Long gone are the days in PR when we pitched a finite list of traditional editors known to move the brand awareness needle. We no longer count on coverage in Martha Stewart Living’s “Good Things” to connect with the target consumer (although we’ll take an endorsement from the queen of DIY and color coordinated crudité platters any day!). As the media landscape shifts, PR is metamorphosing into a more complex web of relationship building. In addition to cultivating strong ties with print and digital editors, bloggers, and broadcast, connecting with social media influencers will play a critical role in driving a successful PR campaign.
Word-of-mouth publicity has always been the most effective way to get someone excited about a brand. Influencers are considered the second closest thing to a trusted friend, and here in PR, we’re working with these social movers and shakers to create fresh content and authentic brand ambassadors to support broader campaign messaging.
The number of influencers is growing by the minute, so finding the right one can feel daunting, even to PR pros. Here are some takeaways to help you embark on a successful influencer partnership.
PR tips for creating a successful influencer partnership:
- Find Your Best Match: You’ll want to find influencers who are authentically passionate about your brand’s values. Take time to do your research and don’t fixate strictly on the number of followers. Both the influencer’s content style and history of previous collaborations will be a window into what they are capable of for your own brand. When you take time to really understand who they are, your pitch to them will also resonate stronger.
- Collaborate on Content: It’s all about developing the smartest content to support your campaign. Keep in mind that an influencer will know his or her audience more than anyone else, so don’t just push your idea of good content onto them, strike up a dialogue to see exactly what feels authentic and what will resonate with their audience whom they interact closely with every single day. After all, the end goal is to create as much positive engagement as possible and not appear as a blatant advertisement.
- Set a Budget: Be prepared to put some money into these partnerships. Most influencers come with a fee, so if you are working with a limited budget, consider starting with 1 or 2 micro influencers (under 100k followers) to get the ball rolling. Micro influencers still have a very engaged following and can impact your campaign messaging goals.
- Stay on Track(er): Tracking your campaign results by maintaining an impressions tracker is always a good idea. It allows you to see if your efforts are working or not, and will help guide future partnership planning.