How to Connect With Influencers in Any Niche
“Your network is your net worth.” Porter Gale
Building your network is not a new concept. In fact it has been the cornerstone of business for as long as it has been around.
I’m sure you’ve been to a networking event or conference, shaken too many hands, and passed out more business cards than you realised you had.
And no doubt you’ve learned how big changes like finding your next client, making a career move, or even starting your own business, are often supported by the friends, community and network that you have around you.
When you start to set goals for yourself or your business, the power of your network becomes even more important. The people you connect with can make a huge impact on your future. And because of the internet, you can grow your network (and impact) more easily, and more quickly than ever before.
In Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone, he draws out the specific steps and overarching philosophy for connecting with the right people, with the understanding that generosity should be at the root of every interaction.
This kind of networking, he says, is “a constant process of giving and receiving – of asking for and offering help. By putting people in contact with one another, by giving your time and expertise and sharing them freely, the pie gets bigger for everyone.”
This mindset – networking through generosity – has made an enormous impact on how Toby and Adam have grown Bluewire Media from the ground up. It’s not just about making the sale anymore, it’s more than that. But funnily enough if you network well enough, and give generously enough times, the sale will come.
Today I’d like to look at how you can build these relationships, not by chance, but by using a proven step-by-step methodology. How you can connect with influencers, bloggers, journalists, decision makers and thought leaders in any niche.
The key to successful networking, and connecting with your aspirational contacts, is to track your interactions. That’s why we created the Aspirational Contacts Template. As you grow your network and connect with more aspirational contacts, you’ll start to see how nurturing the relationships that you have can support not only your business goals, but also the goals of the individuals in your growing network.
Aspirational Contacts Template
The Aspirational Contacts Template is really just a spreadsheet where you can account for all of the different ways that you might interact (or consider interacting with) a blogger, marketer, or influencer that you want to connect with.
When you’re considering who you’d like to reach out to, look at the ways that you’ll be able to help these new contacts.
Do you blog for any credible websites? Perhaps you have access to a big social following? Or could this aspirational contact benefit from the skills you’ve developed in some way?
When we use the term “networking” in this approach, you’ll need to distance yourself from the traditional mentality that networking is all about coffee, shaking hands, and throwing away business cards. It’s about relationships, not business cards.
“Opportunities do not float like clouds in the sky. They are attached to people.” Richard Strombauch
Networking, in this case, means being open to opportunity, and building connections with people that are based on generosity and trust.
Relationships – not business cards – are what drive this kind of networking.
Basic information and interaction
The first portion of the template tracks basic information for these contacts – name, location, and contact information.
From there, the template becomes a system for tracking how you’ve interacted with this individual, whether it’s through exchanging tweets or by interacting with them on their blog.
If the influencer you are trying to connect with is also an author, it can be a huge benefit to purchase their book and then leave a review on their Amazon page. Believe it or not, this was the way I connected with Toby and Adam originally way back in 2014.
Maybe it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but Amazon reviews and ratings make a huge difference to authors looking for more exposure for their work. Take a moment to write about your (sincere) opinion of the book and how it was helpful to you.
Of course, if they don’t have a book there are still a number of different ways you can achieve the same outcome. For example, do they have a podcast you could review? Or maybe they are hosting a webinar and could use some help promoting it?
Taking it to the next level
Once you’ve got to know this potential contact a bit more, try reaching out to them through email. If you’re not sure what to include in the email, just remember:
- Let them know how much you appreciate their content (or their achievements)
- That you’ve followed and shared their content they have published over time
- That you’ve left a review of their book (if you did that)
- And that you look forward to staying in touch
You can also find a helpful template for this kind of outreach email here.
Even if this aspirational contact of yours has 100 times more followers on Twitter, published several books, and spoken in front of thousands – feedback is always appreciated. And by letting them know that you’re supporting them (and their success), you’re giving them a reason to keep doing it.
“A network functions precisely because there’s recognition of mutual need,” says Ferrazzi in Never Eat Alone. “There’s an implicit understanding that investing time and energy in building personal relationships with the right people will pay dividends.”
What happens if you don’t hear back?
If you’ve emailed this person and don’t hear back immediately, don’t give up. It’s very likely they get a LOT of emails on a daily basis. Keep sharing their content and exchanging tweets. Keep following up with them.
When you do hear back from them, you can take the connection a bit further and reach out to them on LinkedIn. Invite them to connect and include a personal message when you do so.
Once you’ve established that kind of connection, consider ways you might help them and how you might get to know them further. Ask them if there are any projects or new services they’d like to promote. Interview them for your podcast or blog, or if you’re in the same location, offer to take them out for a drink.
It’s important to remember that, no matter how “famous” this contact of yours might be, they’re people too. They’ve found and maintained success because they’ve built similar networks.
We are who we connect with
“The person who builds great relationships doesn’t think about what she wants,” writes Jeff Haden, “she starts by thinking about what she can give. She sees giving as the best way to establish a real relationship and a lasting connection. She approaches building relationships as if it’s all about the other person and not about her, and in the process builds relationships with people who follow the same approach.”
Hopefully this template will not only help you track the connections you already have, but will encourage you to connect with even more influential people.
How do you track your aspirational contacts? What has been the biggest benefit to growing your own network?
Content Marketing Sales Funnel
Your content marketing sales funnel is all about getting people to know, like and trust you by nurturing them with the right information at the right time.