Talkers: The Most Important Element Of Your Traffic Strategy

There are a group of people that enjoy talking about cool stuff.  If you wanna rock at networking or marketing then you have to ‘get’ talkers – or know someone that does.

Anyone can be a talker, but there are certain types of people online that will relay your message faster. I’ll teach you the different types of talkers, how they can help you and how you can connect to them.

You can thank me later.

The Curator

The curator is a content marketer that finds the best information and presents it in an easy to understand manner.

Rohit Bhargava called it the next big social media job of the future. He described it as “Someone whose job it is not to create more content, but to make sense of all the content that others are creating. To find the best and most relevant content and bring it forward”

Curation, for the most part, hasn’t become a full time social media job but it has become a vital part of many people’s careers. There are sites like paper.li that curate information however people respond best to content that is which is hand-picked by a curator who focuses on a particular topic.

This can be:

  • A list post
  • A regular collection of the best articles for that niche (such as Kristi Hines Fetching Friday)
  • A twitter list
  • A PDF Magazine or newsletter

The information can be presented in many forms – it’s up to how the curator how they share the information. The consistent thing is that there is a focus on quality and that the information is grouped.

Why we need curators:

  • People are busy and don’t have time to filter through, and organize, information.
  • Curators can make more connections between information as they are exposed to a lot more of it
  • Curators allow you to monitor trends across multiple industries easily. This allows you to monitor complimentary niches

Curators are one of the easiest type of talkers to find. Most regularly seek contributions from their community.

  • Allison Boyer will ask for posts at the end of her Brilliant Bloggers column at the Blogworld Blog. She’ll also ask via twitter.
  • Kristi Hines has the following text below her Fetching Friday posts: “Looking for some link love? Articles featured in the resources come primarily from people I interact with in the comments, and on the social networks. So comment away , and join me on the networks below, and if your article/photo/video catches my eye, it may appear in following Fetching Friday posts.”
  • Jonathan Wondrusch asks his readers for their recommendations in his resource posts
  • I ask my close friends, and my twitter followers, for recommendations when I’m writing a list post.

If you want to read more about this concept, you can read Rohit Bhargavas follow up post, The Five Models of Content Creation.

The gatekeeper

The gatekeeper is a person that restricts the flow of information. They can work in an official manner, either as a team member or the person that fields the majority of communication to that person, or be a friend that unofficially passes on the best information.

They don’t usually add to the conversation. They have the ear of the influencer that hired them and their biases/opinion may affect how the influencer perceives you.

See, it’s not only the influencer that matters. Gatekeepers also talk privately amongst those in their peer group. Basically, if you piss off a gatekeeper you can really damage your reputation.

We need the gatekeepers to prevent the influencer from being overwhelmed. The alternate is that they will cut off communication channels and that you’ll have to compete against a lot of noise to get attention.

How to get to the gatekeeper:

  • Create great content. In Referral Engine, John says that “great content gets you past the gatekeeper”
  • Be professional. Some people treat the gatekeeper as second class, especially if they are an employee. If you’re rude to the gatekeeper, you can be pretty sure they will warn their peers, and superiors, about you.
  • Make their job easier. Provide all the information they need the first time, and follow up with their responses promptly. Treat them like you would their boss.
  • Let them access review copies. When I was a gatekeeper, people who let me access the product beforehand usually got a quicker recommendation
  • If they turn you down, ask if they have any recommendations. Sometimes a product may not be a right fit for the blog, but most gatekeepers are really savvy. I used to love recommending other sites as it made me, and my boss, look good.
  • Don’t try to be friends unless you actually plan to follow through. I get really annoyed at people that work hard to develop a rapport, and then stop communicating once they’ve got what they want. It’s a gatekeepers job to tell those above them why something is awesome. You’d save so much more time by being friendly, honest and explaining why you want the authority to talk about your thing.

 

The filter

The filter is someone that goes through the masses of information and finds the hidden gems. They differ from the curator in that they search for one gem, rather than collating multiple resources

The curators are awesome. However, they generally rely on stuff that has been referred to them. The filter has a lot more time to research to ensure that something is high quality. We need them because they are able to put in the time to find the best information that everyone can then benefit from.

  • Srinivas Rao finds people with compelling blogs, and filters out the irrelevant information to create highly useful interviews at BlogcastFM
  • Ainslie Hunter filters through many courses to find the people who are the best teachers for Courses That Matter
  • Jess Van Den finds the best from the craft and creative communities, and highlights them on her blog and twitter account.

