By Daniel Knowlton published April 23, 2017

A Proven Process to Curate Content and Publish a Roundup of Industry Influencers


Have you tried putting together a list of top industry influencers?

Curating and publishing this type of list, while reaching out to featured influencers, is proven to create a large amount of exposure for your blog from a highly targeted audience.

This tutorial will walk you through the process. Though I focused on social media influencers, the process can work for just about any industry.

How is this different from every other influencer list strategy?

First off, this strategy uses a proven process that has delivered significant exposure to my content more than once. In addition, this strategy ensures that the list is completely credible. An external tool is used to calculate and rank the top influencers on the topic of your choice.

1. Choose a topic to focus on

One of the simplest ways to choose an influencer list topic is to just focus on your industry, for example “farming,” “manufacturing” or “technology.” However, consider narrowing your topic to research popular themes related to your industry. You could use your keyword research to help in this process.

One of the simplest ways to choose an influencer list topic is to focus on your industry, says @dknowlton1. Click To Tweet
A Nutshell Guide to Proper Keyword Research

2. Identify the top 100 influencers on that topic

Various identification tools can identify influencers, just search for “influencer identification tools” on Google. In this process, I used BuzzSumo.

Head over to the influencers tab, type in your chosen topic, and hit Search. Use the filter tab on the left to narrow the list to the types of users you’d like to rank. For example, I untick “companies” when I create influencer lists focused on people.


3. Export the data into a spreadsheet

If you have a paid account, simply click the Export button.

If you are using a free trial, you need to put in a bit more effort to export and format this data onto a spreadsheet:

  • Highlight the first page. Copy everything from the first person on the list’s name (top left) all the way down to the last “average retweets” piece of data for the last influencer at the bottom of the page (bottom right).

Image source

  • Paste this information into a Notepad file.
  • Go back to the list and click on the second page. Repeat the process until you have 100 influencers’ information pasted into a Notepad file.


The only information in the Notepad file is the influencer’s name, Twitter handle, and however many pieces of ranking data you want. I include four:

Influencer -info

TIP: To reduce your manual-deletion efforts to remove unnecessary data to achieve your final format, use the find-and-replace function. Simply click Edit, then Replace. Type in frequently mentioned unnecessary words in the “Find what:” box, leave the “Replace with:” box blank. Click “Replace All.” Repeat the process until all chosen words are deleted. Then, delete the remaining extraneous words manually.

  • Copy and paste the 100 influencers’ information into a spreadsheet and label each column. I use the following: rank, Twitter (handle), name, page authority, domain authority, Twitter followers, RT ratio (retweet ratio – the percentage of each user’s tweets that are retweets).


  • Add hyperlinks to their Twitter accounts for each handle.


4. Reach out to top influencers for quotes

Getting quotes from the featured influencers will:

  • Increase the credibility of the list
  • Increase the number of influencers and people who share the list
  • Add more depth to the piece of content
Get quotes from influencers to increase credibility and shares, says @dknowlton1. #influencermarketing Click To Tweet

I’ve found that the best way to contact influencers is to send them a personal email.

TIP: To find an influencer’s email address, do a Google search for “(influencer’s name) email address.” Or read their Twitter bio and visit the Contact Us section on their website. As a last resort, use the contact form on their website.

Influencer outreach email template

To ensure that your outreach email works, use this proven template I have used to email the top 10 to 15 featured influencers. You only need a few to respond to include in the list post.

Subject: Top 100 [topic] Influencers in [year/month]

Hey [Influencer first name],     

I’ve used BuzzSumo to find the Top 100 Most Influential [topic] Influencers in the World in [year/month] (you were # [insert number where influencer was ranked]!).

I’m creating a list post including the top 100 and I’m including one “[topic + year/month]”-related paragraph from the top 10 on the list.

I know you’re super busy so I want to make this as easy as possible for you. It would be amazing if you could send one paragraph or show me where I can copy a paragraph you’ve quoted before about [topic + year/month]?

Here’s a quick peek at the top 5 in the list:

[Include screenshot of top 5, example below]


Can’t wait to hear from you, have an amazing week, [Influencer first name]!

[Your Name]

TIP: Once you email the influencers, send personal tweets letting them know you have emailed them.

Influencer outreach email follow-up

Many factors can affect whether an influencer responds to your outreach email. To increase your chances of a response, you need to follow up with those who have not replied.

Two days after you have sent the outreach emails, send a follow-up email, which forwards the previous email and includes another personal message.

You can use the template below:

Subject: FW: Top 100 Social Media Marketing Influencers in 2016

Hey [influencer’s first name],

I know you’re super busy, I just wanted to see if you received my previous email OK and if you could send over a quick quote for the top 100 [topic+ date] list where you were ranked [rank] by BuzzSumo?

I could even copy a previous quote if you direct me to where I can find and copy it from?

Thanks, [Influencer first name]!

[Your Name]

Once you have received at least two quotes (the more the better), you can move on to the next step.

