How To Find Influencers To Promote Your Content & Go Viral

Content promotion doesn’t have to be hard work. Especially when you know how to find influencers and get them to do all of the heavy lifting of content promotion for you.

It is really easy to do and if you have ever heard the saying work smarter not harder this tutorial is a prime example of that!

What You Will Learn

  • How to identify competitors
  • How to find influencers
  • A super sneaky bit.ly trick
  • How to get influencers to promote your content
  • How to get more traffic, social shares & sign ups

Working Smarter – Not Harder

Have you ever written a post on your blog, hit the publish button and even though it might be the greatest piece of content ever written on the subject nobody shows up to read it?

I have done that more times than I can count at my blog.

In the blogging world, the old adage of “If you build it they will come” doesn’t hold true.

The general rule of thumb is to:

  • Spend 20% of your time writing your content
  • Spend 80% of your time promoting your post

So you go out and start promoting the post like everyone tells you to.  You share your post on all of the big social networks, submit it to all of the curation sites and even email your own list (if you have one).

A small trickle of traffic comes in but nothing like the thousands of visitors leaving hundreds of comments and sharing the posts on your competitors’ sites. 

How the heck are they getting so many engaged visitors to every single post that they publish?

Let me let you in on a little secret. 

They aren’t driving all of that traffic themselves!  In fact, odds are the vast majority of the traffic that the top blogs in your niche are getting are from “influencers”.

These are people with very large audiences that can drive hundreds (even thousands) of visitors to your blog with just one tweet.

So how do we find these mythical influencers that can change our blogs lives with the click of a button?  We go to the source….

How To Find Influencers

The best way to find influencers in your niche is to start with the influencers who are promoting your competitors’ blog posts.  By identifying them we can contact them and convince them too promote our stuff, but first thing is first, we need to identify them.


Our first stop is a tool called Buzzsumo.  For those of you not familiar with Buzzsumo, it is an incredible tool that helps you to find influencers on Twitter using whatever keywords you like.

Let’s head over to Buzzsumo and search for a keyword that is related to a blog post you want to find influencers for.

how to find influencers with BuzzSumo

Set it to search for the past 6 months and hit the search button.

This will bring up a list of articles that have been highly shared relating to your keyword.  If the results seem to broad put quotes (example “Facebook advertising”) around your keyword to bring in only exact match results.  I have to do this often to get the best results.

Next sort the results by “Total Shares” this will bring up the top shared posts about your keyword.  You should recognize a lot of the domain names of the articles (they should be your competition!).

Let’s start at the top and work our way down.  Click on “View Sharers”, this will bring up a list of all the influencers who have shared the post.

buzzsumo results

Next sort the results by “Reply Ratio”.  This is the percentage of how often they will respond to direct tweets on Twitter.  The higher the response rate the more likely they are too respond to your request to share your own post!

reply ratio

Open up an excel spreadsheet and start copying down influencers’ Names and Twitter IDs.  I usually grab everyone who has a 30% or more reply ratio.

Now hit the “Back” button and repeat this process for every post you see that is relevant to the post you are trying to find influencers for.

The last thing we are going to do on Buzzsumo is to grab all of the blog URL’s that have content and are being shared a lot.

So go back to the “content search” page (the page we originally got from searching for our keyword) and copy down all of the URL’s that you see.

content search page

We will be using these on the next site we are heading to.

Ps. If Buzzsumo isn’t to your taste you might want to check out a suitable BuzzSumo alternative.


We have the URLs of blogs in our niche that have been shared a lot, odds are there is other content (articles, listicles etc.) on their site that has been highly shared as well.  Let’s grab the influencers that have shared that content as well!

To do this we are going to use a tool call Quicksprout this is a free to use site created by Neil Patel.

Head over to Quicksprout and enter the first URL in your list that you pulled from Buzzsumo.

how to find influencers with QuickSprout

Once you click search Quicksprout goes out and analyzes all of the pages of the site and brings back some interesting statistics.  But what we are interested in is the “Social Media Analysis”, click on that tab and scroll down, it will look something like this.

quicksprout results

Open up a new excel spreadsheet and start copying and pasting all of the top shared URL’s.  Be sure to only grab the URL’s of blog posts and not the static pages such as “about me” or “resources”.

Next, we are going to check each of these links and grab the influencers who shared them.


Head over to Topsy and copy one of the URL’s you grabbed from Quicksprout into the search box.  Be sure to select “Influencers” above the search box before you hit enter.

how to find influencers with Topsy

This will bring up a list of all the people who have tweeted that URL.

