blog, landing page, video, social media post or a blog comment on another website.
Opportunity #1 – Adrienne Smith
My first opportunity came when I met Adrienne Smith almost immediately after starting this blog. I gravitated to her personal writing style and her passion to help people starting blogs to build a business was crystal clear!
I began leaving her comments on her blog. It was always in the context of her articles and I never spoke about myself. Each comment offered an idea, perspective or alternative in context with her topic.
Over time she began visiting my website and leaving comments.
I would like to think that I offered her such value and a different perspective and insight.
Well, I know that’s true because late last year she reached to me to talk about her tagline. I helped her come up with one that at the time was uniquely her.
Then she read my eBook titled “The Shift – Making the Fast Paced Transition from Mass Marketing to Context Marketing.”
Adrienne reached out to me and last spring I worked with her to hone her message.
For those of you who know Adrienne you know how big of an influencer she is and how amazing a community she has around her.
Yet, in Adrienne’s own words on her blog she was struggling to reach an audience that would buy her. Sure, she get’s over a hundred detailed and personal comments on her blog. But that wasn’t the true measure of success for her and as she has said the appearance of success wasn’t a financial reality.
After going through the Foundations of Internet Marketing with me 1-on-1 the change has been so positive that this Thursday I will be publishing a post here on my website that Adrienne has written for us about how her success wasn’t the success she wanted and how just a few months later her calendar is more full than it’s ever been; and her business is now growing at the fastest pace ever.
Let me be really clear… I didn’t do it. It was all there in Adrienne’s mind. Her message just wasn’t clear and it needed to be exhaustively pulled out of her and repackaged. It was all her.
Now her brand is changing and so are the positive results that come with those changes.
Don’t miss Adrienne’s post on Thursday – if you want to make sure you get it be sure to join my email so that you get the reminder.
There is one more thing. As my relationship with Adrienne has grown I’ve made a real friend! Adrienne has become someone that I can pick-up the phone and call any time and occasionally she does the same with me.
As a result of our friendship and the trust that has been built she emailed me last week to share she was introducing me to John Corcoran who is recommending me to Firepole Marketing. Check out the tweet from John.
Do you think Adrienne is an influencer?
If your message is ready for blogging then I recommend you immediately head over to her blog and start engaging with her about how to take your blog to the next level and start learning how to use this tool to position your business for growth.
Opportunity #2 – SEMrush
My second opportunity came in December 2014 when SEMrush reached out to me to ask if I would be interested in writing for them.
This fantastic and highly reputable company reached out to me.
I was blown away!
My first question was why did they reach out to me?
At the time Kathleen Garvin managed their blog and she said to me: “We found several of your articles on GrowthHackers.com and your message is what our audience needs.”
How cool is that?
My next question was; “Kathleen, what is my message?”
She didn’t even flinch: “Don, you’re message is clear that it’s the message that ought to drive the technology and too many of our audience believes that technology is the answer to their problems when it is not. We are hearing that what they are doing isn’t working and after reading your articles I realized you were on to the real problem they are experiencing.”
So I wrote for them “Do You Want Traffic From Google? Then Build a Community!” and I delivered.
It’s one of, if not the, most commented blog article on their site.
My message earned me the opportunity, to date, to contribute three articles, contribute to their first ever podcast and I’ve done two webinars. Each time I contribute to them it earns me thousands and thousands of dollars.
Opportunity #3 – Interstate Batteries
A few months ago I was having an issue with my car battery so I took it to my local interstate batteries franchise. The service was so good I had to share it on my blog.
Little did I know that it turned into a major networking opportunity that led me to being featured on their blog.
Not only did this earn me some validation for networking online but also I’ve met numerous other franchise owners.
Click here to learn more about how I was featured on a Fortune 500 company blog. (Opens in another window)
What’s the Point of All This?
The point is that influencer marketing is not about trying to get, it’s about giving.
I have a lot more stories I could share of how many influencers over the last year have been helping me build an incredible business.
But it’s been about me giving to them first without asking for anything else in return.
I used the content on my blog and comments on their blog to establish my competency through my message and brand.
Then when they needed me I was there for them.
It might have started by commenting on a guest blog post for them; sharing out something important to them with my growing audience or offering free advice and help as they needed it.
Both Ryan and Donna have made videos about me and never told me until they just did it one day. How cool is that. It’s an instant endorsement.
Here is one from Donna:
In turn, I have tried to do something for each of them.
Influencer marketing isn’t about what I can get. It’s asking what value do they need and then give it to them.
When you do that, I guarantee you they will find ways to do it for you.
Where does it all start?
It starts with your message that cements in their mind your brand because they don’t just know about you; they experienced you.
And in the experience is the true value of connections, relationships, friendships and all the possibilities that come through one another because we are focused on each other; not on ourselves.
So what lessons did Cathy teach you today?
If you recognize just as Adrienne and Kathleen did that your message and lack of a brand is what’s holding you back then what are you going to do about it?
Are you going to be the person who says “I know and I’m figuring it out?”
Many never figure it out and for those who start to it can take a year or years to do.
Over that time how much money are you losing and how many influencers are passing you by?
You don’t have to be that person who is trying to figure out something you don’t understand.
Here is what I want to do for you. I want to offer you some extreme value.
Click the image below to fill out the form and then schedule a 1-on-1 consultation with me for up to one hour. There is no obligation or commitment and I guarantee you will get at least one idea to help your business.
If you have a questions, thoughts or want to make a contribution to this article, please share below in the comments and let’s have a conversation about finding the right web designer for your business.