In the past several years, content marketing has blown every other digital marketing strategy out of the water. It has proven to be an effective way to attract, nurture and inspire customers of all kinds. But with so much content on the web, customers are turning to influencers they trust to filter out the noise and focus on the good stuff. In fact, brands and PR professionals are taking serious note and are getting in on the action. Social Media Today reports “74% of global marketers reported they will use ‘influence marketing’ as part of their marketing strategy in the next 12 months.”
While content marketing and influencer marketing are often thought of separately, the two actually go hand in hand. “Creating remarkable content is the first step to an effective strategy but if nobody actually interacts with your content it’s a lost effort. Finding the key influencers that will amplify content is the next step. This is where content marketing and influencer marketing become best friends in modern marketing,” says Arthur Hilhorst.
So how do you harness your influencer strategy to inform your content marketing?
Listen to your audience
The influencers you want to work with are, of course, content marketers as well. By observing their content, it can inform your own content marketing strategy.
With the proliferation of content on the web, you can certainly start to drown in it but listening through your influencers allows you to filter out that unnecessary noise. When it comes to staying ahead in the content game, you don’t need to listen to everyone. By listening through your influencers, you will be able to see what topics influencers are presenting to their readers, what content works and where you might fit into that puzzle. In fact, it might spark some ideas as to how you two can partner together or how you might approach a similar partnership.
Influencers are influenced by others as well but they too carefully filter out the noise and follow only those they really trust. See who is influencing them to stay ahead and help drive your content strategy forward.
Take a collaborative approach to content
Marketers are moving away from traditional forms of content in favour of a more collaborative approach with influencers. They are a trusted source, have targeted audiences, and are content creation machines themselves.
Influencers need to produce meaningful content on a regular basis. By presenting them with creative content ideas around your brand, you are, in turn, supporting their content creation efforts as well. It’s a win-win for both of you.
In order to peek the interest of an influencer though, you need to provide them with the tools or experiences to produce beautiful images or content. This helps them engage their audience AND tell a meaningful story about your brand. Authenticity is number one to influencers as their currency is based on this; their readers trust them because of it so you need to give them the space to formulate their own opinions and talk to their readers in their own unique voice. After all, no one can talk to – or reach – your customers quite like an influencer can.
“Offers shared by trusted advocates convert at a 3x-10x higher rate than offers sent by brands.” - Zuberance
Amplify their content
Now that the influencer has created meaningful content around your brand, go ahead and give that content legs. Take advantage of the beautiful imagery they capture and repurpose it across your social channels. This is an incredibly powerful way to increase sales, and in many cases sell out items with your already-existing customer base. Case in point: many fashion brands will repurpose photos of bloggers wearing their items in ‘shop the look’ type content. We love how Style Moi does this.
Add influencers to your content initiatives in the form of features, quotes, callouts, interviews, and embedded tweets or Instagrams. It can help to validate your own good content while also promoting the influencer in your industry. Not only will this amplify their content, it will also increase your credibility with your customers and help to foster a long-term relationship with the influencer.
Alternatively, if the influencer is creating content for your site through an ambassador program, they will likely share the content on their own blog or through their social media channels as well to cross-promote and amplify the reach.
Take Small Steps
You don’t need to establish an entire ambassador program to get started with influencer marketing. You can start small and test the waters through sponsored content. Reach out to one relevant influencer at a time with a targeted pitch and simply build from there. Not to worry, a long-term strategy will come once you’ve had time to work with a few influencers, see how they operate and what resonates most with their readers and yours alike.