Welcome to episode three of the Virtual Summit Mastery podcast. You’ll learn how to approach influencers and how to get them as speakers onto your virtual summit.
Why influencers? You will be able to use the Oprah effect. You can stand on the shoulders of giants. If you get an influencer for your virtual summit, they will make your event more important and reach many people. This is what I want to walk you through in this podcast episode.
And you can follow along in these show notes because there are some bonuses and downloads available that accompany this episode.
1. How To Approach Influencers
The first step is to find influencers in your niche before you start approaching them. These are people who influence others, and they are the ones you should invite to speak at your event and follow. People like serial entrepreneur Sujan Patel say that influencers can be many things, like traditional print authors, bloggers, industry leaders, or consultants. They might also be media gurus or people who work in jobs that put your opinions in front of an audience.
You want the influencers to help you get in front of their audience. That’s why you are looking for them and talking about what they can do for you. They will provide good content as a speaker at the event, and then promote it to more people. They might even be able to work with you on other projects after the summit is over, like partnering with them for future promotions.
If an influencer introduces you to their audience, they like you more than if you have to find them independently. You have a better chance of making a good impression on the influencer’s followers. To find people with many followers, use tools like BuzzSumo, Buzzstream, NinjaOutreach, or Followerwonk and track who you are contacting in a spreadsheet.
I’ve prepared this spreadsheet so that you can track your outreach process and always stay on top of your communications.
2. Choosing The Right Speakers & Partners.
Step two is choosing the right speakers and partners. You want to go deep instead of going wide because many people connect at an initial level at a superficial level, but they never go further.
The key to standing out is to make a meaningful connection with influential people in your industry. Try to put yourself in their shoes. They get asked every day by as many as 10-100 people what they can do for them. Most of those requests are superficial and just come from people with their own best interests in mind.
You need to build a deep relationship with an influencer if you want to stand out. If you do this, always give value first, and never ask for anything in return – you will stand out. Build relationships with people you really want to connect with. Do not just look for the easy way but take time for those that really matter.
Instead of just trying to get many influencers, focus on a few. Take the time to get to know them and do research. This way, you will know if they are a good fit for your event before signing them up. You could become friends with them on social media and see how they interact with their followers too. Remember, this process will require a lot of time. But it is worth it because a solid relationship provides opportunities for years to come.
Do they adjust their message to suit followers or care about who is listening? And do they get into conversations with people they follow? When you find them, make a list of 50-100 dream speakers and work your way through it. Are you wondering how to approach influencers if you need to build relationships with 50 or 100 people? Track them in the spreadsheet I’ve linked above and make networking a habit.
3. Connect And Add Value To Influencers
Third, you need to connect with the influencers. First, as we’ve said, you need to build a good relationship with them. If you want them to come to your event, it is important that they like you and know who you are. Even if you do not have a website or an audience yet, they will remember your name from social media or other platforms you’ve engaged with them.
Even then, you can add value to an influencer. And this might sound not very clear. You might have no idea how to do this, but let me help. You can add value and get noticed by influencers over time. You could do a case study for them. For example, implement the strategies they are teaching and become a public case study by sharing your results that you’ve gotten from taking action on their materials.
Deliver a testimonial for them. If you’ve bought a product or read their book or follow the podcast, whatever, find a way that you can be a spokesperson for them. Create raving testimonials for the quality of their work, comment on their blog posts, and share their social blog posts. These are basic tips.
You should also engage with their content on social media so that their content ranks better organically. This is super important and overlooked by many people.
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Many social media platforms want people to engage. This means you should share your influencers’ posts on social media and like and comment on what they post. Doing this over time will make them notice you, and they will appreciate it when you do so.
You can buy their book and review it. You can also subscribe to their podcasts or buy one of the products or services they sell. You could promote a product or service on your own website, or you could introduce them to somebody they want to meet.
There are many ways to add value to influencers. You can get creative and think of other ways, but I just wanted to tell you the first few things I thought of in this podcast. Take action before you feel ready.
When you try to meet someone important, please find out more about their friends and connect with them. It will be easier to talk to them, and they might introduce you to the person you want to meet. Again, make sure that you keep a list of your new connections.
You can use the CRM, of course, or the outreach spreadsheet I’ve linked above. I found that keeping things easy eliminates barriers to entry. There’s no point in over-complicating all of this. No matter what podcast episode of the VSM podcast you’re listening to – always ask yourself: What if this was easy?
You must take action before you are ready. The last thing I want to talk about in this third step of networking is that you need to make it a daily habit and set aside time for it every day. You can even do it for just five minutes or thirty minutes.
For example, to network on Facebook, wherever your influencers are hanging out. Set aside time to spend time on that platform and to add value to the influencers.
4. Ask The Influencer The Right Way
Now let’s talk about the meat of this episode. Step number four is making the ask the right way. Let’s talk about how to approach influencers and actually get them to join your event.
Even if you start from scratch and have no audience, even you have just started executing on your first virtual summit. Why would somebody join your event?
I would love to reference something that my friend Matt McWilliams says (he runs affiliate promotions for the massive players, like Stu McLaren recently with his Tribe launch). Matt says you need to get your mindset right. And he has created a perfect acronym from the word ASK that I want you to remember.
A – assume a positive response.
S – show the benefit
K – know their audience and needs.
Making an ask is hard. Don’t expect anything when you are actually asking. Be flexible and open to people saying no. Again, put yourself in the shoes of your influencers and the people you want to invite to speak at your summit. With keeping this acronym in your mind, you’re improving your chances but there’s no guarantee for a Yes.
Influencers get a lot of invitations. They don’t want to see these invitations anymore. They have too much work, and they always need to be picky about what they are spending their time doing. These people are just humans, so it is not personal to say no to something that you offer them.
If you assume that the person will say yes, then you are in a happy mood and know what they want. When you know what your audience wants, it will be easy for them to understand how they can benefit from speaking at your event. When thinking about how to approach influencers, the positive mindset is always the beginning of any conversation.
So some common mistakes to avoid are asking questions like:
- do you want to promote me?
- Can you do me a favor?
- Can I ask you something?
- Can I pick your brain over a coffee?
Don’t ask those questions, please. The point is that you want to stand out in your outreach process, and those are the questions that everybody else is asking.
Those people want their own benefit. Be different and focus on the speaker’s benefit, not your own. Keep your outreach personalized and concise. Don’t make the influencer do much work and present all the influencer’s information in an easy-to-understand format. Make it easy for them to decide whether they want to speak at your event or not.
You’ll want to give details about the topics, when to prerecord or whether to do a live session, how to book a time with you to speak, and go over more questions that they might have present all those details in an easy to understand format.
In VSM, we have the summit overview document that we have the students create and send to the speakers to review all the information of your summit in one place and make it a win-win offer for the influencer.
Make it very clear who they are sharing the stage with. Give a reason why people should care about your event. Tell them what you will do to make it successful and how they can benefit from joining. And then tell them why you’re so passionate about this event.
You will be speaking to at least 50 to 100 influencers, probably 70% of those will say no, but you need to stay on top of those communications. And that is why I’ve put together the outreach spreadsheet linked above.
And if you want to learn more about the summit process itself and hosting the virtual summit, go to summitmasterclass.com, which will give you access to the free training that I’ve put together.
This training outlines all seven steps of the proven Virtual Summit Mastery method that in order to host a virtual event,
Thanks so much for listening and reading through the show notes and don’t forget to subscribe.