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 Steps to Identify Influencers in Your Industry
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).
- 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:
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
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]!
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]!
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.
The structure I tend to use is:
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.
— Aaron Lee (@AskAaronLee) December 16, 2016
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]
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]
5 Ways to Get Noticed by Influencers on Twitter
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.
An 8-Step Process to Use Influencers to Elevate Your Brand
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).