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Three simple tricks to getting influencers to pay attention to you

on January 26, 2011

While everyone can influence their family and friends, we reserve the term “influencer” to people who have platforms (e.g. blogs) that can speak to an anonymous group. Like getting coverage in a media outlet, an influencer’s approval or publishing can amplify your message. Seeing similarities, communications firms have been treating influencers the same way they’ve been treating press. Much of that communications results in lots of press releases. They’ve become a necessary evil that even the PR industry hates. By the sheer numbers these press releases are being sent out, you’re inevitably going to hit a few people that happen to be interested.

Even if you hate press releases and you’re pushing them out, you can’t rely on them as your only form of “industry voice building” communications. I get pitched stories all the time. Every day I get a mass email that’s a big PR announcement or “story idea.” I delete all of them. Let me repeat that.

I delete all press releases.

Now I might not be the most ideal target because I don’t currently have a regular beat with any media outlet, but if you want to reach a journalist or blogger like me (and I’m way down on the totem pole of influential bloggers) then sending press releases is the equivalent to coming to my office and filling my garbage can with more useless paper.

“Hi David, Steve from PR company X. Just thought I’d come by and fill your garbage can with some of our clients’ latest announcements. Have a great day!”

If you want someone to pay attention to you, just remember these three principles:

  1. Everyone enjoys being recognized.
  2. Everyone enjoys a compliment (or debate).
  3. Everyone enjoys giving their opinion.

“Hey David, I read that article you wrote about getting industry influencers to pay attention to you. I thought it was fantastic. Was wondering if I could get a quote from you on the topic for my blog.”

I will always open that email and respond to that kind of request, and I don’t know of anyone who wouldn’t. Heck, if you were that nice you could be writing a flier for your junior high school ecology class and I’d still give you a quote. You can never lose by acknowledging someone’s work, complimenting it (or opening up a debate), and then asking for an opinion.

Why is it critical to ask an opinion of an influencer?

Asking for an opinion or opening up a debate is the follow through that’s necessary to be remembered. If you don’t, your conversation ends at the compliment. Again, compliments are never looked down upon, but they’re very difficult to respond to. After being complimented there’s little more one can say beyond, “Thank you.”

While recognition and compliments are great, if you actually want the influencer to pay attention to you (that’s the goal here, right?), then ask for their opinion on a related topic. The goal here is you want to do something to continue the dialogue.

Stock photos courtesy of Shutterstock.

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