How to work with influencers to market your business: what to start with, how to reach the influencers and how to collaborate with them. Influencer marketing with Cloris Kylie via @MarinaBarayeva #entrepreneur #businesstips #marketing #creativeentrepreneur #creativebusiness #mompreneur #womaninbiz #ladyboss #smallbusiness #smallbiz #entrepreneur #momblog #womenentrepreneurs #influencermarketing

Look through the people you follow. For sure among them, there are some influencers or famous people who you look up to. Can you imagine that one of them will help you to promote your business? How cool would that be?

In this episode, Cloris Kylie shares how to work with influencers to market your business.

Cloris is an influencer marketing specialist who helps people attract the right clients and build a magnificent business that thrives in the long term.

Before you reach out to people ask yourself: In what ways can I deliver value to influencers? ~ Cloris KylieClick To Tweet

Cloris has been a featured guest on top-ranked podcasts, YouTube shows, radio and TV. Her articles have been published on personal development and business websites with millions of followers, such as TinyBuddha and Addicted2Success.

And today her mission is to share how you can work with influencers to build a successful business with growing revenue and impact.

In this episode, we will cover:

  • [00:22] About the episode and Cloris Kylie
  • [02:24] Cloris explains her journey from academic advisor to influencer marketing specialist
  • [05:24] How to find out who is an influencer
  • [05:02] Why you need to find someone who is a good match
  • [08:21] How and where to find good matching influencers
  • [10:52] How to build the relationship with influencers and what to say to them
  • [12:07] Cloris shares what was her ‘aha’ moment
  • [13:43] What points to highlight when in contact with an influencer
  • [14:43] A tip on how to get your foot in the door with a relationship you want to start
  • [16:41] What you can offer the influencer from your perspective
  • [20:42] An example of finding out what your value is and seeing how it grows your opportunities
  • [21:51] How long does it take to reach out to influencers?
  • [23:14] How to know when it’s time to make deeper contact with an influencer
  • [24:17] Goals we can set when we reach out to influencers
  • [26:22] How to keep track of all your connections
  • [28:13] Cloris shares stories of connecting with influencers
  • [30:55] The three steps you can put into your strategy to start working with influencers
  • [33:27] Where to find Cloris online, her website and social media platforms
  • [34:29] For the show notes go to and subscribe to the Marketing for Creatives show

3 Steps on how to work with influencers to market your business:

  • Step 1: Narrow down your profile of your ideal client or avatar so you know exactly who you want to connect with
  • Step 2: Look for the ways you can bring value to the influencers
  • Step 3: Find one person you want to connect with and focus on him/her, start bringing value to the person

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How to work with influencers to market your business. Business quote
How to work with influencers to market your business. Business quote
How to work with influencers to market your business. Business quote

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here:

Get the free guides from Cloris Kylie:

Resources from this interview:

Connect with Marina Barayeva:

How to Work with Influencers to Market Your Business – Interview Transcription

How to work with influencers to market your business: what to start with, how to reach the influencers and how to collaborate with them. Influencer marketing with Cloris Kylie via @MarinaBarayeva #entrepreneur #businesstips #marketing #creativeentrepreneur #creativebusiness #mompreneur #womaninbiz #ladyboss #smallbusiness #smallbiz #entrepreneur #momblog #womenentrepreneurs #influencermarketingMarina Barayeva:

Please tell us about yourself. Where did you start from? How did you become the influencer marketing specialist?

Cloris Kylie:

It was a long road. It’s not like I went there and decided to specialize in influencer marketing. I basically stumbled into the strategy by accident really. It’s like a lucky accident but at the same time I had my whole focus on how I could really leverage my business.

What happened is, at the beginning I had my own business for many years. It was an offline business basically. I was helping students go to the next level in their academic road, academic journey. We helped them with college applications with grad school and all those things.

Switching to the online world was a big challenge for me. It was completely different. At the time I wanted to promote a book, a personal development book I had published.

Soon I realized the book wasn’t going to sell on its own. I needed to reach people.

What I first tried to do was to do it all on my own. I would post on social media all the time. I would write blog posts everyday. I would analyze books and review the books.

