I’ve known Jim Kukral since June 2008 when I was booking interviews tied to my book. I shot him a note and asked if he’d have any interest in it or in having me on his show. Even though we’d never spoken before, he did and he eventually posted the first (and so far only) video review of the book on Amazon.com. That really meant a lot to me.

We’ve stayed in touch ever since. Now, Jim has a book of his own, titled “Attention! This Book Will Make You Money” and I’m happy to be able to support him and spread the word.

What follows is a guest post from Jim, with tips for engaging influencers within your community online (your site, the subject arena of your community, your area of expertise, etc.).

You know it as well as I do. There are a few select individuals in, or out, of your community who are heavy influencers. They have a lot of readers/viewers/listeners/followers, etc., which makes them valuable allies to have in your corner. Naturally you want to have a relationship with them because they can help you move the needle and get attention to your marketing campaigns and ideas to support your community.

But how?

The first thing to understand is that you’re not going to be able to get them to help you without first building a relationship with them. Imagine walking up to someone on the street who has never met you and saying “Please promote my idea, OK? Thanks.” It’s not going to work. The great news is that, because of social media, these influencers are more accessible than ever before.

Your pitch to them starts way before the pitch. It starts when you begin to communicate with them in a meaningful way. Answer their questions. Retweet them. Comment on their blogs or in their forums. In fact, become a big part of what they do and how they do it. Believe me, they’ll notice you.

Then, and only then, after time will you be able to ask them for help.

Make it Easy for Them

Now that you’re friendly with them, you have to pitch them. I can speak from personal experience as a Web professional and author that I am a very busy person. I personally answer every e-mail sent to me, if not the same day, then later. But, that means that because I’m giving back, I’m busy as heck. So, if you sent me a request to promote something of yours in the wrong way, I will probably respond with a no. Why? Because you’re making it too hard.

See, influencers don’t have time. They are usually very happy to help you out. They just don’t have time.

Do not:

1. Send them a giant e-mail they have to read.
2. Not include an actionable request.
3. Ask them for time to “pick their brain.”
4. Write more than a paragraph.
5. Make them work in any way really besides a copy and paste.


1. Give them pre-written copy they can copy and send out.
2. Give them pre-written tweets they can copy and send out.
3. Give them something easy and actionable they can do in 30 seconds or less.

By now you’re saying to yourself, “Wow, these influencers are jerks!” Not at all. As mentioned previously, we want to help you, but we don’t have the time to do it. Do you realize how many e-mails some of the top people get every day? Thousands. David Pogue writes the technology column for the New York Times. He gets over 1,000 pitches a day about “please write about my product/service/site/blog, etc.”

Do you really think that someone without a previous relationship will be able to get through to him? The answer is no.

Think of influencers like little babies. Hear me out. We are too busy playing with our toys. You need to grab a spoon, put some food on it and stick it in our mouths. Give it a try.

Tip: Create a page on your community, blog or website that includes the following. Banner ads they can use, with the code to copy for easy copy and paste. Pre-written (under 140 character) tweets and copy. Make sure to include a shortened link in them as well. This is great because you can then track the clicks. When you e-mail them, include a short sentence and that link and say “All you have to do is click that link and grab some stuff you can copy and paste. It will take you 30 seconds.”

Getting the help of a influencer, or “sneezer,” as Seth Godin calls them, can be an invaluable thing, and you can do it if you follow these tips.

For over 15 years, Jim Kukral has helped small businesses and large companies like FedEx, Sherwin Williams, Ernst & Young and Progressive Auto Insurance understand how to find success on the web. Jim is the author of the book, “Attention! This Book Will Make You Money,” as well as a professional speaker, blogger and web business consultant. Find out more by visiting www.JimKukral.com. You can also follow Jim on Twitter @JimKukral.