5. Create the influencer list blog post

Once you have the spreadsheet of top influencers and at least two quotes from featured influencers, it is time to put the blog post together.

You can put the blog post together in a variety of ways depending on your blog’s style. However, include a few key areas to ensure that you optimize the post’s reach and exposure.

Take a look at these examples from Buffer, Business Insider, Richtopia, and Hootsuite for inspiration.

The structure I tend to use is:

Image source

Use a header image with head shots of influencers

It’s no secret that influencers enjoy receiving recognition for their hard work, especially if they are placed next to other relevant influencers they look up to. Incorporating influencer’s headshots into the header image increases the shareability of the blog. I created this one with Canva.

With top influencer lists, create image with headshots to increase interest & shares, says @DKnowlton1. Click To Tweet

Write a short introduction

A snappy introduction clearly explains the value readers will get from the influencer list. You can use this simple template:

Are you interested in [influencer list topic]?

Would you like to learn from [year/month]’s most influential [types of influencers featured in list]?

We’ve used [tool you’ve used to identify influencers] to identify the ‘Top 100 [influencer list topic] Influencers from [year/month]’.

Congratulations to everyone who made the list! Scroll down to see who made the top 100.

Explain how list is calculated

Explaining how the list is determined increases its credibility and the chances of featured influencers sharing the list to their large online audiences.

Use email, Twitter, & social-media tagging to congratulate influencers on making the list. @Dknowlton1 Click To Tweet

If you can’t find an explanation of how the influencer identification tool you’ve used ranks influencers, then contact them and ask.

Feature quotes from influencers

When quoting influencers, I include a headshot, their name (linked to their Twitter profile), and their preferred title and business (linked to their website).

Incorporate influencer list

Next, cut and paste the full influencer list from the spreadsheet into the blog.

Include a relevant call to action

Creating a relevant call to action at the end of a blog is not a revolutionary idea, but it’s an important part of any influencer list.

Ensure that the call to action relates to the topic of the blog. For example, the call to action for our 2016 Social Media Marketing Influencers list was to watch our video on influencer marketing strategies.

6. Reach out to all 100 influencers

Yes, this does take time. However, this is the most important step to ensure that you gain as much reach and exposure for your influencer list as possible.

The idea is to use a combination of email, Twitter, and social-media tagging to congratulate influencers on making the list. As I and many others have proven, this outreach will prompt a percentage of the featured influencers to share your influencer list with their online audiences.

Outreach by email

To source the email addresses of the featured influencers, follow the actions outlined in Step 4.  Use the following email template to reach out to them:

Hey [Influencer first name],

I’ve used BuzzSumo to find the Top 100 Most Influential [enter topic] in the World in [year/month] (you were #[where Influencer was ranked]!).

Congrats for making the list!

[enter link to list post]

Best Regards,

[Your Name]

Outreach on Twitter

Once you send the outreach emails, reach out to the influencers on Twitter (some influencers need a few prods to remind them about the list before they share it).

TIP: The most efficient way to reach out on Twitter is to use a scheduling tool like Sendible that allows you to bulk upload tweets you created in a spreadsheet. If you can’t bulk upload tweets, you will need to schedule these tweets manually.

You need to schedule one to three outreach tweets per day that tag featured influencers and congratulate them on making the list. You also need to ensure that you post plenty of tweets in between each outreach tweet so that your timeline doesn’t look like you copied and pasted the same outreach tweet to everyone.

You can use the following template for your scheduled outreach tweets:

[Featured Influencer’s twitter Handle] Hey [Influencer’s First Name] – congrats for making the list J [link to Influencer List Post]

Social-media tagging

Tagging featured influencers on social media platforms to congratulate them for making your influencer list is another great way to prompt shares and engagement.

TIP: Only tag a large number of influencers in a single post one time per influencer list on each platform. If you continue to tag influencers they may start to get annoyed with the constant notifications.


Using this influencer-list blog post strategy is more time consuming than creating a standard blog post. However, this strategy works to get you in front of the large online audiences of the influencers you feature.

Do you have any good examples of influencer lists? I’d love to check them out if you leave a link in the comments.

Want to learn in real life from many of the top content marketing influencers? Register today for Content Marketing World. Use code BLOG100 to save $100.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Please note:  All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors, not the CMI editorial team.  No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).

Author: Daniel Knowlton

Daniel is the founder of KPS Digital Marketing and has a passion for creating and sharing step by step Digital Marketing tutorials on his blog. He is also a keen speaker and was recently named #12 Most Influential Digital Marketer on Twitter in the world in 2016.

Other posts by Daniel Knowlton

  • Roger C. Parker

    Dan: Thanks for providing a concise yet detailed road map for one of the most important networking and content creation techniques. Thanks for also providing a link to your video. Roger

    • Daniel Knowlton

      Hi Roger, no problem at all!

      Thanks for sharing. 😀


  • Ross Quintana

    Thanks for this post, leveraging lists is smart in influencer outreach. I know I was on that last list and as a result it got shared out to over 123,000 people in my network. Another key piece of advice I would give is to engage before you send the request. Instead of just getting the exposure, build a relationship with the influencer and create context for the engagements and an ongoing relationship. Great post!

