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How to get influencers to promote your product and how we guest posted on the Google Cloud Blog

influencer

A lot of people create content and then throw it out onto the internet hoping it gains some traction.

It’s not really a time effective way of promoting your content, maybe you get lucky and your first few posts go viral thanks to the mercurial algorithms which decide what is at the centre of the web and what simply falls off never to be seen again.

In reality you need influencers, as it would suggest these are people(s) who have the ability change the opinion and behaviours of others. We’ve all experienced influencer outreach, the simplest form being a recommendation about a movie from a friend would increase the likelihood of you going to the cinema to see it.

Being able to leverage a network of influencers to reach a wider audience quickly makes all the sense in the world but how to go about it? How to find the right people and then how to persuade them to promote your product/content?

We’re going to explain how with a real life example, about how we ended up getting google to promote RealtimeCRM and guest posting on the Google Cloud Blog:

RealtimeCRM Google Cloud Blog post

The traffic we get from the guest post converts at 5% so it’s a really valuable source of new users and well worth the effort we put into getting it.

How to engage with influencers

First of all we set about finding a list of influencers. In this case it was simple we were introducing machine learning into RealtimeCRM via the API tools provided by Google Cloud. That meant we built a list of the editors over at the Google Cloud blog.

Once we had the list we started the engagement, and the key component at this stage is not to ask for anything. We read and commented on their posts, we promoted them on our own channels.

The key parts of the engagement are to follow the influencer on Twitter, share at least two pieces of their content and try to at least comment and and better yet get into a discussion with them about whatever they’ve written about.

Don’t make superficial comments, seriously engage with what they’ve written. People can smell fakery very easily. In our case one of the Google Cloud posts we shared below was very relevant to us and many of our users who wrangle with giant CSV files on a regular basis.

RealtimeCRM tweet promoting Google Cloud blog

Once you’ve done that you’re no longer a complete stranger. That’s critical to the successful engagement with an influencer because they probably get an avalanche of emails asking for them to promote and endorse this, that and the other every month from complete strangers. It can become grating when you have a constant stream of strangers asking you for stuff without providing anything in return.

By being recognisable you won’t be instantly deleted from their inbox, which brings us to the next stage of the ask email. This is as it would suggest where you ask for them to promote your content or product or brand.

Though, again you have to make it relevant to them and something that would make sense for them to share. Plus you have to have it ready to go, don’t make them work more than they have to as it will create resistance that hinders getting the influencer on board.

How the ask email works

The ask email

The first rule of the ask email is do not assume they want to see what you’re offering, in this case we didn’t just send over the guest post we had prepared but asked permission to do so first.

Secondly, we provided value to them. We used their API tools to build something interesting that their own readers would want to know about, and we were going to give away the script we used.

Lastly, we provided some examples of content we had previously produced including a previous guest post on Clearbit to demonstrate that we were worth their time. All of these are low time intensive asks that are designed to create interest and kick the conversation off.

In the case of the email above it worked out great, and we got a response and a meeting with the editor of the Google Cloud Machine Learning blog where we talked about what RealtimeCRM is, our history, our user base and went through the actual guest post which was the reason for the meeting.

After some revisions we got the greenlight and the guest post was in their posting schedule but that didn’t mean we rested on our laurels.

You’ve still got to promote it too

It doesn’t matter if you’re just asking for feedback and then getting your influencer to share your content or as in our case guest posting, you have to promote it too and not simply rely on them. You have to prepare your social media and mailing list campaign ahead of time to get the full benefit.

Google Cloud Blog tweets about RealtimeCRM

Finally, the guest post went live and went out to the over 740,000 followers of the Google Cloud Blog. It still remains in our top ten biggest sources of sign ups for RealtimeCRM and it didn’t cost us anything other than a little bit of time.

If you don’t have a giant marketing budget then content marketing and influencer outreach are essential to increasing the profile of your brand.