April 26, 2016

Work Magic on Your Content Strategy With Influencer Marketing

In March, Kellogg’s launched a series of online videos in an attempt to bring back the appeal of breakfast cereals. The master brand campaign isn’t so unusual, really, except for one thing: the videos were created by social media star Zach King.

If you’ve never seen a Zach King video, you’re missing out. An exceptionally creative videographer, 26-year-old King creates what appears to be magic with the use of quick, ingenious editing techniques. The results are so clever that King is one of the most-followed users on Vine. His social media celebrity status has also made him one of the most popular influencers in the marketing game. 

More than just name-dropping, influencer marketing—the marketing of products and services to someone who is influential in a particular market, in hopes of influencing what other people buy—is a natural part of content marketing. Today, content is increasingly flooding the Web, making it more difficult for businesses to stand out. Much of what’s produced comes off as “manufactured,” and loses its luster altogether. Introducing influencers into your branding strategy can address both of these concerns. Not only will the right partnership differentiate your content, it will also build credibility.

Identify potential influencers

According to Augure’s 2015 State of Influencer Engagement, the biggest challenge related to initiating this type of marketing strategy is identifying the right influencers. To determine the effectiveness of an influencer, you’ll have to do your homework. Start by researching key demographics and target markets. There are also formulas that can help. Most importantly, you’re looking for quality, not quantity: Potential influencers shouldn’t be chosen based on numbers alone, but on the overall engagement of their followers and their existing content.

Kellogg’s isn’t the only one feeling a sense of kinship with King. Crayola also recently released a short film of his to promote its Easy Animation Studio—just the latest in a string of corporate partners. Crayola’s desire to motivate kids to design and create aligns perfectly with what King represents—a tech-savvy creative who follows his inner child.  Simon Pearce, president and chief client officer at mcgarrybowen New York, reasoned, “[King] is loved and followed by millions of people and shares the same passion for creativity and technology as Crayola.”

Set the tone

Before you can hope to attract an influencer, evaluate your existing content strategy. Just as you’re attracted to influencers because of what they stand for, the same has to be true in reverse. Influencers need something to be passionate about. (Just watch Shark Tank once and you’ll see that having a good product isn’t enough to inspire investment—or, in this case, a following.) Have you created content worth sharing? Does your content strategy truly define who you are and what you stand for?

To inspire passion, your content should be purposeful and mission-oriented. If an influencer agrees with your mission and can stand behind your products and your ideas, chances are good that they’ll come on board.

Be an enabler

Content co-creation is on the rise, and it’s another natural step toward authenticity. According to the Augure report above, influencer relationships are used to create collaborative content about 59 percent of the time. Effective content created in part by a trusted influencer will be seen as more authentic and engaging than that created solely by the brand. King, a content producer in his own right, has said that an influencer relationship “win” would be to “create content that my own audience loves to watch and share, while at the same time delivering content that meets the brand’s goals.”

A word of caution: Loosen up on the reins, because truly authentic content needs to originate from the influencer. In other words, put the product in his or her hands, and, if you’ve done your job right, i.e. identified appropriate influencers and given them something to be passionate about, then the influencers will find their own unique ways to interpret the product, which is really the ultimate goal, isn’t it?

In the words of Sidney Sheldon, “There is magic, but you have to be the magician.” The combination of the right influencer, the right brand, and the right inspiration can work magic on your marketing strategy. If you need help creating inspirational content for your brand, don’t hesitate to ask for a helping hand.

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