- you’ve got some bloggers in mind whose work you admire;
- they also happened to be a few steps ahead of you in terms of their readership and social media following;
- you’d love for them to know who you are;
- in all honesty, it won’t be half way bad if they shared a post or two or many of yours with their numerous followers;
- and there lies the problem – how do you stand out in the sea of hundreds or thousands of those followers?
Hint: you need to make it all about THEM, not you.
Now let me show you the other side of the coin.
I don’t, by any means, consider myself to ‘have made it’ in blogging, but I do know there’s a healthy number of people who think that I am ‘all that’ and
almost everything I write is great. God bless them; they know not what they are doing. Yet.
Yes, I get bombarded by…
- ‘Hey, great post‘ comments,
- ‘Hey, Ana – you don’t know me from Adam, but could you take a look/share my post‘ emails,
- ‘Hey, Ana – I am a big fan and, even though you don’t know me from Adam since I never comment/share/otherwise engage, could you take a look/share my post anyway‘ emails;
- ‘I’ve shared your posts X number of times, I think you should do the same for me’ approaches;
- quick shares without ever reading a post (it’s always easy to tell) – how’s that suppose to catch my attention?
- …and on and on and on.
So I am on both ends of the spectrum: I still look to build relationships with influencers in my niche (reality check: this will/should always be a part of a healthy marketing strategy) AND I know how difficult it is to be different from any other follower/reader.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve collected some great examples of how folks around me set themselves apart from the crowd.
These are the things that worked for me. Chances are they’ll work for the influencers whose attention you are trying to grab as well. Or at the very least, you’ll know how to grab my attention…
1. Link Out Shamelessly and Unceasingly
Referencing another blogger’s content in your blog posts is the simplest, yet one of the most powerful things you can do to get their attention.
I wholeheartedly agree with:
Even though Chef Dennis was referring to social media sharing specifically, it stands true for any kind of content sharing, including blog mentions.
Here are some of the examples of how my readers engaged with me by mentioning my content in their blog posts:
I am a complete sucker for blog mentions, I must admit – I always visit blogs that honor me with a shout, ‘mingle’ with the blogger and other commentators, share the posts on social media, and include them in my Weekly Marketing Skinnies.
Side note: always remember to let the blogger know you mentioned them in your post – don’t ever rely on wordpress pingbacks, or worse yet, on them accidentally stumbling on your post.
Send them an email or tag them on social media platform of their (not your) choice.
On the other hand, not that there’s anything specifically wrong with that, these kinds of mentions always fall a bit short in my book:
I went through that entire post and realized that there was not one link to an outside resource/blog – internal links only. Makes me wonder why? SEO hogging?
Search engines don’t buy products, people do. And without cultivating relationships with people, including sending a reader or two to other relevant blogs, a blog simply won’t have much long-term momentum.
Additional reading on linking out to other sites:
What To Do When Using External Links – Michael Martinez at seo-theory.com
2. Make Their Content… Better
Just when they think their content is perfect just the way it is, you are going to show them how to make it better – with a twist.
This strategy requires a certain degree of creativity and discernment of how far you can go without stepping on any feet.
Getting to the point: take a great post written by someone you admire and repurpose it.
Easier to give examples then trying to explain what I mean.
I happened to be good with Slideshare presentations.
Took me about a month to master building a good presentation and getting it seen on Slideshare, but it was well worth it.
Here’s how I used my newly acquired Slideshare presentation skills to repurpose other bloggers’ content, get on their good side, and get a lot of traffic to Traffic Generation Café while at it.
My Slideshare Presentation Based on Neil Patel’s Post
Long story short: read Neil Patel’s The Art of Writing Great Facebook Status Updates post, thought to myself ‘This is post is the perfect groundwork for a killer Slideshare presentation!’, cooked one up, shared it with Neil and the world.
Result: 128,000 views.
