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How to Get Endorsements from Influencers

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March 19,2015

 

By Penny C. Sansevieri, Adjunct Instructor NYU & CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc.

 

When you’ve got a book or product to promote and you’re relatively unknown, an endorsement from a high-profile person in your field can provide a huge boost. However, you do want to be careful when you approach these people, and remember that they are probably hit up for blurbs on a regular basis.

Is it worth the time? Absolutely. Content marketing platform BuzzSumo reported that a post shared by one influencer resulted in 31.8% more social shares, three influencers doubled the total number of shares, and five influencers quadrupled it. Think of what that could do for your exposure and sales!

While getting these endorsements isn’t easy, don’t be discouraged. Just realize that the more visible the person you’re targeting, the more steps you’ll have to take to reach them and get that blurb.

You can start by developing a list of people you’d like to endorse your book or product. You will be more successful if you’ve already been networking in your field and building relationships. It’s much easier to get help from people who know a little about who you are and what you do. But whether you’ve worked on some relationship-building, or you’re starting out cold, here are some steps to guide you through the process of identifying, approaching, and pitching influencers:

 

Start with research: Target people who actually care about your topic. If this sounds like a no-brainer, I’ve been approached by people seeking endorsements for books that are not in my area of expertise. Look for a direct connection from someone who is a leader in your topic and cares about it, and you’re much more likely to get that endorsement.
 

Troubleshoot: During the research phase, see if the people you’d like to reach have their own book or product coming out soon. If they do, this doesn’t necessarily eliminate them as a prospect. You can offer to endorse their product to your followers. Even if you have a smaller audience, most savvy marketers will accept the offer of free exposure to an additional audience.
 

Answer the WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) factor: One of the best ways to build relationships with people in your field is to be helpful before you seek help. Don’t just request favors, let them know what you can do for them. Can you offer an endorsement? Perhaps you can publicize their latest project to your followers. That’s smart marketing and likely to get a positive response. If you’re just looking for perks for yourself you probably won’t get any takers.
 

Know your target: Take some time to learn about their books or products as well as who they are. Read their bio, see what they’ve been doing, what they care about – you can use that information in your pitch. It doesn’t have to be all industry-related, either. Learn about their hobbies, activities they’re involved in etc., and see if that’s something you can include to personalize your pitch. This also shows your influencer that you took the time to learn about him or her.
 

Follow email etiquette: This is not the time to send a huge email. Have a concise, targeted subject line for your email, and get right to the point. Make your email easily scannable and it’s much more likely to be read. That means your pitch should be one paragraph, tops.
 

And, explain why their endorsement matters. Sure, you hope for more sales, but in your pitch focus on how the endorsement will help you reach more readers so they can experience the benefits your book or product provides.

 

How to find your target

Once you know who you want to pitch, how should you contact them? Consider the following options:
 

Live events: If you’re able to attend an event where your influencer is speaking or attending, it’s worth trying to meet them in person. The best way to do this is to follow the hashtag for the event on social media. Get involved, share that person’s content, join discussions, and let that person know you look forward to their event.

If you don’t have the option of meeting influencers in person, you can still become acquainted on social media. You can share their content, respond to their blog posts, etc. You never know what could happen; a friend of mine couldn’t afford to attend an event but she spent time networking with the influencer prior to the event, both on his blog and social media accounts, and then she asked to meet him in the lobby of the hotel following his talk.

 

Successful pitch tips:

You have to be ready once you have your shot at making a pitch. Have two copies of your book or product on hand, along with a letter asking for the endorsement, and include your business card so they have your contact information. This may sound like overkill, but tape your business card to your product or book so it won’t get lost. Have a brief pitch ready – two to three sentences, tops, because that’s all the time you’ll get. Make the most of it.
 

Touch base: Ask how you can check back with him or her. Look for a method for you to contact your influencer so you can be sure you get to follow through on your endorsement request.

It may seem intimidating to approach people who are well known in your field, but if you take the right approach, seeking their endorsement could be the beginning of a great relationship. Many influencers are happy to help out, especially when those requesting favors are willing to reciprocate. Take the long view to this process because it can be more than a one-time deal. You can develop a relationship with your influencer and continue to expand your reach. In time, you may become an influencer yourself!

 

 

 


Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. Follow on Twitter @Bookgal.

 

 

Want more advice on influencer marketing? Check out another Small Business PR Toolkit article, Influencer Marketing on Instagram: The Next Frontier.

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