217 Influencers & Experts Tell Me Their Worst Influencer Marketing Mistake (Part 2)

04/18/2016 04:27 pm ET Updated Apr 16, 2017

You can find part 1 here.

You can either read the influencer's raw answers here or the in-depth guide to influencer marketing which includes their answers and much more.

The biggest mistake you can make is to fail to offer something of value to the influencer before asking them to put you in front of their audience. And it can't just be something you think is valuable, like your infographic or blog post on a relevant topic. It's critical to be generous first - share the influencer's content, comment on their blog, or otherwise improve the reach of their content first. Once you've shown that you're not just in it for you, it's a lot easier to get an influencer on board to help you expand the reach of your own business.

Jessica Oman (@renegadeplanner) renegadeplanner.com

The biggest mistake I see in influencer marketing is not offering value. Don't just think about what's in it for you. Always position it to what's in it for them.

Evan Carmichael (@evancarmichael) evancarmichael.com YouTube

For 2-3 years a very well-known brand kept inviting me into their influencer program, but it was easy to say no thanks each time, because they never explained a benefit to me, the influencer - their pitch was all about them! Eventually they wore me down enough that I asked a friend who had been in the program, another top-Forbes-ranked influencer. "Look out, they'll try to take advantage. That's why I dropped out." Yikes. I asked another friend, a very-high-profile speaker who had spoken at one of their events. "Oh, they'll use you if you let them. Steer clear!" This perception is almost universal among top-tier influencers - and guess what? The "influencers" in their program today? Nearly all are people you've never heard of, with small followings, who have no sway in the B2B world this company sells to. Suffice it to say, I've never had an easier time saying no in my life.

Ted Coiné Check out Ted's post on influencer marketing. It has an excellent presentation.

Biggest mistake: Do you truly know who you are dealing with? Most people don't do enough research to know enough about the influencer to have meaningful conversation. When you only know the superficial details about an influencer, it's very difficult to have a deep and layered conversation. Let alone to build a relationship - fast. If you plan to have an influencer on your podcast or you will appear on theirs, do your research. Read their book(s), go through their content and get to know them better than anyone else they will get in touch with. You'll see the time investment pay off and you'll build a relationship much quicker with that influencer.

Thanh Pham asianefficiency.com (@asianefficiency)

Far too many people think that, simply because they read someone's blog, view their social media posts, watch their livestream or listen to one's podcast, they ACTUALLY KNOW the Influencer and their likes, dislikes, core values, etc. Fact is, what one sees is almost always a filtered version of who the Influencer actually is. Before reaching out for an Influencer, dig deeper to make sure that there is true alignment and you actually LIKE that person and would want to bring them home to meet your mom. Avoid being blinded by the Influencer light of mass visibility as this happens frequently. And, remember, an Influencer is just like you and me -- they're just able to reach more people with the push of a button.

Steve Olsher www.SteveOlsher.com (@steveolsher)

Not reading more than their About page before pitching. Many influencers have a very specific point of view. If you don't understand it, you could easily find your brand with very negative coverage.

Nate Shivar (@nshivar) shivarweb.com

Often times people go into sales mode. Influencer Marketing is meant to drive engagement that is authentic and creates a two-way dialogue with potential customers. Relationships create value and ultimately success. Our team preaches, give give give!

Jason Will (@JasonBWill) Zipkick.com.

As simple as it sounds the biggest mistake I see in influencer marketing is not giving before you ask to take. Heck. I've made this so many times it's not even funny. I'll ask Big Name So-and-So to promote Product X without so much as asking how I can help them, actually helping them, or even giving them a preview of the product. Give first, then give again, and again. Then you are in a position to make an ask.

Matt McWilliams Affiliate Launches Made Simple (@MattMcWilliams2)

Reaching out to influencers with an 'ask' without having anything of value to give in return.

Carla Johnson (@carlajohnson) www.TypeACommunications.com and www.7thEraOfMarketing.com

There are a few different avenues you can take with influencer marketing: 1) Pay an influencer for some form of endorsement 2) Leverage an existing relationship for some form of endorsement 3) Participate in joint venture with an influencer where mutual promotion occurs 4) Try to build a relationship from scratch and later utilize it for some sort of endorsement. I've focused on the latter, and for this scenario the issue very often people are too forceful. You need to take your time and form a true relationship, otherwise you're going to bother the influencer. I've taken this approach with growing my Twitter following using influencer marketing, by targeting the friends of the influencers.

Paul Shapiro searchwilderness.com

The biggest mistake I've ever made and I see others make over and over again is not providing value. For example, asking someone to promote your stuff is a pretty big ask, so make sure to first establish a relationship with the influencer.