My Slideshare Presentation Based on Eric Ward’s & Rae Hoffman’s Posts
Once again, read two killer posts on a similar topic by two SEO pros: Eric Ward (11 Reasons Link Building Is A Futile Waste Of Time — And One Big Reason It Isn’t at SearchEngineLand.com) and Rae Hoffman (Google Propaganda, SEO and WHy Marketers Need to Wake Up at SugarRae.com).
These posts came out in the wake of Matt Cutts’ infamous The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO – you remember that time everyone and their chicken were running around like a chicken with its head cut off screaming ‘SEO is dead!’.
Yes, hard to forget…
So the topic was hot, the posts were great, I immediately thought of a great theme for a Slideshare presentation (nothing like catching attention with SEO and lingerie, isn’t it?), botta bing botta boom! and my presentation and the post were hot off the press.
Result: a head nod from both Rae and Eric (I’ll take it!).
Another example of taking someone’s content and making it your own/different/better without stepping on any feet:
Scott Scowcroft’s The SCOTT Treatments
+Scott Scowcroft repurposes Hangouts on Air (HOAs) he listens to into small digestible content segments.
As a matter of fact, that’s how he stood out to me on Google+ – he repurposed an HOA I did with +Dustin Stout and +Ben Fisher hosted by +Eric Enge on Kickstarting Your Blog Traffic into a few main takeaways he posted as videos.
Since most of us simply don’t have the time to listen to complete HOAs, boiling down an hour long show to a few minute-long videos is invaluable.
You can learn more about how Scott goes about repurposing other people’s content in his Daily Scott Treatments.
Michael Bennett’s Google Drive Decks
Here’s another great example of repurposing other people’s content that could easily land you on influencers’ radar and then some.
What? How did he become widely known in Google+ circles?
Google Drive Decks – similar to Slideshare presentations, but published through Google Drive platform.
Michael took a lot of overwhelming information on a specific topic or a specific Google+ engager and turned it into an easy to follow slide presentation.
Curious to see how well he did? Take a look at this Google+ search and pay attention to all the comments/shares/influencer mentions.
By the way, I noticed Michael stopped doing his Drive Decks a year ago, so this idea is up for grabs.
Additional reading on the topic:
Content Marketing Leverage System: How to Multiply Your Reach – at trafficgenerationcafe.com
Boost your Blog IQ by Repurposing Content – Rebekah Radice at pegfitzpatrick.com
3. Do Weekly Roundups
Many people do weekly roundups of sorts.
Personally, I think they are a great way to draw in traffic, recognition, and social media attention.
Running a distinctive weekly roundup is a completely different story however. Throwing together a few links hoping for fame and glory simply doesn’t work.
Here’s a great example of Google+ link roundups done right: +FridayFavourites by +Mick Sharpe.
If you go to Mick Sharpe’s G+ profile, you’ll notice he almost never shares anything but his weekly FridayFavourites posts where he curates the best content he finds on Google+ throughout that week.
Yet, his posts are widely read and shared by many. Why?
I believe the secret sauce is his in-depth approach to his recommendations – he actually reads the posts he recommends; he actually listens to the HOA shows he mentions (what a novel idea!), and he tells his readers what to expect when clicking on the suggested links.
Throw in his good taste for content, occasional jokes, and he’s come up with a winning formula of content curation – just take a look at the amount of comments and shares and the caliber of people who share his content:
Additional reading on the topic:
4. Show Your Personality
There was nothing subtle about Vincent Messina and the first time I heard of him.
Talk about being bold, authentic, and yes, memorable.
If you have a great personality and sense of humor, it’s a shame to hide them behind your ‘blogging game face’. After all, your game face makes you just another face in the crowd.
Take a risk and stand out.
As a result of Vincent’s brazen boldness, I did one of the longest written interviews I’d ever agreed to for his blog and we remain very good Google+ friends with a benefit – sharpening each other like iron sharpens iron on a daily basis.
Here’s another memorable ‘Vincentism’ for the road:
By the way:
5. Say Hello for No Reason
Kim Roach of BuzzBlogger.com is the master of staying in touch without ever asking for anything; rather offering her help to promote you.