We want to select only the tweets that are in English (assuming that’s your target audience) as well as click on the “Influential Only” tab.  This will only list the people that are influential and have a responsive audience.

topsy results

Now in this example, I have over 775 influential influencers that have shared this post on Twitter.  That is a bit much for me, I don’t want to go through and manually contact 775 people!

So to narrow this down I only want to look at what Topsy calls “Highly Influential” people.  These are the people with large highly engaged audiences that can send a butt load of traffic your way.

Unfortunately Topsy does not give you a way to sort by “Highly Influential” people so you will just need to scroll through and look for the “Highly Influential Tag”.  As you do be sure to copy and paste the names and Twitter IDs into your ever-growing spreadsheet of influencers.

We have one more stop on our journey to identify influencers who can send a lot of traffic our way.


Most of you are probably already familiar with bit.ly.  It is a link shortening service (and one of the most popular out there). 

What most of you probably don’t know is you are able to look at the statistics of any link that has been shortened in bit.ly and see exactly who shared it along with how many clicks they have sent!

Head over to bit.ly and paste a URL into the box.

After you do click on the “stats” button.

bitly statistics

This not only brings up the stats for the shortened link you just created but for anyone who has used bit.ly to shorten the same URL.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will see the top 6 people who drove the most of the amount of clicks to this URL!

people that shared your bitly link

If we click on any of these people it will actually give us a ton more info on the clicks that they sent.  Including where they shared the URL, what countries that the clicks came from ect.

For our purposes, we are interested in seeing where they shared the URL and how many clicks came from each source so go ahead and click one of the influencers.

bitly clicks

As you can see here, this influencer shared the link of Facebook driving 48 clicks and then more than likely emailed it out to her list which results in a staggering 756 clicks.

Odds are you aren’t going to get someone to email your link to their list (unless you pay for it) so focus mainly on the social network shares.

48 isn’t too shabby, let’s take a look at another influencer.

find influencers with Bitly

This influencer shared the link twice on Twitter resulting in 34 clicks, plus a share on Google+ that brought in 8 clicks.

So as you can see this is a great way to see exactly who is sharing what on what social networks and if it would be worth your time to contact them to convince them to share your content!

Contacting Influencers

Alright, we have built a massive list of influencers that have already promoted content that is similar to ours, now how do we approach them to convince them to share ours as well?

There are two different ways that you can contact these influencers to introduce them to your content.

The first is by email.  Email them and say something along the lines of:

Hey Name,

I noticed that you shared a post by TheBloggersName on Twitter about “Title.”

I have a similar post on “Title” that “Argues the same point/shows it from a new perspective/whatever”.

Here’s the post: [Link to post]

Thought you would enjoy it :)

Your Name

If you don’t have their email you can contact them via Twitter as well.  Send them a tweet along these lines:

@InfluencerName saw your share of “INSERT LINK HERE” and really enjoyed it.  It inspired me to write a similar post here: YOUR LINK HERE.  I know you’ll enjoy the read!

You will have to adjust it for length to be able to send it by tweet but you get the jist.

Remember you are not going to have a 100% success rate with this!  In fact, if you average anywhere above a 30-40% response rate consider it a success! 

But just one of these big influencers that we identified can send you hundreds of new visitors (and potential subscribers!) with just a single mention.  Not to mention the possible business relationship that can come from knowing these influencers!

Want to increase your response rates?


If you give (by sharing, re-tweeting, etc) before you try and get (them to share your links) you will have a much higher response rate.  Get on their radar, comment on their blog posts, start-up conversations by email or on Twitter.

If you set aside a little time every day to devote to networking with top influencers then before long you won’t even have to ask them to share your content, they will start doing it themselves!

Wrapping It Up

So there you have it, a complete step-by-step guide on how to identify the top influencers in your niche, connect with them and send your content viral!

This may seem like a ton of work, but if you set aside 30 minutes a day devoted entirely to this your traffic will start skyrocketing. I did exactly the same for my own blog which helped it to grow at a rapid pace.

Now get out there and start networking!

Have you tried this yourself?  Know of a better way to find influencers?  Leave a comment, would love to hear about it!

79 Responses

  1. Lorenz

    Good post as always, Matthew ;-)

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 3rd, 2018 at 8:59 am

      Thanks Lorenz

  2. Prosper Noah

    Hi Matt,

    This is a very benefiting post, content promotion is a very important part of any blogger’s life because it lets you expose your content and get the desired traffic you so need.

    Thanks for sharing this awesome tutorial once more.
    Do have a nice day!

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 3rd, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      No worrys Noah!