Camilla Hallstrom (@c_hallstrom) 99smartideas.com

The biggest mistake I see people make in Influencer Marketing is pitching their product or service on the first outreach. True Influencers are bombarded by "opportunities" every day. To stand out, always begin by adding value to the Influencer first, before ever asking for something in exchange.

Ryan Hanley (@ryanhanley_com) ryanhanley.com

One of the most common mistakes I see people make when attempting to work with influencers is forgetting to give before asking. Without a relationship established prior, requests for backlinks, social shares, introductions, and so forth, tend to fall on deaf ears. Much like in-person networking, reaching out to influencers should first be focused on what you can do for them -- not what you want them to do for you.

Brent Jones is a freelancer and blogger who recently published the expert roundup post, 70 Freelancers Reveal Their Best Source of New Business.

The biggest mistake I've seen is thinking every influencer can be bought with money. So many marketers approach influencers and try to buy their attention. They don't try any other strategies. And worst of all, some of the biggest and best influencers cannot be bought - so you lose out twice!

Jim Wang wallethacks.com

The biggest mistake I made was thinking that I was too small to matter, and that no one had noticed my efforts to be unique and vocal in my niche, which is technical SEO. I was very surprised when I was applying for my "dream job" that the times I had interacted with the founder of that company stuck with him, and helped me land the job. It's easy to forget that it's people who utilize social media profiles for brands, so developing relationships by sharing & engaging with their content is also building a relationship with a real person.

Jeremy Rivera the SEO consultant for Tennessee Contracting Services a Nashville roofing contractor I'm working closely with currently.

Two of the big mistakes I see are: 1) Asking someone that you've never connected with for help. These requests are usually ignored, for good reason. You have to do something to create some semblance of a relationship with the person before asking for a favor. 2) Asking the other person how you can help them. If they don't know you well and don't know how you can help them, you're putting the burden on them to figure out how you can help them. You should do your homework and figure out a way, even something small, to help them.

Paige Burkes (@PaigeBurkes) SimpleMindfulness.com Facebook

I'd say the biggest mistake I see in Influencer Marketing is blasting out an unpersonalised message to too many people rather than focusing on a smaller number of just the right influencers and personalising the approach and message. The other mistake is making it too much work for them - so asking them how you can help them (which creates work for them) rather than suggesting one specific thing you already have figured out they need. Or asking a really complex question which results in them thinking about it for 2 minutes then giving up as it was too much hard work. Make it easy for Influencers to help you.

Ian Brodie To get a copy of Ian's '21 Word Email That Can Get You More Clients' go to ianbrodie.com/21words

I cringe when I see people treating influencers like a commodity, forgetting to help first before asking for something. Influencer marketing falls down if you don't build a relationship first and when influencers are getting dozens of requests to help someone out every day, it's time they need, not exposure. Share their content, engage, comment, reach out, buy their programs if you have to, in order to to get to know them. The more you help them the more you stand out and get their attention.

Donna Moritz (@sociallysorted) sociallysorted.com.au

The biggest mistake I've seen others make in influencer marketing (and I get this all the time) is assuming we all have endless time, and not bothering to think about what's in it for the influencer. I know it can be hard to think of ways you can "help" an influencer, but even influencers like to reach new audiences (thus why Zak's approach is working), to learn new information, and even to guide and mentor someone if we see that they've put some effort into getting to know about us and not simply sent a form letter.

Tema Frank (@temafrank) frankonlinemarketing.com

Not having the relationship built up before making the ask. I always tried firing out a bunch of e-mails with no prior relationship, and that didn't work. It's hard to keep track of dozens of relationships, so it's easy to forget what my relationship with someone really is. For myself, I'll build those up and provide more value before making the ask.

Dan Stelter (@dansteltercopy) freelancewriterinchicago.com

The biggest mistake I've seen people make in influencer marketing is massive cold-contacting. Build a relationship first! Tweet/comment/like, then reach out! Much more effective that way.

Brandon Doyle (@travelintweeter) wallaroomedia.com

I'm pretty aggressive in general, and one of the things I learned in influencer marketing is the critical importance of patience. I learned this lesson the hard way. I made the mistake of pressing some of the original influencers I approached too hard to fast. I came really close to burning some important bridges that way, and had to work a long time to overcome it. Remember, what you are looking to build with influencers is a relationship. That means first discovering their needs, and working hard to sever their needs first, well before you put your asks of them on the table.

