Okay, so you’re still growing your online business and there are people in your niche you’d like to reach out to. Maybe they have bigger lists, more blog readers, more exposure, more clout and so forth. And like any sane marketer, you’d love to hitch your wagon to their star, or at least make a friend in the business… So how can you do it?
One way NOT to do it goes like this:
Hi Joe Smith, you don’t know me but I love your (blog / product / website) and would really like it if you would (mention my blog / promote my product / email for me) etc.
Sincerely, New guy
If that sounds even remotely like emails you’ve sent in the past, realize you are not alone – many new marketers make the mistake of starting a correspondence with what the other person can do for them.
And what does the recipient actually hear when they read these messages? Something like, “You’ve worked hard to build your business, now drop everything and let me – a total stranger – piggy back off your success for free.”
Is it any wonder why they seldom respond?
So how do you get better known people and influencers in your niche to pay attention to you? Here are 7 methods proven to work:
Mention and link often. Mention them in a blog post, point to a specific article they wrote and blog about it, share their stuff on social media and so forth. Then TELL them you mentioned them. “John, loved your article on ___, especially what you said about ___. Just wanted to let you know I included you in my latest blog post here ___ and sent your article link to my followers on Twitter, too.”
Make lists, round-ups and recaps. List the 20 most influential bloggers/chefs/snipers/___. Or make a list of the 10 people you most admire and why. Or do a weekly round-up of all the best of the best in your niche for the current week. The main point here again is to link out to the influencers in a very real, authentic way and then let them know about it.
Build on something they’ve done. Let’s say your guru of choice wrote a great post – now you’re going to write your own post that first declares how much you appreciate their post, and secondly builds upon what they said. If they wrote about 10 ways to increase conversions, you might point to their article as being a must read, and then add your own 10 ways for a total of 20. Or you might show how to take what they teach and ramp it up a notch or even throw it into high gear. The point is to acknowledge their work and use it as your own inspiration to create something even better. And remember to email them and let them know about your article – it’s possible they will blast it out through their social media accounts and possibly even to their list.
Repackage what they’ve done. Your favorite influencer wrote a great post on the 20 newest trends of the year? Turn their post into an infographic, video or slideshow presentation, then email them and let them know. If you do this well you are almost assured they will share this with their followers.
Quote them. They’re the expert, right? So when you’re writing a post, quote them as proof of what you’re saying or teaching. Be sure you link to them when you do. And as ever, let them know you quoted them.
Send them a thank you. For no reason, except that they rock. This could be a gift certificate, an actual card in the mail – maybe a book you picked out for them from Amazon. Attach a note that let’s them know this is a thank you for all that they’ve done for you. Used in conjunction with any of the above methods, you will become unforgettable.
Offer to do a service for them. For free. No strings whatsoever, it’s simply your way of thanking them for how their posts, articles, products, etc. have helped you. If you’re good at graphic design or caricatures, create one of them or their product. If you’re good at photos, offer to let them use yours for free. If you’re good at writing emails, offer to write one promoting a product of theirs that you love, and so forth.
Everyone was at one time a complete stranger to everyone else but their own mother. Yet they were able to make connections, and so can you. Don’t let someone’s stature in your niche stop you, just know that the best approaches come from an attitude of gratitude. Be an asset rather than someone looking to get a free step up, and always have the goal of building a long term friendship first, with business coming in a distant second.