Key Influencers: What Are They? (And What Do They Have to Do With Your Website?)
You've got a solid website design, well-written website content, and a clear plan for marketing your products online.
What can you do to take your company's website to the next level?
It's time to get the word out about your product, service, or brand.
Most companies send out some emails here and there, design some post cards, or bleed their budget with ads.
On the other hand, the smartest companies (typically the ones working closely with web strategy companies like ourselves) take advantage of a potential gold mine of customers we like to call key influencers.
What exactly is a key influencer?
Key influencers are people, personalities, or businesses that already have the attention of your target audience.
Key influencers are the people who can actually drive sales and awareness. (Think Oprah. She mentions her favorite pair of slippers or top choice in pashminas—and sends them flying off the shelves.)
On a smaller scale than Oprah, writers, bloggers, photographers, videographers, social media personalities, and other content publishers can have a positive or negative impact on your exposure, engagement, and, most importantly, bottom line, too.
It's the size of their potential impact that makes them key influencers—and it's their access to your target market that makes them key to your success.
These key influencers sound pretty phenomenal, right?
Right. So now you're probably thinking, “This is great, but how do I find these key influencers…and, more importantly, how do I get my product/service/brand in front of their audience??”
Excellent questions. So glad you asked.
How to reach your audience through key influencers
Let's break down how you can go about reaching your desired audiences through the magic of key influencers.
1. Know Who Influences Your Audience
Before you reach out to anyone, you need to conduct some research. Yes, that takes work. But it's exciting work because it's work that can pay back in spades.
Compile a list of the most popular blogs, publications, social media personalities, videographers, and photographers in your industry (or in industries with similar target markets).
Not sure where to start? Head over to Google and try searching for some of the following (replacing X with your industry, of course):
- top bloggers X industry
- top X bloggers
- X blogger
- Best X industry blogger
- X industry consultant, (enter your geographical area here)
For many industries (travel, fashion, cookware), you'll find entire articles dedicated to identifying the best online resources.
These are the people you want to add to your list.
2. Get Familiar with your influencers
Once you know who your key influencers are, you need to get familiar with their work. Yes, this takes more time. It will be time well-invested.
Read some of these influencers' blog entries. Follow them on Twitter. Make sure you read advertising or press information they provide on their websites.
Some influencers will have very specific guidelines about contacting them. You need to know what those guidelines are and what their blog is focused on before you reach out to them. Otherwise, they'll find you irrelevant (and—gulp—maybe even make fun of you).
3. Reach out
Once you know how your key influencers prefer to be contacted (do they have a form you can fill out to request a product review? Does their press page ask you to email them directly?), it's time to reach out.
Start by letting them know that you've read their blog/watched their videos/browsed their photos. Compliment them. Make it crystal clear you're not sending them form letter!
Then, make your proposal. If you want them to do a review of your product, offer a free sample. If you're planning to advertise on their blog, be specific about the length and location of the ad you want.
Here's an example: “I would like to purchase an ad in your right sidebar for one month. Your advertising page lists the price as $300. Is that still accurate? What should my next steps be in purchasing the ad?”
Be clear and concise. If you don't know what their prices are or if you're not sure if they do product reviews, ask!
If you don't hear back within a week, make sure you follow up.