Q&A With Ann Smarty: Discussing Influence Marketing With a Real Marketing Influencer
Thanks so much to Ann Smarty for spending the time to answer all of my questions!
— I remember being new to the SEO community and how tough it was to get established and heard. It takes months (if not years) to build a social media influence for your content to get noticed.
This was the inspiration behind both the projects. You don't need any influencer to submit your request on MyBlogU or submit your content to ViralContentBee, but once you do, you'll see random people helping you! They will send their ideas and help you create content through MyBlogU, and you can then utilize ViralContentBee to get that content shared. Both platforms fill one common gap: The need to go beyond your circles and spread your content further.
MyBlogU is the sister project of MyBlogGuest. We took some non-guest-blogging features MyBlogGuest members requested and turned them into a new project. The idea of ViralContentBee wasn't mine. My industry friend Gerald Weber approached me and offered to partner with me to create the project. I liked the idea, and we developed the site functionality together.
Share some core principles to follow while making the first contact with an influencer.
1. The biggest one: Think long-term. Influencer marketing only works if you look far ahead and ignore one-time benefits (like traffic spike, for example, or immediate ROI). What counts is the long-term relationship with niche influencers who will be happy to help out whenever you need their help.
2. Respect the fact that all influencers are different. Some want to be paid, and others will deep a monetary offer as an insult. So don't hurry to engage them: Help them first and get to know them better
3. Before reaching out for the first time, work on personalizing your offer, connecting on multiple networks, engaging with them on social media, and promoting their content. Again, the whole process takes months and years!
An even better way to follow up is to check that person on Linkedin (if you haven't yet) and find common connections who can help you reach out more effectively through a personal introduction. That's the most powerful way to get in touch!
What are the main points editors of the popular blogs pay their attention to while reading the guest posting request? How to make your letter stand out of hundreds of other requests?
1. Skim through and see if it's something your readers would enjoy reading;
2. Check if the content is original (using tools like Copyscape);
3. Google the author's name and see if there are other good columns that the author contributes to;
4. If there are any commercial "SEOed" anchor text in-content, run!!!!
5. See if the author did his/her due diligence, e.g. added high-quality reference links, images using proper license, screenshots, etc.
For guest authors: Seek common connections to be introduced to editors or start working on those. This business is quite closed: You won't go too far alone. You need help. MyBlogU is a good place to start!
So your best bet is to find people working for a publication you are interested in and start working on developing those connections first. Publish exceptionally great content on your own blog for those newly-built connections to know how great you are.
1. Only promote projects that you like (use yourself) and
2. Always be clear with your editors that some links are self-serving. Good personal relationships with editors are priceless, so don't spoil them!
1. Always write something you'd use yourself for reference. Be proud of every piece you publish. Solve your own problems and answer your own questions in your content;
2. Use lots of images (screenshots, charts, etc.);
3. Brainstorm some "content upgrades", i.e. something a reader can walk away with, for example, a free PDF cheatsheet, a collection of all images you used in the article, a template, a free spreadsheet with all the data, and more;
4. Always find tools that help solve those problems. Readers love playing with tools, so the more tools you offer, them higher the chances that they implement your advice right away.
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