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Dec. 7, 2015

120: How to Reach Out to Bloggers and Social Media Influencers

120: How to Reach Out to Bloggers and Social Media Influencers

Here's my advice on how to reach out to bloggers, influencers, and anyone else you want to talk about your company. It’s important to remember that bloggers and influencers are busy people being pinged by lots of other brands, so if you’re asking them to take time to use your product, and maybe even post a photo or blog about it - time isn’t free! Listen in to learn how to build a connection, what you can and should offer them, and how to make the relationship last by involving them in your content and programs.

Key Highlights

[03:44] How to Reach Out to Bloggers and Social Media Influencers

[06:05] Time Is Not Free

[06:30] Step One In Reaching Out To Influencers

[07:04] Step #2

[08:12] How You Should Start A Pitch

[08:58] Step #3

[09:54] Get Feedback!

[10:17] Christopher Columbus Approach

[11:49] The Fifth Phase

[13:07] The Common Sense Of 2015

[13:43] Summary

Notable Quotes

  • Social media gives you the ability to listen and engage with anybody that's on social media, whether they're influencers or average people and I guess anybody can be an influencer, depending on your industry, right? But here's the thing. Don't just find an email, just connect on LinkedIn and go for the kill. 
  • Whether it's to tweet something out, or to write a blog post on something that requires time, time is not free, people are busy.
  • For any influencer that you want to reach out to, connect with them on social media, follow them go to their profiles follow in like every single social media profile they have, and engage with their content.
  • So it's not only following and engaging, but also looking for deep connections that make it easy for you to engage with that person. 
  • Too much expected something on the return, let them use your tool and expect nothing in return. Okay? And if they don't use your tool, they weren't relevant to begin with. Right? If they use your tool, then there's certain relevance.
  • I recommend, take the Christopher Columbus approach, if you want to make friends. Bloggers don't have a lot of money don't have a lot of time, if you're a company, you have an asset, which is your product, send it over. 
  • It's not a one night stand, it's a long term relationship, figure out a way to derive value out of that relationship over a longer term, by letting that person test out new beta products that you might have
Transcript

Neal Schaffer:

Welcome to maximize your social actionable advice on how your business can maximize your social media presence. Now, the host of maximize your social, social media author, speaker, consultant, founder of maximize social business, to Social Media Center of Excellence, and the social tool Summit, Neal Schaffer. Hey, this is Neal Schaffer, welcome to another episode of maximize your social boy, it's been a while hasn't it? And it's really well, I don't want to apologize, because I don't think in this day and age of too much content out there. I don't think content should be forced. And as I blogged before, and perhaps I mentioned on an earlier podcast, it's about keeping it real and only publishing content, even though it's not a best practice to have a few months of unpublished time on your podcast. But I really only want to podcast when I am inspired by experience, what have you. It's been a crazy last few months. Wow, few updates for you. We just had our second social tool summit in San Francisco, October 27 28th. Definitely do a hashtag search for hashtag social tools 15, there's a lot of great information that you can glean from following the hashtag. And well, you can purchase the video on demand recordings of all the one and a half days of sessions. That's Wow, more than 10 hours of content, I think for a few $100 to go to social tools. summit.com, if that interests you the other update, and wow, it's probably a few updates, I've put out a new ebook called maximizing LinkedIn for business. And if you ping me, you will find the link for that. If you haven't gotten access to that, by being a member of my social media center of excellence, I've also published a new book on employee advocacy with the leading employee advocacy tools, vendors, sociable. And I wrote the preface for it on the future of work and the importance of employment because he's part of that. So once again, if you can't find any of these things, the best thing to do would be to ping me. But I'm also going to have it on the resource page for this blog post. So today, I am I think this is the second time I've done it. I don't recommend you do this all the time or any time. But yes, I am podcasting while I'm driving. And I am in my car here in Irvine, California had a meeting with local clients. Here in Orange County, beautiful day, we've had what we call the Santa Ana winds pickups. So it's been real hot and dry air really windy. It is the day before Halloween, as I talked to you, there's a lot of Halloween excitement in the air, especially with my kids. And you know, it's funny because the intro outro music of this podcast, I don't know if you know, but it actually comes from my band that I have when I was in Japan called Jacko lamb. And I always want to figure a way of bringing in my favorite musicians into my podcast, but it'd be illegal to use their music in my podcast. But I suppose if it's background music that I listened to while I'm driving, and I happen to record this podcast while I'm driving that it's cool, right? You know, I'm not a lawyer by any means, won't have any legal understanding of the subject. But anyway, so you're listening in the background to my favorite Japanese artists, Jada, he told me one of the few who actually listens and responds and social media. She's commented on my pictures of her that I took during concerts and thanked me for when I wished her happy birthday on her Facebook page. This is really what social media is all about, and how to build passionate fans when you engage them in social. But that's not the subject of this podcast. And let's get to what this podcast is going to be about today, the podcast is going to be how to reach out to, and I put the social media in parentheses, but social media bloggers or social media influencers or people that you want to cover your story. So I get so many pitches on so many things, some more relevant, some not relevant at all, that I thought it was time to really publish something so that if you're looking to reach out to people, and maybe some of you will not as I go through this, have the experiences you've had as companies reach out to you. So here's the thing. And I talk about this so often, social media gives you the ability to listen and engage with anybody that's on social media, whether they're influencers or average people and I guess anybody can be an influencer, depending on your industry, right? But here's the thing. Don't just find an email, just connect on LinkedIn and go for the kill. Hey, I saw you tweet or post or publish on someone or things I think you might be interested that we're coming out with X product on X day X month X dates, and if you want a sneak preview, you know, you can get the free ebook or free press release or whatever it is. And you might want to share it with your audience. Here's the thing, okay? People that blog like myself, and I don't care what industry you're in, and especially if they have a large social media following, and a lot of people reaching out to them, they're busy people, okay? So, one at 100 times, you're going to reach out to someone, and it is just what they're looking for. And they've never heard about it. And they're going to be like, Wow, but 99% of the time, you're going to be lost or grouped together with all the other people that are trying to pitch on something. And to be honest with you, people that are content creators are extremely busy people, they have a lot going on. They might be authors, they might be consultants, they might be speakers, they might have their own agency, whatever it might be. And you'll be happy to know for those of you worry that I'm driving, I just got back to my home office. So we'll put it in park, but I want to keep the music going on background, I think also maybe as a little nice ambience, and it gives you an introduction to my world because I listened to it, he told me 99% of the time when I'm driving around an airplane. Anyway, getting back to the subject at hand. Most people don't care. And you know if they might care, but guess what, whether it's to tweet something out, or to write a blog post on something that requires time, time is not free, people are busy. So if you think that they're just you know, and here's the thing, I understand the analogy, newspaper reporters, always looking for things to write about, always looking for interesting ideas. Pitch me all the time, pitch me daily, throw me 100 pitches, and maybe I'll pick one. And if you're a newspaper reporter, and you get paid to do that, that's great. But guess what bloggers are not getting paid to do that. More and more bloggers are getting paid by brands that want to be promoted by influencers, right? So let's stop just pitching any and every blogger on whatever product approach press space you have, okay? That's the number one thing you need to do. If you're already doing that, if you're not doing that, then either you haven't been doing it for another reason. Or maybe you haven't been looking into influencer marketing. And obviously, you should. So what step number two, for any influencer, that you want to reach out to connect with them on social media, follow them go to their profiles follow in like every single social media profile they have, and engage with their content. You know, buffer is a great example, man buffer. These guys are so smart, when they just at the beginning when they just had a plugin. And they had their their tool. But they started by reaching out to WordPress bloggers in the social media space, and trying to convince them that they should, you know, use their plugin, and add a buffer button to their blog. And it was interesting at the beginning, because before they even did that, they were commenting on my blog on some of my posts. And after a while, it's like, and they were intelligent comments, like, Who are these buffer people. And then I went over and checked them out like, Huh, that's interesting. And since they were already commenting, I already had a relationship with them, I can reach out to them and say, hey, you know, tell me more about your tool, whatever it is. Now, that's only half the story buffer ended up buying out a very, very popular social media plugin, social media sharing plugin called