Then I started an online show. That show was always me, just monologues, talking about books and personal development. Of course I wasn’t getting any traction and I was so frustrated.

Then all my senses were on finding an opportunity to leverage my business. How do I do this? How do I do this? One day I actually saw that people had guests on their show. It just hit me. Some of them maybe I had seen before but it hadn’t really sunk in. I hadn’t noticed it.

Because I had all that focus and I said, “Oh my goodness. What if I had guests on my show and they help me share the message?” Then I realized people also did guest posting and I realized that by collaborating it was going to be much easier for me to build the momentum I needed to grow my business.

That’s how things started. That’s how I actually got to grow my business, to get the momentum I needed.

After that, because I had a marketing background, I decided to focus on influencer marketing because that’s what worked for me. It didn’t require a large budget, which I didn’t have at the beginning of my online business.

It was fun. I found that it took away all that overwhelms, trying to do the marketing stuff on my own, feeling like I wasn’t getting results.

It was a solution for me, it was fun and that’s what I do up to this day.

Marina Barayeva:

Fantastic. There are a lot of people around. How do you find who’s an influencer?

Cloris Kylie:

It’s important to figure out your audience first of all and then to connect with only those who have the same audience.

For example, I want to reach entrepreneurs. Let’s say I connected with somebody who has a health podcast for people who want to lose weight or who want to have more energy. It wouldn’t be a match at all. We have different audiences, different interests of our audiences.

The first thing you’ve got to figure out is

  • who exactly do I want to reach
  • and what other people out there reach the same people?

It’s as simple as that.

Really research the person and the audience because sometimes it’s easy to think, “Oh, that’s a good match.” But then when you go deeper, you realize that it’s really not perfect.

If I was going to connect with somebody who reaches software companies or ecommerce companies, it really wouldn’t be a good match for me.

Your audience is the number one thing that you need to consider.

The second is whether that person has the same values and style that you have. I might connect with somebody who, yes, reaches the same people but has such a different way of speaking and even their deep values and what they appreciate the most is different.

If there’s a value mismatch, his or her audience will not relate to what I have to say and I will not get results out of my efforts. I know you’re very passionate about getting tangible results, Marina. I definitely hear you. I mean, as fun as it is to connect with influencers, you want to get results.

You definitely have to be what I call ‘influencer ready’ before you connect with somebody and before you’re ready to receive the benefits from that relationship.

But at the same time, I want to encourage you if you’re listening to start creating those influencer connections today because it’s not like you’re going to create the relationship today and then tomorrow that person is going to help you grow your business.

It’s a relationship that you have to nurture day to day. If you want to start your first relationship, that day has to be today.

Marina Barayeva:

It’s interesting when you talk about to find the right match because we’re all different and even with people who have the same audience or work with similar people, it doesn’t always work the way we want it or they want it. Cloris, how and where do you find those people? Where do you find the influencers who match and who work with the same audience?

Who would you contact?

Cloris Kylie:

The first few influencers I connected with were people who had written the books. There were actually reviews on my blog so I said what if I reach out to them and asked them to be on my show? I did.

There’s one thing that you have to think about if you want to connect with influencers is that having your own platform, even if that platform is really small, it’s actually a great way to deliver value to an influencer.

That’s a common thing that I hear, “I don’t have any value to offer. I’m just starting out a really small business.” But if you have your own platform, it could be a blog or a podcast, then you can initiate that connection in that way.

I reached out to these people. Many of them said yes so I started to have guests on my podcast, it was a live radio show.

Since I learned about guest posting, I Googled personal development site or blog and TinyBuddha popped up. I realized that this Tiny Buddha seems to be super big in personal development, I didn’t know about this site.

I went to it, I read through all the articles, and I thought it was a perfect match for what I wanted to do at the time.

I read the guest posting guidelines. I pitched my article to Lori Deschene who’s the owner. I really studied the guidelines and wrote the perfect article, I really worked on it, and she said yes.

After that though I worked on developing the relationship by supporting the blog, by really being there and showing that I wasn’t there just for a one-time guest post opportunity. I was there as a supporter, as an advocate of the blog.

