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Monday, November 17, 2014

Influencer Marketing 101: A Rookie's Guide to Forging Relationships with Key Influencers. Non-Fiction Book Proposal

Title. Influencer Marketing 101

Subtitle. A Rookie's Guide to Forging Relationships with Key Influencers: Learn to Swim with the Sharks!

Summary. Influencer marketing and influencer psychology are a relatively new field of knowledge. While other researchers and authors describe the tools and methods of influencer marketing in corporate paradigms, e.g. spreading brand awareness or achieving specific sales objectives, I am focusing on influencer networking and influencer relations management for individuals.

This "rookie's guide" is for new and obscure talents who want to promote themselves by learning "to swim with the sharks" i.e. by exposing themselves to top influencers in their particular field, building relationships with them, and ultimately obtaining some form of endorsement by one or more major achievers or decision-makers.

While keeping in mind that everyone is an influencer, the new influence networker:
  • - will learn how to build and operate their influencer network,
------- and how to avoid mistakes and missteps when doing that,
  • - will learn about the core differences between the four levels of influence,
------ and about ways to act within each level;
  • - will read about the five types of influencer psyche,
------ and will learn how to approach persons belonging to each particular type,
  • - will learn how to determine the actual worth, influence-wise, of their influencer network members by applying some social media ratios I specifically devised for this purpose, as well as my patented E.U.F.O.R.I.A. approach (Energy. Utterance. Footprint. Outreach. Resonance. Impression. Awareness),
------- and, in particular, will be disillusioned about some holy cows like the Klout score, but will nevertheless be reassured about their particular if not universal usefulness,
  • - will learn how to create content specifically designed and optimized to attract the attention of influencers,
-------- with case studies of sensitive content like humor and sarcasm,
  • - will learn how to start interacting with key influencers,
-------- with case studies of stuff that works and stuff that doesn't,
  • - will decide whether he/she is ready to invest in a software suite for influencer relations management,
------- with case studies of Traackr and Onalytica,
  • - will learn how to act in order to build mutually fruitful and beneficial relationships with key influencers,
--------- with case studies as well, and
  • - will learn much more...
-------- ... from research I have done, from facts I have explained, from case studies based on my own experience and practice, and from homework I will be setting every now and then.

Note: For this project, I made up an alter ego, the Metatag Hag, who introduces particular bits of advice in a rather snarky tone in order to lighten up the text and ensure a more enjoyable reading experience. Other reasons for having the author speak in two voices was my intention to create an illusion of dialogue and to counterbalance the seriousness of the topics.

There will also be a pictogram representing the Metatag Hag and introducing her bits of advice.

Demographics: both sexes, age: 21-60+, education: college and higher.

Psychographics: the proverbial "chiropractor who feels he has a novel in him" i.e. talents who feel they have potentially great ideas in their heads but do not want to be lost in a sea of bloggers, Tweeters, social media dwellers, and other "small fish". To continue the line of metaphors, even if the readers see themselves as baby sharks, swimming with the big ones takes some learning and training.

Note: If the readers want to position themselves as key-influencers-in-the-making from the start, and feel they could attract the attention of, and belong with other key influencers due to their talents, this book will come in useful. It will allow the readers to concentrate on honing their skills and building a network of influencers - quickly, efficiently, and without making common or less common mistakes.

It would take years to study archetypal psychology, behaviorism and transactional analysis, to learn to develop behavior tactics function of influencer archetypes, to test influencer platform management software, or to take a course on mathematics applied in economics in order to figure out what the Tweet-to-followee ratio has to do with influencer worth... and to make, rectify, and learn from a bunch of mistakes of their own in lots of dealings with top influencers. The Metatag Hag and I, having studied all of the above and more, will save the readers a lot of legwork with this collection of swimming lessons for baby sharks.

Competitive Analysis.

Influencer: The Power to Change Anything by Al Switzler et al.

