SEO

How to Find Industry Influencers

As everyone knows, gaining quality links from credible websites will help improve your organic rankings and domain authority.  But this is easier said than done.  Normally you need to invest a lot of time and effort in order to acquire these types of links.  If you are new to an industry or if you work with clients in various industries, than you probably are not familiar with the influencers or experts in the field.  It will be important to do some research to see who are considered the experts.  By doing this, you can develop a strategy that involves communicating and building relationships with these people.

There are a number of ways to go about researching industry experts.  Of course you could always get feedback from the client, however in my experience that is usually a limited list.

Here are a number of ways you can go about finding the influencers.

Search Google

The easiest thing you can do is perform a few searches in Google to see who is ranking on the 1st page.  Most of the time, sites/blogs that rank on the firsts page are highly credible.  Try doing a search for “keyword” expert, “keyword” consultant, “keyword” professional, “keyword” company, “keyword” blog.  Look for an “About” or “Company” page to see who the owners or bloggers are.

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Search Twitter

Tweetmeme is usually the best place to start when looking for authoritative professionals on Twitter.  Enter a keyword related to your industry and sort the results by “Highest Tweets”.  This way you can see which content has been getting re-tweeted the most.  Odds are if they are at the top of the list, the source of the content is an influential site.

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Twits is also a great place to find industry leaders and companies.  Simply perform a search and it will return relevant professionals/organizations and sort them by the number of twitter followers.

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Check Industry Conference & Event Sites

Find local or national conferences, events, or seminars to see who will be speaking at the events.  This is a great place to find some of the most respected experts in the industry.  Do a search for “keyword” conference, “keyword” seminar, or “keyword” event.

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Find Industry Webinars and Podcasts

Many industry professionals will be featured on webinars or podcasts to contribute their knowledge on a particular topic or theme.  Do a search for “keyword” webinars or “keyword” podcasts to find sites that host regular webinars/podcasts.  See which guests they are featuring that month.

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Search Facebook & LinkedIn Groups

Both Facebook and LinkedIn have groups that you can join to connect with people in your industry.  Search a related keyword and you will find a number of groups, in descending order by number of members.  In LinkedIn you can see the group owner.  In Facebook, you can see who the admin of the group is.  Browse each of these groups to see who are the key people contributing.

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Find Industry Organizations & Associations

Do a search for “keyword” organization, “keyword” association, or “keyword” group.  See what professional organizations are established.  Visit their site and see if they have a member directory or if they have a list of events with featured speakers.

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Tips When Contacting Industry Experts

Start by making a list (excel doc will work) of experts you come across.  Add columns for Name, Company/Blog, E-Mail, Comments.  This way you can keep track of your communication.

Remember that industry experts receive probably hundreds of link requests a month.  They are not just going to link to you because you ask.  When reaching out to them, try to connect on a personal level.  Mention something that you liked about an article/post they wrote or ask a follow question to something they talked about on a webinar.  This will help establish that you genuinely care about what they do and they will be more opted to reply.

It is also important to remember that they are usually very busy and may not get back to you right away.  Wait about a week before trying to contact them again.  If you tried to e-mail them first, try reaching out to them on Twitter or Facebook.  Sometimes if you try a different method of contacting them, that will jog their memory that you were trying to contact them earlier.

How Do You Find Influencers?

There are obviously many other ways you can go about finding who is an authority in an industry.  I would love to hear about other sites and resources you use to find industry influencers.

Mark Thompson is an Internet Marketing Expert, specializing in Search Engine Marketing & Optimization, Blogging, and Social Media.

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Mark Thompson is the creator of StayOnSearch, a blog dedicated to Marketing Professionals, SEO's, and Business Owners. He also is the President of Search Creatively, an Internet Marketing and Consulting company.

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