  3. NIEC

    Great post, you cover good topic specially responsive nature. It is helpful for me. Keep it up and thanks for sharing with us.


    • Matthew Woodward
      August 1st, 2017 at 7:02 pm

      Thanks for your kind words Karishma

  4. Stephen

    Excellent presentation! Step by step guide on how to build your businee!

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 11th, 2017 at 11:34 am

      Thanks Stephen!

  5. urban dictionary

    Wow :) great post. I’ve just read the second one and looking for another :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 18th, 2017 at 5:45 pm

      Theres plenty more for you

  6. Sanjana

    Awesome stuff. Thanks for sharing the information.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 4th, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      Glad you liked it Sanjana

  7. Marve

    https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk is SIMPLY THE BEST, BETTER THAN ALL THE REST!

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 22nd, 2016 at 10:52 am

      True story :P

  8. jeff

    sorry dude,bitly no longer shows stats of who shared the link.
    time to update your content.
    Topsy is gone as well.
    Hope you can come up with some alternatives.

  9. Nawaf

    hi there.u must be tired to write those long contents .letme help u with finding some errors :D
    one of the spelling mistake.
    should i report them if i find them?

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 12th, 2016 at 11:20 am

      Hey, great spot thank you but don’t worry about it, my spelling and grammar will be terrible forever haha

  10. Jordan Keyes

    This was a great post. Like you said it seems a bit tedious at first but I’m sure once we do it a few times it will start to become easier and easier.

    Now we just have to start writing posts worth sharing :p

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 1st, 2015 at 3:32 pm

      Hahaha that isn’t so difficult just takes a bit of time :)

  11. ian

    no more free topsy matthew :(

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 10th, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      All good things come to an end eventually :(

  12. Tammy Hawk-Bridges

    Actually I don’t HAVE the time to influence them. I’m running a successful business. :-)

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 4th, 2015 at 11:49 am

      Then I don’t see your problem!

      • Dan
        March 23rd, 2015 at 1:42 pm

        I see what Tammy is saying, but I also see what Matthew means by not “seeing the problem” because if you have no time and you’re already successful – what’s the problem?

        Of course, we know that’s not entirely true. Everyone wants more and we all can find the time to push higher, right?

        So, try this.

        If you want to be a go-to source on a topic, and gain respect from all, I’d forget the one-to-one influencer outreach and go straight for HARO, because you don’t want temporary traffic, you want to be a brand.

        I’ve spent the last 13 years in the SEO game and watched Sullivan go from a guy running a website to a SEO authority with media credentials and a massive yearly conference. However, back then, Brett Tabke of WMW was the real guru – but it was more a matter of who got in front of the camera, you know?

        Both guys had credibility, and respect from those that followed, but Sullivan went on the circuit and Tabke masterminded innovation with his own tactics on his own forum and eventually created pub crawl/meetups and generally stayed out of the media. If you ask me, Tabke was the guy to look up too, but that’s not the way mainstream SEO went down. Sullivan got the press.

        If you want to be renowned, you have to start with being known…ya dig?

        No one is saying it’s easy, but if you really want credibility you need to get it from the media or the influencers, and one is easier than the others to infiltrate for a few reasons.

        1.) The media bites at anything with substance when deadlines are approaching. Pre-written stories that are on-topic can be literally posted as-is!

        2.) The media has absolutely no ego when it comes to “Do I really want to share this woman’s website link and pump them up to my readers potentially losing traffic?”

        3.) The media is straight up begging to make you credible if you’ll just step up to the plate and help them as a source.

        Keep in mind, I’m assuming you truly have something to say and can contribute in a meaninful way (why else would you write, though?). If you are what you say you are and can back it up, then you’re exactly who the media will want to talk too. The influencers will come around when everyone else does. Look at it this way. You don’t want to be a panhandler, you want to be their peer, so the best way to go about doing that is to get to their level on your own.

        Give it a try. There’s a lot of ways to help reporters meet those deadlines and get exactly what you want in return.

  13. Tammy Hawk-Bridges


    Wow, loving your blog! I’ve read so many blogs over the past couple of years and very few give the value that you do. I also love your openness and honesty in your writing.

    I have to say I’ve been working so hard the past couple of years and I haven’t really been discovered by many that are on the “A” list I will call them. Only recently this has started to bother me a tad. (I have a VERY profitable business so I am a little on the fat and happy side.) But it is getting annoying to see the top 100 marketing people mentioned in an article and I’m not where on the scene. So many to bloggers mention include one I’m mad at about (Brian Dean) talk about this blogger outreach. I’ve never done this. Is this why I am a nobody or an undiscovered goody as I would prefer to be known as? LOL Perhaps I will break down and try it.