Similarity: some psychological concepts taken as basis.
My focus is on contextual rather than personal influence. I also give advice not on becoming a better influencer, but on building relationships with influencers in specific fields where my potential reader wants to become a top achiever.
- While Influencer discusses the individual's power to change the world, I am discussing the individual's power to make their talent noticed by already affirmed talents.
Influencer is, in some reviewers' opinion, believed to be either a self-help book or a set of theories accompanied by anecdotal case studies. Influencer Marketing 101 is in essence a DIY book with case studies and mistake analysis from my own experience and practice.
- Their set of tools is based on behaviorism and traditional networking. My own tools are rooted in social media marketing, SEO, and archetypal psychology.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Similarities: certain techniques used for relationship-building
- Carnegie is mostly criticized for underestimating assertiveness. Ex.: "Many people will blatantly abuse niceness. The truth is, that in the real world of today, too much kindness is taken as a sign of weakness and those who try to win friends and influence people in the way Carnegie recommends, all too often end up used and abused." While I do not tell my potential readers to turn into complete doormats, I also do not recommend acting boorishly just for the sake of asserting something that is totally irrelevant to the situation. Level 2 influencers - the main target of my potential readers i.e. public personas who interact with large audiences every day - are normally very polite and considerate. So, many of Carnegie's principles, even though considered outdated by some critics, are still applicable in a framework where it is important to present oneself not only as a talent, but as a well-bred and well-spoken person. Moreover, some of Carnegie's principles are as applicable as ever in the context of business communications, to which my recommendations for building influencer-influencee relationships are related in many ways.
Set of tools; social context (see above).
- With this bit of critique contra Carnegie, I happen to agree. "The techniques in this book basically converted this man into a robot. Nobody really knows what kinds of things he's interested in - although at first you think his interests have a lot in common with yours. The man has no sincerity or credibility. When I see him smiling I don't know if he is genuinely happy or just trying to appear pleasant." However, people today are jumping to the other extreme: wearing their hearts on their sleeves, passing unpleasantness for sincerity and adopting unsavory behavioral techniques like calling someone they barely know "bi*ch" in a misguided effort to appear genuine. I am not trying to teach potential readers to be sycophants and flatterers. I just advocate demonstration of respect and affability in your relationships with people who have achieved more than you did in your particular field.

The Influencer: One Hundred Seven Lessons on Being Effective Without Being a Jerk by Nick Wolff

Similarities: case studies from corporate experience.
Differences: just like Influencer by Switzler et al., this is a book discussing steps towards becoming a better influencer in the personal rather than contextual paradigm. In other words, leadership, not influencer marketing.

Networking Is Not Working: Stop Collecting Business Cards and Start Making Meaningful Connections by Derek Coburn
Similarities: pointers and tips on relationship-building vs. traditional networking.
Differences: context. Coburn discusses business-to-business relationships and networking, not particularly influencer-influencee relationship-building.

Estimated length: ~100,000 words
Estimated delivery date: ~ March 1, 2015 (approx. 50% of material is already drafted and/or written)

Table of Contents with Outlines

Intro (see full text below)

Chapter 1. Build your influencer network
Case study: Kissinger's translator (language services; the "five handshakes" theory, and how much or how little may the one handshake between me and the President of Israel mean)

Chapter 2. Operate your influencer network

Case study: Monetize your mistakes (fiction writing; negotiation-jitsu; self-publishing strategy: pluses and shortcomings; how I self-published a 500-page novel for 1 British pound)

Chapter 3. The four levels of the influence pyramid

Case study: The mediator genie (language services; how a long-term relationship with a level 2 influencer landed me a contract with the Ministry of Interns of France)

Chapter 4. The five types of influencer psyche

Case study: The graveyard shift (semiotics; design; key influencer psychology; behavior patterns; how I was mentored by Umberto Eco's apprentice)

Chapter 5. Ratios for a rational selection of your influencers

Case study: Harry Potter and the Analysis of Influence Worth (social media marketing; estimating influence inside and outside the social media; the ratios I researched and/or invented; how I dissected the Klout Score holy cow)

