HOW TO REACH OUT TO INFLUENCERS AND GET RESULTS
Sometime in the last decade or so, the business world collectively decided that what they needed most was templates. For everything. Starting a business? Here's a 45-page template you can use. Trying to secure guest blogging spots for yourself? Use this email template and just fill in the blanks. Resigning from your job and wanting to put management on blast for being terrible leaders? Here's a...well, maybe not that one.
Influencer marketing is not immune from template fever. Most advice regarding building relationships with influencers involves using a template to warm them up. If you've ever received a templated message, you know that this almost never works. They feel wooden, stiff, like the calls you receive from telemarketers who are reading from scripts.
We want to take a different approach. Adopt a different mindset. We want to help influencer marketers like you have much more success with influencer outreach.
We need to replace templates with a framework.
Inside The Mind Of An Influencer
The reality is that influencers can sniff a template a mile away. They just have a certain vibe. If selling used cars and selling timeshares had a baby, the result would be similar to templates. If you want to effectively reach influencers, you need another approach.
Today, creators are essentially media companies. If you want to build relationships with them, you'll need to take an approach similar to what you would take with a journalist. You need to hone your ability to get to the point quickly while also motivating the creators to dig in quickly as well. This can be a tough skill to learn, but it's possible.
The starting place is understanding the mindset of influencers. They're very busy people. Contrary to popular opinion, being a creator involves a lot more than recording and posting a 60-second TikTok video once per day. There's a lot of grinding and hustling required. They’re frequently managing production schedules, multiple sponsorship deals, and many other details that go into producing content.
The best creators recognize that they need to protect their own reputation and brand and will turn down any opportunities that don't align. They've spent years curating their brand and don't want to tarnish it by partnering with companies that aren't a good fit. In fact, 74% of creators say that alignment with their personal brand is the most crucial factor for accepting a sponsorship.
This reality should shape your mindset when approaching creators for possible partnerships. You don't need to warm them up by liking and commenting on their social media posts. This is an old-school tactic that is both superficial and extremely ineffective. Creators with sizable audiences aren't able to keep up with who comments on and likes their posts. Many don't even look at the notifications because there are so many.
Instead, focus on building an authentic relationship on the foundation of providing value (compensation, clear communication, potential steady sponsorship). As Sharon Rochwerg of Superplay says "I only do paid partnerships and I find when I add that to the subject line it increases the rate of response significantly." Don't waste their time with a long-winded intro about how you love their work, especially that one piece of content you viewed prior to reaching out because you actually weren't very familiar with them.
Get to the point quickly to respect their time. Quickly summarize who you are and why you're reaching out. Before you ask for anything, build your authority first. Help them see that you're worth listening to. You don't need to go deep into the details yet. There will be time for that later.
Build The Relationship On Value First
It's common in the influencer marketing world to approach influencers with the mindset of how they can help you. This is a mistake that can turn things sour quickly. The mindset often results in the marketer trying to negotiate a deal that's more in favor of the brand than the influencer. This is not a great way to start a relationship with someone.
It's much better to lead with a deal that's a win-win for both parties. If things go well, it may result in a long-term partnership with the potential for a multi-show discount. This isn't a particularly profound concept, it's simply how relationships work. Don't expect to build valuable relationships with influencers if your first interactions are heavily weighted toward your brand.
You might be thinking, But I'm offering to give them free products! Let's be honest. Unless your product is something very high-ticket and extremely valuable, you're probably not going to get an influencer's attention. Offering them free t-shirts, organic cold-pressed juice, or a mattress in a box won't provide much motivation, given all that's required of them on the promotional side.
If you're doing influencer outreach without offering compensation or asking their rate, they'll assume that you're probably looking for a favor and won't bother responding. You'll probably also significantly reduce the odds of you ever getting to work with them.
To get results from your influencer outreach efforts you need to show that:
You respect them and their time
You have the authority to create a deal with them
You aren't looking for any favors
You want to provide value to them, not just your brand
So what will this typically look like? Here's a general framework (not a template) you can use when reaching out to influencers:
Subject Line: [[Clear peek at email contents]] [[Greeting]] [[Introduce yourself and highlight your authority]] [[Summarize what you’re asking for]] [[Gauge interest and ask for rate]] [[Deeper summary of your product/service from a customer perspective]] [[More specifics around your request]] [[Final note about a link or attachment with the full brief and a final CTA]]
[[Closing offer to answer questions]]
This is not a plug-n-play, fill in the blank template. It should be customized for each influencer and shouldn't feel like a regurgitated script. Make it feel like it's from a real person who is genuinely interested in the influencer as a person, and not like you're trying to make a quick buck off their name.
Templates are not the key to success with influencer outreach. Do they make it possible for you to reach out to more people in less time? Sure. But so does dropping leaflets from an airplane while flying over Coachella. Quantity doesn't translate into quality.
If you want to create lasting, valuable partnerships with influencers, start by providing value to them.
If you’d like to talk with someone on our team about how you can improve your influencer outreach, contact us.