Apr 23, 2018 / in Comms Best Practices / by Tony Hardman

Influencer marketing is an easy way to amplify your brand, right? Possibly. But, getting the attention of an influencer isn’t as simple as looking up their information and reaching out. Think about it, if the person you want to work with has lots of qualified followers then they probably get lots of offers every day.

To build a productive relationship with an influencer you first have to cut through the clutter so that your pitch is heard. In his latest video, Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert and New York Times bestselling author explains the steps you need to take to gain the attention of any influencer. Check out the video or read the transcript below.

Jay Baer: Influencer marketing is spicy like a bayou gumbo right now. Every company wants to work with influencers because they believe it’s a cost-effective way to get more eyeballs on their content, and they’re right, maybe.

I’m Jay Baer, Founder of Convince and Convert, New York Times best-selling author, digital business celebrity and a good friend of Cision and I’m here to get into some truths about influencer marketing.

I talked in a recent video about using tools like Cision to find the right influencers, people who have topical authority that aligns with what you’re trying to do rather than just folks that have a big following but no particular resonance or persuasiveness with your message per se.

Let’s say that you’ve used a tool like Cision to find a pool of potential influencers. These are people who have an audience that matters to you, but also have a history of creating content and talking about topics that are relevant to your business.

It’s time for the moment of truth. You’re staring at a blinking cursor. You need to write a compelling message that’s probably an email that can get through this influencers defenses and encourage them to work with you. What do you write and why?

I’m told by people who do this kind of thing that I’m one of the world’s top influencers of digital marketers, of B2B marketers, of content marketers, small business marketers and chief marketing officers. My mom is very, very proud.

In addition, as a proprietor of Convince and Convert, we’ve got a large digital marketing education and advice company, I know a lot about good and bad influencer pitches. I figured this out the other day, did a little math and figured I have probably received about 7,500 email pitches and counting, more every day. I’ve learned a lot and I really hope you take this to heart. I 100 percent guarantee this will work for you if you do it this way.

Here’s the six things you must do when you pitch an influencer. First, make it clear who you are exactly. Do you work for the brand? Do you work for the agency? What is your role? It is really frustrating when influencers get a pitch and they don’t know who they’re hearing from and they don’t know how that person fits into the overall equation. The whole thing’s kind of suspicious.

Second, show that you know. This is perhaps the most important of the six actually. Take the time to really learn what the influencer does, why they do it, how they do it. Reading one blog post is not enough. Ideally, you should be interacting with that influencer and social media long before the pitch. This is called the idea of being there before the sale. Chris Brogan and Julianne Smith talked about this in their great book Trust Agents. It totally works. The fastest way for your pitch to get deleted is to write something that proves that you haven’t done your homework.

Third thing, be very specific about what you want. Don’t ask the influencer to see if we can work together on something. Create an opportunity that describes what you want. Influencers don’t have time to read between the lines and play what if with your vague email. Come up with a pitch and do it specifically.

Fourth, be explicit about how this helps the influencer. Do they get paid? How much? Are you going to promote their work? When, and under what circumstances? Understand that for a lot of influencers this is a business transaction. You need to treat it like that, not just like an invite to a junior high dance.

Fifth, what is the timeline? When does this start? How long does this last? Are there rules? Are there exclusions? Are there other limits that are important to know? Can these guys not work with competitors? It’s okay. It’s better, even, to talk about these specifics in the initial pitch.

Sixth, last, what is the next step exactly? Do you want the influencer to email you back? Do you want to set up a Skype call? Do you want to fill out a form like where do they click? Be as specific as possible with your influencer requests. As long as you pick the right people and research them well you have a great chance of getting those influencers to work with you, but you got to pitch them right.

I’m Jay Baer. Thanks for listening.

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About Tony Hardman

Anthony Hardman is a senior content editor for Cision. He has more than 10 years of combined experience in broadcast news, public relations, inbound and content marketing. Connect with him on Twitter: @ahardman or LinkedIn.