    Again LOVE LOVE your blog.

    Keep it real.


    • Matthew Woodward
      February 4th, 2015 at 9:01 am


      It doesn’t matter how good your writing is if nobody reads it =/

      • Tammy Hawk-Bridges
        February 4th, 2015 at 9:14 am

        Hi Matthew! You may have misunderstood – some of the top bloggers don’t know me but I assure you my content is read by entrepreneurs who really need it. My blog traffic is great and it’s helped me to build a very successful consulting practice. I was having a day yesterday of “why don’t the A listers know me?!” But today I am back on track and working my purpose. The people that matter know me and are paying attention. Thanks again for your great work!

        • Matthew Woodward
          February 4th, 2015 at 10:18 am

          They don’t know you because you haven’t spent time to influence them :)

  14. Jeff


    You are correct. All of these things are a must do. That is they are must do’s if you want traffic to your site.


    • Matthew Woodward
      January 14th, 2015 at 7:35 pm

      I can’t take credit for that one :)

  15. Nick Logan

    I love this post Matt. The question…how do you get their emails? In your experiences what is better, email them or tweet them?

    Thanks a lot!

  16. Arman

    Hello Mathew,

    First of, Thank you for the great posts and information you share with us all, I wish you more success.

    Secondly, if you could please do a submission on multilingual and multi regional website SEO strategy/off page up to date, it will be great.


    • Matthew Woodward
      January 10th, 2015 at 3:25 pm

      It’s not an area of knowledge I have enough information/experience to share really – I can probably find someone who does though!

  17. Angelo Bandiziol

    Definitely a great guide for finding influencers! Well done Matt.

    The only consideration I’d like to add is that influencers today, like quality backlinks, are hard to find for one simple reason: they know their weight!

    If our blog has got great content but it’s still ‘a fart in the universe’ then we should find a different approach in order to improve that 30%-40% response rate.


    Instead of targeting top people I would rather go for B or even C influencers. In other words the ones which have an ego that is not expanded yet. :)

    Psychologically are happier to help and less reluctant to filter our requests.

    Finally, when writing a piece of content, I would target a particular niche I will hunt the influencers of.

    Article Example: “How to gain shares as Wedding Planner”.
    Starting with this topic and reframing the content in a way that everybody would benefit from, could push the wedding planners to share the information easier as they feel much more connected to.

    Hope my 2 cents helped.


    • Matthew Woodward
      January 5th, 2015 at 11:15 am

      Great extra tips thanks :)

  18. Sid

    Great Website Matthew!

    Id like to buy social media likes, followers, retweets etc to help with Google ranking. My website is new e-commerce for the perfume industry. my competitors have 100K likes and very large social footprints. Is it advisable to buy in stages in order to rank competitively with my competitors or just build organic social media profiles. I’ve addressed all other factors that Google uses to rank for websites as per your recent blog.

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 5th, 2015 at 11:17 am

      Just build everything steadily and naturally. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  19. yogesh

    Hi matt,
    as i mentioned earlier, i am your regular reader and really its awesome experience with you. your tips are working always and following regularly
    thanks for giving such a wonderful knowledge :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      January 5th, 2015 at 11:19 am

      I can’t take credit for this one =D

  20. Rachana Rathore

    I didn’t know quicksprout was also offering a tool for social analysis. Anyways I think Buzzsumo is all you need to milk the information regarding social activity for your competitor’s website.
    Thank you very much again for this amazing article :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 25th, 2014 at 4:31 pm

      Yeah its pretty sweet for a freebie!

  21. Asif

    Wow, that’s quite an amazing article. Very valuable information. I have been doing somewhat the same but by using different set of tools.

    But the success rate is very low, perhaps its because of the niche I am in.

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 20th, 2014 at 10:55 pm

      No problem – keep on hustlin!

  22. Iza

    Wow :) great post. I’ve just read the second one and looking for another :) Great job :D and thanks for the advices

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 20th, 2014 at 10:55 pm

      Glad you liked it!

  23. retraction

    You are pumping out good guides but you are not replying on the forums! I have been waiting near 10 days for a forum reply, yet nothing! I liked it when you replied in like a day.

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 18th, 2014 at 6:41 pm

      Answered everything today :)

  24. Daniel Daines-Hutt

    I cant believe no one else has commented on this yet

    This is a highly effective and brilliant method to ensure your outreach is successful!