How to Connect With a Filter

Connecting with a filter can be difficult. They will get a lot of resources sent to them and won’t have the time to check them all out. Here are the tips that have helped people connect to me:

  • You’ll often find that filters have an inner circle made up of talkers. Look at me. My inner circle is Catherine Caine (cheerleader), Jonathan Wondrusch (curator) and Srinivas Rao. If someone in my inner circle is impressed by you, I’ll be willing to invest more time into researching you
  • I have friends that are filters within their own communities that I get information from. It sounds complex, but telling them about your new thing may increase the change of the information being sent up to me.
  • In most cases, other people will be talking about you or your thing. Linking to what they are saying may help me figure out

See – it’s like networking marketing. Only instead of getting money, the person at the top gets authority and a lot of information. The higher someone gets, the more they rely on a group of their own filters to save them time on research.

Most people try to get attention of the filters at the top, and that is a good strategy. However, they are very busy. It’s unlikely they’ll be unable to do much with the information. Starting at the bottom can result in more people talking about you and more trust as you’ll have a wide range of people recommending you.

You will have to be up front when you approach people. I, like many of my peers, get offended when someone engages me and has an ulterior motive.  We get pitched a lot and like it when you make our job easier and send us a new resource. Remember: focus on the benefits to their audience.

The connector

Theconnector is a social person that has built a reputation from connecting people and products. They are useful because people seek them privately for their opinions on products.

This is my main talking style. Trust me – the industry needs people like this. They can see tiny connected threads that link seemingly unrelated bits of information. If they decide to help you out, they can shave months off your career by connecting you to the right person.

It’s easy to see a connector – especially if they are also a cheerleader. Some of their connections are public, where the blatantly connect people via social media. However most of the connections are done in private, or via recommendation. This is the best way to identify them is to watch the conversation around them or wait until they try to connect you with someone.

Most people wouldn’t peg me as a connector – they only realize this when they are told. The main reasons I get identified as one is:

  • When someone mentions my connecting skills in a blog post. This is common with the reflective posts after an event, like BlogWorld, or when someone summarizes their blog’s progression for that year
  • When I do a popular list post. Most of the conversation will be about the people on the post, but there is a low level of discussion around the author.
  • When I get a specific referral.

How to Find a Connector

The best way to find a connector is to monitor the conversations in that niche. It is time consuming but well worth it. However, connectors get asked for favors a lot. I’d be very careful how you approach them. I’d suggest you:

  • Do your niche research. It always annoys me when people ask for help when they haven’t put any effort into helping themselves.
  • Ask if they have any recommendations of people you could connect with. Mention your research and ask if there are any complimentary niches or people you haven’t thought of. Show that you respect their time and expertise.
  • Connect them with people in your immediate network. Helping them goes a long way

The connector isn’t the best type of talker to try and connect to but if you do it correctly, it can be a very powerful relationship.

The cheerleader

The cheerleader is someone who is very vocal when they find something they love. They will tell everyone. Danielle Laporte is a classic example. When she finds something she loves, you know about it. Everyone knows about it.

We need cheerleaders. We need people who find cool stuff for the sheer fun of it. We need these people to remind us it is that we do what we do. Now, a cheerleader is probably the least effective talker to connect with unless they share traits with another talker profile.

The best way to get the attention of the cheerleader is via organic networking. If you are referred, provide all the information they need to make it easy for them to decide whether to recommend it or not. Be useful, but not pushy. Respect that they have become successful because they are discerning about product quality.

 

Types of talkers to be wary of

While this guide has focused on the positive talkers, you must remember that not everyone has the tact and credibility required to effectively connect to them. Be very careful that the people you talk to don’t fall into the following categories.

The collector

These talkers focus on building relationships to increase their metrics. They want more followers so that they can leverage the statistics for purely commercial gain. They’ll position themselves as a connector but do very little genuine connecting.

These are the type of people you’ll see in the press. They often have great reach but very little conversion. Many of the collectors I’m friends with are good people – I value their friendships highly. I’ll just be reluctant to refer people to them lest they become just another impersonal statistic.

The suck up

The suck up is someone who will only talk to you for their benefit. They’ll often come out of the woodwork after you’ve accomplished something amazing.

They are fine people to talk to, but it can be time consuming to constantly question their motive. They’ll ask for favors and advice just to connect with you, and brag about their connection with you. They can tarnish your brand if they try to leverage your trust for their gain. It depends on how credible they are.

Like with the collector, they are mostly good people. You just have to be extra careful about being associated with them.

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