Influencer Outreach

"If you can make cherry-picked influencers fall in love with your brand and GENUINELY appreciate its value, they will AUTHENTICALLY introduce it to their trusting audience and your ROI will soar." - Heba Hosny

In the previous article in the "Influencer Marketing 101" series, I detailed how to identify and track the right influencers that best fit your business objectives. That's a crucial step that can make (or break) your entire influencer marketing campaign. Make sure to check it out before proceeding.

In this article, I will shed light on:

  • Smart influencer pitching tactics
  • "What's in it for them?" checklist
  • Example of an excellent email pitch

Fortunately, influencers come in different flavors. Your preferred influencer can be a blogger, a YouTuber, or a popular star on social media platforms. That's why; I made sure that the best practices presented here are applicable to all types of influencers.

Smart Influencer Pitching Tactics

In the previous article, I recommended that you start your influencer tracking journey by searching through your existing brand advocates. If some of them met your predefined influencer criteria, it would be much easier for you to approach them and build a win-win partnership quickly.

What if your target influencers are complete strangers?

In this case, you should aim at nurturing your relationship with them slowly but surely by taking the following steps:

1. Give Thoughtful And In-depth Comments On Influencers' Content

Detailed and thoughtful comments are the best way to initiate a relationship with your influencers. On the one hand, you're giving them a practical testimonial that their content is worth reading and commenting at. On the other hand, the chances are high that they will take notice of your comment and reply back promptly in order to encourage more audience to engage with their content.

When you comment on your target influencers' content (a blog post, a video...etc.), highlight what you liked about it and provide helpful information and resources. You may also recommend other topics and ideas for future posts. Finally, make sure to end your comment with an interesting question to keep the conversation going.

2. Feature Influencers' Content And Pitch Them Via Social Media

I highly recommend that you feature the best content of your soon-to-become influencers on your own website/blog as another very effective practical testimonial.

For example, if you offer a gluten-free food product and you decided to collaborate with healthy food bloggers, you may feature them in a blog post titled: "Top 10 Healthy Recipes Blogs That will Entice Your Taste Buds."

Once the blog post is published, go ahead and give them a pitch via social media.

@UserName Hey, <BloggerName> I love your delicious recipes. You're on my top 10 list of Fab bloggers. <BlogPostLink>

I couldn't think of a faster and more effective way to build a relationship with your influencers.

Some of the instant rewards you will reap when you feature potential influencers' content on your website include:

  • Influencers will be very appreciative of your gesture, making your next move super-easy
  • On top of that, they will share your blog post with their audience, who are also your potential customers, enabling you to attract targeted traffic to your website effortlessly
  • As an added bonus, featuring influencers' content means offering your existing audience quality third party content

Even if you ended up not closing the deal with your target influencers for any reason, you still have enjoyed more traffic and offered new content to your eager audience. So, it's either an "all win" or a "partial win" tactic but you can NEVER lose if you give it a shout.

If you were unable to feature influencers' content on your website, make sure to share their content on social media and let them know you did by @mentioning them.

Finally, take the initiative to engage them in interesting conversations via social media several times until they become "hot influencers prospects."Then (and only then), they will be open and receptive to hearing your offer.

3. Pitch Influencers About Your Partnership Offer

Now that your relationship with your target influencers is tight, you may set an appointment to meet them offline or have a Skype chat. I recommend these methods over traditional emails because they are more intimate and would give influencers the chance to be more expressive and get quick answers to their questions and concerns.

If you decided to pitch influencers via email, make sure to notify them about it via social media to ensure that they will take notice of it in the midst of their crowded inbox.

It boggles my mind that some influencer marketing experts recommend that you begin your influencer pitching journey by sending an email to a complete stranger! Unless you nail the email subject, the chances that your target influencers will open your email are very slim.

Even if they did open it, don't you agree that they would be more likely to accept an offer from a familiar name rather than a complete stranger?

That's why; it's best to initially build bonds of trust with your target influencers via content sharing/commenting as well as social media interactions and go from there.

"What's In It For Them?" Checklist

Any successful negotiation results from finding mutually agreeable answers to two profoundly simple questions: "What's in it for us?" and "What's in it for them?"

The following influencer pitching best practices checklist will empower you to make "What's in it for them?" irresistible to potential influencers.

  • As you chat with your target influencers and go through their content, your number one priority should be figuring out their vision and what motivates them so you can tailor your offer accordingly
  • Let the influencers know why did you hand-pick them by referencing some of their content, making sure to give them the impression that you have enough information about them. (This step is essential particularly if you were too busy to build a relationship with influencers prior to sending them your offer. As I detailed above, I highly recommend that you take the time to nurture your relationship with influencers instead of taking the easy route of pitching your partnership offer to strangers!)
  • Be very clear about your offer terms, explaining how the influencers, as well as their audience, can benefit from it
  • Eliminate any guesswork by offering links to all relevant information
  • Strive to maintain the perfect balance between giving specific directions and leaving the door wide open for influencers' creativity
  • Offer influencers at least two (or more) partnership and collaboration options. Giving options will magnify your chances of closing the deal

The "What's in it for you?" question can be rephrased as mentioned in my quote on top of the article:

How can you make your cherry-picked influencers fall in love with your brand and GENUINELY appreciate its value, enabling them to AUTHENTICALLY introduce it to their trusting audience for optimal ROI?

Your job is to figure out the best answer possible to this significant question, while keeping all the points of the checklist in mind. Then, design your offer and pitch influencers accordingly. If you do, your success chances will be very high. Take my word for it!

Example Of An Excellent Influencer Pitch

GroupHigh, a blogger outreach tool provider, published a fantastic e-book titled "Real Pitch Examples For Building Strong Blogger Relationships".

Reading this e-book was a very enjoyable experience to me as it exceeded the scope of influencer marketing, presenting real-life examples of intelligent PR. I encourage you to read it in-depth for a healthy dose of inspiration.

I picked one awesome example that sums up all the best practices mentioned above. I will underline my favorite parts and explain why I love them.

"Dear Stacy,

My company, HTech, is holding two VIP demo events for local bloggers this weekend at the Scottsdale mall. We are releasing a product that we think your audience would find interesting based on the fact you write about tech for moms. (Explaining how their offer would benefit the blogger's audience)

Our product that we want to demo for you is our new version of our ISS headphones. They sell for $300 and after the demo, you'll go home with a new pair. (Explaining how their offer would benefit the blogger.)

And no we won't require a post we just hope you LOVE the headphones enough that you want to share them with your audience. (That's my absolute favorite part of the entire offer as it explicitly encourages AUTHENTIC blogger sharing of the product in a very subtle, no-pressure tone.)

We're having two demos this weekend (Giving options). Both at 2pm on Saturday and Sunday. Reply to this email if you want to come and I'll reserve you a seat!"

I just showcased one awesome example about effective influencer pitching. The e-book is loaded with excellent examples. Go ahead and check it out and feel free to thank me later!

What's Next?

Stay tuned for upcoming articles in this series as I will be covering:

  • Creative ways to compensate your influencers if you're on a shoestring budget
  • How can influencer marketing enhance your content marketing strategy as a whole?
  • Do you have what it takes to become a high paid influencer?
  • Plus detailed case studies and success stories

I look forward to reading your insights in the comments. Your valuable contribution is much appreciated. To your success!

Influencer Marketing 101 Series:

  1. How to Identify and Track Influencers
  2. Smart Influencer Pitching Tactics
  3. Creative Ways to Compensate Influencers [Case Studies]

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* Adapted lead image: Attribution Some rights reserved by influenZia