The Changing Face of Influencer Relations
By Miles Freeman
As with the changing media landscape, the face of corporate communications is experiencing an overhaul of its traditional practices. At a recent PRCA talk, hosted by fellow Next15 agency Bite, the topic of influencer relations was bandied around. But, for many companies whose DNA has been built in communicating with end users through traditional media outlets, this can be a daunting concept.
Once the only go-to for authoritative storytelling, journalists are increasingly facing the competition of social media. Everyone is now a commentator. The ‘art of storytelling’ is evolving and brands are beginning to appreciate that stories need to not only be visual but also driven by the reader.
To stand out, organisations must remain genuine and must engage with influencers far beyond journalists and the media. Influencers no longer sit comfortably within the columns of a national newspaper, nor within the ever-expanding confines of social media. The ecosystem has widened.
So, where do you start? Well, with the imperatives. What are your goals? Immersing yourself into the overall brand objectives will help to ascertain what the priorities are and how you’re going to achieve them. From here, a path can be created to these goals and the task of identifying which influencers will help along this journey can begin.
To create a successful influencer strategy, companies must create multiple narratives for their different audiences. Essentially, ensure that the appropriate iterations of content are disseminated to the right audiences. Stick simply to the idea of ‘why would this audience care’ and ‘why would they want to share?’
Having considered the communication mapping, brands must step away from the conventional path to journalists, media, and social media. Think about who or which influencers are key to engage with. This can range from stakeholders of a specific issue, whether it is a Think Tank, NGO or a close-knit community of specialists, through to a public figure that has a personal affinity with what the brand is trying to achieve.
Brands must realise that whilst some of these routes can garner short-term results, others can take longer to come to fruition. Opening a discussion with a Think Tank may not get you immediately on the front page of the Financial Times but in three years time that conversation could have led to a change in policy. Same goal, different approach, different results.
So, I hear you ask, how do I apply this? Well, the answer is to think more intelligently about your story. The communication ecosystem is far broader and far more accessible than ever before. Effective communication is all about establishing a connection. It’s about finding that sweet spot between how you want people to see you and the way they actually see you.
Influencer relations is not a finite science but by taking an integrated approach and taking the punt to put your head above the conventional media, and social media, parapet – incredible results with distinct longevity can be achieved.
Click here to see how we’re working with influencers for Tefal’s Optigrill