Chapter 6. E.U.F.O.R.I.A. - Energy. Utterance. Footprint. Outreach. Resonance. Impression. Awareness. - my patented approach to influencing and being influenced

Case study: how I did my homework with the E.U.F.O.R.I.A. of several of my Twitter follower/followees: Josh Stern and the need for thick hide. Selena Gomez and #MakeAnInfluencerSmile. Michael Hyatt, Elise Stokes, and Thomas G Ray. The Ice Bucket Challenge and the Randomness of Virality. My own E.U.F.O.R.I.A. (social media marketing) 

Chapter 6. All hail her Majesty the Content: Sensitive material

Case study: Do not forget to hold up a SARCASM card (fiction writing; handling sensitive material; how I had my own hashtag fail on the eve of the Pitch Wars)

Chapter 7. All hail her Majesty the Content: SEO optimization
Case study: Curing cancer in Korea (SEO; guidelines for writing and optimizing content; how I was contracted to write SEO articles)

Chapter 8. All hail her Majesty the Content: Trending

Case study: The Hashtag Fail List (social media marketing; Susan Boil's album announcement, McDonald's true stories, etc. How I use memes and #funnystuffontheInternet to prove a point)

Chapter 9. The point where you decide to spend or not to spend more money on your influencers

Case study: I compare Traackr and Onalytica influencer relations management platforms. You decide.

Chapter 10. Start swimming!

Build your influencer's profile based on what you had read and on this questionnaire:

Type of influencer psyche?

Level of influence?
Why your ideas may be of interest to him/her?
What can you do for him/her?
What he/she can do for you?


Prepare your approach strategy
Prepare your interaction strategy
Prepare your offer

Case study: Anastasia swimming in circles around the Query Shark (relationship-building, right steps and missteps, me making a case study out of "courting" a top influencer, the Gob and Jane series, and Chinese classical poetry)


Outline: conclusion and pitch for Book 2.

Sample chapter:


This body of information and advice is not for marketing or SEO specialists who know it all about how to push a product to the first Google search results page. I have written this book for the regular talented person.

No, that is not a typo. Someone once said, "there will be no ordinary people in the twenty-first century. Earth will be home to seven billion talented, special, extraordinary people." Today, this is not a sci-fi writer's dream. This is happening.

So, are you a brilliant mind who wants to spend time working on their skills, not spending a lot of time chasing followers in an ocean of bloggers, Tweeters, and other "small fish"?

Are you in fact a shark star in the making?

You just don't know how to swim with the big Kahunas?

I am reaching out to the regular creative but not quite marketing-savvy mind in Uncle Sam manner. I want YOU to make it! I want YOU to be the hot news!
Important people talking about you among themselves and telling about you to the world - this is the Mount Olympus of the social media era. And this is your goal.
A Word from the Metatag Hag
After all, we all know the second page of Google results is the perfect place to hide something, like evidence to a crime. Seriously, though, if you are an individual vying for public attention, being on the first search results page is as difficult as climbing Everest, let alone Olympus. If you are trying to hide something nasty, don't hope even the 100th Google search results page will help. This is the paradox of our life.
 So don't do nasty things and be careful with every step. This is my advice to everyone - to influencer marketing students in particular.
 Let's suppose you are strictly a man or woman of letters or a starry-eyed Game of Thrones fan. You know little about marketing, less about Jung's archetypes or Berne's games people play, and zilch about mathematics applied in economics, econometrics or statistics. Your talent is to design mega action figures or draw supercool graphic novels, and you don't just want the world to find out about it. You want your special product to become a household name.
Metatag Hag:
For instance, you have a killer TV show idea, you're working on the script, you're enjoying yourself swimming in your little sea of creativity. After all, any writer will tell you that the writing part is the best and easiest part. But don't forget it was the promo of your work that at some point, made you utter all the expletives you knew.
So the usual advice is: be smart, learn from your past mistakes, and dedicate equal amounts of time to both activities - creating and promoting what you create. Its value notwithstanding, you must bear this in mind: the more time you spend promoting yourself, the less time you have left for honing your skills and becoming the brilliant talent other sharks are bound to notice.
For a creative mind striving to reveal its talents to the world, one way is to build a network of relationships that can ultimately bring accreditation and endorsement by top level influencers or KEY influencers.
Influencer marketing and influencer psychology are subjects of growing importance within the greater field of Marketing Management.
Contrary to the common belief, the hot shots are not the only influencers - your neighbor is an influencer, too. Your little sister with her blog and her 5,000+ Facebook friends - even more so. If you're promoting a musical product, your neighborhood's garage band is the first to befriend - trust me, they know all the sites and are following all the people. Don't forget about Grandma and her book club, too!
 The difference is level and impact; horizontal and vertical influence.

