AJ co-founded TrendKite in 2012 and oversees all aspects of the organization’s sales operations.
I don’t read magazines anymore. Not even online ones. I find that I get a better variety of articles that are of interest to me by looking at what my connections post on LinkedIn. This works perfectly because I’m connected to people who have similar backgrounds and interests. If my LinkedIn network is into an article or a blog, there’s a very good chance that I will be to. Think, for a minute, about what this means for PR. If a journalist writes a story about your brand, but no one shares it, does it make a sound? No. Not a very loud one anyway. In addition to earning the mention of reporters, you’ve also got to earn the attention of the people who will share the content. This requires building an influencer network.
Identify Your Influencers
You should think broadly about potential influencers for your brand. They can include;
- Journalists and reporters
- Industry experts and analysts
- Vendors with non-competitive products used by your target audience
- Politicians and regulators
You essentially want to include anyone who is likely connected via social networks to your target audience.
Offer them Something Good
Once you’ve identified your influencers and connected with them, you need to offer them content that they will want to share with their connections. Think about this carefully. Would you share purely promotional materials with your friends and colleagues? Probably not. You need to weave your brand messages into content that is interesting, entertaining and educational. It should have some appeal even for someone who is not likely to buy your product right now. Influencers are hungry for things to share with their networks, but it has got to be good and make them look good.
Return the Favor
People who are active influencers in social networks become more invested and interested if the love goes both ways. Start by sharing their content with your own network. After all, if they are connected to your audience, your network will likely be interested in the things they say, write or post. Make thoughtful comments on their posts and engage in a dialog. If you establish that you are interested in being part of the conversation, not just looking for a way to broadcast your sales pitch, you’ll have much more success.
Building an influencer network is both an art and a science. The art is about creating engaging content and participating in conversations. The science is about finding the right influencers and engaging frequently enough to build deeper relationships. Keep both in mind as you build and leverage this important condiut for amplifying your brand.