Eric Enge (@stonetemple) stonetemple.com
When reaching out to industry influencers, it's very critical in the first-hour connection as it only leads to two end results: build trust or burn the bridge. Here are some cases where connections lost due to aggressive influencer marketing:
  • Asking influencers to link to a particular page without building the relationship in the initial pitch - content can speak for itself but it's better to start to build trust.
  • Pitching spam-like email messages that are likely to get deleted by influencers (opening lines are something like - Hey Webmaster).
Venchito Tampon is the CEO and Co-Founder of SharpRocket, a link building company that provides link building services to local and international clients. He is also a Filipino motivational speaker that inspired thousands of youth across the Philippines.

Influencers are busy people who are successful at whatever they are doing. Getting them to support you is always a challenge due to the fact that they bring a lot more to the table as compared to you. This is where you work up your way to make sure that you are in a position to make a request that stands a decent chance at getting accepted. Pitching early, without doing the actual ground work is the biggest mistake that most people do. I too had been guilty of this and as a result most of my pitches early on weren't getting approved. This way, I wasn't just losing the pitches - I was making sure that the influencers won't ever want to hear from me again.

Uttoran Sen (@uttoransen) guestcrew.com LinkedIn

Going in for the 'ask' too quickly. Can you romance a guy/girl a little?! If you want to get an influencer's attention and time, you should be prepared to work for it. I recommend looking for a way you can provide them with disproportionate value first. That's the best way to stand out above the fray.

Adam Steele (@AdamGSteele) magistrateinc.com

The biggest mistake I see people make is in outsourcing their outreach. I once had a guy (who will remain nameless) have his assistant pitch me to have him on my podcast to discuss his book about effective networking. It was the ultimate irony! Plus it didn't help that neither he nor his assistant had any idea who my audience was -- it was "me me me" all the time; very self-serving and not even worthy of a reply.

Nick Loper SideHustleNation.com

The biggest mistake companies make when doing influencer marketing is outsourcing the process to an agency. It's the influencers who are doing the real work and producing results, while agencies are middle men, the fat that should be cut out of the process since agencies contribute minimally to the outcome. Of course, since companies don't have in-house expertise in influencer outreach, they have to outsource it to an agency. So, the company ends up paying the agency to learn how to manage influencers, the results are minimal for the company, and agency enjoys long-term benefits from the whole process. My recommendation to any company that's doing influencer marketing is to develop its own in-house team whose job is to build long-term relationships with influencers.

Dino Dogan dinodogan.com (@dinodogan)

The biggest mistake I've ever made in influencer marketing is trying to use too much automation. Sure, there are great tools available to help send outreach emails, or connect on Twitter, but use them carefully. Influencers can smell automation from a mile away. Put in the extra effort to be authentic!

Nicholas Scalice (@nscalice) earnworthy.com

The biggest mistake we have made in Influencer marketing is not dedicating a specific team member toward outreach. Imagine the friendships and contacts we could have made in last year with 2,000 hours of authentic relationship-building. A mistake others have made is putting too much information in email or direct messages, and having an influencer share that message on social media as "what not to do". A phone call or in-person meeting holds significantly more long-term value.

Steve Wiideman (@seosteve) wiideman.com Facebook

The biggest mistake that I've made in the past with influencer marketing would have to be over-automation. It's very tempting to try and automate as much of your processes as possible in order to scale up the activities you're working on, but the more you automate, the less personal you become. Influencers are real people and they like talking to real people. If you're reaching out to 50 different influencers, take the time to craft personal emails to each of them instead of sending a blanket email - trust me, this small extra investment of time will go a long way.

Matthew Barby (@matthewbarby) matthewbarby.com

One of the biggest mistakes I've seen recently involved an outreach company that was looking to get their clients mentioned on a top online publication as a part of their influencer marketing strategy. Their mistake was they contacted dozens of the authors at the publication at the same time. So naturally, several of the authors told their editors, and the company was outed pretty quickly.

Kristi Hines Freelance Writer

One of the biggest mistakes that people make in influencer marketing is not having a valid rationale for why you are reaching out to each person, and what the purpose of the outreach is. As a result, you might spend time interacting with influencers who are not really a great fit for your niche, or would not be able to help you with your goals.

Peter Banerjea Co-Founder, SuccessIsWhat

An influencer is not a journalist. Most of them have no idea about the social contract that typically exists between journalists and corporations. They don't really care about it. The biggest mistake that brands make with influencers is trying to control them or treat them like journalists, instead of peers, partners or friends. Influencers will - typically - say and do what they feel, which may be in contrast to what the brand wants. If you can't swallow that, don't attempt to use influencers.

Mitch Joel - President, Mirum - Author, Six Pixels of Separation & CTRL ALT Delete - @mitchjoel - www.mitchjoel.com

Trusting that people will commit and do what they say they would do in a joint venture scenario. Always have a written agreement even if it is your mother or cousin or family member. Don't ever leave any business dealings to Chance.

