Influencer outreach for your book promotion is crucial in the book launch and post-launch process. The trick here is knowing what influencers to reach out to and what to say to get your desired results.
Part of the work we do at Book Launchers for our authors is we create a marketing roadmap for their book launch. We also have a researcher on the team who does influencer research to help with the workload.
A marketing roadmap is your strategic launch plan which gets updated every quarter. It includes a list of potential influencers that can help you with your book promotional efforts. They might be people who would be an excellent fit for endorsements, a foreword, or sharing your message with their audience.
We provide a lot of support around what to do with these influencers. Still, it’s usually up to the authors to contact them because it’s rarely as effective for a third party to do the outreach on your behalf UNLESS that third party already has a relationship with that influencer.
Get The Right Mindset for Your Influencer Outreach
So what should you do? First, you’ll need to do a mindset check to ensure that you have the right mindset going into this outreach. Rather than approaching this feeling needy, approach it knowing that your reader needs you to do this work, so they can uncover your essential book and unlock the knowledge you’re sharing.
Always initiate outreach with the mindset of building a long-term relationship, where you will add value and ask for something so minimal it’s easy for the other person to say yes. So with that in mind, here are eight tips for doing an influencer outreach that’s likely to get a yes.
These aren’t steps per se, but I would try to do them in order most of the time.
Tip#1 – Make it Natural When Grabbing Attention
Get the influencer’s attention, but do so in a natural way. Your first inclination might be to send an email. Yes, you can easily do that, but it might be better to get them to notice you in some other way.
Let me give you an example from my YouTube bestie, Steven Seril.
He recently gave out awards for his top contributors. One of which, of course, is yours truly. Thanks, Steven! But long before he did this award, he was a regular commenter on my YouTube videos.
I pay attention to YouTube comments, so go ahead and say hello because I’ll probably reply to you.
He was a cheery, encouraging voice adding value to my videos and the comments of others. So when he connected with me on Twitter, I connected back. He said he wanted pictures of people in dinosaur costumes with his book.
So I bought his book and got my son, Jackson, to pose, holding it in a dinosaur costume. He didn’t even ask me directly. I just did it to support someone who’d been such a great supporter of me.
So what can you do to get the influencer’s attention first? Well, I’ve done this in many other ways. One is going to an event where they’re speaking and getting an introduction to them through a mutual connection.
I’ve also used their advice and posted the results on social media with a thank you. Being a regular supporter, implementer, and commenter willing to showcase the benefits of following their advice can be of tremendous value to many influencers.
That’s friction-free connecting, and I highly recommend it.
Tip#2 – Make The Influencer Feel Valued
At some point, you’ll probably need to send an email. But what should that email look like? Let’s first take a look at some examples of what your email SHOULD NOT look like:
“Can I send you my book for you to read and write a review?”
“Will you please retweet this to your audience?”
“My book is relevant to your audience. Will you share it with them?”
“Our companies have a lot of synergies. Can we chat to discuss how we can help each other?”
I get emails like these all the time. I can’t tell you how many emails like these your niche influencer gets, but I’m sure it’s a lot.
Also, this gets annoying because they’re always getting a ton of messages. I’m not even a big name, and I get five to ten of those requests a day in my email, LinkedIn, or Instagram.
So if you’re at this step and you’re now hitting someone’s inbox or DMS, your approach should not be to ask for a link, share, or review.
It would be best if you asked them to contribute to something. You can ask for some advice or some other light connection. For example, I got invited to speak at two different summits last week.
One made it clear my participation was contingent on me sharing a solo email with my audience about my participation. That was an instant turnoff because I didn’t want to do that.
I treasure all of you who read “The Launch Letter.” I probably would’ve shared a link in a newsletter, but I wasn’t going to send a solo email.
Also, saying that on the initial outreach just made it feel they only wanted my participation for my audience, not for my content.
The other one who invited me went like this, “I see your two videos per week, and I just love them. I had to ask if you would participate in this upcoming summit. We have other experts like X and Y,” I actually know X and have a ton of respect for him. They then added, “And we’d love to have The Book Broad participate too.”
That worked for me. I said yes, even though the timeline was tight. They showed me they had checked out my content, which was why they were reaching out. They didn’t ask me for anything but to be an expert on a panel at this summit, which is easy for me to do. They’ve also established credibility by naming one person I know and respect in the industry.
So think about what you can ask for that’ll get an easy yes. It’s usually something that makes the person feel valued, not used.
Tip#3 – Avoid Mass Emails!
Influencer email outreach is not a numbers game. It would be best if you were a sniper, not a torpedo. I say this even when you’re just asking for Amazon reviews, which is a smaller ask than what you do in influencer outreach.
If you’re asking someone with an audience of 100,000 people of your ideal readers, you definitely should not be throwing them on an email blast while making an ask.
Personalized emails could get you a ton of results. So, start digging into what the influencer is all about, so you can craft a customized email, starting with the subject line.
Also, a successful outreach takes time. Tips one and two are not quick and easy wins. They work, but easy they are not.
