Influencers don’t just offer a direct line of communication to your target. The best have already cultivated an audience that actually takes their advice.
So, how do you enlist influencers’ help in getting your message out to your target? Follow the guidelines below to get your own influencer relations program started.
To get your influencer relations program started, identify:
1. Your target. To make a influencer relations program worth the effort, find out what your audience is reading. You should, at this point, know their pain points, passions and interests. The influencers you work with need to reflect most, if not all, of these in topics they cover.
2. Your goal. Are you looking to launch a new product? Is the goal building overall brand awareness? Have a clear understanding of your goal before researching influencer options. This will help you determine the types of content you’ll want your influencers to provide and give you an idea of whether an influencer relations program can deliver meaningful results.
3. Your tactics. Influencers typically develop content in two buckets. The first, a straight-up review where they test your product and share their unbiased opinion of its worth. The second is tips-based posts. With the second type, multiple products (and sometimes brands) will be included in one post under one theme (e.g. “storm preparedness must-haves” or “5 ways to amp up your home’s curb appeal”).
Both types of posts are effective when done the right way – in fact, the best influencers are versatile enough to create both types.
- Post consistency – How often they post and the quality. A good rule of thumb: three posts a week with a mix of reviews and tips-based articles. One red flag to look for is post after post of giveaways without any supporting content. This might indicate the blog’s primary purpose is attracting followers who only want free product.
- Social presence – The engagement on their social platforms. There’s no hard and fast rule here – focus more on the amount of engagement on their social channels rather than just the amount of followers.
- Brand partnerships – Find out what brands they currently work with on an ongoing basis. A good influencer should disclose their relationships to their followers as part of a transparency policy. Make sure they don’t represent anything in direct competition (or that would reflect poorly) on your brand before you add them to your influencer relations program.
- Post engagement – Check the comments in a few of their recent blog posts to see if there has been interaction or feedback from followers/blog visitors.
5. Your plan. Unlike the blogs of yore, the best of today’s influencers rely on their blogs for income. Meaning you can no longer expect free coverage for everything you send them. By now you’ve already read through some of their recent posts and should have a feel for their style, their audience and topics covered. If they’re not already your brand advocates, I’d recommend reaching out with an initial inquiry such as:
I’ve been reading through your posts and am really impressed with your content. My company (name) is launching a new product that I think your readers would be interested in.
(But make it less robotic.) Let them know you’re interested in working with a few influencers to support a new launch or your brand message. Ask them if they’d have any interest in being involved in your influencer relations program. Offer to send them a product to sample and ask for their feedback. Some may choose to write a post about it which will help you even further gauge the way they work.
Now it’s contract time
Next, develop a rough outline of what the actual influencer contract will look like. Figure out:
- the number of posts they’ll supply
- rough budget
- in what way you want to be able to repurpose their content on your own blog and platforms
- the exclusivity of using their posts
That should be enough to get you started. Of course, you’ll want to share with them your brand standards and appropriate claims they’ll be allowed to make. But these are only the basics.
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