Kenny Andam (@kennyandam) scarletminor.com

There are a few things that I think people could do better in regards to Influencer Marketing. The first is this - pay the influencer. You'd pay for Adwords, so why expect access to their community for free? The second is to seek long term partnerships, not just going for a hit and run campaign. The third is to set outcomes in relation to activity. Know what you want to achieve, add numbers to it, and get ready to adjust your content/approaches for next time. This should give you happy influencers, and tangible results.

Martin Shervington (@martinsherv) www.plusyourbusiness.com

The biggest mistake I see people make is people who pursue influencer marketing but give it little or no value. They will spend a ton of money on a marketing agency, but then budget no money for influencers. They assume that people are waiting and willing to promote their for-profit company for free.

Gary Arndt Everything-Everywhere.com (@EverywhereTrip)

"Not answering the question of "what's in it for them?" The biggest mistake I've seen companies make with influencer marketing is making it all about themselves. Effective influencer marketing seeks first to do something for the influencer, often in the form of exposure for their own thought leadership. That's why round up posts like these are so effective: you're curating great content in the form of influencer expertise to an important question, while attracting readers and shares on your brand content platforms. My number one rule for influencer marketing: make it all about what you're doing for them.

Michael Brenner is CEO of Marketing Insider Group, and co-author of The Content Formula. Follow Michael on Twitter @BrennerMichael.

Whenever you approach an influencer you need to remember they are busy people who get a million requests. Ensure communication to them is short, easy to answer and clearly explains the benefit THEY will receive by fulfilling your request.

James Reynolds seosherpa.com @FollowJames

The biggest mistake I see (and use to make myself) is focusing too much on what you want and not how it will benefit that the influencer themselves. As the godfather would say "Make them an offer they can't refuse".

Ben Beck benjaminbeck.com @ben_beck Check out his link building class.

The biggest mistakes I've always made in the past is being more focused on the sale, rather than helping the person. To effectively influence someone, you need to identify and address THEIR needs, not your own. Having your needs met is always secondary - your focus should always be on adding value first.

Stefan Pylarinos (@prolifemastery) projectlifemastery.com

You want to know "what's the biggest mistake you've ever made (or seen others make) in influencer marketing" is? It's assuming that strangers who have influence will listen and support you. Even though I know it, I tend to forget it very often. I'm so excited about the things I popularize that I often forget that other people, especially influential ones who don't know you couldn't care less. Outreach is literally begging for attention. You get a few seconds at best but most people aren't altruists so that you need to give them something bigger so that they give you a share, link or quote. While I get it wrong sometimes, most of the messages I receive get that wrong. People assume that I have nothing else to do but to write about their products They want me to give them links or spend time writing for them for free. I'm not even a huge influencer, just a guy who happens to blog about a few topics and creates content on social media. You can imagine then how real influencers get bombarded with requests. It's Peak Outreach in my opinion. Influencers are the new lurkers most of the time. They stay silent too. It's better to socialize with like-minded individuals who are not influential on large scale yet supportive.

Tadeusz Szewczyk Founder of onreact.com. You can find him on his blog.

The biggest mistake I've made in influencer marketing is thinking that influencers would care about our content just because they were mentioned in it. I would include quotes from influencers in my shareable content and cold pitch them to the influencers asking them for shares on social media. I didn't understand that these folks were getting hit up by other marketers 24/7, all vying for their very limited time and attention. If their inbox is getting blasted with asks - it's unlikely that a cold pitch about one of a dozen press mentions for the day is going to make them take pause. There's an aspect of "social selling" that comes with influencer marketing. If you start interacting with them on social, commenting on their blogs and actually take an interest in what they do online -- influencers are much more likely to respond to emails and co-marketing requests.

John-Henry Scherck (@JHTScherck) Marketing strategist at DocSend

"Reach out when you don't have anything to offer."

Let me explain what I mean. There are only so many "influencers" and a ton of people who would like to get something from them; be it a tweet, a link or just a piece of advice.

Well put yourself in the shoes of these influencers. Why would they want to help thousands of random strangers?

They probably have a ton of stuff on their plates and if they try to help everyone who's seeking for their help - they'll never have time for their own priorities.

There are tons of articles published on the topic of "connecting with influencers". And all these articles re-hearse the same advice - "MAKE IT ABOUT THEM".

But, looks like people misunderstand that simple advice. And they send outreach emails like:

"Hey Influencer,

You're so fine, you blow my mind.

Now tweet my article, because I told you that you're fine.

Here's the link: unknown-website.com/lously-article/

Cheers,

Tim"

You know that this email is not about influencer - it's about you. And the influencer knows it too. So he deletes it.

