Published March 11th 2019

How to Use Influencer Marketing to Promote Content

One of the most effective strategies you can use to promote your content is Influencer Marketing. In this article, we aim to help you understand the ins-and-outs, so you can start leveraging it for your business.

It’s tough to imagine content marketing without social media. Both rely on a very human tendency, and that is to converse and share. Ever since the dawn of time, we’ve been exchanging information and opinions.

Moreover, as long as we’re using content, we’ll have to learn how to make it function seamlessly with social media.

As far as promotion strategies go, using influencer marketing to promote your content is one of the best.

The Rise of Influencer Marketing

The main reason why influencer marketing rose in popularity is that instead of targeting an entire audience (which may be scattered across different channels) and building your network, you can save time by using other people’s networks (OPN).

Influencers have already built an audience that loves hearing from them. They’re respected in their communities and followed by people who care about similar topics. Consequently, if an influencer shares your content, you won’t just be reaching more people–you’ll be reaching them in a more impactful way.

Influencers have leverage in their niches, and therefore you’ll also be benefiting from their authority. Or, as Rand Fishkin puts it:

“An influencer promoting and amplifying your message, your brand, to their audience means credibility.”

Rand Fishkin

With that in mind, it’s not surprising to see influencer marketing statistics such as these:

  • 74% of consumers trust social networks to guide purchasing decisions (Source)
  • 40% of consumers use ad-blocking tech (Source)
  • 40% of Twitter users made a purchase based on a tweet (Source)
  • 5.2x increase in purchase intent by Twitter influencers
  • 67% of marketers promote content with the help of influencers

Consumers are inherently social, and this is precisely where influencers come in.

We trust people over brands. Even though branded social media may be polished or have a unique voice, people love hearing from human influencers.

However, even though marketers have started increasing their influencer budgets, that doesn’t mean they’re approaching content amplification the right way.

Choosing the Right Influencers

If you want an influencer to amplify content, it’s no longer enough to find the influencers with most followers.

In fact, in some cases, you’ll even notice that an influencer’s follower engagement decreases with follower growth. Size of the audience doesn’t mean results for your business.

If you want to promote your content with influencer marketing, you want:

  • Influencers who have passionate and engaged follower bases
  • Influencers who are authorities and knowledgeable about the niche
  • Influencers who are familiar with your content

The quality of an influencer’s presence is much more important than their follower count.

To use influencer marketing to promote content, you should understand what makes an influencer the right influencer for your campaign.

Influencer’s Domain Authority

No matter how popular an influencer is, if they don’t have a popular blog or domain distribution their content may not gather enough shares to make a difference for your campaign.

One share of your article on an influencer’s Twitter may get you far, but not far enough. For the best results, look for influencers who frequently publish on sites with strong domain authority, and enough followers of their own. This is especially useful for backlinks, which will help you amplify your content not just socially, but in terms of search engines, as well.

Engagement Over Followers

In the words of BuzzSumo co-founder Steve Rayson, “there’s no relationship between the number of followers and the number of retweets an influencer gets.”

Just because an influencer has 100,000 followers doesn’t mean they’ll get 1,000 retweets or shares. An influencer with a smaller community may have a follower base which is more engaged.

When choosing the right influencers to amplify your content, look for the people who have a high retweet rate on their own (independent of their follower count). These people are the ones who can amplify your content.

In a previous study, we took the Twitter profiles of 10,000 people and looked at the relationship between the number of followers and average retweets. Surprisingly there is no strong correlation between the two.

There are people with millions of followers that get an average of less than 1 retweet per post. Equally, there are others with less than 10,000 followers that get 20 plus retweets per post. These are people with a very engaged audience who can move their followers to share content regularly. These are what I like to refer to as unicorns.


influencers with high retweet count

Unicorns are not easy to find as they have modest follower numbers or less prominent blogs.

These people, or unicorns, with higher retweet rates have a real impact on amplification. In our study of 100m posts, we analyzed the impact of shares by influencers based on their retweet averages. Specifically, we looked at the impact of shares by influencers that had a retweet average of more than two. For every tweet they posted, they received two an average of two retweets.

  • Posts that were shared by one person with a retweet rate of more than 2 received 30% more shares.
  • Posts that were shared by three people with a retweet rate of more than 2 received over 100% more shares.
  • Posts that were shared by five people with a retweet rate of more than 2 received nearly 300% more shares.

Average Shares Per Post By Number of People Sharing With a Retweet Average Above 2


average shares graph

The data demonstrates very clearly that influencers with a high retweet rate can dramatically amplify content. So find the influencers with high retweet ratios. They will have a more significant impact than those with more followers but a less engaged audience.

Finding Influencers to Promote Content

Once you’ve defined your criteria, it’s time to get to work and find the actual influencers who can amplify your content.

We already know that the right influencer is going to:

  • Have a high engagement (retweet) rate, regardless of their follower count
  • Have a strong domain authority
  • Have a strong distribution network

The trick is in finding the influencer. As we know, it’s easiest to find influencers who have many followers as they seem to pop up at the top of all the lists.

