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The Diamond in the Rough System for Gaining Influence

Posted By Guest Blogger 30th of December 2012 Blog Promotion 0 Comments

This guest post is by Jonathan Goodman.

Content is still king, but influential relationships are queen. And we all know that women rule the world, so maybe we should start paying more attention to these queens.

Bloggers should publish less and promote more.

If you enjoy staying awake until 4am writing each night, and frantically trying to publish according to your over-zealous schedule, then continue doing what you’re doing. My guess is that you’re not paying enough attention to the queens though, and we all know how important it is to cherish, respect, and support the women in our lives.

That said, there are a lot of queens in the world, and everybody seems to be trying to get attention from the same ones. So you send emails to industry influencers and tweet at top bloggers. One day you get a response back and feel like you’ve made it to their inner circle.

Then you hear crickets … followed by tumbleweed rolling by. (Which is odd because you don’t live in the Wild West or in a cowboy movie. But I digress.)

The Diamond in the Rough System of relationship-building

In every industry there are a select few who are in the spotlight. They receive hundreds of emails, tweets, Facebook messages and so on every day. Likely they don’t answer their own mail and there isn’t much you can offer them in terms of support.

The Diamond in the Rough System is a way to get the influencers to want to approach you. It can be applied to any large social medium but I’m going to stick to Twitter for this article.

Twitter is a sea of shameless self-promotion. Much of it goes unnoticed. The feed is so cluttered and people are more interested in pumping their own information out than absorbing that of others. Add to that the unfortunate fact that what you’re saying isn’t unique—there are probably people with bigger followings already saying it—and you’re facing an uphill battle.

The Diamond in the Rough System will teach you how to find the Queens behind the scenes and court them.

First, understand that there are a number of influential people in every industry:

  • The influencers are the ones in control of the big brands. They may or may not be smarter than you, but they have hustled to get to where they are, and built an empire and great network around themselves.
  • The large magazines are usually faceless organizations with multiple walls and levels of bureaucracy getting in the way. This makes it difficult to get in touch with anyone.
  • The bloggers are gaining more steam in some industries. In the tech industries, for example, it could be argued they control the information; in plumbing they are relatively non-existent.
  • The senior editors are the top-level editors at magazines and industry publications. These people are over-worked and usually under-paid or under-appreciated.
  • The beat reporters and supporting editors are easy to access and have a lot of influence as to what goes into major publications. They are the diamonds in the rough.

Right about now you’re thinking I’m crazy. Because, if you’re like most people attempting to gain influence, you have tried to follow the conventional path and emailed various editors desperately trying to get his or her attention—and never gotten a response.

Get creative and get unconventional

Email is conventional. People have learned to ignore it. You must evolve your practices to get noticed.

Twitter is a way to build a relationship with the queens and create a friendship. Most of these reporters have modest, if any, followings on Twitter. So while they get 100+ emails a day, they might only get two @ mentions on Twitter. Which do you think they would be more likely to respond to? 

How to find the diamonds in the rough

  • Follow the head editors and scan the lists of the people they follow. Look for accounts that say something like, “NY Times editor focusing on social media and marketing.” Follow everybody that seems to cover your niche.
  • Identify the top bloggers in your niche and follow the same steps are above.
  • Identify the top influencers in your niche and follow the same steps as above.
  • Search newspapers websites and find the editors that cover the subjects your niche pertains to. A Google search is usually all you need to find their Twitter account if they have one.
  • Every magazine lists the various editors and writers on the first couple pages. Identify the top magazines in your niche and write down the names of everybody on this page that fits your specifications. Do a Google search and try to find their Twitter account and follow them.
  • Pay attention to networks of influence. It’s not uncommon for a number of influencers to tweet back and forth with the same person that you have never heard of. That person is likely an important member behind the scenes.

The community of people at the top of your industry is close-knit. There are the influencers that you know and a supporting crew that acts behind the scenes that you don’t. These supporting crewmembers are your diamonds. Find them and make them feel important. Support them and build relationships with them.