So why don't you try something like this instead:

"Hey Influencer,

I've read your article about XXXX.

Then I immediately applied your tips and it WORKED!

My results are YYY and ZZZ.

Thanks a lot for the free advice!

In fact I wrote a post with my case study and I credited the advice to you (with backlink and all that stuff).

Here's the link: unknown-website.com/case-study/

Let me know if you need a testimonial or something.

Cheers,

Tim"

I'm not saying that this email will work 100% of time. All I'm trying to say is that it will work 10x better than the previous one. And then it's up to influencer to decide if whatever you're showing him is worth his attention.

Tim Soulo is the head of marketing at Ahrefs and you can get more great marketing tips from him on his personal blog called BloggerJet.

I just had a personal experience where a brand wanted me to work with them, as an influencer. It's a product I use so I was very open to the possibility, but when we began our work together, they wanted me to use their messaging, wanted to write the content for me, and didn't want me to disclose the relationship. Not only does the latter violate ethical considerations, it makes it hard to be an influencer when the words aren't your own. I stepped away from the relationship and leave this as my advice: Don't try to control the relationship. The reason you want to work with the influencer(s) is because of the trust they've built with their audiences. Let them do what they do best while supporting your product or service.

Gini Dietrich (@ginidietrich) spinsucks.com

The biggest mistake I've seen (and see regularly) is brands that don't allow the authentic voice of the influencer's their working with to shine. Time and time again I see brands try and use an influencer's platform, just for their reach (and not for their voice). These types of campaigns, at least for me personally, have been the least successful with my audience - and as a result, for the brand as well.

Erin Falconer PickTheBrain.com

The biggest mistake that I have seen with influencer marketing was when the brand hampers creative freedom. The purpose of having an influencer market your brand is to spread your message in a very authentic way. However, many brands decide to control every element of the campaign causing it to flop because they don't understand the best way to push something to a different type of audience.

Jeet Banerjee (@TheJeetBanerjee) www.JeetBanerjee.com

The biggest mistake I've seen people make is to give influencers free stuff in return for a blog post about the product that includes followed backlinks back to the product site. Google considers this to be the equivalent of a paid link and can lead to big penalties.

Luc Lévesque luclevesque.com

The most common mistake I see people making in influencer marketing is not knowing the guidelines set forth by the FTC. There are specific rules to follow regarding disclosure that I often find missing in relationship marketing content. The last thing you ever want is to get on the wrong side of any alphabet agency. It's simple: when in doubt, disclose.

Bill Burniece highpayingaffiliateprograms.com (Facebook)

Biggest mistake I've ever made in influencer marketing is not checking the text copy created by the influencer when exposing my brand to their audience. This plays a big part in the success of the campaign. For example, if the influencer talks about you as a friend and someone they highly recommend, you'll see much higher returns versus them simply mentioning you. So, I actually write the text copy for an influencer to use.

Douglas Lim douglaslimdigital.com (Facebook) (LinkedIn)

The biggest mistake you can make with influencer marketing is using any kind of template based introduction. Do not send an email to connect with an influence that even 'smells' like a template or it will go straight to the trash folder. Instead think about how you make friends in real life - what would you normally do to connect with someone to make friends?

Yaro Starak Entrepreneurs-Journey.com (@yarostarak)

Over-automating influencer marketing is the biggest mistake I've seen. Trying to reach out to influencers with automated templates. Instead, you need to be genuine and build a real relationship with influencers.

Brandon Yanofsky (@byanofsky) founder of WP Radius, a WordPress support and maintenance company.

Using the cookie cutter approach is the biggest mistake I see people make. Sending emails without addressing a real person by name ("Hey!" instead of "Hi Henneke") is the most basic one. A little research can go quite far. When pitching guest posts, for instance, you must show you understand the blog's audience and boost your credibility. Why do you think your pitch will appeal to an editor?

Henneke Duistermaat, Founder EnchantingMarketing.com, @HennekeD

The biggest and most common mistakes I see people making with influencer marketing (asides from not doing any) is using the same email template as everyone else or performing an outreach that benefits only themselves.