I did that. We became good friends and great things happened out of that relationship.

It’s because number one, I was thinking how can I deliver value to the influencers whether it is by showing their message or sharing their message on my show, by writing an article, that benefits their audience.

Once that relationship is established, how do I continue to deliver value? How do I show this person that I’m a true supporter so we continue working together in the future?

Marina Barayeva:

It’s a process of building a relationship; it doesn’t take one day.

How else do you build the process and when you reach them, what do you tell them? What to write to them?

Cloris Kylie:

You definitely have to find something to break the ice.

Let’s say you go to a job interview and you’re in the office, waiting for whoever is going to interview you. Your attention has to be on something that you can talk about.

It could be that they have a picture of children and you have children, and you talk about it. Or they have some sort of sports outfit, some sports that you share that you love. You start talking to them about it. It’s the same thing.

For influencers, it could be that, you have to do your research of course, go to the website. Maybe they said something that resonated with you. Maybe they come from the same background, the same town.

You have to find something that you have in common with them to establish into an initiated conversation.

How to work with influencers to market your business. Business quote

When I first appeared as a guest on EOFire with John Lee Dumas, I didn’t know John. I listened and loved his show and I said, “I really would love to be on this show but how do I make myself stand out?”

Just by going through his site and thinking about what he usually said on his show, I realized that we had something in common, which is our passion for having a clear avatar, something I lacked.

Early on in my online business I wanted to help everyone. When people asked me, “Who’s your book for?” “Oh, for everyone.” “Your business, who do you help?” “I help everyone.” I had no clue.

It was a big awakening for me and I share that as my ‘aha’ moment when I pitched my appearance, and that resonated with him so he said yes. It’s because I found that commonality.

If you have read somebody’s book and you loved something about the book and it really made a difference in your life, you could reach out to them on LinkedIn and say, “I read your book. This is what I loved about it. It they have a podcast, say what you love about the show, and if you’d like to connect.”

Whatever it is that you feel that resonates with you that you can really be passionate about and talk about, that’s what you should do.

I think a lot of people feel that you have to be fake when you’re connecting with influencers but that’s nothing further from the truth. You only should connect with people you really resonate with, people you would love to hang out with.

How to work with influencers to market your business. Business quote

If you feel like I would never want to be with them, it’s a pain to listen to their podcast or to read their articles, then that’s a no. Definitely don’t connect with that person, even if they have millions and millions of followers.

Marina Barayeva:

If you would write the message to John Lee Dumas today what would you write to him, with all of your experience now?

Cloris Kylie:

Once you’ve had more experience and more appearances, you definitely have to leverage that. If you have any common friends or somebody that you know in common, definitely mention that. I would mention my other appearances. I mentioned that we had I don’t know how many contacts in common.

Now since I’m part of Podcasters’ Paradise I would say, “I’ve been enjoying Podcasters’ Paradise.” I actually recommend that now to my clients and listeners of my own show. Anything that you can find that takes you to that next level helps.

I recently had this coach on my show, his name is Marc Mawhinney. He has a business built around coaches. He’s built a large community on Facebook, it’s a Facebook group called The Coaching Jungle. He has a podcast.

He has become an influencer so I said, “Marc, how do you decide whether you want to talk to somebody or not?” Because he’s inundated with requests to appear on his show and to talk to him. He said, “The first thing that comes to mind is buy my products,” (laughter) because he said that once somebody buys from him, he immediately pays attention to them.

I’m not saying you go broke and buy all the programs available but if there’s somebody you really resonate with that you really want to connect with and it’s difficult for you to do in other ways, the easiest way is by joining one of the programs. Really become an active member, not just buying their stuff but become a valuable member of their community so they see you there, they know you’re on their side.

You know how it is, we have that desire to reciprocate and everybody has that; it’s human nature. That person will want to reach out to you and help you.

Marina Barayeva:

The part of the networking, whether it’s offline or online, you want to connect with influencers is trying to help the person. Even more when you try to reach the influencers you want something to offer, you will not just come to someone and say, “Cloris, can you just share my email to your email base, just in case.” You want to offer them something.

