You’ve read our recent post on What is Influencer Marketing and saw the potential of doing an influencer campaign. And you have done your research on the dos and don’ts. You’ve even gone as far as to build a list of influencers that check off all the right boxes for your brand.

But now you’re stuck. You don’t know how to approach an influencer so they can’t help but say yes to partnering.

You aren’t the only one that had an epiphany about influencer marketing, tons of other brands are jumping on this opportunity. And it is obvious why when 61% of US consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post. So chances are, other brands may be reaching out to some of the same influencers as you. Or maybe they aren’t, but wouldn’t it be great to get to the cream of the crop of influencers before your competitors do? In either case, you don’t want your email (or whatever method of communication you choose) to get overlooked or deleted because it didn’t stand out.

So, now that you have found the ideal influencers, what do you do next?

1. Follow them and read their content

Before you reach out to any influencer for a campaign, make sure you’re a right fit. Reading one blog post or a handful of tweets isn’t always the best representation. Start following them on all of their social accounts, signing up for their newsletters and listening to any podcasts/webinars they may release. Get a feel for the type of content they produce over time. Does the tone and manner complement your brand?

Keep in mind that influencers who have 100k followers may have incredible reach, but is it the reach you’re looking for? Do some digging on their audience before approaching an influencer. Influencers cherish the trust they have with their followers. And they won’t want to work with a brand if it doesn’t align with their personal brand or resonate with their followers. Say you work for a meat company and found a popular food blogger that you want to work with. But you don’t realize (because you didn’t read their blog), that their actually vegetarian. Seems like a stretch of an example, but similar situations have happened.

At InNetwork, we filter our influencers by looking at their demographic information, including age, gender breakdown, category interests, etc., to help match the appropriate influencer.

2. Engage

Don’t passively follow the people you want to work with. Love a point they made in their latest piece? Tell them! Who doesn’t love a compliment? Engage with their content by sharing, retweeting and commenting on their posts. You’ll get on their radar when you share their content without asking for anything in return.

Tip: Keep organized by building a Twitter list, publicly or privately, of your key influencers you want to stay in touch with. This way, you have a constant feed of these important people and their content so you can build long and meaningful relationships.

3. Personalize Emails

As soon as an influencer sees “Hello, Blogger”, that email is deleted faster than a prairie fire with a tailwind. Sending mass emails to all the influencers you want to work with comes across as though you don’t value each one enough to spend the extra time to personalize your messages.

You can cater each email by referencing some of the influencer’s previous work that really stood out to you. Or try finding some common ground that you can relate to. Are they planning a trip to a place you’re familiar with? Send some recos their way.

But remember, you don’t want to be overbearing and desperate. There’s a fine line between being genuinely interested and being phony. The more real you are, the more connected an influencer will feel with your brand, and the more likely they will want to work together.

When writing your email, keep in mind of the following check-list:

    • Keep it short and sweet you don’t want to be overwhelming. A good rule of thumb is 300 words or less.
    • Be flexible – if you can, present different options for execution so the influencer can use their judgement based on their understanding of their audience
    • Talk compensation – if you need convincing, check out our post on Why You Should Compensate Influencers
    • Provide value – show how your campaign will interest the influencer’s readers and benefit the influencer
    • Be easy to contact include all the necessary information an influencer will need to get in contact with you (website, phone number, etc.). Don’t make them jump through hoops.

4. Follow Up

If you don’t hear back from the influencer in a week, follow up (politely). No response doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t interested, they are likely extremely busy (a lot of people blog on the side of another full-time job) and forgot.

You may want to explore other ways of communicating with them. Is their primary social platform Twitter? Try sending them a DM as your follow up.

In conclusion

Most marketers find the influencers they want to work with and immediately send them a cold-call email. They don’t do their research, and most importantly, they don’t build a relationship. Success level? Zero.

Don’t let the time you’ve invested in searching for the right influencers go to waste by sending them a cold email that is scripted and not personalized. Unfortunately, some marketers do not do their research, and most importantly, do not build a relationship. Put yourself in their shoes and consider what would get your attention and response. When done properly, the results can exceed expectations.

People are always willing to do more for people they know, whether they met in person or built a connection online. Building relationships also have long term effects – ones that go beyond an individual campaign.

So take a step back when you’re about to approach an influencer and reflect on the tips I mentioned above, and you’re more likely to get a response and results that you want.

Now, over to you. Are you an influencer? What kind of pitches make you queasy? And marketers – what do you find works when approaching an influencer?