Why PR Professionals Need An Influencer PR Strategy
Gone are the days where PR professionals rely on ABC’s circulation figures to measure success. PR – whilst still in many people’s minds an old-fashioned stream of marketing – has undergone a revolution in recent years, successfully integrating traditional methods with the digital world. Now PR professionals can more accurately measure success online; link clicks, social shares, and reads are all key indicators. The way we measure success is not the only big change to the PR industry in the past few years. Whilst traditional journalists are still essential to any PR professional, influencers’ importance continues to grow.
Creating an influencer PR strategy is a big challenge for any PR professional. Most PR veterans are more comfortable working with the editors of magazines or news sites; we generally know where we stand with them and what makes them tick. Working with traditional media is still a major factor of what we do, but in the past year, working with influencers has become a big part of Digital Glue’s PR strategy for a number of our clients.
What is an influencer?
‘Influencer’ seems like a very broad term, and in all honesty, a bit cringey. Influencers, in our work, encompass bloggers with big followings or influential figures within the chosen sector. A number of Digital Glue’s clients are in the photographic industry, so well-respected and talented photographers are often our go-to influencers. For others, influencers simply equal celebrities.
In a nutshell, an influencer should be someone who will engage your target audience and who genuinely loves your brand and products. Digital Glue’s approach to PR is honest and authentic, so working with someone who is passionate about our client’s product is essential. They should be the right fit and share our client’s values and vision. Was Kendall Jenner, a privileged white woman, the correct fit for Pepsi’s ‘social justice’ vision, for example? Certainly not. Whether their vision was correct is a whole different blog post…!
How can you work with influencers?
Building an influencer PR strategy may seem daunting, but there are many similarities with a traditional PR approach. Here are our key tips to getting your influencer PR strategy off the ground.
Draw up a list of ideal influencers, just as you would put together an ideal media list. Consider factors such as their presence in your sector, their social following, and their fit with your brand.
Consider your budget. Whilst many influencers are happy to receive your products as payment (particularly if they love your brand), some may ask for a fee. Either way, you will have to consider how many products you can afford to send out and what you expect your return to be for each. Paying influencers borders on endorsement, which defeats the ‘authenticity’ object and can result in embarrassing situations like this….
Decide on your outreach strategy. Will you work with influencers on a one-off basis or will you build an influencer programme? Digital Glue work with a number of our clients to run successful ambassador programmes. These ambassadors use our client’s products in their day-to-day life, and talk about their experiences on social media, blogs, and at events.
Build good relationships with your influencers. They should feel part of the brand, so keep in regular contact with them and let them know your news as early on as you share news with traditional media. The more you share with your brand influencers, the more they’ll give back.
Tie in your work with influencers with your outreach to traditional media. We often ask our influencers to write features, which we pitch in to journalists as exclusive stories. An authentic story from an influencer is often far more interesting to media than a press release.
I have seen the media landscape change vastly in just 2 and a half years working in the industry. We still rely on traditional media’s influence and reach, but building authentic story-telling methods with influencers is becoming equally important. The bloggers and YouTubers we work with have built loyal communities, something magazines and news sites don’t always have. Their followers see them as a peer, or even a friend, so if they recommend a product, they’re far more likely to try it. In fact, 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations over ads. I know from a personal perspective, I’m far more likely to buy a lipstick an Instagram beauty blogger authentically recommends, than one a Kardashian recommends in the same breath as #ad.