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Pitching influencers is a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it

As you’re compiling your media list, you can hear your colleagues’ voices echoing in the back of your head, “Oh, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could get [mega-popular A-list influencer] to cover our new line of products?”

“Yeah, totally,” everyone agrees. And your boss says, “Yeah, we should definitely make that happen!”

We as in you, that is. And now you’re coming up short with ideas on how to get A-list influencers to cover your brand. Maybe there’s another way? If so, it could save you from the humiliation of pitching even when you sort of know that it won’t work.

The Nash equilibrium: “The prettiest blonde in the room”

Some of you might have seen the movie A Beautiful Mind (2001), starring Russell Crowe. In that movie, if you saw it, you might remember this scene (scroll to 1:20):

Everyone’s wrong and that can be a good thing for you.

When it comes to pitching for publicity, everyone goes for the big game, “the prettiest blonde in the room”. But, of course, this violates the Nash Equilibrium by not taking into account the actions of others. In most cases, the major media outlets in any niche gets ten times the attention compared to the number two. And from there, it trickles down. So of course, it does make sense to go big if you think publicity is all about reach (we’ll get back to that in just a second).

Let’s talk about the “Magic Middle”. What does it mean?

Setting the bar just right: Influencers in the magic middle

David Sifry, the founder of Technorati, coined the term “Magic Middle” for bloggers with 20 – 1,000 active inbound links. The term was made popular largely by Brian Solis, who discusses it in his book Putting The Public Back Into Public Relations. These magic middle influencers carry a lot more influence than one might think; many top influencers are today professionals, meaning that they actually can make a living off their digital impact. The same can, of course, not be said for the magic middle influencers (also known as micro-influencers).

So why does magic middle influencers keep pushing through? The answer — passion and ambition. Tink about it: The magic middle influencers keep at it without the incentives. And that counts for something. Now, their influence might not be huge. Especially not compared to the A-listers and their online entourage. But how many influential brand ambassadors does it really take for your company to do significantly better?

The tastemakers of our modern day society

Referral traffic volume often has very little to do with conversion rates. But traffic from passionate and relevant influencers usually convert extremely well; their community trusts them and when they send traffic your way, they do it out of passion and not for money or fame. Such influencers tend to be passionate about their niche subjects, sharing and learning from each other in a circle based on trust and dialogue; they are the tastemakers of modern day society.

And yes, it’s said that one in ten people tell the other nine how to vote, where to eat and what to buy.

The trickle-up effect: Micro-influencing your way to the top

Getting top influencer publicity isn’t by any means impossible. Lots of times, it makes complete sense to go big. However, you often can’t expect the biggest names to be loyal to you. But if your company appreciated and acknowledged a magic middle influencer, you might just earn a long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship.

And who knows, with your help, they might make into the big leagues themselves and your emails will be amongst the few that actually reaches them?

Photo by Luke van Zyl on Unsplash.