However, there are four methods you can use to find mid-range influencers who’ll increase the number of your shares more than influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers.

1. Find influencers who already share content

The best way to find influencers who are willing to help you with your content marketing is by finding influencers who already share industry-relevant content.

You can do this with BuzzSumo by using the top content search and viewing sharers of top content.


view content sharers

After you’ve got your sharers list, filter it by average retweets to get the influencers you’re looking for. You can also view other links the influencer has shared to make sure they’re focused on your industry.

Additionally, you can also use BuzzSumo’s influencer search to find the influencers for your target industry.


search for influencers in buzzsumo

You can filter the results by criteria that are important to you (including the type of influencer such as journalist).

2. Find influencers who create content

If you want influencers who are 100% passionate about a topic and well-versed in the industry, it’s worth looking into people who create content, in addition to sharing it.

You can do it with BuzzSumo’s Influencer Search > Top Authors feature. Just type in the topic you’re looking for content creators in and perform the search.


top authors search

You’ll see helpful information such as the number of Articles Published as well as their Average Engagements. If you want to see a sample of the author’s work, click on the View Top Content button.


view top authors top content

This will show you the authors’ best performing content along with all the other helpful information BuzzSumo provides for article research.

3. Focus on the right criteria

When you’re selecting the right influencers to reach out to, remember that there’s more than meets the eye.

BuzzSumo will show you the relevant influencers based on their popularity, their topics, lists they’re on. You’ll even see factors like what they share, their social media bios, and the people they interact with.

However, we recommend a focus on:

  • Domain authority
  • Distribution
  • Retweet rates

So once you’ve received your results, filter by these factors to find the right people. This will become especially relevant when it comes to getting in touch with the influencers.

4. Stake out the competition

An excellent method of finding influencers who will help you promote your content is by staking out the competition.

Most of the time, the success of our competitor’s content relies on influencer promotion. The key is in understanding why the influencer shared it.

When running a top content search with BuzzSumo, you can view sharers of competitors’ content.


view content sharers

You can filter these influencers by all relevant factors we’ve talked about before.

It’s good to ask yourself why they’ve shared this piece of content, and check whether the share was random or the influencer is established in your industry.

For this, you can use another BuzzSumo feature and check which links a particular influencer commonly shares.


view links shared

This will give you an even clearer picture of what the influencer likes to share.

To take it a step further, you can also analyze domains the influencer shares from by clicking on “Analyze Links.”


analyze shared links

All of this should give you enough information to go on when it comes to reaching out to influencers and starting a partnership. But, don’t forget the next step!

Building Relationships with Influencers

Content marketing is all about providing value, so focus on the same with influencers: give them something before you ask for shares in return.

When it comes to influencer marketing (especially with influencers who are domain experts), your goal should be to build a relationship with them.

Depending on the strength of your brand, influencers with fewer followers may be a better fit.

Influencers with many followers get a lot of messages, so there is a lot of competition for their attention. Even though they may seem like stars who’d make your revenue skyrocket overnight, they may not be the right ones for your business.

So focus on the more approachable influencers with stronger communities. Find the high-value players and focus on motivating them to promote your content. And not only should you do that, but you should also help them achieve their goals first.

If you approach an influencer out of the blue and ask for something immediately, the chances are that you’re not going to have a high success rate.

Instead, focus on building a relationship with them.

How?

1. Create influencer lists

There are many influencers out there, and if you want to start by communicating with them, you’re going to have to keep track of them somehow.

In BuzzSumo, you can do this by saving influencers to a project. To create a project, click on the link in the top-right corner.


new influencer project in buzzsumo

When you find an influencer you’d like to begin building a relationship with, click the Save Influencer button and you can add them to a new or existing Project.

2. Build a rapport with influencers

Once you’ve added influencers to the corresponding lists, it’s time to stay up to date on their news. Remember: they come first, as that’s the best way to build a relationship – much like with friendship.

Share, like or comment on their recent content.

Another great tip is to subscribe to their content on other channels.

Let’s say you’ve found your influencers through Twitter. Do they have an interesting Medium blog? You can always read their content and leave a comment, which is a much better way to get on their radar than by just liking their Twitter share.

3. Add value

If you’re particularly interested in an influencer, seek out ways of helping them first.

Sometimes a backlink to their site or a discount for your product goes a long way towards creating a great partnership.

You can also start adding the influencer’s content to your content curation. If they’re an expert in a field that’s relevant to your brand, it’s likely that their content would be helpful to your audience.

Just be sure to mention or tag the influencer when sharing their content, so they are notified.

Be Their Advocate (and They Will Become Yours)

There’s a lot we could say about brand advocacy, but there’s only one truth: there are two hands in a handshake.

If you’re expecting an influencer to help you improve your marketing efforts, be ready to do the same for them. Show passion and appreciation for them and their projects, and you’ll see that you’re getting much more attention in return.

Once you’ve started a partnership with an influencer, nurture that relationship.

Influencers may be superheroes for your content marketing, but you should be a superhero for theirs, too.

With this knowledge in hand, you can begin to harness the power of Influencer Marketing.

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