How to court your queens

Now that you’ve found these people, respond intelligently to their tweets. If they promote a blog post or article with a link, take the time to read the entire article and respond with a piece of feedback or a question. If they say something about their personal life or hobby, send back a joke or tidbit of information.

As an aside I’ll add that you should not respond to every tweet. This comes off as needy. Respond only if you have something intelligent to say and not more than once or twice every couple of days.

Don’t ask for anything in return. Your bio on Twitter says who you are, and includes a link to your work. They will check you out. And you only publish your best work right?

You should have a headshot as your profile picture in Twitter, not your company logo. People like talking to and doing business with people, not faceless organizations.

It works

Following this system, I have been able to get featured as one of the Top 20 Smartest Fitness Trainers You Might Now Know by Livestrong, had my book featured both in Muscle & Fitness and as one of the Top 21 Health, Fitness and Nutrition Books, also by Livestrong, and recently I was contacted by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s right-hand man to write content for his site.

All of this happened because I built relationships with those that control the content behind the scenes. I never once submitted an article. Every time they reached out to me.

Write great material and only publish your best work. Then spend all of the time you saved finding the diamonds in the rough. They are the ones who will get your work to spread.

Jonathan Goodman is a 2X author. His second book recently reached the #1 spot on Amazon in both the marketing and web marketing categories. Aside from consulting and running http://www.theptdc.com, he is currently writing Viralnomics: How to Create Directed Viral Marketing. The sections are being published for free online as they are produced. You can get up to date at http://www.viralnomics.com.

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  1. Terrific tips. When I get new followers, I always look thru their recent tweets to see if there are others in their stream who may be interesting or influential. It’s such a time consuming effort to build your network and nurture it, but I’ve found that it really does produce results and help you make awesome connections.

    • Yeah, I do the same. It’s all about building your network up manually when you’re just starting out. :)

    • Thanks for the tips Jonathan & Doreen. I’ve found that, when it comes to Twitter, the best place to look for active & following Tweeters is in the “Followers” list of people who have similar interests. Those are the Twitterites most likely to actually follow back. Then, as Doreen wrote, you really start to “make awesome connections.”

  2. I’ve never heard about The Diamond in the Rough System, but thankfully I have already been doing what you said. I’ve got success in finding NYTimes writer who covers topics related to my niche and built a good relationship with him. I’m hoping to get featured soon.

  3. Yeah, you are right. Everyone has to build a relationship with the popular bloggers in my case. But the thing is to build a relationship first of all you need to build a better blog that no one could IGNORE. So, I am currently working on my blog and now I think I really have to talk with the popular bloggers.Thanks for the post BTW.

  4. I could not have said it better! People get so caught up with the content that they forget what it takes to bring readers to that content! Don’t forget the Queen…I like that!

  5. Hi Jonathan, Often I hear a lot about building relationships with influencers but no one ever really tells you exactly how to do it. I have no doubt that the Diamond In The Rough system will work wonders. Thanks for sharing I will put these words to practice.

  6. Helpful tips here Johnathan!

    Keep connecting with people. You never know who might become a future superstar so meet the current and future stars, and treat everybody fairly too.

    We tend to gravitate toward the people we vibe with so be the superstar yourself, churning out loads of fresh, relevant content, and leaving helpful comments on blogs and you will naturally connect with these individuals.

    Work on your mindset too. Some intend to meet pros but their undercurrent of feelings screams desperation. The folks develop wicked attachment to pros feeling that Darren Rowse or Chris Brogan will be their savior.

    Ryan Biddulph is my savior. If he takes care of shop and continues to write 10 to 14 blog posts daily, and posts helpful comments on high profile blogs like these, and makes strong connections with leaders, then the world will continue to be introduced to his brilliance…ahem I mean, his work ;)

    Thanks for sharing your insight!!

  7. Terrific tips. i never ever thought about this…now am gonna try it
    thanx for sharing sharing

  8. Brilliant in its simplicity..thank you very much.
    I have been guilty of ignoring Twitter although I love the 140
    Janet Huey
    Pet Stuff Resale

  9. I definetly agree with you content is very important, but relationships are even more important. Bloggers need to pay close attention to this.

