How to Get the Attention of Industry Influencers

Startups often have a limited advertising budget and no resources available to retain a PR firm to publicise their business or product launch. So how can business owners get the word out without spending a lot of money? One way is to get the attention of industry influencers.

Who are industry influencers?

Industry influencers are the reporters and bloggers who set the trends and lead the discussions on the internet through websites, blogs and social media. A write-up by one of these people will create exposure to a wide array of potential customers and could make all the difference to the success of your business.

First, you have to identify the influencers in your field. The way to do this is to spend a few hours online looking at blogs, news sites, forums, Facebook and Twitter; searching keywords, seeing who is active and gauging their opinions. The number of followers a person has is usually a good measure for their level of influence. Talk to your clients and other people in your field to find where they go to get the most current information and who they like to read. Influencers are often quoted in other sites as experts in their field.

Considering all these elements, narrow the list to no more than 10 people. These are the key influencers in your field and you should concentrate on them.

How can I get their attention?

Getting the industry influencers' attention is your next hurdle. Be aware that they are getting a lot of mail from people like you, and your goal is to have your mail read. Here is a summary of what 3 influencers, from Businessinsider, Boston Globe and VentureBeat had to say:

Know the person you are e mailing. Follow them on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Know what this person covers, their interests and likes/dislikes. If you follow a selection of people for some time, you will soon know which one of them will be most interested in your pitch.

Pitch your best story. Keep it short and simple. Be concise. Avoid jazz words and technical jargon to show that you know “the biz”. Too many technical terms and numbers will ensure your message will get deleted. (Unless the person's specialty is numbers and technical terms!). When you've finished writing, read it trhough again and see if you can trim a few words.

The subject line should be intriguing. This is the most important sentence or phrase in your whole message. Tell in few words what you are offering and why it is new and different. Avoid bombastic words like “news flash” and other old clichés. Get to the point without descriptive words like wonderful, awesome etc.

Do not give a false feeling of urgency. There’s nothing more annoying than being tricked into something, some influencers say. Don’t limit them in time or threaten to go to another publisher.

Be honest about who else you have contacted. Do not send a mass email to all the influencers you’ve identified. Influencers do not appreciate invest ing time on a story only to find out that someone else is working on it as well. If you choose to send it to more than one message, be honest about it and say who you’ve sent it to.

Be patient. It may take an influencer some time to respond. Be patient and do not bombard them with emails to see if they are interested. If they are they will contact you. They may want to put your story on the back burner for a while. If you haven’t heard from an influencer after a few days, move to the next one on your list.

If successful, your bid to get the attention of an industry influencer could start the viral marketing thread every business owner dreams of. Good luck!

Aileen Pablo is part of the team behind Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading providers of online TAFE courses equivalent and TESOL courses. When not working, Aileen blogs about travel, lifestyle, and beauty tips. She is also often invited as a speaker in Personality Development Seminars in the Philippines.

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