Friends in high places. That's what you, as a marketer, are paid for, right? You're supposed to be up-to-date with the most influential people online, and that means being organized about who gets what pitch, and when. Here's a suite of lists every good marketer should keep, update, and nurture to make sure they're on top of their outreach game.
Move over, news wires. Bloggers, who once were laughed at for their supposedly "amateur" approach to reporting news, have all but replaced old school reporters as go-to sources for information. With the changing face of journalism, every marketer must maintain a list of the most influential, active, and informed bloggers. Being reviewed on a well-read blog is often the first step for many brands to earn global recognition.
- Press and media
Ok, ok. So you can't completely forget about the old school reporters we mentioned in the last paragraph. People still read print journalism-albeit a dwindling number-but there's a certain trust that's conveyed to a brand when it is endorsed by a longstanding member of the media. And who says bloggers and traditional press can't play nice? Having a journalist report hard news about your business, while simultaneously pitching a blogger associated with the same publication to do a test-drive of your product or service, is a surefire way to knock your marketing out of the park.
- Social elite
Like it or not, Kylie Jenner has 8.52M Twitter followers. (If you don't know who that is, 1) I want to hug you, 2) You really should as a marketer, and 3) It's Kim Kardashian's half-sister.) Every time she tweets out one of her selfies-which is probably like 15 times a day-she's both endorsing the brands she's wearing, and giving them free, positive press.
Now, short of getting ahold of Kylie's publicist, you can still take advantage of other social elite that are active online. Find people with a significant number of followers, and reach out to them with free stuff. The democratizing phenomenon of the internet has made everyone a celebrity in some way, if they are smart enough to execute it. It's time to capitalize on that, all while bringing recognition to your brand. Plus, people rarely write bad things about services or products that are given to them gratis.
- Aggregation and syndication sites
The backbone of any good content marketing strategy, syndicated sites are warehouses of information. You should follow these sites both to stay in-the-know about your industry, and because they are great opportunities to give your company visibility. Landing a piece on one of these aggregators can mean major traffic to your site. From there, it's your job to turn those leads into conversions.
- Freelance authors
Never underestimate a well-respected freelance writer. He or she has minted a reputation on the ability to cater to a topic in a way that drives readership. Freelancers are valuable resources for any marketer, and often carry a strong social media presence, likely out of necessity for their own survival. Make friends with freelancers, and, remember that thing we said about free stuff? Throw some swag to a freelance writer and you'll be pleasantly surprised down the road when they've plugged you into a piece.
- Paid ad placement sites
At some point in the life cycle, ads are a crucial part of your marketing campaign. Even if you don't think you have the budget, it's important to follow ad sites to both stay on top of the trends and ever-changing landscape of the ad space, and also to scout potential partners that might be willing to work with you for free or for some kind of trade.
You know the types. The ones who write weekly "here's what happened this week online" oversharers who tag 15 people in a post. Annoying? Yes. Beneficial? Also yes. Get to know these round-uppers, RT their wildly tag-stuffed tweets, and watch your followers, and in turn, visibility, grow astronomically. There are many benefits to being on the good side of round-uppers; SEO, brand authority, name recognition, and content syndication are just a few of them.
At the end of the day, the main focus of your job is to help drive more sales. There are many ways you go about doing this, and maybe you thought outreach to prospects was something for your sales team to handle. That kind of thinking is shortsighted, because marketers have a built-in advantage to reach out to potential customers specifically because they are not salespeople. To keep on top of your prospects, you must have a clear understanding of who your audience is. That means dividing them into multiple segments, and learning what kinds of messaging or content will move them through the sales funnel. Buyer personas are invaluable to your company, and allow it to scale at an efficient, sustainable rate.
For more information about finding your audience, download our whitepaper, "How to Identify Your Customers Online."
You know how that old adage goes: Keep your friends close, keep your enemies on a Google Alert and in a secret Twitter list where you can watch their every move to make sure they don't beat you (or something like that). Knowing everything about your competitors is the only sure way you'll glean the benefit of their business lessons. And, it never hurts to keep an ear to the ground about internal goings-on. That just may be your advantage if you're fighting in the same space.
- Your company's or your client's employees
There are many reasons to follow your coworkers or your client's employees. Staying on the same page in messaging provides a solid front for your company, which in turn gives the appearance of a unified, professional group. It should come as no surprise that the most-read pages of any business website after the home page is the team page. People make purchase decisions based on interactions with humans, not case studies or whitepaper downloads. Being in-the-know with the people that make up your company or your client company means maintaining a thorough understanding of the environment. Use them as a barometer for how things are going around the office, and get some extra points for favoriting all their posts.