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The 3-Step Content Creation Framework for Influencer Outreach

The 3-Step Content Creation Framework for Influencer Outreach

[By Kait Fowlie]

This is post 3 of our 6-part guide to making the most of influencers in your PR communications. Stay tuned for posts 4 – 6, each of which will walk you through a step in building a successful influencer program.

Research has shown that engaging influencers is now a key part of successful PR communications – and crafting effective outreach messages is the way to do it.

To support your press releases that may go to many influencers, take the time to get to know a select few, engage with their content while offering reciprocal influence, and then build relationships based on mutual value. Follow this 3-step framework for productive communication with influencers to start building your brand’s most valuable relationships.

Step 1: Craft strategic outreach messages

Ideally, you’ve followed and monitored your target influencers long enough to engage with their content, add value to their communities and capture their attention so they know who you are. When you send them a message to connect with them directly, you’re setting the tone on which your relationships are built.

Here are 4 Dos for your outreach messages:

  • Establish credibility. When you engage with the content your influencers create, make sure you offer their communities value and make the members want to find out more about your brand. Include links to make it easy for them to do so.
  • Show appreciation for the influencers’ content and make it easy for them to draw a connection between your brand and theirs.
  • Align the the topics of your owned content with theirs. Without being too calculating, use the same topics, keywords and hashtags in your writing and share in places you know they’ll see it. Speak their language!
  • Include a call to action with direct messages. That is, let them know why you’re reaching out. If you’d like them to work with you on an upcoming campaign, for example, give them first-look access to it and ask for their genuine feedback. Heed their feedback, not only to improve your campaign results but also to help them feel valued and build your relationships.

Step 2: Know how and where to reach out

The timing of your outreach can mean the difference between your message being read or not. Influencers are busy, and if you don’t take the time to figure out where and when they’re active and engaged, the work you’ve done to identify and research them will be for naught.

Reach out to influencers in their natural territory – where they’re most engaged, have the most active community following, and the most recent activity. You might decide to reach out publicly if you see they actively correspond with others one-to-one (for example on a forum or in their blog’s comments). This can be a good way to begin to build a rapport that can lead to a more personal direct correspondence.

Whether you decide to reach out publicly or send a direct message privately, make your message fit the medium. Aside from the length, keep in mind your tone. Reach out when you know they’re active and not preoccupied with promoting something of their own.

Step 3: Follow up, and track your progress 

After your initial outreach, you want to make sure your message doesn’t get forgotten at the bottom of a spam folder. Like relationships in the real world, online relationships require ongoing attention and this start right after your first point of contact. If you don’t hear back from an influencer, continue to engage with his or her content on relevant social networks to let them know they’re still on your radar. Then you can follow up directly if you don’t hear back.

Measuring the impact of your influencer outreach efforts is an important part of honing your outreach approach. Some suggested ways of measuring are: tracking your brand with a social listening tool so that you can measure the number of ‘earned’ mentions on blogs and social media that come from your influencers (use author lists to keep track of specific authors). Track referrals with Google Analytics or similar tools so you can understand how many people have visited your site due to link backs and recommendations by influencers.

Does this seem like a lot of work to connect with and engage just a few influencers? It may take time and effort, but it’s worth it. The more value you can offer influencers with your outreach messages, the more an influencer will be willing to work with you.

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