It's well-understood that partnering with influencers is a powerful technique for reaching a broader audience in a more genuine way. According to SocialTimes, close to 60 percent of marketers plan to boost their influencer marketing budgets over the next year.
Integrating content creators with influence into your content marketing strategy not only helps your organization feature a unique point of view in your vertical, it also gives you the opportunity to distribute your content to a larger audience.
But the benefits of influencer marketing will be diminished if you don't collaborate and communicate throughout the entire production process, from conceptualization all the way to post-publication.
Don't let your partnership end prematurely. Learn how to strategically align with influencers on distribution.
Sync Distribution Efforts From the Start
In the beginning stages of content planning, work with your content creator to understand how it'll be distributed after publishing, especially among their audience. Discuss how the resource will be marketed, because the way in which it is distributed could impact formatting considerations, the topics chosen and the elements included.
Will this content live on a landing page? Will you promote this resource on Facebook? Understanding how this influential content creator will make use of their audience in the distribution process is a necessary step in ensuring the most results from the partnership.
"A brand should understand and align with the domain expertise of the influential content creator, details of what they have published in the past (which might differ slightly from their domain expertise), as well as the professional objectives of the content creator to best determine how the brand should collaborate with this individual," said Neal Schaffer, speaker, author of Maximize Your Social, teacher at Rutgers University and the founder of the Social Tools Summit and the Social Media Center of Excellence.
"Only in this way can the brand be assured of collaborating and receiving content that is of the highest level because the goals of the brand as well as the creator are the same - and this ensures that the influencer would naturally promote it to his or her own network as if it was his or her own work," he added.
Who is your audience for each platform (I guarantee they will differ somewhat, if not greatly)? What are they interested in? Who are they interested in? Would the person you interview on your Google Plus hangout also be fascinating to your Facebook group?
Be clear on which medium to use. Can you save a Periscope "scope" to YouTube? Transcribe a Blab and make it an interview for LinkedIn Publisher?
What topics are trending? What events or holidays are happening? Is there someone you should interview who is an authority in a trending topic? How soon should you book the interviews? Will the influencer need to approve it?
Above all things, plan what your content will focus on, and if you are using influencers, how to work with them to best form that content. Should you try interviews? A "best of" list? A book review? A top tips roundup? Do you need their buy in, or are you just reporting?
Accounting for these elements can help your business find worthwhile content to create as well as help with generating content with greater visibility and opportunities for amplification. Using influential content creators as a part of your overarching content strategy is an effective way to strike a strong balance between content production and content distribution. A little planning can make a big difference in both the quality and quantity of your ongoing content efforts.
Aligning the Proper Post-Publishing Execution
The resource has been produced, and now it's time to execute your distribution strategy for this piece of content.
"As I like to say, great content isn't great until people find, consume and act on it," said, Lee Odden, author, blogger, speaker and marketing agency CEO at TopRank Online Marketing. Create a checklist based on the marketing tactics you planned for originally.
According to Forbes, word-of-mouth buzz inspired by influencers generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising and a 37 percent higher retention rate. This highlights how helpful it is to have the content creator share the content with their audience via social media, email, their blog and wherever else it makes sense to do so.
"An unknown freelancer's masterpiece isn't nearly as valuable as content created by an authoritative source with a native understanding of the topic and a built-in audience anticipating what the influencer will publish next," added Odden. It is the combination of meaningful content creation and influencer activation that makes co-created content - aka "participation marketing" - a focus for many brand content marketing programs.
After content is distributed, pair metrics to each of your goals and measure them across each channel. For example, if your goal is to achieve more engagement from your content across channels, look to analyze metrics like comments, shares, time on site, clickthrough rates, etc. If you're looking to drive conversions from this content, analyze metrics like email sign-ups, downloads, requests for information, sales, etc.
When monitoring these goals, keep two things in mind: Is the ROI greater than the cost, time and resource investment you spent to produce this content? And did collaborating with this caliber of content creator improve the overall distribution of the content they produced for your company? These are key considerations when analyzing the success of your partnership.
This is an excerpt from the ClearVoice white paper, "How to Successfully Integrate with Influential Content Creators."