Considering her expansive readership and social media reach, it’s even more impressive that she takes her time to reach out to not only influencers, but up and coming bloggers as well.
That’s got to stand out, don’t you think?
6. Give Them a Gift
Why not? It’s a simple yet very much forgotten gesture of ‘Thanks for all you do – here’s a little something to let you know I appreciate you’.
That’s what Kurt Frankenberg of ShoeString101.com did and it was the coffeest Thank You I’ve ever gotten.
7. Prove Their Methods Work
At that time, I already knew of Kurt (his absolutely sincere no-strings-attached thanks-for-what-you-do Starbucks gift card I mentioned above did the trick), but his How I’m Promoting the “ISH” Outta My Blog… FREE! post sealed the deal.
I’ve been sharing Kurt’s posts ever since, following his blog, guilting him into coming back to blogging after a few-month-long break he recently took, and mentioning him all over Traffic Generation Café.
By the way, take a look at the highlighted area. Don’t you think that’s a great way to stand out in your readers’ minds? You bet!
8. Quote Them
When you quote an influencer in any given niche, you associate yourself with their credibility, as well as compliment their knowledge and expertise.
Personally, I love the bite-sized pieces of wisdom I get from reading other blogs, listening to podcasts or HOA shows, or skimming my social media streams.
When I find a quotable gem, I add it to a simple Text document for later or turn it into a memorable image ready share in a post at Traffic Generation Café, or social media.
How to Use Quotes Effectively
1. Add them to your blog posts and link out to the sources.
An example of one such post where I effectively used quotes from several SEO experts, thus increasing post credibility and sky-rocketing social media shares (since most of those SEO experts ended up sharing the post):
I am sure you also noticed a quote by +Chef Dennis Littley I opened this post with – I jotted it down when listening to one of his recent HOAs, “filed it away for later”, and thought it fit perfectly with this post.
Content Leverage Hack: create your image quotes just the right size to repurpose them later.
For instance, make them 800X600 to add them to a Slideshare presentation.
To share them on Pinterest, the best size is 735px wide by 1102px high as per Canva Pinterest pin template.
For Google+, +Rebekah Radice suggested to stick with 800X1200 (very similar to Pinterest).
2. Repurpose quotes to use them on other platforms.
Following up on the content leverage hack above: when you put an effort in creating an image quote, you might as well maximize the return, right?
That’s why adding those images to Slideshare presentations, YouTube videos, image-sharing sites is a must.
To learn more about leveraging your existing content on different media platforms, take a look at:
To learn more about using Slideshare, don’t miss:
3. Share image quotes on social media instead of sharing your post.
Here’s an idea: sharing images from your posts with a post link in the description is a great way to share the same post in various ways – MUCH better than sharing the same link over and over again, wouldn’t you say?
Plus, you can tag the quote author when sharing the post; that way you might even get them to reshare it for you.
4. Write posts with various quotes on a particular subject.
Yet another great way to get on influencers’ radars is to put together a ‘Quote post’, where you curate many quotes on a particular subject.
Examples of such posts:
101 Shocking Helpful Online Marketing Quotes by Mauro D’Andrea at Blog-Growth.com
Top blog quotes by 101 amazing bloggers by Kevin Duncan at beabetterblogger.com
9. Don’t Just Leave Comments
Leaving blog comments is great and all, but here’s an even more effective way to stand out in the comment section: start a discussion.
When you start a smart and relevant (prerequisites! otherwise it might backfire) discussion, you accomplish two things:
- create more engagement on that blog by drawing out other readers (what blogger wouldn’t love that!) and
- definitely get noticed by the blogger.
Mind you I am not saying to pick a fight.
Ask a question. Suggest a different solution. Mention other commentators and bring them into a conversation. Be smart. Be relevant.
Be perfect. Be you.
A great way to take this strategy a step further:
Take the discussion to social media.
