How To Become an Industry “Influencer”
By Kendra Newton
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or working on a side hustle, putting yourself out there can be a bit intimidating. You want your voice to be heard, and your work to be read, but you might fear that others won’t take you seriously, that you won’t make any money, or even in some cases, that you might achieve success before you’re ready for it.
To help your business and blog to grow and thrive, people need to know who you are, and the odds are unlikely that someone will randomly come across your website or Twitter feed, and then request a media interview or consultation. To become the industry influencer that you know you are, you’re going to have to go to them. And guess what?
It’s not as hard as you think.
Once you become an industry influencer, just imagine the future possibilities that lie ahead. Receiving regular invites for exclusive meetings, networking events and parties. Watching your social media platform grow with thoughtful and engaging followers. Constant media requests for quotes, TV appearances and blog posts. And the truth is, no matter what industry you work in, they need influencers. I know this for a fact.
I’ve worked in media, marketing and public relations for 11+ years across various industries, including fashion, entertainment, technology, health, and food. I currently work in book publishing as a marketer, and part of my current daily job is working with influencers to reach a targeted and engaged audience for our promotions.
Influencers are an integral part of every marketing campaign I create, but want to know the biggest challenge that comes up time and time again when it comes to working with influencers like yourself? Finding you, and knowing who you are!
There are so many opportunities available to become an influencer with an engaged and niche audience, and to take your business, non-profit or blog to the next level. You’re in a unique position, as nowadays, practically every brand or product campaign includes influencer outreach and cross-promotions. They want to have an ongoing roster of influencers like yourself who they can approach on a regular basis.
I’m going to show you three simple ways you can get started to reach out to potential promotional partners, make yourself stand out in their inbox, and position yourself as a go-to influencer on their list of contacts. Ready? Of course you are!
INTRODUCE YOURSELF BY EMAIL
You know your industry and audience better than anyone else, so you already have an idea of whose business (whether it’s a digital platform, a book or a physical product) you want to work with and how you both can both benefit from a partnership. If you don’t have a contact’s email, you can usually figure it out by using these few basic templates:
EXPLAIN HOW YOU CAN PROVIDE VALUE
Establish your credibility and how you can solve one or several of the following problems for them: Access to an engaged audience, content for their website or blog, a sweepstakes or giveaway that can be promoted on social media, product inclusion in gift bags, exposure at an event, etc. Here are some specific examples:
- Newsletter: Offer to promote an influencer, brand, or product to your email subscribers.
- Sweepstakes: If working with a product, you can promote a sweepstakes through a newsletter or on social media. This is a great option because working with a brand or personality gives you some cache with your community, and oftentimes, they’re even willing to handle the fulfillment of the prizing.
- Events: You can approach brands and companies to see if they’d be willing to offer product for guests and gift bags, putting them in front of a group of people they may not reach otherwise.
- Blog Post: You can suggest guest posting on each others’ blogs. Many bloggers are seeking regular content for their readers, and this way, it’s mutually beneficial as you’ll both also get placement in front of a new audience.
STAY ON THEIR RADAR
Some simple ways to stay in touch once a partnership concludes:
- Send a thank you e-mail, or to really stand out, an actual card or thoughtful gift
- Continue to be authentic when promoting their profile or brand on your platforms. If they upload a post or media link that you think is great, share through your accounts – your engaged followers will likely provide positive feedback as well. Then you also have a continuing track record that shows how your followers respond to brands.
- Sign up for their newsletters or set up Google alerts. When they make an announcement or a media story pops up, send them an email with a simple, “Congrats, what a great piece. Can’t wait to see what’s next!”
Influencers are today’s newest rock stars, and you can be next in line to be known, to be coveted and to be a leader. Why wait until tomorrow when you can start influencing today!
Kendra Newton is a public relations, marketing and branding coach who resides in New York City. She is currently an Associate Marketing Director at HarperCollins Publishers, and has more than 11 years of experience working in media, publishing, marketing and public relations for high-profile companies and brands, including Hearst Magazines, Bauer Publishing, Pantene, Cetaphil and Victoria’s Secret. Kendra also independently handled publicity for digital platforms and certified coaches in the areas of lifestyle, business, relationships and health when she launched Hot Property PR in 2012.
If you have any influencer questions, ask away! Kendra will be reading… 🙂