Sam Hurley
October 11, 2015

The 3 Pillars of Successful Influencer Outreach

For smaller businesses, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ‘get your message heard’ in a saturated virtual market. It’s an experience comprising of frustration and many sleepless nights for entrepreneurs and their devoted teams alike…

In a world where we are fixated by everything ‘online’, Digital Marketing is ubiquitous and nothing less than essential. But it’s evolving, and will continue to evolve at incredible rates. Putting it simply; this is because everybody is trying to do the same thing in different ways:

  • Content Marketing
  • Visual Marketing
  • SEO
  • Social Media
  • PPC ads
  • That funky, clean, full-width website design with big call to actions…
  • And many more!


So, how do you stand out in a saturated crowd? How do you get people interested in your product, service and brand above all the noise?

The answer: Strong relationships.

Using a little common sense, etiquette and psychological technique, it is possible to gain the assistance (and audience) of authority figures within your industry to widen your breadth of communication. There are plenty of influencer sourcing tools out there to help you find these guys.

The initial step to forging relationships is what’s widely become known as ‘outreach’ in the online world.

Follow my rock solid, over-arching pillars of identity to achieve outreach success in a 3 step approach:

Pillar #1: Brand Personality

It is this magnetic pull which can be used advantageously to convince those of interest to promote your stuff. This character has to be perfectly crafted before any outreach begins – who are you, what do you stand for – and why should they care? Your brand (personal + company) should be something people want to be associated with. Work on building your brand story before conducting any outreach.

A great example of a brand story is Oreo…some might say they are just a cookie company. Yet they are well known across the globe. It isn’t by chance that this has happened. It is solid brand building, and they’ve done a freakin’ awesome job at it. What’s to stop your brand emulating their success in a scaled manner?

When promoting your own material, an important question to ask yourself is this – “So what?”

For example, I could ask you to promote my amazing new paper weight because it’s the first of its kind and set to sell millions…

…are you interested in paper weights? If you were, would you want to promote my stuff? Why the heck should you even care?!

It ends up coming right back round to that same question…

“So what?”

Your material has to have some relevance to your target influencer. Your brand has to captivate them in some way, as it should your audience. Your story should convince them to help you. Most importantly, what does sharing your material mean for them? What do they get out of it?

Pillar #2: Your Audience

They are your purpose. Without them you may as well shut shop. Do you know who these people are? What captivates them and why should they buy from you? Spend time researching why you went into business in the first place. This enables you to pitch your ideas to influencers with confidence.

Your targeted influencers will of course check you out, including your brand and audience before promoting your stuff. It’s vital to:

  • Build your social media presence, following and engagement
  • Make sure your website is up to scratch – easy on the eye and great user experience with visible social share tallies
  • Ensure your content is fresh and thought leading which nurtures engagement

Pillar #3: Industry Relationships

They are your stepping stones to brand elevation – treat everybody with respect and help others out when you can. You never know what serendipitous effects may arise as a result, even years down the line.

All relations, even those you have forged from the very beginning, can be leveraged to your benefit.

Don’t discount anyone or leave stones unturned…
Marketing your small brand is undeniably hard work. Yet it needn’t be so tough.

It makes perfect sense to persuade persons of influence to share your material and ideas. Relationships stem from relationships…make the effort to interact with everyone who comes your way.

NOTE: When targeting an influencer, audience size isn’t necessarily the most important aspect – a person can hold great influence although they may only have 1000 followers on Twitter. It’s their engagement rate that counts. 500 engaged followers are infinitely greater than 200k disengaged followers!

The whole idea is to get these cool authoritative characters on your side so they share, link to and indirectly promote your content. Free of charge (although you can offer payment) and cost-effective for saving as much time as possible.

Bonus Template Email (Going in Cold)

Depending on the situation and your individual/brand clout, you can occasionally strike lucky by sending a quick email without any prior conversation.
This is a successful template of mine asking for a link to be retrospectively added to a published article. A link has many benefits.

(NOTE: I always offer the person something first):

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 11.36.40 AM


  • Be personal (not creepy) and definitive
  • Keep it succinct – but don’t talk like a corporate robot
  • Massage their egos
  • Include the word ‘because’ in the first lines because this has psychological impact
  • Describe why your piece deserves to be in their post
  • Give them extras to nibble on as incentives
  • Send the email when you know they are going to be at work – or awake for that matter!
  • Use attractive subject lines which they simply have to open e.g. ‘Your content was great :)’


I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with influencer outreach. Introduce yourself below, visit my website for everything ‘digital marketing‘ or find me on social!


Image attribution: Copyright: ‘‘ / 123RF Stock Photo

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Sam is the Founder of OPTIM-EYEZ. He specialises in SEO, Growth and Startup Marketing. Catch him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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