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For blog posts and other projects: 7 steps to collaborate with the most connected experts in your community

YouTube exec Hunter Walk says (via Mark Suster) that you should write blog posts not to show how smart you are, but to get feedback on your thoughts from other smart people – because that’s a great way to learn. How can you engage with smart people though? Here’s how you can do it using Little Bird. Maybe you’re already a Little Bird user, or maybe these strategies will inspire thoughts otherwise.

  1. Think of some keywords for your blog post or project.
  2. Run Little Bird reports on those keywords. We’ll find up to 500 of the most connected, peer-validated people online who specialize in that topic.
  3. Visit the Compare pages of those reports and find top people already in your community that you can Direct Message (DM) on Twitter. If you aren’t connected to any of the top experts in a topic, you should engage with them, add value and establish a relationship.
  4. DM them and ask if you can send them a draft of what you’re working on.
  5. Incorporate any valuable feedback they send.
  6. Once you’re done, DM people who did and didn’t get back to you, closing the loop and sharing with them the finished product. If it’s good, some percentage of them will reshare that content with the big networks they’ve established and which Little Bird used to discover them.
  7. You can also use the Search function to find blog posts written by top experts in your field that contain certain keywords. You can quote those blog posts to enrich your content and link to them to draw their influential attention to your content. You can also find their email address on their blog and email them asking for input on a draft.

Below: I could DM any of these experts on the topic of Incubators and ask for their input on a relevant blog post. They already follow me on Twitter.

Ta da! That’s how Little Bird customers in media organizations, and I myself, have used Little Bird to add collaborative value and increased distribution to our blog posts. Do these ideas inspire any other ideas in you? Please share them here!

See also: 5 Ways to grow your social business power using Little Bird’s Compare Tool

  • Bruce Warila

    Hey Marshall, I have been following your company and your blog. I am wondering if this advice scales? When everyone starts DMing every influencer in every category, the ‘engagement machinery’ (Twitter in your example) is going to adapt to filter out spam/nuisances. P.s.: I really like LIttle Bird.

    • Marshall Kirkpatrick

      Bruce – sorry if this wasn’t clear – the structural advantage of Twitter DMs is that you can only DM people who have opted-in to receive messages from you. So I do think it will scale. Thanks for your feedback!

      • Bruce Warila

        True. However you can @ mention anyone, and that will be the default action by those looking to shortcut the process. Engaging people, adding value, and establishing a relationship is often a messy and lengthy process (I am trying to solve this bit of the equation). Cheers.

        • Warren Whitlock

          I can’t say for the everyone, but the active influencers I know all answer public messages if they are a serious query.

          Stop trying to make it an equation and just act like a human. Go ahead, @ me, see what happens.

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  • Jim House

    How much does this cost?

  • Warren Whitlock

    The process you describe is the heart of what I do to network. Been doing it for years. Better tools make it easier today.

    However, the learning from doing it ad hoc for the last seven years, along with Twitter magical limitation of 140 characters, has taught me how much better it is to actually engage. When someone is on my target list, I read their feed and look for ways to help them. Usually having nothing to do with selling more widgets.

    On the other hand, when I ask a big influencer a thoughtful, on target questions (and not “will you RT for me?”) most of them answer and most of them want to involved with my collaboration.

    LIttlebird is a good tool and will save me hours of work. Giving me more time to share some photos of my cat. :)