Driving traffic to content is the number one goal for brands.
However, many simply go for the scattergun approach where quantity rules the day. While it can give you the warm fuzzies seeing the numbers shoot up, a high traffic count doesn’t always equate to high conversions.
If your goal is to get more people to buy your products or you want to build a loyal audience who might buy from you later down the line, shooting for big, generic numbers isn’t always the best way to go.
Instead, it can be far more effective to focus your efforts and tap into smaller, highly-qualified audiences that have a vested interest in what you’re offering.
These audiences are often spearheaded by industry influencers and experts – a.k.a. people who know the industry well and have established a following already.
Why Influencer Marketing Is a Great Content Distribution Strategy
Your content distribution strategy probably has a lot of moving parts already.
It might include social media marketing, press release creation and distribution, content marketing, and maybe even some paid campaigns thrown in, so the thought of adding another spoke to your wheel can seem overwhelming.
But influencer marketing is one of the best ways to reach the right audience at the right time with the right message. It’s a powerful technique that reaps big rewards for a relatively small amount of upfront effort.
The Rise of Influencer Marketing
Let’s talk about how hard it is to build an audience today.
With all the different platforms available and a heap of competition to contend with, it’s incredibly difficult to establish an audience quickly and efficiently.
It takes time; time that a lot of brands simply don’t have.
Influencer marketing allows you to cut back on the time spent growing your own audience by tapping into someone else’s. The best part is, you’re able to organically grow your own audience the more you work with industry influencers. It’s a win-win approach.
What does it look like in action?
Say, for example, you’re a makeup brand that’s just launched a new line of lipstick.
You want to reach plucky millennials who thrive on bold colours and new looks, but aren’t sure where they’re hanging out or how to reach them.
So you do what you’ve always done and push a few press releases out to generic media outlets and post a few social media updates on your own channels. You might get a bit of traction, but the numbers could be much higher.
Now imagine you partner with three makeup influencers who are renowned for their bold looks. One has 10,000 followers on Instagram, the other has a huge following on TikTok, and the other runs one of the biggest personal makeup blogs in the industry.
Each of them creates a post or two about your lipstick line and – voila! – all of a sudden you’ve dramatically increased the number of qualified eyeballs on your new products.
And, if their readers love what you’re offering, they’re going to become fans quicker than someone who has discovered your brand without a recommendation from someone they know and love.
This is because the trust is already there.
74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth recommendations as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions, which makes influencer marketing a must-do if you want to quickly establish trust with a new audience.
How to Incorporate Influencer Marketing into Your Content Distribution Strategy
The explosion of social media and blogging means that there are a lot of potential influencers to consider.
Here’s how you can make sure you’re tapping into the right audiences and making the right connections.
1. Find the Right Influencers
The most crucial part of a successful influencer marketing campaign is choosing the right influencers.
If the makeup brand we used as an example above chose fashion bloggers, travel influencers, or even makeup influencers who had a younger-than-millennial audience, they might not have had the same success.
It’s easy to get hung up on selecting who should promote your content, but there are a few key steps you can take to get it right every time.
Firstly, the most obvious industry influencers are those who:
- Have an engaged following
- Are authorities in the industry you’re targeting
- Are familiar with the kind of content or products you want to promote
And here’s the thing: you don’t have to go for the influencers with the biggest followings.
In fact, that can often be detrimental to your efforts.
Think about celebrities like Kim Kardashian who have millions of followers. While it would be amazing to get a shout out from her, you might not get the results you want.
This is because her following is made up of many different types of people.
If you’re selling a fintech app, there’s a chance that only a minute percentage of her followers would be interested.
However, if you partner with a fintech-focused blogger who has 5,000 followers, there’s a good chance that all of their followers will be interested in what you’re offering.
There are three types of influencer to consider:
- Micro-influencers: they have between 1,000-10,000 followers and focus on a specific subject or topic
- Macro-influencers: they have up to 100,000 followers and, while they might have a specific niche, they probably also have a lot of generic followers too
- Mega-influencers: this includes celebrities and influencers with hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers
There are pros and cons of working with each type of influencer.
Micro-influencers are small but mighty and they usually cost far less to work with than macro-influencers and mega-influencers.
If you’re looking for some concrete ways to find the right influencers, start with these:
Search Google For “Best X Bloggers”
Google is a great place to start your search. Simply type in “best X bloggers”, and replace X with your industry or topic.
Browse Relevant Hashtags
Search for hashtags that relate to your content or product on Instagram and other social channels and filter it so you only see the “top” results.
Find Top Publication Writers
Research the top publications in your industry and dig into who the top writers are for them. Often, these writers are industry experts and have their own separate followings on social media and elsewhere.
Remember that PR and content distribution isn’t just about publications these days.
Social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and even TikTok are great platforms to share your content on.
The key is to consider who it is you’re trying to reach.
If it’s homeowners aged 50-65, chances are they won’t be hanging out on TikTok, but they might well be on Facebook. Bear this in mind when choosing the influencers you’re going to use.
2. Create Influencer Lists
Once you’ve started researching potential influencers in your industry, you can start building out a list of candidates.
This will help you keep track of who you want to connect with, along with their contact details, and any other relevant information you need to keep track of.
3. Build Relationships With Industry Influencers
You’ll stand a better chance of establishing mutually beneficial relationships with influencers if you engage with them first rather than go in cold with your product or content pitch.
This builds a sense of trust and credibility on both ends, plus it gives you a chance to better understand their audience.
Develop a Strategy
Like any other marketing strategy, influencer marketing should be a structured affair that you can measure and track.
Start by creating guidelines or an in-house checklist for approaching and working with key influencers. This will ensure you partner with the right people and don’t miss anything out when working together.
Subscribe to Influencer Content
It’s crucial that you know what kind of content the influencers you’re interested in regularly post – and, more importantly, the kind of content their audience commonly engage with.
This will help you craft the right message to send out and, ultimately, will ensure you get better results from your influencer marketing efforts.
Engage With Influencers
Comment on their content, share their posts, and interact with your chosen influencers in an authentic way. Even in a predominantly online world, people still crave human connections, and influencers want to feel valued rather than used.
You can create a schedule for engaging with key influencers – it might look something like this:
- Comment on five posts per week
- Share one influencer piece of content per day
- Mention or tag an influencer once per week
- Email or DM an influencer to check in with them every other week
4. Reach Out With Your Content Distribution Partnership Offer
The final step in the influencer marketing puzzle is to reach out to your chosen influencers with your offer.
By this point, you’ll have established a relationship with them, you’ll be on their radar, and you’ll have a keen understanding of who their audience is and what content they prefer to consume.
The way you reach out to influencers depends on how you’ve been communicating with them before, but often an email outlining your offer and the benefits to them and their audience is the best way to go.
Your first reach out might go unanswered – that doesn’t mean an influencer doesn’t want to work with you though. These people are often very busy and are inundated with offers like yours.
Reach out one or two more times to gauge their interest before moving on to the next.
Make Influencer Marketing a Part of Your Content Distribution Strategy
Tapping into pre-established audiences that are already instilled with trust is a great way to spread the word about your brand, product, or message.
The key is to find the right influencers and engage with them to create meaningful partnerships that benefit both parties.