There’s nothing sadder than an analytics graph showing zero traffic on your website. Except maybe when you’ve poured your heart and soul into a pile of new content, and no-one’s coming to read it. It’s like throwing a party and having no-one turn up. What you need is are influencers to super-charge your content marketing.
We’ve had some clients who have come off a zero base. They haven’t had a database at all. That’s a real challenge to try to get that critical mass of audience up. Influencers are necessary here to endorse and grow that audience.
They’re not just for growing from zero. If you’ve already got a database and you start engaging with an influencer, hopefully they can influence others to share your content and get your database to be bigger and bigger.
Who is an influencer?
An influencer is someone who has an audience. That audience might exist on social media, or they might exist offline. They might be a speaker who engages with lots of people at events. Their peers trust them and look to them for their opinion on whether a product or a service is valuable.
And an influencer is always hanging out somewhere that your potential customers hang out.
Often this is on social media. You may find somebody on Twitter, who may have an audience of followers, or they’re engaging with their blog. They might be somebody who’s an expert in email marketing. Other email marketers look to them to see what software platforms they’re using and recommending and what their opinion is on the best solution to certain problems.
How do you find an influencer in your industry?
The first step in finding influencers is finding the ground your audience will grow in. That goes back to developing your buyer personas.
Part of that process is researching what social channels they hang out on, so that you can broadcast your content there and try and bring them back to your site. Once you’ve done that, they’ll see you have a blog that’s full of lots of other useful content about whatever it is they’re researching. Your aim is to get them to sign up to your email newsletter.
There are many ways you can find out what social channels they’re on. You can survey them. You can use some tools like BuzzSumo or SEMrush, where you can enter your keywords you’re researching. BuzzSumo is a tool where you can enter either URLs or keywords and it tracks across the web who is actually producing content and has followers for those topics.
In that process, have a look at what channels things are being shared on, whether it’s on Twitter, whether it’s on Facebook, Pinterest, and other places.
You can also reverse engineer looking at who is winning the search engine rankings for your keywords. You might find that the competitors for your keywords might be an influencer, rather than a directly competing company. That influencer may have a powerful blog and be posting a lot of content. Academics and public speakers are passionate about a certain topic attract an audience across a variety of channels.
What if there are no influencers in my industry?
There are. You’re just not looking in the right place or you’re not looking hard enough. They are out there and you’ve got to keep digging. Keep asking your current customers where they get their trusted sources of information from and those sorts of questions, and you uncover them.
The other thing you can do is become an influencer yourself. If you’re thinking there aren’t that many influencers in your industry, then maybe that’s an angle that you can work into your content marketing strategy and become one.
Start speaking at conferences and handing out your Twitter handle and your blog address and all sorts of things, putting them on your business card and promoting yourself as a thought leader. That would be a powerful part and cornerstone of your content marketing strategy.