Brian Lang www.smallbusinessideasblog.com

I think the biggest mistake for me personally is when someone asks me to post or contribute to their article or do their summit - and they get my name wrong. I think if you want to ask an influencer for their time and effort, you should probably figure out how to spell their name :-). I mean, I get people saying my name wrong. That's kind of a given - but spelling it wrong? (Thank you for getting my name right! Thank you for getting my name right!) Another pet peeve of mine is when someone wants me to speak at their online summit - and then they want me to make all the effort, do all the emails, do all the marketing, and I pretty much get nothing in return. On the opposite side - I love doing summits for Jennifer Lerner because she always sends me really cool gift baskets after! Yes, I can be bought with swag :-)

Viveka von Rosen (@linkedinexpert) linkedintobusiness.com

I have seen a few mistakes, which include: 1. Reaching out to influencers and clearly NOT bothering to do any prior research about him/her, which is clearly evident. 2. Doing a copy and paste of information when reaching out to influencers, NOT personalizing the correspondence, and even leaving in details (such as names) from influencers they have previously contacted. Ah...NO! Both of these things will clearly NOT help you build relationships with influencer and may in fact damage your reputation and any hopes of influencer marketing.

Annemarie Cross www.AnnemarieCross.com (Instagram)

The single biggest mistake (or maybe it is two mistakes) I have seen in outreach emails I constantly receive is as follows: First, people do not take the time to personalize the request. Even to the point where they don't even write my name. Those get deleted straight away. The other annoying part of that is that people write the same thing to everyone. And it is very easy to see, especially when it is automated and contains links that smack of outreach tools. If you want results in outreach, you have to personalize it (even if it is just the introduction) and realize that you are making a new contact/friend/business partner and not just asking for something.

Ashley Faulkes (@madlemmingz) madlemmings.com

I see a lot of people trying to inauthentically connect with influencers with terrible canned emails. This rarely ever works.

Scott Britton, Co-Founder of Troops

I think outreach tools are vital for efficient marketing, however using the email templates that come with these programs is a big mistake. It seems the majority of marketers are using them verbatim and you can spot them a mile away! We've got to get personal in our outreach, try to make a solid connection, and when we use canned emails and blast a couple hundred people at the same time then response will not be good. I suggest target a small number of influencers and craft a unique email for each one. It has so much more gravity, and the potential for a positive response will be so much higher.

Larry Maguire (LarrygMaguire) hardcorejunkie.co

The biggest mistake I see made with Influencer Marketing is focusing on the numbers vs the best fit. Who has the largest Twitter following vs who does our target audience respect and listen to. It needs to be about who drives action. It's better to have 3,000 people who'll take action (call, purchase, etc.) than 30k who do nothing.

Brenda Stoltz (@bsstoltz) ariadpartners.com

The biggest mistake I've seen others make is a lack of genuine communication. It's for example when people do not use the name of a person they're reaching, or they forget to revise the name from the previous message to somebody else. Making connection highly personal is a key, and it begins with a name.

Anna Bogushevskaya (@annabdigital) digitaldrivewithanna.com
The biggest mistake I see people making is not being personal. Sometimes people will send an email asking for something, and they don't have my name, my name is spelled wrong, or it's clear that they haven't actually listened to my podcast, read my blog, or gotten familiar with who I am or what I'm about.
No bueno! I'm a person - and I like to be treated like a human, not a transaction.
Sonia Thompson www.trybizschool.com
Probably the biggest mistake I've seen people make is not personalizing their approach. I think people just get a little lazy, or maybe they feel like "Oh, this person would never respond to me anyway," so they don't bother putting any real effort forth. It's kind of a waste of time, for both sides. If I'm taking the time to listen or read your pitch or whatever, take the time to make sure you know who I am, what I am about, and why you are pitching me, know what I mean? I know some people can make it a little difficult to find out information about them, but in this day and age, 'most' folks are relatively easy to get a read on. They have blogs, some have guidelines on their blogs, most have information available if you look hard enough. Just take the time to do it.
Cori Padgett-Bukowski is a wildly hire-able freelance ghost blogger as well as the creative brains and dubious brawn behind her blogs (yes, plural) Big Girl Branding & Salt, Light, and Faith.

One of the biggest mistakes I have noticed is the lack of personalisation in Influencer Marketing. Some brands forget they are reaching out to actual people and once they have, some forget to engage which defeats the object. Authenticity, communication and humanising the experience is key.

Susan Dolan (@GoogleExpertUK) Founder of seowebmarketing and Public Speaker. You can connect with her on LinkedIn

The biggest influencer-marketing mistake I have seen over and over again is - cold calling, being too brash - appearing unprofessional. I can handle a cold call from somebody I don't know if they seem serious and come across like they know what they are doing. And especially if they really have a good story to tell. Influencers like to hear a good story. But, if their email is full of spelling errors and grammar mistakes, or isn't coherent, I have a delete button. The other big mistake I see over and over again is not sending a slice of cheesecake in advance. Yeah, that would soften me up.