Business owners, literary agents with popular blogs, Hollywood producers - those are top level influencers. As the infographic shows, they can give you more reach, but the degree of influence will be lower. 
As for your own influence on them... to them, "unforgettable" is not what it means to the rest of the world.
So don't be afraid to show to mountain-top sitters in what particular way you are unforgettable.
 Metatag Hag: ...but beware gimmicks!
Bottom line: if you want to sing with Justin Bieber, you have to start by impressing your Mom.
 Now, let's take it you have the first two levels covered. Your family, friends, and friends of friends know about your new product. You have a small but devoted fandom who like you and think you are worthy of acclaim.Yet they cannot give you the endorsement that can land you a network of high-profile contacts and eventually a contract.
 We all know the old adage about making one step at a time.
Metatag Hag: To rephrase an old Danube-Carpathian saying, "if you want sausages for the holidays, you should not start fattening your pig on Christmas Eve".
So, if you want your product to be in stores by Christmas, start working on your influencer network now.
 Actually, you should have started in February, but you're not a megacorp and you don't play by their rules. Nor do you have their resources. Luckily, you have all the tools to start promoting your talent at zero expense. Just use your old toys - blogs, pages, Twitter, Pinterest - things you only used for a little blah-blah-show before.
 Metatag Hag: Influencer networking is a key strategy in your battle plan. Every day, we are both influencing and being influenced by someone or something.
You know any friendship can have great intrinsic value. Just imagine what resources you can tap by building a relationship with a powerful person! This is exactly why you need more time to hone your skills - key influencers tend to befriend brilliant people who, for their turn, have the potential of becoming key influencers some day.
This is why you need this book. It will teach you how to build and manage influencer relationships on all levels. You will learn to handle this or that kind of influencer properly - without spending years on studying things Anastasia and I are serving on a silver platter for you.
We will also share lots of details about our mistakes... so your own would be less frequent or grievous.
So, let's learn to swim with the sharks! We will start with Chapter 1: Build your Influencer Network.
Sincerely yours,
Anastasia Stratu and the Metatag Hag

My profile:

Language services specialist - speak five, read and understand three more languages, 16 years in the language services, a career path from translating personal correspondence after school to running my own language services boutique company for over three years.

Professional interests: translation | terminology | interpreting | proofreading | revision | management | consulting | theory and practice of negotiations| semiotics | lexicology | structural linguistics.

Academic interests: Jungian archetypal psychology | behaviorism | transactional analysis.

Field research: social media management and marketing | SEO/SEM | influencer marketing | influencer psychology.

Since March 2014 - SEO writer for NEO Informatics Co.

Education: pre-university lyceum student of modern languages and world literature with strong emphasis on reviewing and critical analysis. International Business Management major and Translations minor. Additional courses and/or training: economic journalism, economic semiotics.

Other: Fiction author. Oxford comma fan.

My platform for marketing the book (TBD):

Social media;

Own influencer network;
Established relationships and contacts, both local and international;
Public speaking.