On this occasion, we were fortunate to have two influencers approach us to kick-start the project. Knowing exactly who the participants were before we mapped out the process shaved several hours off research time. Usually, our research process will involve vetting each candidate based on a scorecard system using the following criteria:
- Domain authority
- Trust flow and citation flow
- Frequency of content published on website
- Website audience
- Relevance to client industry sector
Tools like Buzzsumo and Buzzstream can help move things along quicker, both of which include features for monitoring popular content about your industry sector and the top performing influencers by industry sector. Not all contact information is readily available so it pays to cross reference the findings with a manual search online.
I recommend carrying out a web scrape regardless to bolster your list of influencers with those that rank for high value keywords but aren’t factored into the algorithm of the tools mentioned here. A healthy list should contain anywhere between 10-500 names and contact details, refined by the criteria above to help you prioritise who to contact first.
Start with an email pitch to the blogger. Get everything down in writing and set the expectations clearly so they can confirm whether they can fully commit. There should be no grey areas here, the client needs convincing that the output from the participant is a fair trade for the cost of the product or service they are giving away.
Ask the influencer for their availability and agree on when milestones should be set, particularly if the request involves them visiting an attraction or event rather than reviewing a product at home. Keep tabs on their progress and ask to be informed of any bumps in the road. The client should know what’s around the corner based on the level of detail you are providing through regular correspondence.