David Leonhardt (@amabaie) THGMwriters.com

The worst mistake that I've seen is that people don't spend a little bit of extra time to personalize the outreach emails. Just replacing the {name} field is not enough. So, my best recommendation would be to actually visit the websites or social profiles of influencers and collect more information about them. Then use that data to craft more personalized outreach emails. I guarantee that your success rate will skyrocket.

Tung Tran (@OfficialTung) cloudliving.com

When an influencer becomes an "influencer" (whether by label or just perception), there is a sudden influx of attempts at reaching out - i.e., competition. We talk about relationship building in our industry, but many still rely on a more scalable, "put them on the list and blast this out to them," approach. In an already noisy internet, this rarely works - especially using a note void of personalized emotional connection points. Unless you're offering a paid opportunity (which happens behind the scenes everywhere, from newspapers to the celebrity couch on The Tonight Show), you need to put together a cohesive plan to win the influencer's heart. First, ask yourself who would be a great fit for your campaign, then challenge yourself to answer why. Do your homework, dig up the social data, track down past conversations, and get a feel for their personality. Still think they're a great fit? If yes, craft the perfect, emotionally-connected, personalized outreach. With due diligence completed you'll have a much higher success rate of tapping into the emotions and passions of the influencer. Without it, you'll be more akin to spammers and other inbox-cloggers.

Bill Sebald (@billsebald) greenlaneseo.com

If using a fake name isn't enough, how about I invade your personal space to "win you over"?

I'll just limit myself to an influencer outreach episode. A couple of days ago I received a fishy email from someone using a fake name and a fake email address. The English was so bad, my eyes hurt. And I couldn't define the sender's Gender. Was it a man? Was is a woman? Was it a bird? The email address was associated with some username on WarriorForum. Either way, I ignored it. Same day, on my personal Facebook account, I receive a message request. Same message, same bad English, different person - perhaps fake?! This time it was a "she". Slightly irritated, I accepted her message request just to give her my two cents.

Take note: the year is 2016, yet people still believe that using a fake name which doesn't have an online presence will get you there. That, plus excuses of not wanting people to know your real name because of competitors. Keep in mind that I am a real person and I expect to connect with someone who is just as real. While I do understand the need to protect your real identity or separate business from personal, going 100% fake name on me won't get you my trust. Nor would trespassing my personal space.

Roxana Nasoi (@roxanasoi) serplified.com

What I see all the time when people reach out to me is a pandering statement about how they like my stuff when it is perfectly obvious from what they are asking that they never looked at it. I delete these immediately. Lying simply doesn't work.

David Meerman Scott (@dmscott) freshspot.com

One of the biggest (and most common) mistakes marketers make with influencer outreach is false flattery. This is where clueless marketers go over the top and say things like: "I'm your biggest fan" or "I'm an avid reader" or "I'm in love with your blog" in order to get a measly link or mention - without actually being a true fan. Instead tell them specifically why you enjoyed their article or blog and focus on a common personal connection. Influencers are regular people too.

Darren DeMatas (@darrendematas) selfstartr.com

The biggest mistake I see people make when it comes to influencer marketing is when someone expects an influencer to share their work or to help them before they provide any value to the influencer. They contact the influencer with a request without first making an attempt to build a relationship by commenting on the influencer's posts or sharing their work. Even something as simple as tweeting an influencer's post and tagging them in it can help you warm up that relationship. It's a good idea to email an influencer and explain what they learned from this person or if they put something the influencer teaches into practice. I also recommend people think carefully about the question they ask influencers. I contacted 22 writers and asked them "what was your biggest struggle with writing and how did you overcome it?" because I wanted to curate answers that would add value to readers.

Bryan Collins (@bryanjcollins) becomeawritertoday.com

The biggest annoyance for me as a football travel blogger at OutsideWrite is that PR people do not research the blog. I get spammed with untargeted rubbish, like invitations to Greek restaurant launches or new cocktail bar openings, purely because I've ended up on an agency's 'lifestyle blogger' list. I'm very clear on my blog that I cover football travel, culture (books etc.) and history. Nothing else. [tweet_dis inject="#influencemstk"]PRs need to review a blog before approaching it[/tweet_dis] so that they can provide a unique, relevant story for that blogger and at least know their name. There's nothing worse - or more likely to make me want to junk list someone - than addressing me 'Dear Blogger'.

Chris Lee, freelance digital consultant and blogger. (@CMRLee)

Chris is trying to improve relations between PRs and influencers by helping PRs understand how influencers work. If you're in PR, then check out his influencer relations training session for PRs.

