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In the most basic sense, influencer marketing is about building connections with niche experts and mentors who have enough authority to influence other people’s buying decisions.
Influencer marketing is one of the most efficient ways to build brand awareness and trust as well as increase sales and leads.
The simplest example of an influencer marketing is a brand sponsoring a video product review on YouTube or a visual endorsement on Instagram done by a user with a solid following.
While the above is a good way to convert a lot of people into actual sales in ecommerce, influencer marketing can be effective in blog marketing, too.
In fact, when applied to blogs, influencer marketing is much more diverse and long-term than it is in e-commerce. It’s about engaging niche experts in creating and/or promoting content for your site which in turn builds your traffic and authority.
When an influencer takes a part in your blog life—contributing, commenting, or providing a quote—they are more likely to help you promote that content thus bringing your blog in front of their following and building your brand.
Let’s see how it works…
That is a tougher question than it seems.
There have been many attempts to measure online influence, none of which is satisfying enough.
Neither the number of followers nor the various metrics (for example, Klout score) can fully reflect influence.
In fact, a person can have just around 1K followers on Twitter and still be able to influence most of those followers with their tweets. Or one can have 10 Facebook fans, yet a huge following on Pinterest.
And it becomes more complicated when you start looking at different niches. Some industries are more “Twitter-friendly.” Most (local) news outlets have huge Twitter following, for example, while health and beauty bloggers have more success on YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest.
All in all, no tool can provide you with a ready-to-go list of niche influencers. Identifying true influencers (who are also willing to interact with you) is a long process involving much searching, browsing, and reading.
So, how to create an effective influencer-driven content marketing strategy?
Keyword research should be your very first step when planning any content marketing project, including an influencer-driven one.
Keyword research may be quite overwhelming, so here’s the easiest – yet one of the most comprehensive tools to try: Ubersuggest
The tool can be run for free and it returns pretty awesome data, including a so-called “SEO difficulty” of each keyword, which is the number that reflects organic competition. The number allows content marketers to choose search queries that will be easier to rank for:
Source: Ubersuggest (July 2020)
From experience, it is the easiest tool to figure out, even if you are very new to keyword research. It is also very usable for free. If you choose to upgrade, it costs $29 per month for an individual managing one-two-three websites.
On BuzzSumo, you’ll find bloggers writing about your topic.
What I like about it is that you can play around filters to limit results to long-form articles, videos, listicles, and more. This offers powerful tools to better research your niche content and authors:
Source: BuzzSumo (July 2020)
Apart from content research, Buzzsumo offers more sections including Youtube influencers, Twitter influencers, and more.
Of course, by only using BuzzSumo you miss out on important platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, and the others.
So make sure you go directly to those platforms (especially those that are more popular in your niche) and play with their native search feature to expand your list.
Active influencers are usually invited to talk about their expertise. Searching something like [your topic interview] or [your topic opinion] will let you find more influencers.
I am simply unaware of a tool that would offer the aforementioned influencer research features. Buzzsumo offers a seven-day trial and it will cost $99 per month for a team of five users.
It is also a good idea to find which influencers your competitors are working with. Here’s a quick guide on how to do that.
The number of followers doesn’t matter as much as the number of actual interactions.
Twitonomy is a good free way to quickly run an interaction analysis of any Twitter account.
Source: Twitonomy (July 2020)
Twitonomy offers a pretty solid report completely for free. Should I say more?
The same goes for Facebook presence: Ignore the number of friends or fans and scroll down the page to see if people engage with the updates and how many updates go unnoticed.
Be very selective. Your decisive criteria to whether include an influencer or not to the list should be whether they seem to interact back with followers.
Don’t spend your time trying to hear back from someone who never replies to comments, thanks for shares, likes someone else’s updates, etc.
Now you don’t want to create a list of 1,000 influencers. Depending on your industry and time availability, anything between 20 and 50 is a good start.
The list will grow and change over time but don’t get overwhelmed with too many rows and columns at the start. I love using spreadsheets to maintain a list of contacts.
Google Spreadsheets are absolutely free and offer a great set of features. They are also incredibly fast which is very important for collaboration.
Spreadsheets can be shared across teams, so they are great for collaboration. You can also integrate Google Drive into your WordPress dashboard to make it easier to find and access.
To help you come up with interesting questions for your expert roundups, Text Optimizer offers a handy tool for collecting and analyzing popular questions for any niche. Use the tool to come up with influencer-driven content ideas:
Source: Text Optimizer (July 2020)
The tool doesn’t rely on any API: Their data completely relies on the semantic analysis of the tool. This ensures two things:
It is one of those tools that hasn’t been overused yet, so you can rest assured your competitors may not yet have it. The tool offers a seven-day free trial, and will cost $60 a month after that.
Question research is a great tool to build influencer-driven content but there are more ideas to consider:
Finally, if someone visits your influencer-driven content you can safely assume that they were there for the sake of the influencer(s), so you can engage them better by serving custom CTAs once they are back to the site.
Finteza allows you to set up on-site remarketing campaigns: You can set up your roundup visits as an event and serve those visitors custom CTAs inviting them to buy a matching product or optin using a related content upgrade:
Source: Finteza (July 2020)
I am not aware of any independent web analytics platform that would offer a remarketing functionality on such an affordable budget. The tool offers a 30-day free trial and will cost $4 per 100,000 impressions a month.
You can use Facebook remarketing options to reach your visitors outside of your site. This is especially powerful for lead generation purposes (when you use influencer-driven content to generate webinar signups or whitepaper downloads). Here’s an easy way to install Facebook pixel on your site for you to start collecting the data.
When influencer marketing drives your blog promotion, you can achieve both: a much more in-depth content and more shares and traffic.
It’s a long process but it’s well worth the effort in the long run.
Ann Smarty is the blogger and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.
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