Influencer marketing and content marketing: Two key areas that will continue to see increased budget spend for companies of all sizes. While businesses are struggling to get greater ROI from their spend in these areas, one easy way of getting more bang for your buck is to think of combining the two seemingly different concepts into one. In fact, savvy brands have included content marketing as a core part of their influencer marketing strategy efforts for some time now.
Where do influencer marketing strategy and content marketing converge?
The mantra for influencer marketing is that we believe our friends and other people more than we do brands and CEOs. If someone were to give a word-of-mouth recommendation about our business, that recommendation is as good as gold. Companies have always paid celebrities big $$$ for their endorsements, and with the democratization (and commoditization) of content that we see online and in social media today, that money is now being spread across more and more outlets, including those who are not celebrities in the traditional sense yet yield influencer in various social media communities.
This is not to say that every influencer relationship is paid for that matter; however, the celebrity endorsement budget has been reallocated to those who influence your buyers the most.
Content fits in here because not only do people trust other people more, but 51% of customers also trust authoritative content. Before we get deeper into content, you first need to ask yourself what your influencer marketing strategy is.
I’ve already blogged about a six-step approach to creating an influencer marketing strategy:
- Research who your influencers are and where they exist in social media, including building influencers personas
- Create an influencer marketing strategy, i.e. determine objectives and ROI measurement KPIs
- Understand what influencers are talking about online
- Engage with influencers online authentically
- Use Paid Social Media to amplify relevant influencer marketing content
- Measure influencer marketing success and adjust
In the above 6 steps, content marketing, if made part of your objectives in 2., can fit into 3., 4., and 5. as follows:
Let Influencers Influence Your Content Marketing
Once you understand what influencers are talking about online, wouldn’t you like to become part of the conversation? One way to do so would be to research the topics they most frequently talk about as well as hashtags most often used and create your own content that fits the needs of influencers using the same hashtags to promote it in social.
Many companies create content marketing initiatives in a silo of keywords gleaned from Google Analytics and AdWords reports. Influencers give you a snapshot into the real world of what matters to those you want to market to. Take advantage of it.
Engage with Influencers Online through Sharing Their Content
There are many social signals that you can send as a way of engaging with influencers, and one of the easiest and most appreciated ways of doing this is simply by including their content as part of your content curation efforts. At this point you’re not actually asking them to create content on your behalf – hey, you don’t know these influencers well, right? – but rather to simply ReTweet and RePost their updates. In general, consumer-facing brands tend to do this by sharing photos and videos of influencers while B2B companies will tend to share more of the blog posts created by influencers in their industries. Either way, this is the easiest and most valuable way of building rapport with influencers once you determine who they are.
You should understand correctly that this goes against the transactional influencer marketing practices that many brands rely on for mixed results.
Co-Create Content with Influencers
Let’s take this one step further: Why not actually reach out to influencers for co-creation opportunities? Whether it’s asking them to create a chapter for an upcoming ebook or sending them a sample so that they can take a picture of how they would use your product, the act of including them as part of your content is a deeply engaging experience that will help transform your relationship from the biggest influencer marketing mistake of striving for a “one-night stand” to a long-term influencer relationship.
Obviously this will work best when 1) your content is already being influenced by influencers and 2) you are already developing relationships with them based on sharing their content. This is a tactic used in many successful influencer marketing campaigns.
Don’t ask influencers to share your content. Make them an integral part of it.
Amplify Co-Created Content through Paid Social
Finally, if you were going to create custom audiences and amplify your content to that of your influencer’s audience, wouldn’t it make sense to do so using the content that you co-created with them?
Want to find out more about the subject? Check out Traackr’s latest ebook The Marketer’s Guide to Influencer Engagement.
Of the 4 items mentioned in bold, how many has your company implemented? How have your results been?