Note: This is a guest post from influencer marketing extraordinaire Zoe Linda! This gal is all about helping you create meaningful connections with brands and customers. She loves a good pun (a girl after my own heart) and I’m so excited she’s on the blog sharing her tips on influencer marketing!
You’re ready to get started on a PR strategy for your business! You’ve got your ideal audience avatar, you know what magazines they’re reading, what TV shows they’re watching, what radio stations they listen to – but do you know what blogs they read and which influencers they turn to for recommendations?
PR isn’t just about reaching out to journalists and getting yourself on a podcast. It’s also about connecting with bloggers + tastemakers within your niche to build more brand awareness and reach a targeted audience ready to buy your products and invest in your services! Keep reading to learn four key reasons influencer marketing should play a part in your PR strategy.
Before I get started, let’s make sure we’re both on the same page! Here’s the scoop:
Influencers are authorities within your niche that have a measurable* influence over your ideal audience. These could be bloggers, YouTubers, Instagrammers, people with a large Twitter following, etc.
Influencer marketing is all about forming relationships with said influencers and collaborating with them to get your brand in front of their audience.
*Don’t just take their word for it! You should be able to measure their influence by looking at their engagement rates, asking for past campaign experience, and monitoring their comments to see if your ideal audience are influenced by them.
My influencer marketing mantra is all about engagement – ‘Count the impressed, not the impressions.’
Well, the two are very closely linked. I would say that PR often encompasses influencer marketing but not the other way around.
Let’s say you’re starting a new organic skincare range. Your PR strategy would likely focus on building brand awareness – so you might be appearing on beauty + wellness podcasts, emailing out press releases around your launch, and sending products to journalists for review – often focusing on the story behind your brand and products. You usually have little to no creative control over how the journalist or platform features your brand.
Your influencer marketing strategy would be about forming meaningful relationships with influencers within the beauty + wellness niche to get your brand in front of a targeted audience and sell more products. You would likely collaborate with bloggers + Instagrammers to feature your brand in return for a fee or gifted products. You will have agreed beforehand if you are giving the influencer free reign to write about your brand or if you have any elements the influencer would need to include in their content (i.e. link to your website, unique discount code, etc)
There can be quite a bit of crossover here, though. For example, some influencers within your niche may have a blog or podcast they’d like you to appear on, which crosses into the realm of PR.
1) Individual recommendation vs. branded feature
As part of your PR strategy, you’ll likely be pitching to online + printed magazines, local TV stations, and podcasts, which is great! However, consumers are much more likely to trust an individual who recommends your product over a magazine feature.
Let’s look at the stats:
By working influencers into your strategy, you’re dramatically increasing the chance that a potential customer will actually trust the source’s recommendation of your brand.
2) Increasing contact with your audience
You’ve heard that, on average, a consumer has to see a brand or product 7 times before they decide to invest. By incorporating influencer marketing into your PR strategy, you’re increasing the probability that they will see your brand more and more times.
For example, an ideal customer could first see your new skincare products in your Cosmopolitan feature but they don’t take much notice. Then they hear their favourite beauty YouTuber mention the same brand – they recognise the product from Cosmo but now someone they know, like, and trust is recommending them? Time to learn more!
Sometimes a consumer could have seen your brand around a fair few times but they just need that one recommendation from someone they trust to take the leap!
3) Reaching a dedicated community
Sure, you’ve got your own social media following and mailing list subscribers but what about expanding your reach beyond your current tribe?
Forming relationships with influencers in your niche means that you will be exposing your brand to their dedicated and loyal communities. If you collaborate with the RIGHT influencers, your ideal audience and their actual audience should align, which makes for a perfect fit.
I don’t mean that you’ll necessarily be reaching 100k Instagram followers – quality over quantity, folks! Sometimes micro-influencers with around 10k followers provide much better results (and are less likely to have fake followings)!
If your business is especially niche, influencer marketing will work even better for you. Working with bloggers within a small niche means you’re directly targeting your ideal customers + clients through someone they already know, like, and trust!
4) Become a trusted brand
Because they’re learning about you through someone they already trust, your ideal audience will see your brand as trusted and recommended instead of ‘just another product placement’.
It’s important to note that influencer marketing is, what I like to call, ‘welcomed advertising’. Audiences are actively seeking new content from their favourite audiences and, organic or sponsored, they are usually happy to read/watch/view any new content from them. This makes influencer marketing already more engaging than a regular ol’ news article that many consumers may be likely to scroll past.
Next time to sit down and have a strategy session for your business, take a moment to think about how influencer marketing can work for you!
Zoe Linda helps mindfulpreneurs make meaningful connections online. Zoe wants to change the way influencers and brands work together and is ALL about creating authentic + long-term relationships. As well as being an influencer marketing wizard, Zoe is a coffee drinking, lasagne-loving, Netflix binging, film buff who loves quoting Harry Potter in everyday conversation. To keep up with Zoe, follow her blog and social media profiles below!
Welcome back to my beginner’s guide to PR series! If you’re just joining, I’m doing a 3-part blog post series all on how small businesses can begin to use PR for their business.
