It’s no secret that content marketing and influencer marketing are two peas in a pod. Influencers can get your content in front of the right people and inspire their loyal followers to fall in love with your brand. That’s why content marketers partner with influencers to reach the right audience, resulting in a winning content strategy every time.
But here’s the thing about traditional influencer programs. Campaigns are typically designed as spurts of energy–without considering the long-term plan. A campaign is created, it’s embarked upon, and the influencers are engaged, if only momentarily. Once the campaign has wrapped, everything goes quiet until the next time the brand decides to launch a campaign.
Without a concerted effort to maintain engagement with the influencers, this process will always fall flat. Even worse, it makes for a poor influencer experience and creates more work to re-engage the influencers when your brand desperately needs them.
By mastering content strategy with influencer engagement, your brand can build meaningful relationships and create content that sticks. Consider the following three keys to create compelling content with your influencers–and amplify it with the right audience.
1. The secret to always getting your content shared
When thinking about your influencer strategy, make sure to consider the long-term plan. Long-term influencer engagement is part of an “always-on” program, which enables marketers to build relationships with influencers over time rather than moments before they need something from them. When you take the time to consistently engage with influencers, it is easier and more natural to ask for a favor when you really need one.
“If I’m really excited about the relationship I love it to be longer term, what can we do,
where can we do it, can we do it more often and can we both benefit from this.”
Now, you might be thinking that this sounds like a lot more work, but in reality it isn’t. Building influencer relationships is more of a mind and paradigm shift. Think of the time it takes to identify and activate influencers every single time you start a new campaign. Tiring, isn’t it? The solution is building upon existing relationships with influencers, so that you avoid reinventing the wheel every campaign.
Ultimately, always-on programs show great value and a higher return on investment for brands, because it is much more cost-effective to maintain and build upon an existing relationship, than to build a new one from scratch. As a content marketer, having ready-to-leverage relationships allows you easily amplify all your content. Once you have solid influencer relationships you can quickly tap influencers to help share and amplify new content.
2. Maximize the impact of your influencers
Be strategic about what you ask your influencers to do. Create a winning formula by matching influencer strengths to your marketing needs. Since influencers come in many forms (also known as influencer archetypes), consider what motivates each type of influencer and understand the best ways to engage with them. For example, you can leverage an influential blogger to co-create content or partner with an industry thought leader for a speaking opportunity to match key influencer strengths with your needs.
“My expectation is that they’ve done a little bit of homework. You can be very effective at asking an influencer something that is going to be motivating for them to be a participant in.”
To get started, you’ll want to reach out to influential bloggers and partner with them on content creation opportunities. Start by becoming familiar with their content. Why do you like it? What topic interests you the most? Determine how this topic aligns with your content strategy. Once you establish a relationship, reach out to them and offer to create value. Perhaps you can create a guest blog post for them—in return, they may be willing to do the same for you.
3. Don’t pitch, make friends instead
Influencers are constantly bombarded by all sorts of requests from brands. To be successful with influencer outreach and ultimately influencer relationships, take a different approach. Instead of trying to sell a brand partnership to your influencer, take the time to genuinely build a relationship with them. Take the time to get to know your influencers as people (who are they? what do they like?) –use that to fuel a conversation. Listen to influencers, figure out what they find important, and then provide value to them before ever asking for anything in return.
Once you have befriended your influencers, they will be delighted to share your content. And, asking them to share a piece of content no longer seems like a chore but an opportunity to help out a fellow marketer.
“I think it boils down to this: Don’t pitch people. Befriend them.
I never would be doing that if all I got was a pitch.”
– Mark Schaffer
Stop talking about your brand. Be genuinely interested in your influencer as a person. And, remember, people are always willing to help out a friend. Keep this in mind with your outreach tactics and engagement methods overtime. The best brand influencer relationships occur when the two are aligned and share the same message. Ready to take your influencer marketing to the next level? Download the Marketer’s Guide to Mastering Influencer Engagement and learn step-by-step ways to build and maintain influencer relationships.
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