Influencer-driven content marketing can be a marketer’s best friend – it’s a strategy aimed at fostering credibility, influence and, ultimately, action. According to content marketing expert Lee Odden: “By incorporating relevant influencers that can inspire action with your content marketing efforts, you can reach new audiences with brand messages that are credible and trusted.” Yet in order to see success, you must use a two-part equation to maximizing your influencer-driven content: how you identify the influencers and how you collaborate with them.
Identifying influencers, the thoughtful way
Influencer marketing makes sense—consumers are consistently inundated with content and they don’t have enough time to act, let alone even digest, the information. Consequently, consumers rely on referrals or advice from outside sources. These sources are not related to the brands themselves and they may not even be acquaintances. They are influencers within each industry, topic of interest or community.
The ideal influencer is an expert with an audience, an individual with authority who is a trusted source for information. There are many people who are influencers and many people who are experts; but within the scope of influencer-driven marketing, the ideal candidate possesses both of these qualities.
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Your ideal candidate is someone with a following in her community. This means an influencer’s reputation is nearly everything, so when asked to support a specific brand or share content, the influencer is wary at best. The influencer will consider not only whether this is something her community is interested in, but she’ll also consider her own personal brand. Is this an organic relationship? Is there genuine support for the content?
These concerns are warranted. This is why we as marketers need to choose influencers carefully and reach out to them in a thoughtful and respectful manner.
Always consider your approach from the perspective of the influencer before reaching out. This leads to the second step of the two-part equation: the type of collaborative relationship to foster with influencers.
Co-creation over crowdsourcing
Co-creation should be the end goal of collaboration with influencers. Co-creation means both shared goals and a mutual, deeper investment in the end product. Crowdsourcing is surface-level and implies an open forum where a large group of people are openly-sourced—answers, thoughts and ideas are collected and only the best are selected.
Expecting influencers—or anyone for that matter—to participate in a creative process through crowdsourcing implies that their time and ideas are not necessarily valuable, but one of many voices. By contrast, co-creation fosters a valuable relationship between the creative team and the participating influencers.
Co-creation can include a give-and-take in which influencers have more of a stake in the creation of content. Influencers are not just given credit for small insights or answer to poll question, but rather play a crucial role in the initial brainstorming, refining of concepts and eventually executing the big ideas to create problem-solving content.
The future of influencer-driven content marketing
This two-part equation for influencer-driven content marketing is a recipe for content marketing inspired by consumer generated ideas. This is how we generate genuine engagement, which yields genuine trust in brands. Powerful influencers in each community have opportunities to interact with their audience on a day-to-day basis, so why not give these same influencers the opportunity to interact with the brands also?
For more advice on earning media and influencer outreach, download the Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Earned Media.