Rule #3: Influencers have become critical marketing targets

This post is the third in a series about the six new rules of thought leadership marketing. Today, Rule #3: influencing the online influencers is critical.

Before the era of blogs and Twitter, thought leaders had few opportunities to get opinion leaders such as CEOs, business gurus, and famous authors to endorse their ideas. Public affirmations were limited to substantial publishing accomplishments like books (quotes on book jackets and book advertisements) and prestigious journal articles (e.g., the occasional Harvard Business Review article touted by a newspaper business columnist). But plug someone’s article or white paper? Virtually unheard of. 

Not today. The explosion in business pundits offering recommendations in their blogs and tweets has considerably increased the supply of key influencers and their need for content to recommend to their viewers. Pick any topic, and you’ll find bloggers and tweeters who have built a large following, regularly pointing to other blogs, videos, books, “eBooks,” articles and white papers.

If your topic is supply chain for instance, the top six tweeters on the subject have between them more than 25,000 followers. The six biggest LinkedIn supply chain groups have between them more than 120,000 members, and there are dozens of blogs on supply chain, some of which have hundreds of visitors a day.

Getting a popular blogger to mention and link to an article multiplies its readership. For an article that we published in November for instance, the chart below shows what happened to our online readership when the article was promoted on blogs and tweeted by several authorities. (Mentions in Facebook and LinkedIn groups also boosted traffic.)

Site Traffic

In fact, we received over three times as much new traffic to our site for the period than we normally would from publishing an article, despite a slow second week because of the Thanksgiving holiday. 

In the next post I'll cover Rule #4; how online columns hjave emerged as a potent new channel.

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