Last year, you couldn’t walk ten steps down the hall of any business conference without hearing the words content marketing. Bloggers have been doing it for years, but the idea of content marketing and how it can help your business has been thrust into the spotlight.
More recently, however, the mummers I hear center around a different buzz word: influencers. Influencers aren’t the people in your industry who start trends or break new ground. They’re the people in your industry who spread the trends and report the news. They turn a kernel of an idea into something everyone is talking about. So, business owners are starting to realize the advantages of connecting with influencers and turning them into brand advocates.
But what happens when the worlds of content marketing and influencer marketing meet? As Lee Odden suggests, the result is something even more powerful. In a post on his TopRank blog, Lee writes,
“Influencer driven content marketing is one of the best examples of how digital marketing and public relations are converging. The integration of messaging, content, social media and engagement right along with performance measurement and business outcomes should be the focus of any business that wants to differentiate and grow.”
Working with influencers not separately, but as part of your content strategy, means doing more than just connecting with the right people so they talk about your business. It means integrating them into your plan for spreading educational, inspirational, and entertaining content. Influencers don’t even need to mention your brand to have a serious effect on your bottom line.
Let’s go over three steps to get started with influencer drive content marketing:
- Step One: Identify the influencers.
These are NOT necessarily the people with the most social followers. Quality is more important. How likely are those followers to do what the influencer says? I know people on Twitter with millions of followers who don’t have the influence that someone with ten thousand has.
In addition, someone who has a ton of influence may not be right for your specific needs. How likely is the audience to be looking for the kind of content you have to share? The more targeted the audience, the better.
- Step Two: Determine the type of content you can create.
Every influencer will be different, and your budget also plays a factor here. One of the best options is to have an influencer create content for you in the form of blog posts and videos, but the bigger the influencer, the bigger your budget needs to be (unless you have something else to trade, like free service/products, a large audience, etc.).
You can also look at ways to create content that puts more of the work on YOU. Interviews, for example, are an awesome way to have an influencer create content for your brand without you needing a huge budget. You can also quote them in your blog posts (like I’m doing in this post for example) or do case studies. Most influencers will share content where they are featured.
Lastly, you can also create content that answers questions an influencer poses online. In this case, you’re targeting that influencer, but in an indirect way. This is the easiest option, but also has the lowest potential of an influencer sharing your content.
- Step Three: Reach out to the influencer and begin building that relationship.
When you publish a post that features someone or answers a question, let the influencer know. One of the biggest mistakes I see people making (and a mistake I’ve made in the past) is creating awesome content, but being too humble or shy to reach out to the people who should be spreading this content. Don’t spam people with links, but let them know when you’ve published something of value to their audience, especially when it features them.
Also important: if you’re paying for an influencer to create content for you, make sure you discuss promotion as well. If a large parenting blogger writes about your brand of cereal but doesn’t tweet the link or pin an enticing image, that post might go unnoticed. Always set clear expectations not just for the content creation, but also for the promotion of the content.
Don’t Forget About Our Giveaway!
I’m featuring Lee today not only because his advice is super smart, but also because we recently announced that he’ll be presenting a keynote at NMX 2014 in Las Vegas this coming January. If you missed the keynoter announcement, check it out for more information about all five of the keynote speakers we announced.
To celebrate, we’re giving away previous sessions from all of our keynoters. Yes, they are completely free! Get access here before time runs out!