Almost all marketers now use content marketing. That’s a LOT of content, so it’s becoming harder to stand out. What’s your strategy?
Content Marketing is a Machine- Do You Know How to Use It?
B2B marketers have embraced content marketing – they’ve seen that it works for the big companies like Marriott, Whole Foods, and AmEx, and they’ve quickly adapted to focus on creating great content.
But what makes great content, and how do you know your content is good for long-term sustainability? Businesses still struggle in this department. They’ve “bought the machine”, but they’re still not sure how to use it.
One way to make your content marketing strategy machine work is to explore influencer outreach, or influencer marketing.
What’s Influencer Marketing?
The best way to explain influencer marketing is to relate it to something you already know: celebrity endorsements.
For marketers who want to try their hand at influencer outreach, it’s a matter of making online connections with the right people, then hoping to rub elbows with them often enough that they get to know your brand and start promoting it for you.
But why would they do that for you?
Why Influencer Marketing Works
The WIIFM factor is certainly a major factor in greasing the machine of influencer marketing. Influencers will promote your brand if you’ve given them something first… and it doesn’t have to be money.
If marketers had unlimited budgets than yes, they could afford to pay Naomi Watts and her ilk the kind of big bucks it takes to get a celebrity endorsement (try $13,000 per tweet for one of those Karadashian sisters to tweet your lip balm!).
The big brands may have the big budgets for paying influencers to hawk products, but for most B2B marketers, thank goodness there’s influencer marketing. Many influencers are willing to promote other brands in exchange for some good old fashioned praise and adulation.
Here’s how it works: you help them, and hope they help you in return. People are often naturally inclined to return a favor, so by building a relationship with an influencer that’s rooted in promoting his or her brand, you may see some return on your investment.
And what’s your investment?
Your Investment: Considerable Time Working Towards Engaging an Influencer
There’s no beating around the bush here: you’ll need lots and lots of time for working on developing relationships with influencers. Sometimes, you’ll put a lot of time in and get nothing in return. Sometimes you’ll get very little response or value in return.
But every so often, your efforts will pay off and you’ll have a genuine (online) relationship going that’s mutually beneficial for each of your marketing campaigns.
So, what are these “efforts” that will take so much your time? First, you’ll need to devour any content your influencers produce. Then, you’ll have to keep a keen eye out for opportunities to engage with them in a meaningful way.
You’ll have to plan a multi-channel attack:
- Connect and engage on social media (follow).
- Read their blogs (share).
- Write about them in your own blog (link).
Pay particular attention to #3 on the list above. This is your powerhouse move because the more good things you can say about the influencer, the more you increase the probability that he or she might share your blog post on their own social media.
If someone wrote an engaging, authoritative article on a topic that’s right up your alley, and they quoted you in that article, wouldn’t you love it? You’d want to promote that sucker, for sure.
But it’s even more likely to work if you’ve already connected on social media (#1) and commented on/shared their blog posts (#2). That way, and let’s assume you have a great avatar, they’ll actually recognize you when they go to check out your blog to see who’s quoting them.
“Oh gee, that’s the guy who keeps tweeting my posts. I know him.”
~an Influencer, upon discovering your blog
Building any relationship takes time, including those you create when you’re trying your hand at influencer outreach. Give it lots of time, especially on steps #1 and #2, at first.
Who are Your Influencers?
If you take a look at this great infographic that summarizes influencer marketing, you’ll notice that everything we’ve talked about so far is totally encapsulated in just steps 3 and 4. Notice there are two whole steps to get through before you even do all the work of the outreach!