ImageInfluencer marketing. Influencer targeting. Influencer outreach. Influencers, influencers, influencers. We keep hearing about how important they are to our brand and why we need them. But, where do we find them?

Don’t panic yet, the first thing to grasp is that influencers almost always operate a blog and searching for bloggers is the easiest way to find influencers. And, the nice thing about bloggers is that they also tend to be very active on various forms of social media so aligning with them gets your positive mention spouted across many channels. Score.

Another thing to grasp is that an influencer is a contextual fit for your brand, not something that can be quantified by Twitter followers of Klout. Numbers cannot tell us what their audience looks to them for. Your judgment can tell you this however. So, influencers our found by searching for a genre and niche that you want to expose your brand to. Of course you want your influencer to have “reach,” but should just be a starting point, not the defining factor.

Once you’ve honed in on the genre and niche to target, it’s time to pick which blogger outreach tool you are going to use to locate your influencers.

Google blog search is the best free option but if you are going to be doing a lot of influencer targeting then you want to check out a tool like GroupHigh (Full Disclosure: I work with GroupHigh). GroupHigh allows you to customize your influencer targeting by filtering your results by keywords, Twitter followers, MozRank and 20 other options.

One of the most obvious places to look is to the customers who are already advocating for your brand. Incentivize them or at least thank them for their efforts and recommendations. A shout out will make them a lot more likely to keep up the good work!

Lastly, research is showing that the most influential people for brands are actually the midlevel bloggers. Because these people have a smaller audience, they can nurture their relationships a little more which makes their audience tend to be very loyal.

Bloggers, contextually aligned writers, advocates and midlevel bloggers! Where have you found influencers for your brand?

image: influence/shutterstock