Hard work always pays off, there’s no doubt about it. Yet, having connections can sometimes lead to the accomplishments of certain goals.

The same logic can be applied to your company’s content marketing strategy. If you do not reinforce it by using an integrated approach and streamlining with influencer marketing, your content will be performing poorly, especially if you’re a small business owner. Why? According to the to the ANA survey from Linqia, 86% of marketers are using influencer marketing as part of their content marketing strategies, 88.5% of whom find the influencer content to be a valuable part of their marketing plan.

To prove this point, take a look at a screenshot below from a BuzzSumo report that represents content with the highest number of social shares on DigitalOlympus.net:

As you can see, a roundup post generated a lot more hype than any other type of post in our analysis. Once again, it proves that if you get several experts involved in your article, it has a higher probability of being shared.

That’s why a content marketer must always keep experts in mind and try to engage with them through content. In this article, I will explain what types of content will help you interact with industry leaders more effectively, and how to do it the right way.

The Diversity of Content

Content comes in all shapes and sizes: from a short Facebook post, to a meticulously drawn out infographic, to a webinar recap. But I am going to focus on those types of content that I find to be the best conversation starters.

1. Social Media Posts

Sharing content originally created by experts who you’re dying to network with is not rocket science. There are hundreds of businesses that are following the same plan, but not all of them are attracting influencers’ attention. So what are they doing wrong? Here’s a list of proven strategies that will help you succeed in the battle for the spotlight:

Share posts that have been published on influencer’s site or a relatively small site

There’s not much logic in sharing posts on resources that already attract a lot of readers. On the contrary, it’s important to spot and share the type of content that wasn’t quite successful the first time it was promoted. Doing so will help the reader notice the piece.

Share smarter, not harder. You need to find those articles published by experts themselves on their own sites or other small-scale pages. When I’m on a hunt for this information, I use BuzzSumo which allows me to search based on an author’s name:

Evidently, if you decide to share an article from an expert’s personal page, then it is exactly the type of content that needs promotion.

Use catchy and custom tailored images

Another popular blooper is a missing visual element such as a custom-made picture, a video or a GIF image. In our case, featuring one of these visual elements increases the chances of your post being noticed by an influencer, or it can even encourage an expert to engage with your article.

To create these types of images, you can use tools like Canva or Snappa. Both will provide you with a great set of features and premade templates that will save you hours.

Select the right type of social media network

However, I’d like to point out that not all social networks are equally effective. You need to bear this fact in mind. It may not always make sense to post something about your freshly published article on Facebook, but it’s beneficial to do so on Twitter and LinkedIn because these platforms send notifications to users who have been tagged.

2. Interviews

There are countless posts that share how you can deliver this type of content, so I’m not going to explain how to turn a plain interview into an engaging piece of content.

I’d rather focus on things that are rarely covered. Among those things are:

  • Creating a video recording of an interview. It is a lot more interesting to watch an expert talk and, unsurprisingly, more fun for an expert to participate in.
  • Preparing for the interview. To hear an expert say yes, you need to do some homework and find out what kind of projects he orshe is currently running. What topics are the most relevant to the expert you contacted, what makes him or her tick? The more prepared you are, the more effective your pitch will be.
  • Being patient. If your blog is weak and you want to build relationships with someone like Larry Kim, then you can publish your interview somewhere else.

3. Roundups

I’m not entirely sure that classifying roundups as good content from a user perspective is fair. Shareable — yes, but do roundups share something truly valuable? Sadly, once in a blue moon. However, it depends on what question you’re going to ask the experts. For instance, if you’re planning to produce another post about tips and tricks, then you’re contributing to the clutter of similar articles.

Although, you have an option of asking them about something meaningful. As an example, you can ask what kind of metrics they use to measure their content performance. Before posting their answers, make a quick recap with a list of metrics that experts recommend to use. This will guarantee that your roundup post will share something valuable, which in turn increases its chances to generate links.

As a result, your roundup post could be ranking exceptionally well in Google. I believe that content’s success can be measured by the amount of organic traffic it attracts.   

Below is an example of a post in which experts were asked to share their top 3 keyword research tools. Based on the answers provided, the article begins with a list of the most popular tools:

Another thing you shouldn’t neglect is navigation. If your article is becoming a little bit too lengthy, then consider using navigation blocks for a better user experience.

In one of his most popular posts about SEO tools, Brian Dean introduces, more filters:

Some time ago, we’ve completed a roundup that shares ways how to build an online community, in which we used a very user-friendly navigation. By clicking on each section, the user is sent to a corresponding answer given by an expert.

I also recommend creating a simple form where experts can submit their answers. As soon as you choose a topic for your roundup article, you need to begin assembling answers. Generally speaking, it is a cumbersome process, far less exciting than you might think it is. But I wouldn’t be writing this article if I didn’t have any insight into such delicate practice as asking questions.

Here is my advice on how to avoid getting yourself into a sticky situation:

Who to contact?