How do you start working with that? What would you offer, what would you think about? When you’re with the influencers, usually in the beginning you’re not so popular like they are.

What would you offer to them from your perspective?

Cloris Kylie:

There’s always value that you have to offer to an influencer. I think before you reach out, you’ve got to figure out what your value is. What you’re going to offer to them, that’s part of the foundation to be influencer ready.

In that guide that I’m going to offer to you guys today, I have the four main ways you can deliver value to an influencer.

That first way is to help them expand their reach.  Even if you have 300 connections on LinkedIn or 200 followers on Facebook, whatever it is, if you’re always consistently sharing their content, their posts, allowing them to reach, even if it’s just one more person, you’re helping them expand their reach.

Influencers are influencers because they want to reach more people. They’re reaching a lot of people, they want more of that. If you have a podcast, definitely, you have your own platform so you’re helping them expand their reach.

Again, even if you have two listeners, whoever it is, even if it’s just one more person, the fact that you’re showing commitment, that you’re really willing to share their message, then it’s already super helpful.

Also you could help them build their brand by doing recommendations. Let’s say they have a LinkedIn profile, recommend them on LinkedIn. Anybody can do that right? Write a recommendation.

If they have a website with Yelp review, go ahead and post up a positive review.

But then you’ve got to let them know of course. Send them an email, post on social media, “I just posted this review.” They have a book, go to Amazon and review their book.

Really go the extra mile. For example creating a video review of their book would be going the extra mile, the person would notice. If you’re going to review their podcast, email them to let them know.

You’re helping them build that authority that will add value to them.

Sometimes influencers, they have a product, a program, a message, and they appreciate when somebody tells them that what they’re sharing with the world is actually useful. Many times they put something out there, people don’t give them feedback and they appreciate feedback.

There’s one influencer I connected with. His name is Chris Brogan. First time I saw him speak, I thought his presentation was fantastic. What did I do? I emailed him. I went to his website and saw the email so I emailed, “I loved your presentation, wonderful.” He said, “Thank you so much.” Then I went on LinkedIn, connected with him there. He had already heard from me so he accepted my invitation.

After that I registered for his newsletter. He has a fantastic newsletter he sends every Sunday, I totally recommend that, it’s my favorite. It’s a short all text newsletter that really makes you think. At the end I would do a quick reflection on the newsletter and I would reply with my reflections. He always replied back, every single time. I was like, “This is quick.”

Week by week I would reply and reply. Then I said, “I would love to have him on my show.”

I had that other show, the online radio show. I said, “Chris, would you like to be on my show?” And immediately, “Yes, of course.” That’s how you do it.

There’s always a way you can help them do that. Also you can help them grow their business by purchasing their products, by becoming an affiliate and sharing with your friends. Again, you don’t have to have a big list, as long as you refer them to one person who buys from them, you’re helping them grow their business and your ideas.

One person who even now is hard to connect with is Dorie Clark. She’s a renowned speaker and bestselling author. She has a TEDx talk that is very well done.

I read one of her books and I thought it was great, so what did I do? I connected with her on LinkedIn, highlighting what I enjoyed the most about her book. I knew it was too soon for me to invite her to be on my show or anything like that so I just continued supporting her.

Every time I would see her LinkedIn articles I would comment on it, I would share it immediately. Every time she had some sort of newsletter, I would reply.

I was always there. I knew it was the time to ask her when I felt like she knew me. When I reached out for her to be on my show she said yes right away. I think by now it was pretty hard to get her to be on a show just because her schedule is so packed.

Same thing I did with Melonie Dodaro who’s one of the top social media experts in Canada. Same thing, I enjoyed Melonie’s blog. It’s one of the blogs I used in my own business so I said she’d be a perfect guest for my show but I knew This man I exchanged, Altucher, I don’t know if you’ve heard of him. He calls himself an idea machine. He says, “My currency is ideas. I have all these ideas. I come up with 10 ideas per day. I write them down,” he has a journal.

He sees a business, comes up with ideas to help that business and then contacts the business and sends them the ideas. It’s a lot like one-liners. He creates these big documents when he feels he has a lot to offer.