Tip#4 – Send Something Meaningful to the Influencer
Robert Workman was a client of ours who successfully got his books into airport bookstores using a somewhat unconventional approach. After a sales call to carry his book, his follow-up was sending a box of cookies. Yep, It worked!
His book was carried in nearly a dozen airport bookstores. You can see an oldie but goody video about that here.
Kevin White is also doing a video with us about how sending a package in the mail, which included a letter and his book, raised six figures for his nonprofit group. Make sure you’ve subscribed to our channel so you catch that one when it comes out.
You can ship your book around with a letter, but doing a little extra something can get more attention. Maybe a unique T-shirt or something else with your book. Not swag necessarily, but something your influencer would care about.
We had a guest expert on a call for our clients who talked about making the most out of your podcast interviews. She sent me a box of tea afterward.
If you know the person loves something, take that into account. It shows you’re personalizing that outreach, which will be far more meaningful to that person.
Tip#5 – Get Introduced Through a Connection
I’ve talked about this before but knowing someone who knows someone is an excellent way to get in. Dale Roberts, who runs Self-Publishing with Dale, an awesome channel, connects me with many amazing people in the publishing industry. He’s a rockstar of connections.
If I need to meet someone, I ask him if he knows them, and he almost always does. I have a few other friends that are like that, great connectors. So I always ask around if I want to meet somebody, which often leads to me getting a warm intro.
Getting a warm intro will make it easier to ask for exactly what you want or need. I used to feel silly or awkward asking people like Dale for an introduction, but I don’t anymore.
I focus on delivering value and building strong relationships. And I treat everyone with respect and kindness. And if I can’t help, I try to find someone who can.
If you do the same, you should feel good about asking for help because you’ll be the one to line up when someone asks you.
So how do you know if someone has connections you might be interested in meeting? LinkedIn and Facebook will tell you, or you can just email some of your friends and ask. You can also use some online tools, but most are paid services. If you can, I find that asking works really well.
Tip#6 – Deliver Massive Value to Others Frequently
Easy Graphics made a video for my book “Self-Publish & Succeed.” It was a super cool video, and it got my attention because of how incredibly generous that action was. If you do something unique and kind, and you can be helpful, you’ll probably get a lot more yeses.
Deliver value to others frequently, and you’ll find influencer outreach so much easier. Think of others and offer support if you can.
For example, suppose you know someone, and they say, “I’m doing X in my business,” and you happen to come across someone you know in that space. You can say, “Hey, you mentioned you were doing this, and I happen to know this person who’s also in this space, and they might be a good connection for you. Would you like me to connect the two of you?”
You put in the work to listen and see how you can help. You then follow up with a generous, thoughtful offer to assist them. Now they’ll know who you are and will often ask how they can return the favor. Voila, you’ve got an easy, easy opening.
Tip#7 – Always Find A Way You Can Help
Eavesdrop on your influencers to see if there’s any way you can provide. Most influencers are on social media and do live streams or podcasts. Seeing their content can give you clues about how you can help or connect with them.
Please don’t tweet someone and say, “How can I help you?” They don’t know you, and they might not want to share where they need help with you. I mean, who likes asking for help? So they are probably going to ignore you.
Listen and pay attention. I made a friend with influencer coach Deb Kuhl because I heard her speak at an event. She said, “You should never have lunch alone.” You’d be surprised that speakers don’t get asked to go for lunch when they speak at an event. Most people just assume they’re busy or too important.
So when I heard she was speaking at another event I was going to be at, I started tweeting her about things I’d learned from her, which I was putting into action. As the event approached, I reminded her of what she said and asked her to go for lunch. She said, “Yes,” and it turned into a beautiful friendship. She’s also been an incredible supporter too.
Super bonus: if you’re paying attention, you might spot something your influencer talks about that isn’t getting their usual level of traction. Whether it’s a video, a product, an idea, or a picture, if you’re the one that posts, shares, writes a testimonial, or does something else of value to support that thing, you’ll be noticed.
Tip#8 – Do Something that Highlights Their Work
Throwing back to Steven again, he’s launched this series of Outstanding Creator Awards. He gave me the first award, and now I’m promoting it, wearing the awesome medal on this video.
The same can work if you do an article series, a video series, a podcast series, or a book full of expert interviews. Not everyone you ask will say yes, but some will. You’ll be building some strong bonds with some people who are influencers in their space. However, this takes some work, which is why it’s effective. Most people won’t do this kind of work, making it easier for you to stand out.
If you need to email your influencer, please start off showcasing something they’ve recently done that you respect and appreciate. Then, get to the point fast. Be kind and try to deliver more value than you are asking for.
Now, I’m curious, what is work for you when it comes to influencer outreach? Let’s chat about it in the comments below.
Okay, so this is the video with Robert Workman on getting your book into airport bookstores. His outreach is clever!
This one over here is the latest and greatest from the channel because outreach is all about staying on top of the latest and greatest.
If you’re in this stage of your self-publishing journey and you’d like someone who knows what they’re doing at your side, why not set up a consult call with us to see how we can help!