At times it can feel like the endless hours spent creating blog and social media posts aren’t paying off. The constant cycle of writing and sharing is like a content treadmill—you’re exerting energy but not getting anywhere.
Lot’s of bloggers feel the same pressure to produce and share content—and the same disappointment when their efforts don’t attract a bigger audience or enjoy greater reach. But there is a solution…
When you collaborate with other bloggers, you spend less time trying to build an audience on your own and more time trying to leverage an influencer’s audience. Leveraging another blogger’s reach provides the key to building a blog audience successfully.
Identify your goals.
Before you reach out to influencers within your niche, evaluate the who, what, why, and how. To identify your goals, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who do you want to collaborate with?
- What type of activity do you want to encourage?
- Why do you want to collaborate with a specific influencer?
- How are you going to establish contact with your influencer?
Let‘s look at each of these four questions in more detail, so you can see the part each one plays in your collaborative efforts.
Who do you want to collaborate with?
If you don’t already know the key players within your niche, you need to invest time identifying and getting to know them. You can’t just rush out with a scatter-gun approach to finding influencers with whom to collaborate. This needs to be a thoughtful and measured process.
Identify your niche’s key search terms, and set up Google Alerts to get daily or weekly notifications of new internet content. See who’s point of view supports your ideology and who has interesting things to say. When you’re enthusiastic about sharing their content with your audience, that’s a good sign you’ve found a content creator with the potential to collaborate with.
Next, consider the size of the influencer’s reach and the quality of their interaction. Check:
- The professionalism of their website. This is subjective, but what type of reaction do you have when visiting their website? If it’s professional, well laid out, and they post new content regularly, that’s three thumbs-up. If it’s none of these things, it’s three thumbs down.
- Established bloggers should already have a media kit. Take a look at it to get an overview of their audience and reach. If they don’t have one available, follow each of their social media links to see the size of their audience.But size isn’t everything. Also, look at the frequency and quality of the influencer’s posts and the level of interaction they receive. You’re looking for an influencer who has a proactive community that engages with them. They may have established a presence across multiple social networks but have one network where they’re most interactive and active.
This awareness of their online presence strengths and weaknesses will help you determine the activity you want to foster with the influencer.
What type of activity do you want to encourage?
Here’s are some different ways you can leverage an influencer’s audience.
- Write a guest blog post on their website.
- Ask them to write a guest post for your website.
- Feature them on your podcast.
- Ask them to be a guest on their podcast.
- Ask them to share your content across their social media network.
- Feature their content in your blog roundup.
- Ask to be a speaker at their virtual event.
To know what type of opportunity to pitch an influencer, you’ll have to familiarize yourself with their current activity. If you’re asking them to contribute content or do something for you, your request needs to be as streamlined and efficient as possible so that it takes minimal effort.
For example, if you’re emailing with a request to share a blog post you think is relevant to their audience, include the URL link, a brief summary of the audience benefit, and what you want them to do with the post.
Why do you want to collaborate with a specific influencer?
The answer to this question seems simple: You want to grow your audience and reach more people. However, that reason is not specific enough. You need to know your call to action. Do you want to:
- Build your mailing list?
- Raise awareness for your new book?
- Encourage people to sign up for your online course?
- Secure speaking engagements?
- Land freelance assignments?
This call to action is one of the cornerstones of your decision-making process. You have to have a clear goal in mind when you’re devising your collaboration plan.
How are you going to establish contact with your influencer?
Emailing a stranger out of the blue to ask for something isn’t likely to warrant a response from a busy influencer—unless your name is already familiar to them. Here are ways to get on their radar:
- Leave regular meaningful comments on their blog.
- Follow them on social media. Comment on their content and share it across your social networks. If they engage with you, make sure you respond.
- Join their mailing list and when their emails include a question, and you have something valuable or interesting to say, make sure you respond. The key here is to be your authentic self.
You need to make sure your brand and website are complimentary to the influencer you’re targeting. When they visit your website for the first time, it needs to be clear that a collaborative opportunity between the two of you will benefit you both. Show that an alliance with you can add value to their audience.
You’ve got one chance to make a good impression, so don’t squander it. Make sure your About page is up to date and you’re blogging regularly. (Whether you publish posts daily, weekly, or monthly, be consistent.) Showcase your social proof by linking to your social networks and being proactive about attracting blog comments.
All bloggers started from scratch. The astute ones become influencers, and they understand that having up-and-coming bloggers contact them to form alliances is part of the process. If you can save them time or effort and provide value to their audience, they will jump at the chance to collaborate with you. And that’s your chance to expand your reach to their audience.
Tell me about your experiences reaching out to influencers to form collaborations. I’d love to hear about the techniques that have worked for you. Leave a comment below, and if this post inspired you to start collaborating, share it with others to inspire them, too.
About the Author
Jay Artale abandoned her corporate career to become a digital nomad and full-time writer. She’s an avid blogger and a nonfiction author helping travel writers and travel bloggers achieve their self-publishing goals. Join her at Birds of a Feather Press where she shares tips, advice, and inspiration to writers with an independent spirit.
Photo courtesy of geralt