[Estimated reading time: 9 Minutes]
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could get your favourite bloggers and influencers to contribute to your blog? What would happen to your blog as a result?
This week I’m going to do something different. I’m going to tell you the story of how I accepted a blog challenge and wrote and Influencer blog post.
Listen below to find out how I got on with the challenge
I’ve been working on something. A little experiment sparked by Ian Cleary and his RazorBlazers community. He challenged us to write a blog post that would get a lot of shares.
We had options, different types of post we could create but I chose ‘The Influencer blog post’
What is an influencer blog post anyway?
In this case, it’s a collection of tips or contributions from people who are influential to your target market. My job was to collect them, add my own commentary, make it look nice and get it shared.
I mapped out the steps I needed to take:
- Come up with an idea
- Define who the influencers are
- Decide how to approach them
- Collate the post
- Promote the post
- Measure results
But first, what is an influencer?
This is a term that will make many people cringe. The word ‘influencer’ has a bad name but that doesn’t have to be that way. We encounter influencers every day but they aren’t always online.
Do any of these people sound familiar to you?
- The mother at the school gate who organises or takes on an organisational role in all the school activities?
- The charismatic office worker who glues the workforce together?
- The local hero, a sportsperson or a business owner who is well known and respected in the community?
- The family gossip monger who keeps everyone abreast of the news?
- The friend who always knows the best restaurants and pubs to go to?
Get on the good side of the right influencer and some of their influence can rub off on you.
Choose your influencers carefully. Who will appeal to your audience, it won’t always be Kim Kardashian.
I needed to ask my influencers a question. A question that would have diverse answers that would be useful to my readers. It took me a while but I came up with:
“What would you do differently if you started blogging from scratch again?”
Not a bad question, if fulfilled my objectives but it was also my first mistake. I hadn’t looked at my list of keywords, if I had I would have noticed that ‘blogging mistakes’ was going to be hard for a site like mine to rank for.
If you want to create a post like this go do some keyword research. Find a question that will tie into a keyword that isn’t too competitive.
The influencer list
It wasn’t hard for me to make a list of influential people to include on my list. Over the last 7 years I’ve begun to recognise the truly influential and brilliant people. It didn’t take me long to come up with a list of 40 people.
I split these into three groups:
- Those who knew me and were most likely to contribute
- Those who may have heard of me
- Those who hadn’t heard of me and were likely to get a lot of requests and emails
I started with the people I knew, Ian Cleary was a safe bet, it was his challenge after all. There were one or two others that I knew personally too. I was delighted to get responses from most of these.
Once I had a few people on board I could approach my second tier but now I could mention the names of bloggers I’d already secured. I figured this added legitimacy to me.
Finally, I targeted a few in the hardest group. Unsurprisingly these were the ones I got the least response from.
I get a lot of emails from people requesting guest blogging slots or infographic shares. I rarely respond. The emails are so generic. I ignore them because they aren’t personalised or if they are it’s done badly with mail-merge or automation.
I wanted to avoid sending emails like that. I spent time writing and personalising each one. This made the process time consuming, it took me at least five minutes to compose each email.
The emails were sent out in batches. I didn’t want to send them all at once, I wanted to test the reactions and tweak my approach if I got it wrong.
The hardest part of the email was the subject line. I’m imagining these people get a lot of emails, I needed to ensure that they opened my one. It couldn’t be the type of subject line I use in a marketing email, it had to stand out as being both personal and clickable.
My email wasn’t unsuccessful, I emailed 15 people and got 10 positive responses and 2 apologies. That’s not bad but I still think i could have done better.
How to find email addresses
The first few emails I sent that weren’t to people I knew were via website contact forms. I wasn’t comfortable with this approach but people don’t just display their emails on their sites.
I felt the contact form lacked the personal touch so I decided to have a guess at some email addresses. I use the Gmail plugin Rapportive It tells me if the email I have is connected to a LinkedIn or Twitter account. I tried various versions of the bloggers name and web address until I got a hit.
For those I failed to guess I used Rocket Reach.
When the responses started coming in I was surprised and delighted, this had been easier than I had expected. I stopped looking for new answers once I reached 10, that seemed like a good round number.
I had my 10 responses and I had a publish date, all that remained was for me to write an intro, a conclusion and create some images.
This took longer than expected. I needed images for the main post and individual images for each contributor. Over all, it took me 3 hours to pull the post together, considerably more time than I’d allowed.
The main issue was procrastination. I’m not sure why but I struggled to write my opening paragraph. Maybe it was the thought of my favourite bloggers reading it. I got there eventually.
So far time wise I’ve clocked up around 1-hour finding email addresses, 1-hour emailing and 3 hours writing the post. That’s not even taking into account the time spent procrastinating!
Before I sent a single tweet I wrote to each contributor, another personalised email, thanking them for their tips and giving them the link to the post.
Then I started sharing. I followed my usual blog promotion schedule and added in some extra tweets tagging the contributors.
My influencers started sharing too. my Apple watch started buzzing on my wrist as the shares started pouring in.
On top of my usual promotion:
- I asked my friends to share, something i never do. Many of them did, so I owe a lot of people a pint.
- I spent some money on Facebook ads and some on Instagram ads. a total budget of 20 euro
- I created images of each influencer with a quote from their section and made them into a powerpoint for SlideShare.
- I made a video from the SlideShare and uploaded it to YouTube
- I shared each individual image on Twitter tagging the featured contributor
- I shared in relevant Facebook groups
It’s Monday evening as I write, I have a week left to go until the competition closes. I still have a few tricks up my sleeve so although I’m going to share the results I’m hoping I’ll have done even better by the time you read this.
There are a few things I wanted to get from writing this post:
- Relationship building with the influencers – Hopefully I’ve made enough of an impact on those I included that they will remember who I am. The first step in a business relationship
- Brand awareness – If I got a lot of shares that would be a whole bunch of new people finding out about my blog.
- Traffic to my website – Getting small business owners interested in blogging to my site.
- Lead gen – I’m listing this as a goal but I did little to capture those who visited my site. I still don’t have a good email incentive in place
How did I do?
- Not only did I start building a business relationship with those included in the post but I also had email chats with those who weren’t able to contribute.
- I have 288 shares and counting
- The post has 340 unique views and counting. More importantly, those visitors are staying almost 50% longer on my site than the average visitor
- Lead gen – This is a work in progress. I have an incentive in the works and hope to capture website visitors with a website custom audience ad on Facebook.
Are you ready to try your own influencer post? Follow my steps above and take note of my mistakes.
If you do create a post like this let me know, I’d love to see how you get on and I won’t even be jealous if you do better than me.
If you’ve been following my challenges or if you have done something on your blog that has worked well I’d love to hear about it. You can leave me a comment below, tweet me @spiderworking or snap me @spiderworking.
Do Facebook ads make you tear your hair out? Let us manage your Facebook ads for you. We'll save you time and improve results. Get A Quote Now.