A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on the value of using interviews to benefit your online community. Today, I’d like to focus that post on one specific industry—video gaming—and provide some concrete tips for identifying and recruiting influencers.
But first, a quick recap on the benefits of interviewing influencers for your community:
1. Increase content value – You’ve got great things to say, but influencers have wide-spread influence for a reason. By recruiting someone outside your community, you have the chance to bring perspective and wisdom you may never have encountered before.
2. Deepen strategic partnerships- In addition to providing value to your community members, you'll also benefit your interviewee. By introducing them to a broader audience, you can help them expand their network.
3. Cross-promote communities - Don't be surprised when the promotional benefit you provide to your interviewee folds back in on you. While you're busy promoting this influencer to your community, he or she will be promoting you to their own.
Here are 5 steps to finding an influencer to interview for your video gaming community:
1. Pick Your Targets
To pick the ideal influencer to interview, you need to know your community. If you’re focused on sports games, then you want to find an influencer like KSI who’s known in that space. If you’re into vast worlds and procedural generation, then Seananners would be a better fit.
At the end of the day, let the value question guide your search. Who will be the most interesting and beneficial influencer to speak into your community? Pick a few players who match your people and then move on to the next step.
2. Find Non-Creepy Ways to Digitally Stalk Them
Now that you’ve chosen a few influencers to pursue, get to know everything you can about each one. Follow them on Twitter, watch their YouTube videos, and join their fan pages on Facebook. If they’ve written online, read their writing. If they’ve got a podcast, subscribe to it.
Pay close attention to their work. Find points of interest that intersect with your own community’s needs. Look for ways in which your expertise might jive with their own interests. Build a case, not only for why they’ll be good for you but why you’ll be good for them.
3. Tap Your Network for an Introduction
Warm introductions are always better than cold calls. Look within your community and social networks for points of contact with this influencer. If you can find someone in common, reach out for a personal introduction to your target influencer.
If you can find one, use it to pave the way to the next step. If you can't, then don't sweat it. Proceed to the next step anyway.
4. Reach Out with an Interview Offer
Email is your most likely route here. Keep your introduction short and sweet. Say only enough to show that you’ve done your homework. Shortly describe why this influencer should be interested in speaking with you and what that conversation would look like.
Then, hit the send button.
The goal here is to present the opportunity in a way that clearly shows your target who you are and why they should. Provide specifics about your community, but do your level best keep it from sounding like a sales pitch. Suggest a timeframe but, above all, be flexible.
5. Lather, Rinse, and Repeat
Most niche market influencers, though not all, take the time to read emails and respond. If you don’t get an immediate response, relax. Email is a wild beast we all struggle to deal with daily.
If you don’t hear back within a week, send a polite follow-up. Most likely, you’ll need to slowly cultivate the relationship via email as you work towards securing the interview.
Don't expect to nail down every influencer you contact with 100% success. That’s why I suggested you pick a handful of targets. Run through this process with each one and, eventually, you’ll be able to schedule one or two.
Now, go and do it!
Those are the basic steps to securing an influencer to let you interview them. Don’t feel as though you need to follow the process rigorously. You may find a modification or two that works better for you.
Keep at it and, before you know it, you’ll be streaming all kinds of new value into your community. More importantly, you’ll start to see growth in both numbers and quality of content. Both of those are worthy goals for any community manager.