An Influencer Introduction With DIY Marketers

DIY Marketers shares their favorite tools, how they grow their audience, how they find sponsors, and more.

1 of 12What question are you asked the most when you tell someone you're a blogger/content creator?

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How do you make money?

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2 of 12How do brands find you?

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Brands find me two ways; 1) Mostly from the articles I write and that are published not just on DIYMarketers.com but on other sites as well (such as AMEX OpenForum or SmallBizTrends.com and 2) from conferences I attend that are focused on small business owners where marketing managers from enterprise brands attend to learn how to connect with small business owners.

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3 of 12Is there anything that you believe a brand should know before they begin reaching out to influencers?

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Don’t just choose influencers based on followers -- take the time to understand where these influencers are strong; is it engagement, driving traffic, content sharing, etc. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on a Twitter chat with just 3 influencers and no one else. So, just because the follower numbers are strong, doesn’t mean you’ll get the engagement you’re looking for.

Look for influencers who see themselves as partners with you, who care about your goals and how you’re going to achieve them. Your project and campaign deserves to be more than a simple transaction. You want an influencer who is familiar with your brand and who knows what it takes to be successful with their audience.

You’re paying for the influencer to create content and gain access to their audience, and NOT to write an advertisement for you. Influencer love to get guidelines for what you want in the content, but they also know what it takes to build trust with their audience, listen to their recommendations on how to structure the content for best results.

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4 of 12What one tool for your content or your business can you not live without?

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Lately, my favorite content tool is CoSchedule. This is my favorite tool for uploading blog content, images and then creating customized social sharing campaigns.

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5 of 12How do you decide how much to charge a brand?

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My pricing is based on precedent set by existing brands as well as knowing what other influencers charge. My rates are also based on the level of traffic and engagement that I get.

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6 of 12What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome when starting out?

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My biggest challenge was defining my “tilt” or point-of-view. In the beginning (back in 2008) it was all about showing people that there were tools and platforms they could use and how to use them. Now, there are so many tools, that I’ve adjusted my point-of-view to helping people choose the right tool for them and the right strategy for them. My goal is to simplify marketing, to make it easy to do and to make it affordable for small business owners who don’t have the time or money to invest in marketing.

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7 of 12How do you personally keep your content true to your voice while also delivering value to a brand?

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Keeping content true to your voice and point-of-view can be challenging when a brand wants to be THE ONLY brand mentioned and linked to in an article. My article will typically give the reader specific instructions and tools and resources to use so that they can easily jump into using the brand I’m featuring. If I am constrained by who I can mention and link to, I look for other creative ways to give readers enough of a recipe for success so that they can use the platform, product or service of the brand I’m working with.

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8 of 12What is the biggest challenge you face now that you have an established audience?

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My goal is always engagement and more engagement. I’m always looking for ways to get into ongoing conversations with my audience, to help each other and to introduce each other to experts as well as brands we find who support small business.

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9 of 12How did you grow your audience when you started out?

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I grew my audience by focusing on creating great content, publishing on larger small business publications and regularly and actively engaging on Twitter (Facebook and LinkedIn to a lesser degree)

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10 of 12What helps you maintain your motivation to continue creating content?

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I love sharing low-cost marketing advice - tools, tips, hacks, etc. It’s like when you get a great deal on something or you find a simple solution to an ongoing problem -- there’s nothing more fun than sharing it with your friends.

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11 of 12What's the one piece of advice you would give to someone just starting out in content creation?

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The best piece of advice I received and that I would pass on actually came from my friend, Anita Campbell who publishes SmallBizTrends.com -- “Just when you want to give up -- don’t.

Keep writing, keep sharing, stay active even though you’re not seeing results right away. It takes time and one day, you’ll reach a tipping point and the traffic, engagement and results will follow.

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12 of 12What brands would you most like to work with?

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My favorite brands that I’ve worked with and would love to keep working with are; Canon, Verizon, HP, Kabbage, Dropbox. Brands I’ve not worked with but LOVE -- GoDaddy, CoSchedule, BuzzSumo, Dell, IBM, LegalZoom, Pitney Bowes --- so many.

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