    • Daniel Knowlton

      Thanks Ross, yes I completely agree, building meaningful relationships with influencers will provide a number of important benefits when executing this strategy.

  • Lee Odden

    The commoditization and misrepresentation of influencer lists is why so many are of little value. For example, BuzzSumo only ranks by Twitter data and “social media” involves a lot more networks than Twitter. Many who publish “top social influencer lists” do this, but it’s misleading.

    • Buddy Scalera

      @daniel_knowlton:disqus – Does the link you shared from your website to @leeodden:disqus sort of contradict what you posted here? Here you showed how to take a single-source list (BuzzSumo), sort it, and then create a list of influencers and then get them to share it?

      I’m not saying it’s not effective because you clearly know how to make these lists. I’m just asking if what you say on your video the opposite of what you wrote here.

  • Jordan

    Hi) Thanks, so good written.
    Want to share my experience too. Speaking about keyword research – I use only SerpStat for keywords and picking ideas. I like that it can find keywords in the form of questions. So I can find out what people ask at google inside my niche and I can write about it!
    Want to hear your opinion about this tool or maybe some suggestions

    • Oliver Dunn

      ן ɯaϖt t೦ sh൦ɯ y൦ʋ α fantastͺc way y௦ս ϲαn ցet ρaid a lot of eхτᴦa ᴄαsһ by fɩnɩƽһinƍ baƽiᴄ тasks ०nline fᴦom ყoᴜr couϲh f٥r seveгɑ| hrs a /a daу - Cliсᴋ on τhe link GET.LC/WMGIi


  • Lee Odden

    Hi Daniel, good question. Using the list topic in your article for inspiration, try this: Google the phrase, social media marketing influencers.

    There will be an easy to spot post from toprankblog that shares list methodology using a tool that draws from 5+ different social network data sources. It also orders the list by topical relevance amongst the audience, engagement with the audience on the indicated topic and lastly reach.

    Buzzsumo is probably in my top 3 tools I use daily, but it doesn’t do that kind of sorting and doesn’t go beyond Twitter. If anything, I wish people who publish lists would just title them accurately. A list of Twitter influencers on topic xyz. Twitter does not define “social media”. It just has the most accessible data.

    There are a number of social search engine and influencer search engine tools that use more than Twitter data to sort including Onalytica and HYPR. But none of them are free or low cost.

    • Daniel Knowlton

      Thanks Lee, I’ve seen Influencer’s ranked by the ‘3 R’s’ before but hadn’t heard of a tool that could be used to rank for that criteria, so thanks.

      I completely get your frustration in lists not being titled accurately, in that case shouldn’t the list you mentioned be titled, ‘Top 50 Social Media Marketing Influencers to Follow from Social media Marketing World 2016’, not just ‘2016: 50 Social Media Marketing Influencers to Follow’?

      I sometimes feel that if lists were named with every possible accurate element in, then titles can become too long and bulky as the example above, what do you think (I still agree that lists need to be accurately titled)?

      I’ve heard of Onalytica as I was placed on one of their influencer lists. I read up on their methodology though and their was still some flaws as they only used data from Twitter. This is how they explained their methodology;

      ‘The PageRank based methodology we use to
      extract inuencers on a particular topic (tweets
      mentioning “Digital Marketing” OR digitalmarketing
      in this case) takes into account the number and
      quality of contextual references that a user receives.’



  • Edward Hart

    I got started freelancing over online world, by doing some fundamental assignments which definitely wanted your personal computer and usage of broadband together with I am joyful than ever before… 6 months have surpassed when i started out this and also i had cash gain total of 36 thousand dollars… Normally I make eighty dollars each and every hour and even work for three to 4 hours majority of the days.And big plus with this is that you could keep control of valuable time whenever you work and also for how long as you like but you still get a take-home pay each week. —->>>LEARN A lot more Regarding It here-> SHRTY.LINK/sWPGJq


  • Tyler Coleman

    I began freelancing over internet based, with the help of various jobs which entirely requisite a desktop together with usage of broadband and consequently Now I am satisfied than ever… six months get surpassed ever since i begun this and i received money total of 36 thousand dollars… Normally I generate eighty usd each hr and work for three to four hours majority of the days.And fantastic thing about this is exactly that one could organize precious time while you work and also for how long as you like but you still attain a take-home pay a week. —->>>LEARN Extra About This here-> RU.VU/qw9jK


  • Alex Morris

    I started out freelancing over web-based, with the help of some basic tasks which actually wanted a desktop as well as access to broadband and I am delightful than ever… few months have passed by since i begun this and i received cash gain total of 36,000 bucks… Basically I earn eighty bucks every single hour and work for 3 to four hrs most of the days.And awesome thing about this is that you could keep control of valuable time when you work and for how long as you like but you still earn a paycheck every week. —->>>LEARN Extra Regarding It here-> GOCHIURL.COM/15d8k