- find out which social media platform the influencer is the most active on (we want to bring in their followers into the discussion, as well as make sure the blogger him/herself is available to jump in, which they most likely will);
- take your time writing about the post on social media (this post by such and such is about… , and the point the blogger is making is… , etc.)
- then ease your point into it (and here’s what I think is a better/different way of doing it…);
- at the end, ask your question – what’s your fellow social media followers’ take on it?
It might seem like a risky move to express a contrary opinion on the subject, but trust me, if all this is done with the utmost respect for the blogger and their original content, they’ll only appreciate (and notice!) your effort to create even more engagement around them.
And if they don’t? They are not worth your time…
10. Tell Them They Are the Best at What They Do
I don’t care how high up the blogging ladder a blogger is (or thinks he/she is), we all look at ’25 Best Blogs in…’ lists with bated breath.
Are we in it? Has someone other than ourselves and our family finally recognized that we are the best at something?
A compliment of being included in a ‘Best of…’ list of sorts is always huge and will almost always be noticed and appreciated.
How can I possibly ignore a write-up like this: 5 Great Bloggers who gave me the Inspiration to start my own Blog by Servando Silva?
Or a comment like this – a completely unexpected response by Carol Manser to a simple G+ post:
Sincerity is the key.
1. Tagging someone in a comment:
2. Tagging someone in a post:
3. Thoughtfully responding to another person’s post and tagging someone else in a comment:
All great examples of sincere engagement and well done compliments, wouldn’t you say?
Certainly worked for me!
Relationship Building Caveats
A few things to remember when building relationships.
1. You’ll feel like you are talking into a vacuum… a lot.
I still feel that way sometimes, even though chances are I have a bigger audience than you do; at the moment anyway.
You keep sharing other people’s content. You keep engaging in thoughtful discussions. You keep giving. But ‘receiving’ never seems to come.
Two things you can do:
- keep at it – your timing is not always other people’s timing.
- change your sharing strategy – try a different engagement method.
2. Consistency Is the Key.
Relationship building is a long-term commitment, no other way about it.
Sometimes building a relationship with another blogger simply takes time and consistency, and there’s no better example of that than Harleena Singh, the founder of Aha-Now.com.
Since Harleena discovered Traffic Generation Café, she commented on every single post I published.
All her comments are thoughtful, to the point, and personal, which also makes them very visible in my book.
Not only that, but she always, always, always shares all my posts in social media. She makes herself more visible by sharing good content with her followers while building relationships with other bloggers.
Simple. Sincere. Effective.
And now when Harleena Singh has a request, I always say Yes even when I have to say No to other bloggers, like her recent interview request for instance The Aha!NOW Chat With Ana Hoffman [Interview].
3. Don’t ignore future influencers.
Catching an influencer’s attention should be more of a by-product of your long-term relationship building strategy rather than its primary goal.
Good thing I didn’t ignore +Wade Harman and +Ryan Hanley when they first started commenting at Traffic Generation Café at the very beginning of their blogging career a couple of years ago – look where they are at now!
Both are regarded as authorities on Google+ and now I am the one who’s lucky to get any kind of attention from them… kidding… no, not really…
And definitely DON’T share mediocre content because it was written by someone whose attention you are vying for. As Benjamin Franklin said ‘It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.’
4. Relationship building never ends.
A great business relationship is like a great marriage – working on it never ends.
When you work long and hard to get someone’s attention and forget all about it once you get what you want, consider all your efforts wasted.
And for even more examples of influencer marketing, read my follow-up post:
Relationship Building Marketing Takeaway
Building strong business relationships takes time and almost never goes according to your plan.
All you can do is put your best foot forward… and continue putting it forward day in and out, one step at a time, without really knowing how far your final destination – a nod acknowledging Hey, I know you. You are the one who’s been sharing thoughtful remarks about my content for a while now… – is.
It might be just around the bend.
Or it might never happen at all.
But in that case, what’s the worst that has happened? You’ve been sharing great content with your followers, learning from the best, building relationships with other folks around you?
Doesn’t sound that bad once you look at it that way, does it?