  10. Definitely agree with you. Another thing blogger should always remember in the world of blogging is the value of promotion. One good advice I’ve learn this year is to be active on social networks and let yourself to be found within the chosen community. Be more social and once you were notice to actively participate then you are on the right track, continue the process until you get some of the community attention and you’ll be surprise on how much traffic you could get through out.

  11. Wow thanks so much for these tips, something I’ve never thought about before!

    I’ve just gone through one of my favourite magazines in my niche (wellness) and have added a couple of the editorial staff on Twitter :)

  12. You have given me an idea. I’m going to reach out to our local newspapers and find the queens! Thank you for your great posts!

  13. Some important points, Jonathan.

    I have been guilty of not getting “social” out on twitter and Facebook, and I actually closed my twitter account a while back…..

    The whole sound bite style self promotion thing of twitter, put me off….as it just seemed to be a place for people needing 24/7 ego boosts….

    Maybe I am being a little harsh…..and it may only be within certain topic discussions on twitter, where this is the case….

    I will agree though that, relationship building has much higher value than we often realize….and is worth the the effort that is required to become engaged…..

    Just publishing for the sake of publishing, is probably not a wise model to rely on, as far as the long term success of a website is concerned….

    A healthy balance between publishing and relationship building, would prove to be a winning combination…

  14. Jonathan,

    Thanks for elaborating on a very strategic approach. I’ve met industry players through my blogging and its always been the other party initiating. Your approach is definitely worth following up with.

  15. That’s right!! We cannot ignore the important of relationship-building. Even this is the most crucial point if we want to evolve our blogs besides promotion of course. What a good post this is! Thank you Jonathan Goodman.

  16. Thanks for the article Jonathan. The timing couldn’t have been better as I’ve just launched my blog. What a great reminder to put people first in everything that you do.

  17. Thanks Jonathan for the tips. It’s sure the best way to go by following the top players in your niche. And thanks Darren for publishing this article on your blog.

  18. A very good range of tips for use here. I try and make content for the whole month in a few days and then spend the rest promoting as the promotion is the main part to get my blog content viewed and discussed. There is a very good selection of tips showcased here which really help other bloggers. I try and build relationships with other bloggers as well and create a sort of ‘blogging family’ which can help a lot.

  19. Great advice! Interesting that we had already been pursuing the same thing… With the new year come new opportunities for creative thinking. Thank you for the inspiration.

  20. Thanks everybody. I’m glad you’ve all gained some insight into the system. Good luck using it. I hope it helps you the same it’s helped me.

  21. Thanks for this unique piece of advice! You’re so right that we’re told to aim for the people at the very top with a gamut of gatekeepers designed to keep us away. But there are dozens of lesser known people with clout that we can get to know and make connections with .

    Great, great post. I can’t wait to get started with this method.

  22. Thanks for the article. I’m just starting out building relationships and it cannot be stressed enough how important they are! The relationships I’ve built have really accelarated the what I’ve learned about my niche. Plus it’s great to be able to talk to someone and bounce ideas off them.
    Thanks John!

  23. i think that it is all about your network. If you have good network then you own every thing !

  24. Gunaas is one of Hyderabad’s leading fine jewellery designers. Offering custom diamond jewellery designs as well as designer wedding jewellery, Gunaas creates jewellery that is individual and impeccable.

  25. Nice tips Jonathan. You’re a great fitness ambassador and clearly in building your network you’ve achieved fantastic prominence in your niche.

    These lasting relationships do take time to build and finding those ‘influencers’ who can help at the top is very much akin to your analogy of finding a diamond in the rough. But the journey can be fun and insightful and there are plenty of people along the way who can help to develop you and your brand too.

    I always say that you never know which backroom staff today will become tomorrow’s big ‘influencers’ so I always try to treat everyone on the journey with the same courtesy and respect.

    A nice post and great tips!

  26. I agree. Influential relationships are key in turning a hobby blog into a business.

    Excellent topic and post.

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