He reached out to Amazon, out of all companies, and said, “These are my ideas for you to grow your company.” It looks like they liked it so much that they actually brought him to Amazon headquarters and had him over there to share his ideas with the executive team.

It’s just an example of what can happen when you figure out what is the value that I can deliver. You prepare ahead of time and you actually act on that.

Marina Barayeva:

How long does it usually take you to reach out to influencers?

Cloris Kylie:

It depends. For example, I connected with Lori from Tiny Buddha quickly because I had an article that I wanted to submit to her site and I got deep on that connection that way. I immediately reached out to her.

Often people authors when I read their book and send a LinkedIn invitation, they usually accept because it’s customized based on the book.

But that’s just the beginning though. Once you initiate the connection, your job is to nurture that and to make it a strong connection otherwise you will never be able to tap into that connection to grow your business.

It depends on the kind of collaboration you’re doing. If you’re doing a guest post, you can immediately get the results because you have downloads so you’re free, you have a lead magnet. People join your list, so you get results right away. If you’re on somebody’s podcast, same story, you get results pretty quickly.

But with other influencers in which you’re aiming to do a joined venture partnership or some joint program, something of that sort, that takes more time.

It depends. You will know when it’s the right time. If you’re not sure – wait, because it’s probably not the right time.

Marina Barayeva:

When you feel that the connection is established more or less you send an email or a message, right?

Cloris Kylie:

Exactly. When you’re ready to take it into the next level, tap into the connection, you should feel comfortable, that they actually will know who it is when you email them, that they recognize you, they know who you are. And that they also know that you’re a supporter of it all.

You’ll know when it’s time. If it feels uncomfortable, it’s because the relationship might not be mature enough. But again, it depends, because if you’re doing a guest post or a podcast interview sometimes all it takes is a pitch, a good explaining of how your content will benefit them, that’s the trick.

Marina Barayeva:

When you reach out to influencers, how do you set the goals for reaching? What do you ask them about and what goals can we set there, Cloris?

Cloris Kylie:

I would say it’s important, yes. What I like to do is to keep track of all my influencer connections and when I’m reaching out to new people I think about

  • How can we work together?
  • How can we help each other?

First of all, I say these are the ways I can help them. All the ways, I list them. I have them in mind. Then I say, “In the future, where do I want this relationship to go?”

Sometimes I say this person will be a perfect joint venture partner because we have the same audience, we have complementary products so it’s perfect. We can deliver value to our audiences by offering complementary products. That’s one way.

But sometimes what you want is to connect with somebody because

  • it could introduce you to somebody else, so you want an introduction
  • they could become referral partners and send new clients to you if you do one-on-one type of work
  • you want them to try your service and then recommend that service to others
  • you want them to write a testimonial or a blurb for your book

Whatever it is, it depends on your business and what you want to achieve. You definitely have to come up with an objective and keep that in mind.

But remember the first thing to do is how can I deliver value to this person and then go with that mindset first.

If you go into the relationship thinking how can I benefit from it and what’s in it for me, then the person can sense that and he’s going to take advantage of that. Then of course the relationship doesn’t go anywhere.

Marina Barayeva:

Cloris, how do you manage all of this? If you reach out to one influencer but then you reach more and more and you have to remember all of this, “I wrote the testimonial there and I wrote this message there. He writes about this and she talks about this.”

How do you remember all of this?

Cloris Kylie:

Every time I collected a new person, I love Excel. You might use another tool but I like a simple Excel sheet. I have all the connections there, how we connected, objective, future, potential. I have a spreadsheet, so when I hear from that person I just go quickly to the spreadsheet and see how we met, all those things.

I nurture the connections that I feel have the most potential because you cannot nurture 1,000 connections. It’s unrealistic. It’s impossible.

What I do is I have my top 50 connections and then I have my top connections which are about 15 people who I really support all the time.

I make sure that 15 people are always taken care of. Every week I do something for them. My top 50 I always check that at least I reach out to them once a month to stay in touch.

The rest of the people, if I see something, then I’ll definitely connect with them. I’ll support them as much as I can but you’ve got to figure out of all the people you meet, who are the people you really resonate with, people who have good potential as business partners or whatever next step you want to take, and focus on those connections.