Dig, dig, that gave them a lot more real estate in the market. But their whole pitch started by calming down people's blogs. Well, it's a great way to start build a rapport, right? And understand about them. It's funny, one person that went to my social tools Summit, who lives in the San Francisco area, who we were connected on social media, like I'm connected with a lot of other people found out that she went to a high school in the same city that I went to. And she mentioned that to me on, you know, on Facebook, it built this deeper connection than I would have had, if she hadn't have done that. Right. So it's not only following and engaging, but also looking for deep connections that make it easy for you to engage with that person. Okay? But right now, we're not pitching them, we're not reaching out to them on anything. Okay, step number two, step number three, when you want to reach out, give them a complete free copy of whatever or, or free something of whatever you're doing. Okay? And no, I'm not crazy. You cannot expect if you okay, if you want to pay an influencer to promote something for you, this is another story. But assuming you're trying to go the organic route, okay. Let them use your tool, or whatever it is. And I've found that and I just had an experience with a company that that did this approach, but too much expected something on the return, let them use your tool and expect nothing in return. Okay? And if they don't use your tool, they weren't relevant to begin with. Right? If they use your tool, then there's certain relevance and if your tool is that good and really helps them or whatever product you have, whether you're selling a piece of clothing or jewelry, I don't care what it is right? Give it away. Get feedback, that feedback you get from these people of influence is probably going to be as if not more of valuable than any tweet they can send out for you, but become their friend naturally. Right? It's funny. My daughter, who's in fifth grade right now, your her teacher said she didn't give enough detail in an answer to a question of an essay that Christopher Columbus wrote actually, I think came from Christopher Columbus's diary. And it was on how when he first came to America, how he gave loads of gifts to the Indians. And in his own words, he gave them gifts, because he wanted to become their friends. And he wanted at the end of the day to convert them to Christianity. But he started by giving them gifts. I recommend, take the Christopher Columbus approach, if you want to make friends. Bloggers don't have a lot of money don't have a lot of time, if you're a company, you have an asset, which is your product, send it over. Don't be stingy about it right? And don't just do a free seven day trial or a 30 day trial, let them have access for a lifetime. And maybe you do it buffer did and buffer did the same thing. And then after a few years, they said, Hey, you have the equivalent of a $99 month plan, we're gonna start charging you 999 a month, we hope you don't mind. And guess what I didn't mind at all right, so I'm still getting value from it. And I still talk about buffer like I'm doing in this podcast, but give the product away. Okay, step four, do a follow up and say, Hey, wondering how you're getting along with the tool. Wondering if there's, you know, any feedback you have for us one year of maybe we can do a call do a demo for you, help you understand how to utilize it, or if it's a fashion item, or a fitness club, whatever it is, Hey, have you wanted to have any pictures. And if they've already published something about it, obviously, you want to promote the heck out of it to your network, as a company. And really, you know that the fifth phase is really including this person, or you know, or company, whoever that influencer might be as a brand ambassador, I've written about this, and podcasts about it as well, I was a brand ambassador for All Nippon Airways. But it's not a one night stand, it's a long term relationship, figure out a way to derive value out of that relationship over a longer term, by letting that person test out new beta products that you might have, or you know, when you're doing a blog post of including their content, or maybe bringing them on as a guest blogger, because they have so much great content to share, promote the heck out of them. Right. This is the way you work with influencers, if you're not going to pay to play, if you pay to play this is a whole other story. And there are marketplaces out there like tap influence or the social tool Summit, we had a company called fame beat that primarily worked with YouTube Video Creators, but now they're expanding that to Twitter and Instagram. There's tons of these marketplaces where if you want to pay however, you know, X hundreds of dollars 1000s of dollars per influencer, they can be yours. But guess what? It's not going to be as authentic, as if someone naturally becomes your friend. And you know what, if your product can really help them, then it should be pretty easy to be friends with them in this day and age of social media. So to me, this is the common sense of 2015. The common sense of 2015 is not connecting with someone on LinkedIn, and then sending them a template email, Hey, we're coming out with this new product, check out a press release, you might want to share it with your friends or sending an email saying, Hey, I noticed you tweeted about content marketing, you may enjoy our content marketing infographic, stop the silliness, it might be cheap to hire someone to do that for you on mass scale, or if your PR agency is doing that, stop, there's so many better ways of more effectively using that PR firm of that employee, according to this five step process that just told you, which is number one, do a reset on all that stop doing what you've been doing. Number two, following engage in social number three, in the words of Red Hot Chili Peppers, give it away, give it away, give it away. Number four, extend that relationship by going the extra mile. How can we help you like a demo? Do you have any pictures, any ideas? And step five really include them as part of a formalized program? You know, Microsoft has like an MVP program, big companies have these big programs for the community. If you don't have one, create one focus on those influencers. That's the common sense way of working with parentheses, social media and the parentheses, bloggers or influencers in this day and age. I hope it made sense to you. If you have other experience, if this is what you're already doing, I'd love to hear if it's not what you're doing. You think it makes sense. You try it out and you have some results. I love to hear from you as well. If you are a blogger or influencer content creator in your own right, I'd like to hear from you as well. So after listens podcast, I'd really appreciate a comment, whether it be on the maximize your social blog post, whether it be tossing something up on iTunes or Soundcloud that would really make my day so I appreciate you. I appreciate this fantastic social media industry that continues to grow. And for all of you that have already downloaded one of my ebooks or maybe came to the social tools Summit, and I look forward to Boyd, I have a lot of great content on this podcast in the pipeline. And hey, if you enjoyed having some music in the background and made it more easier to listen to, I'd like that feedback as well. Sick, Neil, it didn't work, let me know. I really appreciate your feedback. So until next time, and I'll be around here and I'll be going to iron in December. But for the month of November, I should be here, podcasting from my home office and beautiful Orange County, California. Wherever you are in the world. I'm signing off here, wishing you a great social Day. Bye Bye, everybody. Thanks for listening to maximize your social. We appreciate all of your iTunes subscriptions, ratings, and comments. If you would like to appear on this show or recommend content, please contact Neal Schaffer at Neal at maximize your social.com Please also make sure to check out Neil's new community, the Social Media Center of Excellence at social media co e.com as well as Neil social media conference, the social tools summit