Here’s what I’ll be covering throughout the series:
Today, you’ll learn how to make authentic connections with media and influencers and how to build these relationships over time.
You know how important and business-changing getting media hits can be, but how do you get started?
How can you grow and cultivate an actual relationship with the media and get your stories featured?
How can you get media features when you’re just starting your business?
We’ll be covering all of this and more in today’s post!
Be sure to download the free workbook to help you along the way by clicking the button below.
Yup, we’re talking about goals again. Making authentic connections with the media and influencers is important, but you first have to have a game plan and a purpose.
Getting featured on Pat Flynn’s podcast is cool and awesome, but if you don’t have a goal you’re trying to achieve by being on his podcast you won’t see much return.
This is a big misconception about PR because often people think if they are featured on a major site like Entrepreneur.com or popular podcast like The School of Greatness that their business will finally “take off.”
The fact of the matter is, it takes a lot of work to get on these major sites and more times than not you don’t see a long-term increase in revenue just because you were featured once.
People consume so much content these days, and if you don’t have a specific plan for what to do after you get these media mentions, you will be forgotten in about 3 seconds. That’s an exact scientific answer, by the way. 😂
Laying out your goals ahead of time will help you achieve greater success than if you go about it with zero plan.
Here are questions to consider when deciding on your goals:
There are people already in your life that have connections to places you want to be featured. Yes, you. Stop shaking your head like you don’t, because you do. You just don’t know it yet.
Here’s the thing, to create authentic connections with the media and influencers, you need to build a relationship with them. Relationships take time so a great place to start is with people you already have a relationship with.
You know the theory of 6 degrees of separation (or maybe better known as 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon 😜)? Yeah, that’s like, a real thing.
Schedule calls with these people, hop on Skype, let them know of your goals.
I grew my business entirely through making authentic connections with people I followed online or met in person. My family and IRL friends still have no clue what I do and I imagine they think I do this every day:
Don’t give me the excuse that you no one in your circle knows what you do and they don’t understand and it’s pointless to reach out.
Questions to ask yourself while identifying people you may know:
My biggest suggestion is to remember you’re connecting with other human beings. Treat people like people, not robots or people on pedestals.Learn how to authentically connect w/media & influencers to start getting press for your #smallbiz! Click To Tweet
Do you want to how much time I spend researching for my PR clients? Do you really want to know? Okay fine, I’ll break it down for you:
30% of the time I am sending emails. Lots and lots of carefully written & targeted emails.
The offer 70% of the time? Research.
Okay, so it’s not all about research. It’s also about the pitch. But making authentic connections all starts with research.
Here’s just a handful of things I’m constantly researching for my PR clients:
Here are a few tips on making research a little easier for you:
Did you know that you can find out what magazines will be writing about well in advance? Yup, it’s true. Most print magazines publish their editorial calendars online for anyone to view.
Some will require you to sign up for it, others are just open online.
Print magazines are looking for content about 2-4 months prior to the release date, so you need to plan ahead.
Here’s what happens when I Google “Cosmopolitan Editorial Calendar”:
Often a magazine’s editorial calendar is included on their media kit page, so let’s click on media kit.
It then leads you to a page that has this header. We want to click on calendar.
Bam! The entire year of Cosmo’s print editorial calendar right there.
Now not every magazine publishes their editorial calendars, but most do. Sometimes you have to do a little digging, but you can most likely find it.
You can also sign up for a paid service like Media Bistro to get extra tips on how to pitch certain magazines. Right now it’s only a one-time fee!
Now it’s time for one of the most important steps: perfecting the pitch. Having the correct contact information for editors is great, but if your pitch stinks it won’t matter.
People get intimidated when they hear the word “pitch” because it gives the impression you only have one chance. While that’s partially true (you obviously don’t want to say something rude that insults an editor), crafting your pitch takes time. This is why we want to start with smaller publications and websites before working up to the big guys.
The fortune is in the follow-up
You have to follow up. No seriously, you have to follow up.
People don’t like following up because they feel rejected from not getting an initial response. I know this because I used to feel this way.
Now that I have over 7 PR clients that’s not the case.
The fact of the matter is, people are busy and their inboxes are full to the brim. Sometimes emails fall through the cracks. Emails get accidentally deleted or lost. People thought they responded but didn’t. And sometimes people are intentionally ignoring you.
Here are general ground rules you should follow when following up:
Hope you’re having a great week! I wanted to follow up on an email I sent a couple of weeks ago. I know you’re a busy gal/guy and that sometimes emails can fall through the cracks! Anyways, just wanted to touch base and see if you were open to my proposed partnership/feature story/whatever you’re pitching.
Thanks so much for your time!
I sent you an email last week and I still haven’t heard back. What gives?”
I seriously hope no one would ever send an email like this, but I no joke got something very similar. Uh, chill out dude.
Once again we covered a lot in this post but I couldn’t leave anything out! Building solid relationships with media and influencers can take some time, but it is well worth the initial investment.
Don’t forget to grab the workbook that accompanies this post. I’d love to hear of any additional questions you may have, leave them below!