As always in any business, focus really pays off. Rather than trying to connect with 1,000 people on a deep level, which is not possible, focus on a smaller group but deepen the connections.

Marina Barayeva:

Can you share with us any case studies of reaching out to influences, maybe one of your favorites or if it was hard to reach the influencer?

Cloris Kylie:

I couldn’t just go out and reach to her because I actually heard that she didn’t give interviews anymore.

I connected with her: I shared her blog posts, commented on it. I did everything I could to make myself known and I would share on all social media platforms.

Then about six months went by and I said, “She definitely knows who I am,” and I reached out and she said, “Cloris, I don’t give interviews anymore but I cannot say no to you. It’s impossible, you’re such a supporter.”

You want to reach that point where a person has to say ‘Yes’ because you’ve proven that you’re really there for them.

Marina Barayeva:

That’s interesting that you mentioned Dorie Clark because a few years ago I started to connect to her and get in touch, asked her about the round-up post. Little by little I shared her messages and we just recently had the interview with her.

Cloris Kylie:

That’s wonderful.

Marina Barayeva:

Yes. Thank you for your tips.

If you would put that into a strategy, what are the three steps our listeners could begin with to start working with influencers?

Which one little step can they do already today?

Cloris Kylie:

The most important, the first step is to really narrow down your profile of your ideal client or avatar so you know exactly who you want to connect with. Who’s that ideal client, have them very top of mind, so when you go and do your research you ask yourself is this a perfect match or not?

Second, come up with your own value proposition. Before you reach out to people ask yourself in what ways can I deliver value to influencers? What is my top way? Maybe you have your own platform. Maybe you love to read so you can actually post a review of a book.

Whatever it is that you’re gifted at, maybe you love to write and you can write a blog article about an influencer, it would be easy for you to do. What is it that you’re gifted at, and put that down; it doesn’t take too much time.

And the third step could be to come up with that first person you want to connect with. Find out one person, focus on that person, and start researching.

It’s easy to say, “I’m not ready. I’ll do it later. I need to come up with 50 people before I start.” Not really. Just come up with one person, make sure it’s a perfect match with your ideal audience and their audience, make sure that you know how to deliver value to them and just start acting on it.

It could be something as simple as sharing their content, as simple as posting a review of their work, podcast, book, whatever it is that they do. But again, you’ve got to first really know your avatar and your value proposition.

I know this is an extra step but there’s something you must have and it’s the way to benefit from the connection once the time is right.

I see so many people who get these amazing opportunities and those opportunities are wasted because they didn’t have the lead magnet ready or they didn’t know how to ask for the introductions at the time that they had the opportunity. “The windows of opportunity are not open forever. You definitely have to get ready with your objective and the way to capitalize on that relationship when the opportunity is there for you.”

Marina Barayeva:

Fantastic. There were many amazing tips.

Now we would like to know more about you and connect with you. How can we do that? How can we know about a project you’re working on?

Cloris Kylie:

Thank you so much, Marina.

What they can do is go to I do have an influencer guide that I mentioned earlier. If you go to then you will see the guide, which will show you all the different ways you can deliver value starting today pick one way.

The guide will help you come up with your own ideas too but I think having a set of ideas, I have 15 there that you can use, that’ll get your creative juices going and you can find your own ways to reach out to influencers and get the relationships started.

Marina Barayeva:

Where are you on social media?

Cloris Kylie:

I’m on Facebook. You can find me just Google Cloris Kylie, it’s Twitter, the same. I’m on LinkedIn too. Those are the three main social media platforms.

Marina Barayeva:

Amazing. Thank you so much. It was a pleasure to have you here.

Cloris Kylie:

It was a pleasure to be here. Thank you.

  1. A pleasure to have been on your show, Marina! Connecting with influencers is easier than most entrepreneurs think. When matters is to get started, and you can get started today!

    • Thank you for your insights, @ckylie:disqus! I think sometimes you just need to be brave to reach people and bring more value to them then you’ll be surprised that they are open to collaborate.

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