An influencer can be boon or a boondoggle to a brand if they are moral misfits. Once they choose their influencer, the 3 biggest mistakes are:
  1. They don't approach them with a sincere, original, thoughtful compliment that shows that they know their influencer.
  2. They don't make a clear, simple request that makes it easy for the influencer to say yes.
  3. They don't seek to resonate on many different levels to insure it's a good match personally and professionally.
Susan Harrow, Media Coach, Marketing Strategist & author of the best-selling book Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul (HarperCollins). Check out here post 9 Steps to Be a Thought Leader -- and Become a Media Darling.

One huge influencer marketing mistake is when marketers reach out to influencers without learning anything about them. For example, I've had people tell me, "I'm contacting you because we both serve Audience X." However, I don't serve their audience. Since I can tell that they didn't look at my website or personalize their message, I delete it. If you want an influencer to do something for you, make sure that you have something in common first.

Rachel Foster (@copywriterto) freshperspectivewriting.com

Don't expect influencers to read a long email. Get to the point quick and make the request specific.

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) janefriedman.com

To assume that the person I'm contacting understands what I'm doing, what I want, and what I offer. When you contact anyone, be specific about what you're doing, what is required of them, and where you're going.

Henri Junttila (@henrijunttila) wakeupcloud.com

When reaching out to influencers, don't over pitch. Don't reach out with a resume in your opening email. Warm me up first, provide value, then when I reply wanting more... hit me with the full details.

Erik Fisher (@erikjfisher) beyondthetodolist.com

The biggest and most common mistake in influencer Marketing that I see people making on a daily basis, is spending too much time writing long emails to influencers who probably won't read them, which wastes not only their time but yours too! Personally I don't care if an email looks templated as long as it gets straight to the point. You need to quickly convey what product or service you're pitching, what the benefits are, why it's better than your competitors, what you want to get out of it (e.g: an increase in free trials, paid subscribers, traffic etc) and why I should be interested. Whatever the reason for reaching out, your email should be quick and easy for a busy influencer to review and don't forget to take advantage of influencer ego to increase your websites traffic!

Matthew Woodward (@MattWoodwardUK) matthewwoodward.co.uk
Personally, as someone who has been receiving tons of interview requests (for crowdsourced posts, expert roundups, etc...), the key factors that I know which can really make an impact for your pitch are:
  1. Familiarity with the quality of work of the one trying to establish a connection. And it's a whole lot easier to get into your target influencers when they are already aware of your brand (and even more, if you've already built a relationship with them).
  2. The technicalities, uniqueness/usefulness, as well as the demand for the information you're seeking to absorb from the influencer (personally, I tend to respond to questions that make me think deeper on what I really do).
  3. The quality of the audience on where the content will be published.
The mistake that other marketers do? They don't consider all these factors when reaching out.Jason Acidre (@jasonacidre) kaiserthesage.com

The guaranteed way to get no response from an influencer is to have a complicated "ask." If it takes too much work to read your initial inquiry, and more than a few minutes to start the process, you simply won't get a reply. Keep your initial message under 5 sentences, and make it effortless for the influencer to do what you're asking. If you have a podcast, use a self-booking calendar so it's a one-and-done process to schedule an interview.

Justin Baeder (@eduleadership) achv.co

Making your influencer outreach message too long - which usually means you're either asking too much, or sharing more about yourself than the influencer really needs to know. Keep it short, make it clear, and try not to take up more than 3 minutes of the influencer's time.

Sophie Lizard (@sophielizard) beafreelanceblogger.com

The biggest mistake I've ever made carrying out influencer marketing is direct outreach. Practically by definition, influencers are already busy people, and they will get direct pitches all the time.

Even the most beautifully crafted outreach email probably won't get opened. I found this to be a problem, in particular, because my 'ask' was too large.

When we first released URL Profiler, I was reaching out to influencers and asking them to try our product. This meant they had to visit our website, download the product, activate, and then figure out how to use it. This is way too much work for someone who isn't invested in the product already.

To get around this issue, we found that we simply had to let influencers come to us. Let them discover the tool on their own - so when they do start using it, they already have an awareness of the benefits and potential value they can gain.

Whilst this doesn't sound very proactive, there are two easy ways you can help improve the type of coverage you get from influencers in this way:
  1. Get in front of influencers. Find out what influences them, and put yourself there (e.g. a guest post on a blog that they regularly share posts from)
  2. Offer to help them. Monitor social mentions (or in our case trial signups) and spot influencers early, then offer to help them. Now that they have at least some level of intrigue in your brand/product, they will be much more open to direct outreach.
Patrick Hathaway (@HathawayP) urlprofiler.com

Placing too many demands on the influencer: Set the tone and rules upfront. Influencers can't be expected to take part in everything you do. So, say that. Set the ground rules and expectations so there aren't any surprises down the road.
Bryan Kramer (@bryankramer) bryankramer.com

Find part 3 in the archives.