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Tried and tested tips for building relationships with influencers

Effective relationship building can’t be underestimated in influencer marketing. To gain the trust of influencers and bloggers ahead of an upcoming content campaign, you should already have spent time cultivating relationships during the influencer analysis and pre-outreach stage.

CO-CREATION WITH MILLENNIUM HOTELS Creating bespoke content for bloggers and influencers encourages increased levels of participation and can often result in fantastic content. During the ideation stage for a campaign for Millennium Hotels, we devised an idea to create a hidden gems map of popular cities across the UK and asked bloggers to contribute their own gems. By reaching out to a targeted list of lifestyle bloggers who often wrote about travelling, we effectively crowdsourced our hidden gems map of fantastic locations in each city with personal recommendations from the bloggers themselves. By including a quote and a link to their blog, all the bloggers who participated were only too happy to publish the map on their blogs and share across their social networks. Where possible, make sure you involve influencers at the early stages of campaign development; by giving them editorial input they feel much more involved in the campaign and their buy-in at these initial stages often guarantees they will engage with the whole campaign and are much more likely to post that all-important link.

NETWORKING WITH CRUNCH ACCOUNTING As an active networker, I have made some fantastic contacts over the years, many of whom have come in useful when building an influencer campaign for clients. When Hiscox asked me to reach out to Crunch Accounting to collaborate with them on an upcoming small business campaign, I recalled our paths had crossed before. I had attended a marketing conference some years prior where John Norris, content editor for Crunch had given a talk, and I was so inspired I immediately subscribed to the Crunch newsletter and began following them on Twitter. When during a brainstorm Hiscox flagged up Crunch as a B2B brand creating fantastic content, I reached out to John in the hope that he would remember the conference and see the synergy between Crunch and Hiscox. Fortunately for us, John had fantastic memory and was only too happy to collaborate with Hiscox on the campaign, which we are now in the process of developing. As time-consuming as it may at first seem, always ensure you allocate a few hours a week to networking so you can make great contacts who may well prove indispensable to both you and your clients.

SHARED INTERESTS WITH FOOTASYLUM As a self-confessed sneaker addict, I was fortunate enough to be assigned the Footasylum account, which meant endless hours trawling through their vintage archive of sneakers. Even more fortunate for the client was the relationships I had built over time with key sneaker influencers due to my role as an avid member of the trendy sneaker community. From sneaker festivals to talks on sneaker culture, I was both an admirer and a participant with plenty of opportunities to rub shoulders with several sneaker influencers Footasylum had been trying to woo. By engaging with them via their popular Instagram pages and introducing myself at high profile sneaker launch parties I was suddenly on their radar and their interest was often piqued when I said I worked for a leading sneaker brand like Footasylum. My genuine interest in the sneaker community and relationships with influencers meant when Footasylum asked me to develop a content campaign for a new sneaker line, my outreach list was already pretty much built. This meant that when we performed blogger outreach for the new sneaker line campaign, the response rate was over 80% with 90% of those going on to publish the content within days. Interest was so great that one influential blogger, who Footasylum had wished to work with for months, happily published our infographic without hesitation and not a whisper about incentives! That is the power of effective relationship building and genuine trust and respect for your influencers.

So how can you apply this to your own clients, especially if they are from less glamourous corporate sectors? As a marketer, you should already have developed relationships with key business influencers, whether that’s engaging with them online, consuming business publications or attending business conferences. When you acquire a corporate client hoping to reach out to business influencers, you can relax in the knowledge that the initial groundwork has already been laid.

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