There are dozens and dozens of different ways to share your content online, but sometimes, you want to reach beyond your own network. If you want to take advantage of the vast audiences that already exist online, consider going after top influencers in your industry who can share your content with their networks—extending your reach while also improving your reputation.
Of course, getting top influencers to notice you and share your content can be difficult—especially if you start cold messaging people you don’t know and demanding they help you out.
Seriously, don’t be that guy!
Fortunately, there are much better ways to build a relationship with top influencers and get them to share your content with their network.
Build an Authentic Relationship
Top influencers get hit up all the time by people wanting things from them. Rather than being one of the folks they ignore, build an authentic relationship by commenting on their content, engaging them on Twitter, and following and liking their content on Facebook or other social media profiles.
After doing this for a period of time, you’ll become someone they know, which will help them respond more favorably when you ask them to share something with their network. Gregory Ciotti of Moz did an outreach experiment where he found that even minimal contact on social media created a 63% positive response to a sharing request, compared to 18% for folks he had never contacted.
Still, though, your contact shouldn’t be minimal, and it shouldn’t look like your only intention is leveraging the influencer’s audience in the future. Approach these relationship-building activities from a place of wanting to be genuinely helpful—even if you never get anything in return.
Share the Influencer’s Content
One thing that people sometimes forget when it comes to marketing is that you often have to give in order to receive. When you keep up with your influencers, even for a short period of time, and share their content with your network, you’ll attract their attention, increasing the odds that they’ll respond favorably to your requests in the future.
Once you’ve shared several of their posts and engaged on other networks, reach out and ask them to share your content. Point out how relevant its message is to their followers and highlight the value of your work (you're only requesting that they share exceptional content pieces, right?).
If you don’t currently have any content pieces that meet these criteria, create content that reflects their key talking points or that gives more data about something they shared in the past.
Offer to Guest Post on Their Blog
Influencers are much more likely to share your content if it helps them in some way, and one of the ways you can help is by reducing the content burden on their shoulders by providing a guest post of your own.
Many top bloggers accept guest posts, and you should consider submitting one. Be sure to carefully read the guidelines first—if you don’t, you risk coming across as disrespectful, your submission will be ignored, and the influencer will likely develop a negative opinion of you. Instead, submit a high-quality piece that meets the influencer’s guidelines, along with a quick sentence or two about why you value their work and their community.
As in the relationship-building section above, the key here is authenticity.
If you don’t submit high-quality content that’s a great fit for the influencer’s existing audience, your offer will backfire. Not only will your content not get shared, but you will lose credibility with the influence, eliminating any possible hope of a mutually beneficial relationship in the future.
Interview or Quote Them
Everyone loves to be seen as an expert, and putting an influencer front-and-center on your blog or social media account is a great way to reach out. This strategy is a great one to choose after you’ve built a bit of a relationship with an influencer by showing sincere appreciation for their work and expertise. After you’ve taken these initial steps, let your new contact know that you’d like to interview them about a certain topic on your blog.
You can offer to conduct the interview using either an audio or written format, depending on what’s most comfortable for you and your guest. Email the influencer the questions you intend to ask in advance before a planned phone interview, or simply use emailed questions to get the responses you’ll use for your content. Once the interview is complete, thank the influencer, send them a link, and invite them to share it with their audience.
Use Social Media to Tag or Mention Influencers
If you’ve got content you think would be helpful to someone’s followers, a great way to get their attention is to use tags on Facebook or mentions on Twitter. Provide a link to the content, mention them in your message, and offer a quick word about what the content is and why it’ll be helpful to your followers.
While the influencer mentioned may not retweet or share it, the tag or mention may cause your update to be shown in the feeds of their followers. If you use this strategy with highly relevant, targeted content, you can end up getting noticed by the influencer’s community—even if they don’t directly share your content for you.
Obviously, with all the strategies described above, you shouldn’t abuse the privilege of networking with authority figures in your industry.
Getting top influencers to share your content takes an investment of time on your part, but you don’t have to build the relationship for years and years. Even simple outreach can help your relationship, and using the strategies mentioned above in combination with great content will help get it shared far and wide.
Do you make it a point to try to get influencers to share your content? If so, share any other recommended strategies you’ve discovered in the comments below!
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About the Author
Sujan Patel is the VP of Marketing at When I Work and founder of ContentMarketer.io. He's helped companies like Mint, TurboTax, Salesforce, and others land more customers, make more money, and grow their businesses. As the Founder and former CEO of Single Grain, he grew his business from a bootstrapped consulting startup to a multi-million dollar digital marketing agency.Follow on Twitter More Content by Sujan Patel