There are different ways on how you can find experts. To begin with, you can look up related roundups. It stands to reason that if a person already took part in a roundup he or she will more likely to accept your invitation. You can also search for any existing white pages for experts within different industries. For instance, there are sites like Klout or Muck Rack. However, if you’re particularly interested in digital marketing then I invite you to learn more about my project called Digital Olympus. It brings together over 5,000 different professionals whose names are manually categorized based on the area of their expertise (e.g. SEO, Social Media, and more).

How to gather answers?

There’s a good old-fashioned way of collecting this information in your email box after spending precious hours doing so. There’s also a different way. You can use an online questionnaire form with such features as exporting the results in one click, or tracking who answered all of the questions you provided. Trust me, it is much easier and less infuriating than digging through your inbox. Some people like Google Form, but if you prefer something more classy then try TypeForm.

4. Webinars

According to a study from the Content Marketing Institute, marketers rate webinars in the top five in terms of most effective tactics they use. Despite being considered traditional, webinars still have plenty to offer if we understand the best way to use them.

Webinars are great because they:

  • Bring benefit by connecting an expert with your brand’s audience
  • Educate your community
  • Generate leads
  • Provide content for your future posts

Further findings of the same study show that marketing professionals “who take the time to integrate webinars and document them into a cohesive content marketing strategy are realizing new opportunities for engagement, brand awareness, and thought leadership.”

Here are five ways how you can maximize the efficiency of your future webinar:

  1. Ask other experts to join Q&A session.
  2. Run a quick test before an actual webinar goes live.
  3. Stream your webinar on YouTube. This will allow you to reach a broader audience.
  4. Don’t completely disregard paid channels. If you believe that you’re not going to get a sufficient number of attendees, launch a paid campaign. On average, around 20-30% of registered users are going to listen to your webinar. So I recommend to run ads on social media channels that let you select who exactly are going to see your ads.
  5. Ask an expert to deliver a short video where he/she will invite to join an upcoming webinar.

5. Surveys

A properly conducted survey can replace any roundup post. When it comes to filling out a survey, an expert needs to spend only a few minutes to finish it but an average roundup can take up to 20 minutes.

Start by selecting the right topic that will resonate best with your community. If you want to quickly check what kind of topics people talk about in your industry, then you can use BuzzSumo to complete this research. This tool will help you analyze what type of posts are getting the highest number of social shares. As you log in, type a keyword or the name of a site you are interested in.

For instance, here are the most shareable posts dedicated to “content marketing metrics”:

It’s worth mentioning that such analysis can also help you find the right experts to involve in your survey. BuzzSumo shows contributors’ names next to the name of a post, and you can export this list in a single click. Moreover, you may also find more about how to design a presentation or which layout to choose for your survey. In our case, an infographic is obviously the best bet.

If you want to safeguard your future feature research and to ensure that it receives enough links, then you can check your rivals’ top performing posts for the number of the links they acquired. My advice is to start building a list of experts who you’re going to involve in your survey along with the names of the guys who linked to your rival’s researches. By doing so, you will establish relationships with them and getting a link from them will be a lot smoother.

For instance, Ahrefs will show you the list of pages that have the highest number of links:

If you want to check some other similar to Ahrefs tools, I highly recommend to review my recently updated post where I compared the most popular backlink analysis tools on the market.

6 Panel discussions

The main goal of a panel discussion is to bring together the brightest minds so that a group of experts can share their expertise. Sometimes a certain problem is too intricate for one person to handle, or maybe an audience wants to hear different viewpoints regarding the same matter. A panel discussion can come to the rescue.

Not all experts are interested in being a part of a webinar, especially if you can’t boast about having a big and active community. Also, webinars require a visually appealing presentation prepared well in advance. So if you still want to take advantage of live videos with experts, then panel discussions are exactly what you’re looking for.

Why panel discussions are productive:

  1. You can have more than one speaker and as a result double, triple, or quadruple your efforts.
  2. If you don’t have the right person on your team, you can ask someone who’s known for being outgoing and cool to be your host.
  3. Compared to passive webinars, this type of content is more engaging.
  4. You can discuss something that really matters. For instance, if the recent Google update has affected someone, or what kind of reports are particularly useful in the newly launched search console.
  5. Speakers are more eager to be involved in this activity because they grow their brand awareness by connecting with other experts.

In Conclusion

Company’s prestige or brand’s credibility are mainly dependent on trust, and a reliable way to build trust is through content marketing. Choose the type of content that you feel most passionate about and the conversation will flow naturally. Like most good things in life, it takes time to establish a professional connection. Consider the points covered in this article while planning your content strategy and you’ll be on your way to strengthening trust and building long-lasting relationships with influencers.

These are great tips for connecting with influencers through content. However, once you mange to reach them:

-What exactly should you ask them?
-What content should you produce?
-What content will provide you with more value?

Learn more about what exactly is valuable content with our piece on How to Create Valuable Content.

(This guest blog post was written by Alexandra Tachalova, Founder at Digital Olympus.)