    Far too many people spend 4 hours on the content 4 minutes on the promotion

    Imagine your an 11 year old grommet who’s super shy.
    Never won anything, never even tried

    And then you take up a sport on a whim
    You train day in day out, until your instructor asks you to compete

    Nervous you go out there, get your Daniel-san on and crane kick the guy and win the gold!

    You can bet your sweet ass your telling everyone you see about what you did

    You put in the work and want to share it with the world

    So why don’t we do it for our content?

    I have an article going live next week and you can bet your ass ill be telling people about it for weeks afterwards!

    Great write up guys

    Daniel Daines-Hutt

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 17th, 2014 at 8:18 pm

      Actually I got lazy with approvals :P

      I think I’m guilty of spending more time in production than promotion, but then I just find more time at any cost!

      • Daniel Daines-Hutt
        December 19th, 2014 at 12:20 am

        Yeah it can be hard to put in the hours after putting in so much effort on the article!
        I have a buddy who actually does the outreach for you and your articles-genious idea

        With the rise of content marketing etc he should be loaded soon!

        I agree with yours and a posters comment tho-its a marathon not a sprint

        We try to build a checklist for outreach and just follow it each time, adding in new methods, removing no longer functioning ones

        The only way to see it through and be consistent

        Systemise – Automate – Delegate!

        • Matthew Woodward
          December 19th, 2014 at 3:53 pm

          Your buddy should get in touch with me ;)

  25. Prabhakar

    Awesome post, Got to know some great tools, love to read your each post.

    Thanks for the great info.

  26. Muhammad Asim

    Fabulous post. Its inspired me to follow it and surely I will :)

  27. Alvin

    One thing I learn from people like Mathew, John Chow and others is that IM is not a sprint but a Marathon. Those who goes for the miles win.

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 17th, 2014 at 8:19 pm

      It’s all about consistency :)

  28. Roland

    I am a real fan of your social media marketing hacks! I would like to see more quality posts like those in the future.

    Thanks for the share Matt!

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 16th, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      I’ll try my best :)

  29. michileesch

    Hi Matthew – this is the best Tipp i got in the last time. So effective and easy to repeat. Thanx a lot Mate.

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 16th, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      Enjoy :)

  30. Barry

    Great run down Matt. Love the use of Quicksprouts tool, that’s a fantastic tip, I use Searchmetrics which is a paid tool instead of Quicksprouts. Bitly – another great tip, thanks!

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 16th, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      Kudos to Steve!

  31. Prashanth K

    Thanks Matthew! bit.ly is quite useful indeed. And, to think I was impressed by goo.gl analytics alone.

    If this can be combined with your Tweet Adder or Tweet Attack pro tutorial, I can now successfully get all influencers in this galaxy (and beyond) to hate me :)

    You can also find (or second guess) emails of the targets using Rapportive or similar.

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 16th, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      Hahaha there’s always cool stuff to be found ;)

  32. maxim

    Thanks for Gold Post!!!

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 16th, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      All credit to Steve

  33. Harsh Raichura

    HI Matt Again Awesome Post :)

    Thanks Steve to write such helpful Guide :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 16th, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      No problem!

  34. Abul Kashem

    Thanks Mat. Another highly value guide from you. I have been educating myself on influencer out research. Your strategy definitely will really be powerful. I am going to train my team the strategies you have shown.

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 16th, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      Come back and let us know how you got on!

  35. Derek@FermanaghWebDesign

    Wow, that’s great Matt, I’m really getting a tatse for this stuff thanks to your blog. Picked up BuzzBundle recently (thanks), now I’m going to get into this approach :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 16th, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      Thanks – good luck =D

  36. Simon

    I will be taking your tips for a test drive. Historically I have been terrible at marketing, and have sorely needed a ‘drill’ to go through to promote content. Thank you for your transparency.

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 16th, 2014 at 10:10 pm

      Then please come back and let us know how you do!

  37. Leigh

    A really great post Matt. I have been reading up on this on some of the mails that Brian and Quicksprout send out but this is much better than what I have read so far.

    It is always hard when starting out and trying to influence others but I guess you can also use Brian’s Sky Ranker method too for the content and blast off.

    Enjoyed the read and have a great Christmas

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 16th, 2014 at 10:10 pm

      Don’t be afraid to combine into your own super method!

      • Daniel Daines-Hutt
        December 19th, 2014 at 12:17 am


  38. Dominic Wells

    Stop giving us these really awesome and actionable tutorials. We’re going to end up becoming really successful if we keep reading and implementing them. Sigh.

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 16th, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      Haha that’s the plan!

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