As influencer marketing gains popularity, more and more clients ask us how to get increased value out of the relationships they’ve cultivated. There are many ways to take your influencer relationships to the next level. Inviting an influencer to keynote a customer conference, attend a salon dinner or even host a Twitter chat are all popular choices among leading brands, but these one-time engagements tend to have a limited reach and shelf-life – and are also seldom free.
Time is Money
Even if you think your event will be worthwhile in and of itself, in the influencer world time is money. The more time they spend away from building their own brand, either to promote your company or your product, the higher the price tag you can expect. So what can you do if your marketing budget is on the smaller side, or your chief marketing officer won’t sign off on any paid engagement at all? Start creating content!
Getting Creative with Content
Collaborating on content is a great way to test the waters with your top influencers and measure the impact of their endorsement on site visits or leads. You will also get a final product with a longer life span as something you can reference or promote over and over again. When pitched to influencers correctly, it’s a tactic that many brands can put into practice without a fee. The trick is in positioning it as an opportunity for the influencer to expand their own thought leadership on a relevant subject.
Connect the Dots
For example, if you’re a marketing automation startup and you want to work with Marketing Prof’s Ann Handley – one of the most influential figures in the marketing space by practically any measure – you’ll want to start by digging a little into what Ann is interested in and, more importantly, what her audience is concerned with. This understanding will be the key to creating an opportunity she can’t resist. Once you’ve landed on a topic, you’ll then want to connect the dots between that subject and one of your own brand pillars or core messages for truly symbiotic collaboration.
Bring it to Life
One of our favorite ways to achieve this is through a predictions roundup. This is a tried-and-true approach that allows your brand to cast a wide net over a particular area of interest. Our friends in journalism typically do it at the end of every year, and the piece practically writes itself. All it requires is a solid topic – not so specific that it’s clear you are trying to promote yourself or so broad that it’s boring – and a list of compatible targets. Going back to the example with the marketing automation startup, this business could easily approach influencers across different cross sections of marketing for their top marketing technology prediction of the year. They could then intersperse the influencer predictions with predictions from their own executives and voila – they’ve successfully collaborated with influencers on their first piece of content.