Attract Influencers by Putting Them on a List

on January 29, 2014

Knowing who the top journalists are in your industry, and maintaining relationships with them, is something all PR firms must do and often control secretly. Those relationships are key to a PR firm’s overall value. But what if you don’t have a PR firm representing you, and you don’t already have any relationships with any top journalists?

At Spark Media Solutions we argue that the way to build those relationships is through content. In each installment of “Influencer Relations through Content” we’ll examine one content production technique that will help you form and improve your relationships with influencers, plus be seen as an equal among them.

Quantify influencers’ value

winnersboardOne of the fastest ways to get a large group of high profile influencers to pay attention to you right away is to rank them. You could be arbitrary and just say, “These are my ten favorites,” and that will be met with an “Oh, nice. Thanks.” Influencers will appreciate it, but they won’t take much notice, unless you’re already a well-known industry authority.

To really get an influencer’s attention, come up with a more scientific ranking methodology and show your work. Create a credible ranking system, rank influencers, and let them know they’ve been ranked

That’s exactly what collaboration software developers Smartsheet.com did in 2009 to get connected to influential tech bloggers. Using a variable they created called the “Reader Quality Score” or RQS they manufactured a qualified list of the most thoughtful and engaging technology writers.

The goal of the effort  was to “Become an interesting name/brand/product to a targeted, yet hard-to-reach set of writers by providing value through real, hard-to-get data (not just a pitch),” said Smartsheet.com’s Brent Frei. “And through the writers, get their readership interested enough to try their service.”

The list went live and Smartsheet.com reached out to seven of the bloggers on the list. It wasn’t hard to get those bloggers to pay attention since they were on the list. Of the seven personally contacted, six of them blogged and tweeted the study, said Maria Colacurcio, co-founder of Smartsheet.com. One of the blogs brought great traffic and attention to their article.

While most people don’t spend the time to truly understand the methodology you use to create your ranking, it’s critical to have it there and explain it for the few people who are going to pay attention. If you don’t, others will cry foul and your analysis will be touted as bogus. That shouldn’t be a problem as most people want to agree with your analysis methodology. Just make sure you have one.

Homework assignment: Can you think of a way you can quantify the value of the influencers in your field?

 

Creative Commons photo credit to maxintosh and {inercia}.

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