blogger engagementIn this Influencer engagement series, thus far we've talked primarily about Influencers themselves—the "who" and "what" they are. We've also talked about how and where to find them in my last two posts. And today, we'll talk about the most important step: outreach.

Now that you've gathered your intel, you're ready to start reaching out to your Influencers and building a relationship with them. Remember, everything in social media is about relationships. Sometimes a relationship can blossom overnight, but in most cases you'll need to harness it, to nurture it.

Rule #1 - Follow Their Rules

When it comes to reaching out to Influencers online, there is one major rule to follow. Don't deviate from their set of rules in place. Plain and simple. Follow their rules. Their blog is their domain. It's their house. You wouldn't go into someone else's house with shoes on if they asked you to remove them, would you? Same idea applies here.

Many times bloggers and Influencers will tell you exactly how they want to be contacted. This could be through Facebook, Twitter, G+, a contact form on their website or via email. This is probably the most important tip I can give you. You want them on your side and you want them to like you. Actually, you want them to LOVE you. So respect them and do as they say.

Not only is this respectful, it will improve their first impression of you and will increase your chances of having your message read.

Rule #2 - Create a Compelling Message

The message is the foundation of all marketing. You want it to communicate a point, yet be alluring from the get-go. The more targeted your Influencer list is, the more likely you are to interest them with your message.

Always start the letter out with the Influencer's first name and do not create a message in which you "Cc:" a bunch of people. You want this letter to be personalized. There is no faster way to get your letter deleted than if it is addressed to the wrong person or addressed to "Hi All." Another thing to note is that, if you have Influencers in different genres/niches, you should make the letter a little bit different to address these different categories. If your product is sustainable and time saving, you want to highlight the sustainability to Influencers in this category and highlight the time saving proponent of it in your letter to the others.

You also might want to throw in an incentive or assets that will help the blogger write something about your product.

Rule #3 - It's a Numbers Game

You won't always get a response and that's okay. Remember, it is a numbers game. The more research you do, and the more people you find, the more your response rate will increase. Do your research!!

Rule #4 - Follow Up

As I've mentioned before, this is a relationship. And like relationships in the real world, online relationships require work. Follow up with them and keep yourself on their radar. Respond to them on Twitter and Facebook and get some name recognition for yourself. The more persistent (in a nice and non-pushy way) you are, the better chances of creating a relationship you'll have.

(image: blogger outreach / shutterstock)