Six Steps to Influencing Content-Hungry Influencers
by Gil Wolchock
We’ve all heard “Content is King” before, but as we continue to evolve in this “always connected” society, it is more than just having great content that will get you noticed. It’s about putting that content in front of the right influencers, in the right context, that will really make your brand or message stand out. Take PSY for example – he may have been dancing “Gangnam Style” for a long time at clubs and parties, but it wasn’t until he released his video on YouTube that it received world recognition with over 1 billion views.
So how can your brand replicate that success? Here are some steps that I spoke about in my keynote address last week at the Ragan Digital PR Awards luncheon on whetting the appetite of your audience, feeding them stellar content, and keeping them hungry for more.
Step One: Finding Influencers
Traditional influencer targeting focused on the media as influencer. If you had solid PR strategy and execution, you were able to deliver your message to the masses with relative ease.
That isn’t enough anymore. Today, everyone in your communities has influence. You require a concentrated research effort at the beginning of your campaign to help you identify the most influential members of your community. This can include media research – targeting journalists and bloggers is still an effective tactic – but you should expand that effort into influencer research and monitoring across your established social channels.
Step Two: Your Content Menu
Content comes in many forms today. When we talk about content marketing, we’re talking about the written materials, images (photos, infographics) and video content (news videos, Internet video, broadcast video) that your audience consumes and shares.
At risk of taking the analogy too far – what are you cooking up for your audience? What content will they be most responsive to? What are you go-to dishes that you know they’ll consume and share on a regular basis. This can be the blog posts you publish on your blog, or the news content you distribute at a predictable frequency.
Then there are your specials – the content you create for one-off activations. This might be an interesting infographic based off a survey or research you did. Maybe it’s a unique mobile experience that encourages broader participation across your audience. This special content keeps your channels fresh and encourages your community to recommend your place on the web to others.
Step Three: Where to Serve?
It doesn’t matter how good your content is if nobody is there to consume it. Successful influencer marketing programs start by feeding the audiences that are already there. If you’ve invested to establish your community, you want to go to this group first.
But you’re not limited to the channels you have in place today….
Map your content strategy to the channels you have in place today – be it earned, owned or paid – and expand from there. What new territory will you conquer? Which emerging platforms are worth the effort to cultivate new influencer groups? Like the offline world, successful influencer communications revolves around location, location, location.
Step Four: Eat out or Dine at Home?
The question you’re probably asking yourself is “how are we going to cook up enough content to nourish our growing community?” There are three answers we see most with the brands we work with today:
1. Hire some journalists and build out your own content production team.
2. Outsource it all – get an agency to do all the content for you.
3. Hybrid – complement your internal teams with external content marketing resources. This is the best options for brands. A good content marketing or influencer communications team can work with your internal team to produce more difficult pieces, or simply serve as your editor in chief, guiding editorial strategies, developing story angles, improving content your team has created, or simply organization all of your resources around a core strategy and execution plan.
Step Five: Feed them Well
Avoid separate efforts for social media, PR and marketing communications – get all your brand storytelling under one, aligned effort. This will enable you to achieve economies of scale (repurpose content across different channels for example).
Learn what your audiences hunger for – and feed it to them in healthy portions. Feed them well and they’ll come back for more.
It’s okay to share – encourage your audiences to share your content.
Step Six: Provide Great Service
Your influencers will reward great service. Are you doing all you can to serve them?
What expectations do your influencers have already about service? How can you underpromise and overdeliver with them? If your audience were to give you a grade today, what would they say about the quality of your content and interaction with them?
The quality of your service to your influencers is directly proportional to their willingness to consume and share your content. Make sure you’re providing them the best service possible.
- Know who you’re feeding
- Learn what they crave (and have it on the menu)
- Serve where you can today (but know where you want to expand to)
- Have the right team in place, dedicated to great service
- Feed your influencers well, and they’ll reward you
These steps are not absolute, but they are powerful lessons we’ve used to help our brands significantly increase the size and quality of their communities.
Influence starts with the messages you put on their plate. Serve up something delicious.
Click on the image below for video highlights
Slideshow from the Ragan Digital PR Awards Luncheon