Collaborating with online influencers – Guest Blog by John Sennett

10th December 2016

ed5bde19-b3a2-4a4a-930f-e5acb02bd8f3-largeBefore I begin, I’m John Sennett, Founder of John’s Road to Volunteering, a world-leading volunteering blog, where I use my personal story to inspire others to give back to the community.

Having worked with charities around the world and building a community around John’s Road to Volunteering, this guest blog will focus on effectively collaborating with online influencers, and how 2017 will be the year of progressive communication strategies, considering bloggers and vloggers to help raise awareness and funds.

Connecting with online influencers can be a puzzling thought. Do we approach an influencer similar to the way we’d approach another charity or charity professional?

I don’t think we can define this question with an answer until we decide what an online influencer is and the benefits of collaborating.

Grab a piece of paper and answer the following;

  1. What is an online influencer?
  2. What’s an online influencers purpose in society?
  3. How does an online influencer engage with their followers?

shadowsFrom an influencer’s perspective, we’re individuals telling a story. We’re digital story-tellers using our passions to create content specific to developing our brand. Our brand is our voice.

It’s our voice that engages our community and new connections to develop our outreach and it’s an area of marketing currently lacking in the charity sector.

With the lack of public trust currently facing the sector, online influencers are now becoming more in demand and traditional marketing tools are no longer having much result.

2016/17 is more in demand. (Have a think about what this means)

Working with charities all the time, I get the question all too often; How can we work with online influencers?

I talked about what an online influencer is earlier in the post, and once you have this knowledge, it’s time to research. You’d assume researching online influencers would be the first call to action, but before you can reach out, you need to research the internal need of working with online influencers.

How can we incorporate influencers into our communication or fundraising strategy?

What use would a collaboration with an influencer have for our growth?

Can you think of any other considerations and thoughts needing to be taken before working with online influencers?

The whole process of collaborating with online influencers is a learning curve. As a community, we (influencers) are always developing new ways of story-telling, with many bloggers now looking at vlogging, and this is another consideration to be taken…

Which form of story-telling best suits our target audience?

looking-outI tend to find charities always believe they know their audience, but why are you connecting with online influencers if you already know? Surely by knowing what works best, you’d have the right tools in place to take idea to delivery.

Truth is, we don’t. We research, we analyse and we ask for feedback. We think about developing our current community, but we don’t think about indirect engagement.

This is why online influencers are the key to raising awareness in 2016/17. We have a way of connecting with an audience any other marketing platform can’t provide.

We provide much more than a story; we provide an experience. An experience of story-telling where the readers feel they’re with us during these experiences.

This has been my approach to running John’s Road to Volunteering. Through writing thought-provoking content, readers are engaged by trusting the personal touch; charities are missing this.

So, how can you collaborate with an online influencer?

preparing-the-next-chapterTreat us like you would with a press release. How would you approach a tabloid or broadcasting company?

Start off with an introduction. Background information would include your history, your purpose and your core values.

Online influencers are making a difference as their focus is sharing their passion to the world. As a charity, you should be doing the same. Through sharing your story, you’ll be viewed as a charity, not a business.

That’s the key to connecting with an online influencer! Don’t focus on money! Focus on your purpose.

The moment you talk about your business, there’s no collaboration. We’ll believe it’s all about you.

Once you’ve established your purpose, follow these 5 steps;

  1. Make sure you include some of the research you’ve done on the online influencer (Why would you collaborate with someone you don’t know about?)

  2. Get to the point. Why are you getting in contact?

  3. Share your thoughts. How do you think a collaboration can be established? (One way or the high-way approach doesn’t work with online influencers)

  4. Ask for the online influencers thoughts. (This is a collaboration after all!)

  5. Suggest a meeting. As online influencers tend to be on the go, be flexible with the arrangement. We like flexibility.

jrtvYou might have read this post and noticed the simplicity in collaborating with an online influencer. Charities at times can forget we’re humans. Connect with us like you would with anyone else, and a collaboration will form.

I hope this guest blog has given an insight into collaborating with online influencers and once again, thank you Dawn for allowing me to share my thoughts.

More about guest blogger John Sennett

Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn and feel free to check out John’s Road to Volunteering. I’m always open to collaborations.