Over the past decade, the world of public relations has changed dramatically. It’s no longer just about pitching publications or websites; now, the focus is on leveraging the power of influencers. To successfully get noticed and work with influencers, it starts with knowing how to find and influence top influencers.

Where you may have gone to the media with a story or a product launch, now you need to engage with influencers so they’re sharing you and recommending your product to their followers.

Influence the Influencers

Influencer marketing isn’t a new concept, as brands have been partnering with athletes, celebrities, or industry leaders for many years. The difference between now and then is how social media offers access to new audiences, and just about anyone with a keyboard and talent can move into the role of influencer.

Most of all, as influencers are seen as a neutral third party, they have greater sway over their audience. People will trust their recommendations much more than anything your company could ever say or claim as influencers are viewed as not having a stake in the outcome.

Influencing The Brand Influencers

When you’re working with influencers, the goal is for your brand to get access to their massive following, as consumers take action based on what influencers share and endorse. A study by Collective Bias found that 60% of the respondents had taken blog and social media posts into consideration when shopping.

When your goal is to influence the influencers, you’re one of countless PR people or companies that want to get their attention. That’s why you need to be positively obsessed with researching and learning about them long before you even consider reaching out.

You want to be able to stand out and be seen as helpful and incredibly valuable to them — and not just another person asking for something in their inbox or DMs.  

Ensuring you’re of the highest value to influencers starts with influencer monitoring and taking the time to understand everything you possibly can about how you can best work with them.

Here are three ways PR pros can get noticed and influence the influencers:  

#1: Becoming An Expert On Each Influencer

When it comes to influencer marketing, the focus should be on quality over quantity. You need to take the time to get to know everything you possibly can about the influencers you are targeting.  

It’s important to become the expert on each influencer instead of just acquiring a list of influencers and sending messages to all of them without doing your homework. This “spray and pray” approach will quickly get you deleted — if not blocked — by influencers.

To become the expert, you need to engage in consistent, ongoing monitoring of their conversations, preferably on a daily basis, over the course of multiple weeks or months. If you want to know who the best influencers might be for your brand, you need to invest the time in seeing what they post, how they post, and what type of responses they’re getting.  

Being an effective influencer isn’t just about having a large number of followers; it’s more about the ability of the influencer to capture and keep their audience’s attention. Understanding their coverage shares and key influencer details, such as followers and audience reach, are all key metrics you should be looking at when assessing if an influencer is a good fit.

#2: Understanding Their Audience

As part of your influencer monitoring efforts, your focus shouldn’t just be on the influencer themselves but on understanding their specific audience. You already know who your target audience is, so taking time to deeply understand the audience of an influencer and ensuring alignment is going to be a critical piece to getting them to work with you.

You want to gain knowledge of what their audience wants, what type of campaigns or content performs well with their audience, and how that influencer serves that audience.

Look at what other types of blogs or social media their audience follows. Who else are they interacting with? What other influencers are on their radar? Gathering intel on their entire audience provides you with a holistic picture of the people who you’re going to be targeting and provides insight that can steer the direction of your marketing when working with the influencer in the future.

By carefully and consistently monitoring your short-list of influencers, you’ll have the data you need to craft a campaign with each influencer that is compelling and drives their audience into action.

#3: Timing Your Approach

As a PR pro, you know that timing is everything.  Knowing the perfect time, or when it’s simply not a good time, particularly with influencers, is key.

To be most relevant, you want to time your approach in such a way that they’re likely to say yes to working with you. For example, if they’re focusing on a specific issue that your brand has been monitoring and can address, then your timing may be ideal for getting a yes to working together. Conversely, if they’re clearly focused on topics that are not aligned with the issues you’re managing you can avoid approaching them when they’re likely to pass on the opportunity.

Daily influencer monitoring can ensure that you can spot top influencers and are able to pitch opportunities in real-time. Plus, you’ll be able to avoid making missteps when you’re planning on working with top influencers.

One of the best ways you can make sure you’re not missing your moment is by using a media monitoring service.

Our client MUFG Bank Ltd. uses daily media monitoring to help identify which influencers are active on the issues and topics of interest to them and their clients. They rely on this intelligence to determine who the top influencers are that they should engage with. Using this influencer intelligence, they’re using a data-driven approach to finding top influencers.

According to Adam Snyder, VP of Corporate Communications, the top influencer reports they receive from Fullintel have been a game changer. “I think of my peers in other agencies, and they’re just not set up to handle influencer research and engagement like we are. I’m thrilled to have found Fullintel and to have them as part of our media intelligence arsenal.”

Whatever influencer strategy you choose to employ when attempting to influence an influencer, one thing is clear, working with top influencers to promote awareness of your brand is now an integral part of being a PR professional. If anything, more and more businesses will begin to include influencer monitoring and engagement activities as part of their budget, and the best way to make the most of your marketing dollars is to use data to support your influencer marketing strategy.

Check out the MUFG case study to learn more about influencer monitoring and how Fullintel can take your influencer marketing to the next level.

Andrew is Co-Founder and President of Fullintel. His 25-plus years of media intelligence experience helps large organizations and Fortune 1000 companies such as Textron, AAA, Clorox, Kraft Heinz, MUFG, and Bell plan and implement day-to-day and crisis media monitoring and analysis strategies and best practices. He also co-founded dna13, the world’s first software-as-a-service media monitoring platform, which was eventually acquired by PR Newswire.