84 percent of marketers plan to increase their influencer outreach strategies in 2015, according to new research.

Content marketing can help you show expertise within your industry – and one way to prove authority is an endorsement from an industry leader. This is perhaps why 84 percent of marketers plan to increase their influencer outreach strategies this year, according to new research from Augure.

Influencer outreach is the act of reaching out to thought leaders within your industry as a way of bringing awareness to your brand. Influencers are individuals who have strong personal brands, whether through their blogs and social media or at industry events. These people are highly respected and considered authoritative within their space.

Influencer outreach is a strategy that works, according to 81 percent of those surveyed. The challenge, however, is identifying relevant influencers to reach out to.

Influencer Engagement Chart Brafton Augure

3 ways to connect with influencers:

1. Converse on social media

Social media isn’t a one-way street, and the best way to get in front of a variety of influencers is to share their content in addition to distributing what you’ve produced.

Here are some quick ways to get in on the social media conversation:

  • Join LinkedIn groups (or create your own!) and share your brand’s opinions in forum discussions

  • Participate in Twitter chats that your audience would be interested in

  • Create a Pinterest board dedicated to Pins from brands you’d like to be acquainted with

2. Feature influencers in your blog

Show industry influencers you’re interested in their perspectives by quoting them directly on your website. Once you’ve become acquainted, reach out to request an interview for your blog – or simply ask an influencer one question via social media and share his/her response within a blog post.

At Brafton, our clients love interviews with thought leaders. Check out Hollie’s tips for conducting a great interview.

Another way to do this is to mention brands you admire within your blog. At Brafton, we have several articles where we feature different brands that are taking creative and eviable approaches in their marketing efforts.

Here are two examples of what that can look like:

3. Create stellar content

Jeff Bullas' article that links to Brafton's Content for SEO graphic.

Jeff Bullas’ article that links to Brafton’s Content for SEO graphic.

This one seems like a no-brainer, but the best way to get attention within your space is to produce content people (including industry leaders) will be interested in reading.

At Brafton, we created an infographic several years ago that content marketing leader Jeff Bullas shared in his blog. The infographic took time to create, but because of its sleek design and thoroughly researched statistics, it got on Jeff’s radar without our bringing it to his attention. This organic approach proved success – it still brings in thousands of shares and links.

Is influencer outreach making its way into your marketing strategy? If not, learn more about how Brafton’s content marketing services can aid your efforts.

Molly Buccini is Brafton's community manager. She joined the team with a background in digital journalism and social media. She's a theatre nerd, pop culture junkie and lover of summertime.