Brands and small businesses are quickly recognizing the power of marketing to their key influencers as their own thought leadership efforts stall out. Invitations to an influencer's podcast episodes, guest blogs and featured commentaries are arguably becoming the quickest and most affordable way to organically grow an audience. Unfortunately, few recognize the distinct characteristics of influencers that impact our ability to get on their radar.

An exploratory study of Top Social Media Influencers found 4 Archetypes derived from an examination of a content spectrum (educational to inspirational) and a communication spectrum (insightful to engaging). The resulting archetypes include analytical pundits, evangelists, mentors and motivators.

Notice from the table below how the approach to attracting each archetype varies across:

·         Content delivery formats

·         The way we interact

·         The method used to boost our influencer's audience

Analytical Pundits seek research to support their vision. They prefer round table forums in a debate oriented setting. Consequently, marketers can get on their radar with empirical data, conference invitations, trend line reports and book reviews.

Evangelists seek more illustrious content that support their fresh leading edge perspectives. Their audiences of advocates often share their views in a storytelling format. Marketers can contribute to their causes or insights with heartfelt commentary and inspirational imagery.

Mentors are looking for ways to enhance their courseware with instructional aids for workshop settings. Their audiences seek enhanced performance skills through tactical tips in a Q&A format. Marketers, in this case, can support them with educational aids and expert commentary.

Motivators seek ways to stimulate their audiences often in an entertaining setting. Content contributions need to help them maintain audience energy so as to sustain a packed audience. This works best when the content includes audience participative exercises, humor and motivational success stories.

So where do you find yourself among these categories? Are you more of an analytical pundit, evangelist, mentor or motivator?

 James Barry, D.B.A., is an Associate Professor of Marketing at Nova Southeastern University. He develops, teaches and consults on a variety of social media marketing subjects. He can be reached at