I originally wrote this and posted it over at Managing Communities. Here is part of that post.
You know it as well as I do. There are a few select individuals in, or out, of your community who are heavy influencers. They have a lot of readers/viewers/listeners/followers, etc., which makes them valuable allies to have in your corner. Naturally you want to have a relationship with them because they can help you move the needle and get attention to your marketing campaigns and ideas to support your community.
The first thing to understand is that you’re not going to be able to get them to help you without first building a relationship with them. Imagine walking up to someone on the street who has never met you and saying “Please promote my idea, OK? Thanks.” It’s not going to work. The great news is that, because of social media, these influencers are more accessible than ever before.