If I had a dollar for every time I heard something along the lines of “PR is a marathon, not a sprint” I could probably retire tomorrow. When you’re seeking earned media, which tends to carry more weight than paid media (think about it: what part of a magazine do you pay more attention to, the ads or the content that editors write?) building genuine relationships with influencers and experts can help increase your company’s brand awareness and create conversions. It takes time, but can have a bigger return on your dollar in the long run
Unlike the people who work in the media and write, edit or produce contents for established media outlets, influencers are the people who the media often seek for their opinions and expertise. Influencers can be business owners, authors, chefs, nutritionists, stylists…you name it. Really, an influencer is anyone who has a great deal of clout in their community.
We have three ways that you can utilize the impact of influencers for your PR campaigns:
SharemessagesandinformationviatheirownsocialchannelsWhether they are active on blogs, social networks, television or live events, working with influencers gives your brand access to people you might not have reached via media alone. It also exposes you to new opportunities, because now your influencer is out there thinking of your brand and looking for ways to plug you into conversations.
When I send an influencer samples of a client’s product, I don’t expect immediate coverage, but it’s nice to know that you’ll be top of mind for them should an opportunity arise. I, you have a chance to reach a new audience you otherwise wouldn’t have access to. People are also more likely to listen to a third party representative than they are someone from the brand itself.
This is in part because the influencer is expected to be non partial (unless the influencer is being paid to represent a brand, which should always be disclosed) and in part because the influencer has a variety of interesting industry experience.
InvitethemtospeakataneventWhen a brand has news to share it is usually very exciting to the individuals who work for that company. It’s also very exciting for your public relations team, who is generally immersed in the project and shares your enthusiasm for the product or service.
The challenge is that members of the media are usually inundated with news and announcements so it can be hard to get to them notice you and turn out for a specific event. Whether it’s live or virtual, having an expert or influencer attend to share insight will help grow your attendee list and offer credibility to your brand via their endorsement. Invite an influencer — or a few — to serve as your event co-hosts and let them invite a few members of their community to the event, too.
If you want to extend the shelf life of an event, film the event and repurpose it. After getting consent from the influencer, you can use the video to cull tips for a white paper or tip sheet, edit the video into a series, or invite your followers and fans to download the full segment.
BookthemforalocaltelevisionappearanceonbehalfofyourbrandI’ve worked with a good number of brands who have a great story to tell, but nobody prepared to go on camera and tell it. If your brand doesn’t have a spokesperson, that’s not a barrier to getting great TV exposure. Instead, team up with a local influencer who is bookable on television. Send them your products or let them sample your services so that they can become familiar with it and if they like it enough, ask them if they’d consider representing you on TV.
If you land the segment, you’ll probably need to pay them for their time, but it’s a small price for enhanced credibility, exposure and the additional benefit of your influencer promoting you to her own social networks after the segment. It could even evolve into a longer term relationship with even greater ROI for your brand.
Thoughts on new and traditional media, current events, life in Chicago and the occasional small Chihuahua photo.