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When an online influencer – a person who already has the eyes and ears of your target audience – shares your blog posts with their followers, your blog gets a surge in traffic that can translate into increased brand awareness and sales.

But how do you do it? How do you find the right online influencers, pick a blog topic to write about, and convince them to share your blog posts?

Fortunately, successful bloggers have been doing it for years and developed a system that you can leverage as part of your own content marketing efforts.

Choose Your Strategy

The first step to include influencers in your blog posts is to decide which system to follow. The two popular options are the new quote round-up post or the published quote post.

System 1: New Quote Round-up Post

In this system, you come up with a question that is relevant to your target audience and find online influencers whose answers to those questions would be valuable to your audience. You reach out to a selection of influencers and ask them to provide an expert quote to be included in your blog post.

Once you receive all of the influencers’ quotes, you put them together into a blog post. When the post is published, you contact each of the influencers who provided a quote, give them a link to the published post, and gently ask them to share it with their own audiences.

System 2: Published Quote Post

In this system, you choose a blog post topic first. With your topic in mind, you do some research to find online influencers who have published content about your topic in the past, and find relevant quotes that you can pull from their content.

Next, reach out to each influencer to explain that you’re writing a blog post about a specific topic and that you’d like to include a quote from their previously published article in your post. Show them the quote and ask if it’s okay with them or if they’d prefer to provide an updated quote.

When you get their approval or update quote, it’s time to write and publish your post. Once the post is published, send the URL to the influencer and ask them to help you share it.

5 Steps to Make It Happen

Both of the systems described above require some time and effort to pull off, but they can be very effective in terms of generating social media sharing from online influencers that leads more people to your blog post and business website.

Here are the five key steps to follow after you determine which strategy to pursue:

1. Choose Your Round-up Question or Blog Topic

What will your blog post be about?

If you’re writing a new quote round-up post, you need to come up with a question that you can ask influencers to answer, and if you’re writing a published quote post, you need to choose a blog post topic that influencers have already written about. In both cases, the content has to be relevant to your target audience or your efforts won’t help your brand or business grow.

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What problems do they have that you can help them solve?

Use a tool like Buzzsumo to find popular blog topics and to find influencers who write about the topics you consider covering in your post. Enter some keywords and sort the results by social media shares.

2. Find the Right Online Influencers

You can also use Buzzsumo to find online influences. Just open Buzzsumo and enter some keywords related to your business. Sort the results by the number of social media shares. What ranks at the top of the list? Follow the links and make note of the topics as well as the authors.

You’ve just created a list of potential blog post topics and a list of possible online influencers you could include in the post – either through new quotes or by pulling quotes from their existing content.

The most important thing is to focus your time on connecting with influencers who are likely to already be known and popular among your target audience.

But that doesn’t mean you need to contact the most popular people online.

Most of those super-popular people won’t have time to respond to your requests. Instead, spend your time connecting with mid-level and micro-influencers who have influence over niche audiences that match your own target audience.

3. Reach out to Influencers

With your list of online influencers created, it’s time to reach out and ask them to provide a quote or ask them if they have any updates to the quote you pulled from their previously published content.

Send a brief email message that explains what you’re doing and what you’re asking them to do – answer one question or review and approve a quote they’ve written before.

Every person you reach out to won’t respond, and that’s okay. Try again but move on after three failed attempts.

4. Write, Publish, and Promote Your Blog Post

Once you’ve gathered all of your quotes, it’s time to write your post. Make sure you link back to every person’s website who you mention in your post!

Next, publish your post and promote it through your own social media accounts. Tag each quoted influencer in your social media posts so there is a better chance that they’ll see your posts and share them with their own audience.

5. Reach out Again

Finally, reach out (via the same outreach method you used in #3) to every influencer who provided a quote or permission to use a previously written quote in your blog post.

In this message, thank them for participating, provide the URL to the published post, and ask them to share it with their own audiences if they feel it’s useful.

Key Takeaways to Include Influencers in Your Blog Posts

Including influencers in your blog posts is a proven method to increase social media sharing of your blog content. If you follow the steps above when you create this type of blog post, you should see a jump in sharing and traffic to your post.

The surge might be short-term, but even a small and brief jump in traffic can help to raise brand awareness and give your site an SEO boost.

Plus, this blogging strategy helps to put you on the radar screens of online influencers, and those relationships can lead to more opportunities in the future.

How do you find the right online influencers, pick a blog topic to write about, and convince them to share your blog posts? The first important step is to...
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Susan Gunelius

Susan Gunelius is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company offering, copywriting, content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and strategic branding services. She spent the first half of her 25-year career directing marketing programs for AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more as well as small businesses around the world. Susan has written 11 marketing-related books, including the highly popular Content Marketing for Dummies, 30-Minute Social Media Marketing, Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps, and The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing. She is also a Certified Career Coach and Founder and Editor in Chief of Women on Business, an award-winning blog for business women. Susan holds a B.S. in marketing and an M.B.A in management and strategy.