With the Content Marketing Institute predicting that marketers will allocate 42 percent of their budgets to content marketing, and the savviest among them allocating 46 percent of marketing dollars, there is little doubt 2016 will be the year of content marketing.
What marketers shouldn’t forget however, is including influencers into their content marketing strategy. While influencer marketing is a critical piece of an overall marketing plan, let’s not forget that influencer marketing is also a key part of a content marketing strategy. White papers, webinars, corporate blogs—these are all useful content marketing tools, but nothing brings humanity to a brand or product like quality influencer content.
Below are the top four reasons why influencer marketing must be a part of a content marketing strategy.
1. Influencers Create Authenticity
Influencers write stories from their personal perspectives, and are able to weave a brand into their life and passions. Their story won’t be a laundry list of benefits as you may see in a traditional online or television advertisement. Instead, influencers create a sense of authenticity and provide relevance to a brand’s product without feeling phony. Influencers will show how a brand fits into their everyday life, compared to a brand telling the consumer why it should be part of their life.
2. Influencers Offer New Audiences
For established brands, influencer marketing can be a boon, since one of the objectives of content marketing is to help draw the attention of new and different audiences. Influencers help brands do just that by using an influencer’s social currency and audience trust. Choosing different types of influencers based on their range of personal niches and the follower base, marketers can reenergize a stagnant brand, help keep a brand relevant with its existing audience and engage new audiences to drive sales.
3. Influencers Create “People” Stories Rather Than Brand Stories
According to Havas Media Group, 78 percent of people would feel indifferent if brands disappeared from their daily lives—not something a brand marketer wants to hear! Brand stories are an important part of an overall content marketing plan, but today’s socially-connected consumers want people-focused stories. Consumers trust their peers above all else. In fact, 83 percent of people trust the opinion of friends and family versus 63% trusted advertisements (Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report 2015). Influencers bridge the gap between products and people, and help consumers understand why they should care about a brand.
4. Influencers Go Beyond Brand Guidelines
For brand marketers, content marketing means adhering to the brand message. But for influencers, there are often few guidelines, so they can bring new use occasions to a specific product. For example, a Collective Bias influencer utilized Pepperidge Farm Goldfish to create a dish that took a typical snack and spun it into crunchy breadcrumbs for chicken. That’s something you wouldn’t see in a typical Pepperidge Farm Goldfish commercial, but on an outside blog serves an out-of-the-box use for the snack that can ultimately boost sales.
It’s no secret that in world inundated with content, marketers need to differentiate their content market strategies to capture the eyes of consumers. Social influencers offer the creativity, experience and a built-in audience that can help brands engage with both existing and new consumers in the places they’re going to online for guidance—social channels and blogs – making influencer marketing is a critical feature for any content marketing plan in the coming year.
Thank you very much Holly for this relevant article. Even though quality content must stay the #1 SEO Priority, marketers shouldn’t forget to integrate influencers into their content marketing strategies if they want to create new audiences and make their quality content visible by these audiences.