In case you missed it, in Part 1 of establishing yourself as a health coach influencer I covered some of the fundamentals of establishing your platform to get the word out, touching on the following items:
Defining who you are and the story you want to tell
Choosing a platform for your content
Creating an effective blog post
Build trust with your reader and finding ways to stay in touch
In this post I want to touch on some of the next steps in becoming an influencer, because unfortunately, simply creating a blog will not grow you an audience and lead to a successful business (sorry!). :(
The hard work begins once you begin producing content, requiring you to get out of your comfort zone a little bit to find inexpensive ways in which you can help get your message in front of others.
What I've found is that great content is not only enhanced through collaboration with other influencers, but those influencers can also be tremendous assets in regards to strategic promotion.
With that in mind, let's walk through the process I've used to approach and collaborate with others for the Nudge Coach blog.
Building your brand in partnership with other influencers
Just because someone else has a more established audience doesn’t mean you both can’t benefit from working together. I've reached out to countless influencers since we launched Touchpoints and I've been pleasantly surprised by how many have been happy to contribute to our posts as well as help promote us.
[Note: always be appreciative of this fact... I know we are.]
This process can be delicate as you want to make sure to present yourself properly, but also ensure that you become known as a person who treats others in the industry with respect. Don't be naive enough to think you know everything.
Molly McCarthy, the founder of Capital Health Coach in Washington DC, has been in the health and wellness industry for over 20 years and stands behind the idea that you initially need to earn the respect and trust of other before you can be viewed as a leader in the space.
As someone who aspires to be a resource and influencer in people's health and wellness, in concert with technology, I believe you need to maintain a personal touch. I think that the best way to be an influencer--to essentially "sell" your ideas and thoughts is to not "sell" anything. The most important thing I have learned in my various roles in the health industry is that you need to earn the awareness, respect, and trust of your peers and colleagues--and people you serve.
- Molly McCarthy Capital Health Coach
With that said, I've actually used a pretty structured outreach process that I wanted to share with you as most of it I adapted from Alex Turnbull's process with Groove.
Luckily, in this day in age it's pretty easy to find someone's contact information through their personal website or social media so that was actually probably one of the easiest hurdles to overcome in this process.
1. Getting Your Foot In The Door - Make The Appropriate Ask
When I began reaching out to influencers I actually decided to take a page from Groove’s playbook (their blog), in which they share some of the process they used to build their audience and generate a massive following of over 30,000 subscribers.
“...we asked them for feedback on the post. It’s a much more benign ask, and more importantly, helped us start real back-and-forth conversations with people. The feedback we got from expert bloggers helped us make massive improvements to our content, and still does.”
- Alex Turnbull (CEO of Groove)
Tommy Nicholas, who's had success with multiple startups like Cofftivity and Knox payments, is someone we've been fortunate to know through the startup process and he's a guru when it comes to networking with people through Twitter. He approaches influencers with an alternative method that is also worth considering, immediately trying to solve a problem for the influencer.
"The way I prefer to work with thought leaders is to start by trying to solve one of their problems. You can develop a deeper relationship with anyone on the internet by starting to identify the things they’re thinking about, adding thoughtful responses or additions (a “response” blog post - i.e. “I read this piece by Y person and here’s my response”) can be good places to start."
- Tommy Nicholas @tommyrva
I have found that people generally like to help one another if approached properly, so consider leveraging one of the above methods either asking for feedback or solving a need. It's critical that in your initial touchpoint you make sure to include proof that you are worth their time AND use the right approach.
"Thought leaders become thought leaders by sharing their ideas far and wide, and if you give them an opportunity to reach a new audience they’ll usually be interested. Be specific, show proof that you have something to offer (previous posts, followers, etc), and just make the ask!"
- Tommy Nicholas @tommyrva
2. Feedback can lead to Collaboration
I’ve been able to collaborate with some fantastic individuals in the industry by simply reaching out and asking for feedback on what we’ve created so far. In my first email I initially ASK if they mind if I share a piece from our blog and I’ve found that not only will most agree to review it, but they tend to share fantastic feedback and offer ideas for future posts.
This keeps our content relevant but also sets the stage for collaboration opportunities with those influencers.
My followup email then mentions a current piece I’m working on and asks if they have any insights they would want to add. This is a win/win scenario because...
- Free promotion as a thought leader!
- Slight SEO boost from us linking to their site.
[Hint: you want more sites linking to yours.]
- BETTER information for our posts.
- Opportunity for cross promotion with an influencer if they feel compelled to share the post (tends to happen).
One successful email I used recently...
"I'm putting together such a piece and it hit me that you would be a great source for this (and a great way to plug you and your website to our audience). Would you have any interest in putting together several sentences in regards to the steps you used to build your brand and become a thought leader in the space?
Doesn't have to be long at all, but thought you would have some great lessons to share with others."
Notable items I focus on with an email like this:
1. Provide details on WHAT I'm doing. --> need some insight on a post
2. WHY I thought they were a great person to approach --> their experience
3. ASK if they would be interested in participating --> others can learn from you
4. ILLUSTRATE the win/win --> we will promote you
3. Cross Promotion
Ultimately, you are trying to get your name out there, and while you are certainly pushing for collaborators to promote content to their audience, first focus on helping and presenting them as a credible source of information. Afterwards, you can THEN spend time making it as easy as possible for he or she to share content.
I’ve found that most people I have included in our posts have been more than willing to promote those posts through social media to their audiences so I've taken some steps to grease the gears for this process.
To increase the likelihood of a little promotion I generate a link with ClickToTweet and add them to my response emails. As you can see below, CTT allows you to craft your own Tweet that someone simply has to click on to share, removing the time and effort required to put a message together.
Not everyone will feel comfortable with using your messaging but in my experience it IS something that has resulted in additional shares from those in which I've included a CTT link.
It takes 60 seconds to queue one up so there is no reason not to try it, but I've even begun including them in on our subscriber emails as this easily enables our supporters to share and help promote us. It definitely works, and I noticed in our analytics that people started engaging with the tool.
As an example, here is the tweet I crafted for Part 1 using CTT:
Through a simple click you would Tweet... "Valuable lessons from influencers to help you build your brand and get your name out. http://ctt.ec/a1aTb+ @nudgecoach"
Interested in seeing it in action? Simply CLICK HERE to Tweet the message above. We really appreciate it!
Bringing It All Together
Through these two posts we've laid out a process and identified the tools necessary to establish your platform and get your message out to the world. Remain laser focused on your brand's mission and begin crafting content that educates your reader, provides significant value, and is worth someone's time.
Leverage other influencers to enhance your own content and get feedback on your mission. Through collaboration you will find that most people are happy to help, so approach collaboration with the idea of helping an influencer and they will tend to return the favor.
We are constantly learning from working with coaches and we will make sure to continue sharing tips and lessons throughout our journey.
Thank you for all the great support.
Mac Gambill (founder and CEO)
Thanks for all the great input!
Tommy Nicholas is an entrepreneur who's been involved with companies like Coffitivity and Knox payments, and through his ventures, has been able to network with some of the movers and shakers of the startup and venture scene. You can find Tommy on Twitter at @tommyrva.
Molly McCarthy has been in the health and wellness industry for over 20 years and is the founder of Capital Health Coach, an online resource helping connect consumers and health coaches. She is a trained integrative health coach through Duke University.