Daily Smatterings

Connecting With Influencers – Part 5 of How to Build a Solid Writer’s Platform

How to Build a Solid Writer’s Platform, From the Ground Up – Part Five

This is the fifth part of a series on building a writer’s platform.

Spheres of influence

spheres of influence

Connecting With Influencers

Going back to my first post in this series, “What Nobody Told Me About Building a Writer’s Platform,” let’s talk a little bit more about the modern “connection economy.” It’s really just an updated version of the old branding economy, if you really think about it.

You make connections and build cooperative relationships with those connections based upon a set of values that, all put together, represent a “brand.” Traditionally, those connections came by presenting a brand image that was appealing to the target demographic.

Within the target demographic the most desirable brand connection was someone who influenced and lead their peers. These people are known as “Influencers.”

I’ll explain it this way: Say you are a shoe company that focuses on teenagers. The best way to reach your target audience is to market your shoes to the most influential teens first, then they, in turn, simply by wearing your shoes, market to the rest of the teenage crowd around them. Very shortly, the entire school wants to wear your shoes. If you can reach the early adopters, the coolest, most influential people in your demographic, those connections are more valuable to you than the average connection by an order of magnitude.

In today’s connection economy, it’s exactly the same. If you want to have a high value network, hand-select the people that you want to follow you, and then make them want to follow you. Let them know how, by following you, by making a cooperative connection with you, they become more followable.

Why connect with Influencers?

Influencers are people who have made some sort of a name for themselves in a certain sphere of influence. These are the people who have tens or even hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter, a huge Facebook following, and scads of people subscribing to and reading their blogs…you get my point. People listen to what they say. Not only do they have many connections in their network, but their connections trust them.

If you can make a cooperative connection with an influencer in your sphere of interest you can potentially reach all of their followers with your message.

Maybe you can’t connect with Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself), J. K. Rowling (@jk_rowling), or Stephen King (@StephenKing) when you’re first starting out, but there are still plenty of Influencers out there who are available to the lowly beginner like you or me. These are the types of people who will derive the most benefit by having their names spread around.

How do you make cooperative connections with Influencers?

There are several ways you can make meaningful connections with Influencers.

  1. Invite them to do a guest blog post on your blog. This creates more connection opportunities for them via more links and more website traffic.
  2. Invite them to take over for an hour at a Facebook event. Many influencers love to connect directly with their audiences, and this is one great way for them to do so, and to make new contacts, as well.
  3. Quote them and link to one of their blog posts from your own. This increases their web traffic in a directly measurable way (through trackbacks) and spreads their influence to people who may not have heard of them before.
  4. Mention them in tweets and blog posts. They love to get their names out there, and most Influencers regularly monitor their mentions. They will notice who’s doing their PR work (you)!

Just remember, thinking in terms of what you can give to others is a great way to build real, lasting cooperative connections. (Click to tweet.)

What is one way that you have connected with influential people? Have any great ideas to share? Share them in a comment!

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