Content is the hinge that brings industry influencers and brands together. Augure data shows why it's a common part of influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing is important for strong web presence, but it can be hard. Unlike paid or owned strategies, you can’t throw money at influencer marketing or do it yourself. You have to earn opportunities. Brafton recently reported it’s an area where 84 percent of companies are looking to invest, because it’s highly effective. And as they move forward with campaigns, content should be one of their primary focuses.

An Augure survey of 600 marketing and communications professionals found 67 percent use influencer marketing for content promotion. Think of this as a celebrity endorsement, except the influencer isn’t necessarily pop culture famous. He or she may be an industry expert or celeb who is known within the community as a thought leader and credible source of information.

influencer engagement

It turns out content promotion is, for now, the most common way to leverage an influencer’s professional and social networks. In the past, marketers were more apt to use influencers as a spokesperson for their ready-made marketing and advertising assets.

The key to success, however, is finding the right partnership. Three-quarters of marketers say finding the right influencer is the most challenging part.

However, content creation is on the rise. It’s increasingly common for brands to form symbiotic relationships with influencers that are based on curating original materials for joint audiences.

Seven out of 10 marketers say blog content is the most effective way to use an influencer’s clout. This can be across a number of formats including:

  • Guest blogs

  • Interviews

  • Joint white papers, eBooks or resources

  • Video blogs

  • Quotes for blog posts or infographics

Collaborative assets can then be hosted on the company’s website and promoted by both the brand handles and the influencer(s) who participated.

Marketers stand to gain lot to by getting influencers in their corners…

… But what’s in it for influencers?

According to Augure’s survey, thought leaders who lend their opinions, experience and time aren’t always looking for monetary compensation. Just 24 percent of those surveyed expect to get paid for the content they promote, or help companies create.

Instead, 55 percent say they work with brands because they want access to more followers as a strategy to further their own reach. Another 45 percent view it as a prime opportunity to create quality content for their personal audiences. (We’ve heard firsthand that building a good personal brand requires a lot of effort AND content.)

It’s mutually beneficial for companies and thought leaders to partner for influencer outreach opportunities. The key to success, however, is finding the right partnership. Three-quarters of marketers say finding the right influencer is the most challenging part.

You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours

Like any worthwhile relationship, marketing connections must be nurtured over time, and provide value to both parties. Before you ask someone to promote your content, or contribute to a project you’re planning, ask: What’s in it for them? How will this help them reach their own goals? If you don’t have an answer, take the campaign back to the drawing board and come up with a fresh approach.

Influencer outreach falls under the umbrella of ‘earned’ strategies. The partnerships must be earned meritocratically because both parties share a belief in a certain technology, strategy or approach. If they’re bought or unnatural in another way, cracks will start to show in the message and readers will sniff out the inauthenticity.

Is influencer outreach the same as guest blogging?

Warning: Google penalizes low-quality guest blogs. The search engine’s representatives have spoken out against spammy guest blog strategies, which are usually schemes to get backlinks. (See this resource to learn more about the specifics of what’s considered low-quality.)

With marketing results and budgets hanging in the balance, businesses need to run authentic influencer outreach campaigns built around quality content. Thought leaders will be excited to contribute to valuable assets that make them look good and build their personal brands. That excitement translates to more shares, great reach and a bigger brand awareness impact.

Want to learn more about how to be successful with influencer marketing? Check out our related blog posts:

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.