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How and where PR professionals can find influencers

by | Jan 24, 2017 | Influencers, Public Relations

Remember the days when all you needed for a good media relations strategy were some key contacts at local or national media outlets? From there it was a phone call or an email to pitch your latest client, and if you were lucky, you got a story in print, an interview on breakfast television or the evening news, and/or some air time on the radio. Gosh, those were the good ol’ days, even if we didn’t realize it then.

Those relationships now need to extend well beyond journalists and into the world of influencers. Don’t get me wrong, a story in print is still something worth celebrating, and a TV spot for your client is worthy of a pat on the back. But now you can and need to reach a much larger audience by finding, engaging, and collaborating with influencers in your industry.

One example of a YouTube influencer is a 24-year-old who films himself playing video games while providing commentary. This young man has managed to gain more than 30 million subscribers to his channel — more than Rihanna. He makes millions annually on ad sales for his site. If you were in the market to sell video games, this is the guy you want on your side, talking up your products and getting those viewers pulling out their wallets.

Many bloggers are just as influential as any journalist and often have loyal followings. If your latest client is in the fashion industry, there are many out there who have taken over the front row at high-profile fashion shows. They may not be as recognizable as Kim Kardashian, but the reviews they post and the pictures they share will reach millions of subscribers. Imagine having one of these juggernauts promoting your brand.

Okay, so maybe you’re not promoting video games or ladies’ fashion, but you still have a message to share and need help getting it out there. Influencers come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re in every industry. You just have to do your research, find them, and get them interested in what you have to say.

Here are a few simple ways to find influencers.

1. Use an influencer marketplace

An influencer marketplace like TRIBE connects social media influencers with brands. This self-serve service defines an influencer as anyone with a following of 3,000 or more on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. From here, brands can find specific influencers and select those who would be the right fit for them. Another tool to assist with the matching of brands and influencers is Influicity. This service allows you to manage relationships with influencers, leverage their analytics and reporting tools, handle contracts, make payments, and run campaigns from one central dashboard.

It doesn’t matter which tool you decide to use, there is no technology that can replace old-fashioned relationship building. Do your research now, find the influencers you want to connect with, and start to build and nurture those relationships. They will be much more likely to help when you need them if they already know who you are, what you have to offer, and have a strong belief in your brand.

2. Get creative with your campaigns

No one is going to be interested in promoting your brand if your marketing strategy is boring and your content stale. No matter what the topic or product, make it creative, as in these examples from some highly creative campaigns from 2016.

It’s always a good idea to see what others in your industry are doing and see what’s working and what’s not. If you see success, try something similar without being a copycat. Imitation, after all, is the highest form of flattery.

Some great ideas might be:

  • Offer them products or services so they can run a contest for their followers
  • Hold an event and make them the VIP guest
  •  Give them the opportunity to be the first person to use your product or service and have them write a review

3. Use the right software to manage your database

In the PR industry, your lists are your bread and butter, and a software solution like Agility allows you to customize your lists for each and every client. You get access to a database of over 800,000 journalists, including social media influencers and bloggers. Our solution allows you to narrow your search by topic, geographical location, hashtags, and let you contact these influencers directly.

Need more help? Get in touch with one of our experts to find out how you can identify journalists and influential authors from our global database and engage directly with them to amplify coverage.

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Whitney Zelmer
Whitney Zelmer is a content marketer and events coordinator. In her free time, she is an encaustic/mixed media artist.

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