How to Be a Good Influencer in Six Simple Steps
By JennaForstrom on January 22, 2015
This blog post is meant to help you become a better influencer online. With these six simple steps you’ll be able to attract companies interested in doing influencer outreach to score great perks like free swag, VIP access and cash for doing what you already love – creating content online and sharing that content with your friends.
It’s Wednesday afternoon and I’m sitting at a taproom celebrating my friend’s birthday. After making my beer selection, paying, and grabbing my pint, I immediately take out my phone, take a sip and check in my beer on Untappd.
“What are you doing?” a friend of the birthday girl asks. “Oh, hi, sorry, I’m a beer blogger so I’m checking in my beer before I forget.”
When I’m not working at MKG, I spend a lot of my time, reading, writing and trying beers. I run a blog called BiteSize Brews that is all about beer. This blog gets me some pretty awesome perks, including trips, media passes to beer events and gift cards to breweries all over the US to try beers.
Professionally, I’ve managed an online personal finance community including freelance writers, trained sales teams on Microsoft products and done tons of outreach to online influencers for various products over the past six years. A majority of these online influencers are people just like me. They have full time professional jobs and then blog about their passions during their lunch breaks and after work.
Taking what I’ve learned professionally about influencers, plus the fact that I'm a blogger myself, I’ve come up with six simple steps you can do to make yourself more attractive to companies. (Assuming you are already creating awesome content and engaging with the online communities around your specific niche.)
One: Have a solid Twitter Bio.
State where you work, what you are affiliated with, what you like to do and where you are located (and don’t use those UMT location codes – no one has time to review where exactly that is.) Make sure your bio, profile photo and cover photos don’t have anything crazy, creepy or NSFW. Chances are your profile will be shared in some corporate meeting and reviewed by higher up managers who don’t know the niche community quiet as well as the marketing liaison you’ll be working with. Finally, include a link to your personal blog. Read more about Twitter profiles hereand about crafting tweets in one of our previous articles here.
Two: Have a contact page on your blog.
The point of having a blog and wanting to get swag is making it simple for people in marketing to reach out to you. Create a dedicated space on your blog for this. Include a little bit about yourself, a photo, maybe some stats about your blog, links to your social media handles, and a way for people to reach you. Afraid of spam? Here are some options: contact form, spelling your email out, or a photo of your email address.
Three: Respond when People Reach Out.
You have two options when people reach out to you with marketing opportunities: respond or ignore. Even if you aren’t interested, it is always best to send a simple message stating you aren’t interested. This stops the annoying emails like “Hey, just wanted to follow up and see if you received my email on…” If you are interested, send a quick note stating you are interested and ask for additional information.
Four: Review the Information.
Like number three, you now have three different options after you receive additional information: decline, agree or negotiate for something better for you, your schedule or your community’s sake. Remember, it’s your blog. You can do what you want with it. Just because a company is offering your something, doesn’t mean you need to accept it. If you can’t do it based on time or other restrictions, say so. The worst thing you can do it say yes and then not follow through. (You wouldn’t do that to your boss or friends, would you?) It’s not professional and won’t get you recommended for future projects.
Five: Keep Open Communication.
No one in marketing likes radio silence. We are a profession based on communication after all. Make sure you are constantly updating the marketing manager with what is going on: what is working, what isn’t, what you are thinking about posting, when it will be posted, when it actually is posted and any follow up you might have. It also helps to keep marketing managers in the loop on life stuff as well. A simple email of “Hey – my kid has the flu, I might need a couple more days.” Is a totally fair note to send, we are humans too.
Six: Play by the Rules.
If you say you are doing to do something, do it. Include the information you are supposed to include (copy, images, video, tracking codes, etc.) If you follow all the rules, create good work, chances are you’ll get recommended for more future projects and thus get more swag, money, and possibly a bonus. In addition, play nice, refer friends who might be interested in special promotions, take some risks and overall don’t bite the hand that feeds you (or at least gives you early access to a program).
There you go six simple steps to becoming a strong online influencer. Are you an online influencer? What have you done to step your game up? What are you goals for 2015?
P.S. - Whenever, I talk about my blogging career, I have to give credit to my friend, Sean Ogle, he started a blog after his love of golf and gets tons of free trips all over the world because of it. While I don’t like golf, he inspired me to start blogging about beer so I could get some free beer swag every now and again. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t understand this community of online content creators or be able to do my professional job as successfully since now I can see things from both sides. Learn more about Sean and how to build niche sites here.