So, you’ve written an amazing blog post or an impactful, well-researched article sharing your insights on what’s going on in your industry. Now, you just sit back and enjoy the traffic rush as online searchers flock to your wonderful content. Right?

This could have been a typical scenario maybe a decade ago. But today there’s a lot more competition for content visibility. This means you can’t just hope to attract the right kind of attention online; you have to be proactive.

Plus, if you don’t already have an established following online, you could be fighting even more of an uphill battle with competitors that do. The solution is to take the right steps to reach out to online influeners to promote your content. Here’s how to do it.

Use Social Media to Establish Initial Contact

The easiest way to make initial contact with a potential influencer is with social media. Focus your attention on individuals producing or sharing content relevant to your industry, niche, or area of expertise for maximum impact.

As for what platforms to use, Facebook can work if you want to reach a broader audience. But don’t assume an “influencer” is anyone with a large number of followers. The type of interactions and activity they’re getting on their pages is a better indicator of their true power to influence.

Twitter is a good platform because accounts with a “verified” status let you know those people, whether they’re celebrities or experts within your niche, have real followings. If you need more of a helping hand narrowing down your search, use influencer marketing tools like Deep Social, Tweetdeck, Social Crawlytics, and Klout.

Go Beyond Saying ‘Hi’ or Becoming a Follower

Just because you follow an influencer or like their content doesn’t mean they’ll automatically do the same thing in return. Busy influencers are inundated with an abundance of quick “hellos” or new “likes” and followers all the time.

Increase your odds of getting noticed by briefly introducing yourself and asking if you can set up an interview with them. This can be done via a live chat. Or you could prepare questions and send then in an email.

They’ll likely be flattered that you value their opinion enough to get some personal insights about them. Of course, in order to do this successfully, you’ll need to do some homework first. Check out their content and social profiles to get a feel for who they are and what they tend to offer their audience.

You can then use the info you gather to write an article centered on that influencer. It doesn’t have to be a puff piece. Still, you obviously want to focus on the good things about the individual or their content.

Build Relationships First

About now you may be wondering about the part where you actually get influencers to actively promote your content. Patience, young grasshopper. The first thing you want to do is build relationships.

Never pitch story ideas (other than the introductory interview tactic to break the ice) or ask for links back to your blog or website from influencers until you’ve established initial relationships. Take time to add their various accounts to your social circle, sign up for their newsletters, and subscribe to their blogs.

By doing so, you’ll get to know their content habits, behaviors, patterns, and needs. Next, start sharing comments and guest blogging to show then that you can offer something of value in return for their promotion of your content.

Another tactic is to offer an influencer first crack at exclusive content. For instance, you might allow them to publish the results of a unique study you conducted relevant to your industry. Or you might give them access to your new e-book or a detailed white paper.

Next, share some of your influencers’ content with your own followers. All of these steps, while sometimes time-consuming and seemingly minor, can lay the groundwork for a mutually beneficial relationship that could put your content in front of a larger audience likely to appreciate it.

Consistently Communicate and Engage

One of the most effective ways to attract the attention of influencers is to find as many ways as possible to communicate with your intended audience. This means being active on blogs and forums relevant to your industry or niche.

With your existing social media platforms, actively communicate with followers. Also, consistently present fresh, engaging content either directly on your website or in your blog and social posts. The more active you are, the more likely it is that an influencer will see you as a reliable source of information.

Lastly, after you’ve established mutually beneficial relationships with online influencers, segment them by customer persona if you have content with different audiences in mind. For example, you might turn to your LinkedIn influencer circle to promote content aimed at other professionals in your industry.

This process can be automated with content relationship management (CRM) software with unified communications and social info built into it. Even if you don’t have that many different audiences in mind to warrant using CRM software, it’s important to maintain a steady flow of useful, relevant content to keep influencers (and their followers or subscribers) happy.