We all know that making meaningful connections with influencers can be very helpful to achieving our entrepreneurial dreams. But how do you do it? How do you connect with influencers?
In January of 2017, I was listening to Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income podcast and out of the blue, I looked at my wife and declared to her, “One day, Pat is going to interview me on his show.”
My wife gave me the “I don’t believe you” look and said, “I’m sure it’ll happen… some day.” Then she turned away.
Lo and behold, only 10 months later, my wife and I recorded a podcast interview with Pat!
For the uninitiated, Pat Flynn is a major influencer in the online entrepreneurship world.
As of January 2, 2018, Pat’s podcast has an average 5 star review with 2,207 reviews. He also has 152,000 Twitter followers, over 152,000 Facebook likes on his FB page, and over 86,000 YouTube subscribers. He’s a big deal.
The thing that is unique about Pat is that he isn’t just a teacher. He’s also a practitioner. He experiments with building online businesses, then teaches everything (and I mean EVERYTHING!) that he learns. He even shares his monthly income reports, which is inspiring.
I have been following Pat’s online journey since 2009, so to be interviewed on his podcast is a big deal for me. (Thanks for the opportunity Pat!)
But how did it happen? How did I get connected with the likes of Pat?
I’ve thought long and hard about this and I think there is a proven formula for connecting with influencers like Pat Flynn. Here are the principles that I followed:
1. Pay attention
To get connected with influencers, the first thing you need to do is know what they are up to. Pay attention to their Twitter, Facebook page, blog, and podcast and know what projects they are working on.
I had been listening to Pat’s podcast throughout the year and had also been reading his blog. Last summer, I saw that he had launched a video contest in conjunction with the release of his updated book, Let Go!
2. Participate in the community
Most people who read blogs or listen to podcasts are passive observers. They don’t jump into the conversation that is happening. Content creators love conversation. They want to create great stuff and the only way to do that is to get feedback from you. That is why your participation in the community they are building is so important!
So the second thing to do to connect with influencers is to actually engage with their stuff! For example, respond to tweets, comment on facebook posts, comment on youtube videos. If the influencer has a Facebook Group, join it and answer people’s questions if you can.
For my particular situation, I entered Pat’s video contest by recording, editing, and posting a 3 minute video of myself sharing a bit of how my entrepreneurial journey began.
I’m sure that a few thousand people saw the blog post but yet, only a few dozen entered the video contest. By simply participating in the community, you stand out from the crowd!
3. Practice what the influencer teaches
The third essential step in connecting with influencers is to take action! It’s not enough to learn the content. Take action on the things you are learning from the influencer and you’ll surely get results.
For example, Pat teaches about validating a product by having people buy the product before it’s even made! This let’s you know if there is a market before you waste a bunch of money and a lot of time in creating something that people aren’t willing to pay for.
We did exactly what Pat teaches and did preorders for our first product, which had not even been created yet. In two weeks, we collected $2,500 in sales, which validated that our product was something that was worth pursuing. In addition to launching our business with preorders, we also launched our first children’s board book with preorders. This helped us generate over $20,000 in 7 days!
The fourth essential step for connecting with influencers is to be tenacious and not give up on your entrepreneurial dreams. Most people try a few things here and there and give up after failing a few times. My wife and I had been trying to build an online business since 2009 and we flopped over and over again until we finally created an online business that is finding success.
Noah Kagan once said in an interview that, one character trait that separates people who experience entrepreneurial success from those who don’t, is persistence. They don’t give up easily. I think he’s totally right. You will encounter failures but it doesn’t have to define you.
After every failure, I ask myself these key questions, “What can I learn from that failure?” “What should I stop doing?” “What was missing?”
Each failure then becomes a lesson for your future success.
“Failure is simply success training.” ~ Kevin Smith
5. Payback with gratitude
The last essential step for connecting with influencers is to express gratitude. After you’ve learned something from an influencer, taken action, and started to see some positive results, share those results with the influencer and THANK them for what they taught you. Influencers do their best to share content that will actually help others, so when their stuff helps you, reach out and say thanks! Share your results with them.
In our situation, we launched our Hmong children’s board book and opened up our cart for preorders. In 7 days, we generated $20,000 in sales. I shared these results with Pat Flynn, just wanting to express gratitude, and it was after hearing our results that he invited us to be on his podcast!
The key to this step is simply to do it without expectations. They’ve already shared with you helpful content that has given you amazing results. Simply share your results and express gratitude.
If you follow these 5 steps, you’ll be able to connect with influencers and even begin building meaningful relationships with them.
Always remember to add value and treat influencers like real humans, because that’s what they are 🙂