The digital advertising landscape changes and evolves on a daily basis. Social media has taken on more weight in the valuation of a brand and Google seems to roll out updates to its ranking algorithm on a daily basis. Many of the link building techniques and Search Engine Optimization tactics that were encouraged in the past are now drawing penalties for their sites. With the recent rise in credibility of bloggers and unique influencers online, the concept of Influencer Marketing (which really has been around for years) is suddenly one of the most effective ways to market your business and our SEO specialists and link building experts assure us that Google won’t be turning its back on the method any time soon.

The idea seems simple enough. Market your brand by getting important people to talk about what you’re doing. Theoretically, all it takes is a few good connections and suddenly your work is in front of countless eyes. Although you probably get the gist of the concept, it can be harder to actually implement. Here are a few tips on implementing your own effective influencer marketing plan.

Identify your Influencers

Of course, the most important part of an influencer marketing campaign is the ability to work with quality influencers. Before you can start identifying the highest value influencers for your niche you’ve got to consider your audience. At SEO by the Hour we constantly preach the value of knowing your audience because the profile comes into play across every style and type of marketing there is.

If you don’t already possess an intimate knowledge of your target market spend some time evaluating your existing content, websites, ads, and social channels. Who is clicking on your information, what do they interact most with, and what do they have to say about it? Use that information to determine who these people turn to on the web for information. Does your audience hang out with Jena Marbles or Forbes? Influencers for your space should clearly stand out. You’re probably already listing a few in your head right now. Once you’ve got your A list (the biggest, best, more impressive sources) put together a B list too. Working with the medium size blogs with small followings of loyal readers can produce wildly successful results.

Reach out

One of the biggest mistakes marketers make with influencer campaigns is reaching out to a blogger or writer they’ve never read and never interacted with before. Most bloggers aren’t fame hungry sell outs or starved for content. To get the mentions and features you’re looking for, you will need to build a relationship with that person before you ask for something.

Connect with them on social media: Like, share re-blog, comment, re-tweet, and most importantly read their stuff online. Participate in discussions that happen in the comments section of their blog. Ask questions and reflect genuinely on the topics they bring up. Be real and human.

Send a message with some value: Once you’ve put in the time to become a member of the influencer’s community and the author knows who you are, reach out to them. Send them an e-mail or message via social media proposing a partnership. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back. Popular bloggers tend to get lots of messages. Remain active in their community and try again. Make sure the collaboration you’re proposing is interesting and beneficial for both your brand and the influencer.

Approach influencers with high quality content: It doesn’t matter what kind of relationship you were able to build with an influencer if the content you want them to promote is worthless. Influencers got to be influencers by being valuable to the masses. No personality is going to risk their reputation by bumping mediocre content.

Partnerships and article placement

When you submit articles and other content for placement on influencer channels, know that sales language and obvious call to actions, will generally get your piece denied. Keep in mind the goals of people visiting the influencer’s site. They are looking for something valuable or to engage with the influencer themselves. It is known that you can’t usually turn influencers into little brand mascots, but you can provide helpful information.

If you’re selling juicers, give the reader some recipes or information on the benefits of juicing and then softly suggest the reader check out your juicer if they are interested in a juice cleanse. Remember to focus on the benefits of the products and services you’re promoting, not the features.

Influencer marketing takes time and dedication but it will produce significant, long term results if done properly.

Olivia Derby - Author for SEO by the Hour, Expert SEO services in San Diego, CA.