Christopher Murphy explores the role that influencers can play in supercharging your launch
Christopher Murphy explores the role that influencers can play before you launch
In the sixth article in my ongoing series exploring the design of business, I’ll explore the role that influencers – well-connected thought leaders – can play in sharing your story and ensuring your launch goes smoothly.
With an audience established, the final piece of the jigsaw before launch is to establish a list of key influencers to contact to ensure word-of-mouth momentum. By connecting with others who have a greater reach than you, you can supercharge your launch, ensuring your unveiling is successful.
Without getting too lost in theory, an understanding of ‘diffusion of innovations’ – or how ideas spread – is helpful at this point. Everett Rogers, a communication studies professor, popularised the theory explaining how, why and at what rate new ideas spread in his 1962 book, Diffusion Of Innovations.
It’s well worth familiarising yourself with Rogers’ ideas; they’ll improve your understanding of how marketing works and how new ideas take hold. Rogers identifies five categories of individuals: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards. Think of the launch of any new product – the iPhone, for example – and you’ll see these individuals in play: the innovators drive uptake by the early adopters, and so on.
Your focus, at this stage, is to connect with the innovators and early adopters, who will raise awareness and drive uptake among the early and late majority. You can forget the laggards, though, they’re never shifting. Forging connections with key opinion-formers will help connect your fledgling brand with a bigger audience.
Six Degrees of Separation
The trick is finding the right people to connect with. You need to use your six degrees of separation to establish a list of key influencers who can help you share your story when you launch.
Good news! The opportunities to connect with innovators and early adopters has never been easier. Tools like Twitter – free to use and incredibly powerful – enable you to establish and nurture relationships with key influencers in ways that would have been incredibly difficult before. In the here and now, everyone is connected.
Before you launch, identify the appropriate individuals to approach. Ask yourself: who has reach? Who has influence? Who might be interested in your story? This is all about focused research. Whatever your niche, there will be key individuals that you need to connect with.
Create a shortlist of magazines and websites that are relevant to your new product or service and identify the key influencers – editors or writers, for example – to connect with. With your list in hand, spend some time cultivating relationships.
This isn’t about carpet-bombing influencers with generic emails – a tactic that never works, because it’s obviously impersonal. Rather it’s about establishing relationships based on shared interests.
Be human and share your story with others. You might not win everyone over, but those that you do will act as champions for your brand when you, after all the hard work you’ve put in, launch your new business to the world.
Get connected Twitter is an ideal tool for nurturing relationships with influencers