≡ Menu

After your content strategy, get to work on your influencer strategy

A colleague and I got to talking about the crucial steps that must be taken to ensure social media (and to some extent, SEO) success. As we talked, we both realized that while many marketers have figured out one of these crucial steps – content strategy – far fewer recognize and put work into an equally crucial facet.

I call this facet influencer strategy.

In a nutshell, influencer strategy is all about planning ahead and figuring who the key influencers in a given vertical are and then putting together plan of action on how to establish contact, then establish rapport, then establish a working relationship with said influencers. Incidentally, for those that might be a curious, I define an influencer as an online entity (could be a blogger with a large readership, a Twitter user with a large follower count, or even a brand with a strong online community hub of some sort) that caters to your consumer base, has a wide reach, and is capable of getting a lot of people to view and/or engage with your content.

In some respects, this is much tougher than outlining a content strategy. Why? Because content strategy has been around for a long time and so the methodology is fairly well-defined. Moreover, it’s success or failure isn’t dependent on relationships with third parties. What I mean by that second point is that if you create solid content that caters to your consumer base and is based on analysis of existing site traffic and behavior you have a good chance of being able to produce measurable ROI, whereas with influencer strategy, even a well-researched and planned approach could still easily fail if you are unable to curry favor with the influencers in your given niche.

I’m not saying that content strategy is easy, because I have a lot of respect for people that build smart content strategies for a living. What I am saying, however, is that it’s counterpart – influencer strategy – provides a perceptibly difficult challenge for the enterprising online marketer. And it’s a necessary challenge because cultivating relationships with influencers is one of the only sure-fire ways to ensure that your content (e.g. the product of your content strategy) is shared via social channels with enough frequency and ferocity to make a measurable impact on your marketing success metrics.

Don’t believe me? Take a closer look at some of your favorite brands or bloggers in the online marketing space (the fine folks at SEOMoz for example). What you’ll find is that they’ve cultivated so many relationships with so many influencers in the online marketing space (bloggers, Twitter power users, etc.) that virtually every piece of content they create is assured a massive amount of sharing. Not to say that they don’t put out good content (they definitely put effort into their content strategy). It’s just that their network of influencers that are primed and ready to share and advocate on their behalf give them an almost unfair advantage.

An advantage that leads to a steady stream of quality traffic as well as their fair share of inbound links and mentions.

Amassing this type of social leverage takes a lot of time and a lot of effort, which again, makes for quite the marketing challenge. But rest assured that the reward is the type of marketing equity that returns dividends more or less forever.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://twitter.com/miguelsalcido Miguel Salcido

    I might argue that determining your influencer strategy should happen before settling on the content strategy. The content strategy should target and foster relationships with influencers, should it not?

    • Anonymous

      It’s a valid argument, Miguel. You could certainly do it either before content strategy or simultaneously with content strategy (or after). But the bottom line is that you have to do it sometime or risk long-term failure.

  • http://opus-terra.net/ Don Platon

    Clients are always saying they don’t get Twitter. What a get way to start identifying influencers and issues of interest to influencers. Klout is another tool. The key here is to make a commitment to research and follow through on it rather than shoot from the hip and wonder why.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for chiming in, Don! There are definitely great tools and technology out there that can take the guesswork out of influencer strategy. No reason for folks to be shooting from the hip.

  • http://twitter.com/seantmcvey SeanTMcVey

    Thanks for the post. What you wrote is exactly how I feel. A great follow up post would be on tangible steps to make the contacts and figure out how to add value to influencers.

    It seems that these influencers are overwhelmed with others contacting them and establishing relationships. How can you stand out from the rest of the crowd?

  • http://twitter.com/seoteky jayson bagio

    Well defined, SEOmoz being able to establish their relationship on many of the biggest influencers in the search industry is really one key element why SEOmoz is a success.

    One idea that I hate about this influencers is that you can get them for a price. An iphone app review blog-twit who has 200K+ follower made an offer to twit our client’s app for 300$ a month and be seen through his blog but we decided not to grab it, HA! Though your prophecy is organic and long term. Still paid advertising is just around the corner.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for chiming in, Jayson! I hear what you’re saying as far as pay-for-influence advertising angles, but it’s important to note that it is possible (and recommended) to build that influence network organically.

      • http://twitter.com/seoteky jayson bagio

        Yes, I’m with the organic side of things here. I just hate it when these influencers accept payments, its like a “bribe” but there is nothing we can do against it since we can’t report it to google and tell them that a particular twit is sponsored. Social media is becoming (has become) one of important search ranking factor now…Geez

        • Anonymous

          P.S. Thanks for mentioning me on your recent blog post, Jayson! Much appreciated.

          • http://twitter.com/seoteky jayson bagio

            Yep. No problem Hugo, worth mentioning:)

  • Pingback: SEO Booklet Entry#1, July Round Up Post | SEOTeky Manila Philippines

  • http://twitter.com/noyavellanosa Nonoy Avellanosa

    Very much agree. I just discover the phrase “influencer strategy” and its importance. I now believe that influencer strategy comes from the trust you build from your readers; this is not just the content strategy but also the power to persuade the readers to share and distribute the content because of its usefulness and interest to many Internet users.

    • Anonymous

      You make a good point, Nonoy. Trust, interest, and reputation are at the heart of an influencer/content strategy. Thanks for chiming in!

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    Great post. Creating great content is very important, but it’s only valuable if people actually see it. That’s why it’s important to make connections with those that have the power to get it seen. It takes time to form these relationships but it’s worth it.

  • Pingback: Enterprise Social Media & Enterprise SEO Strategy – Identifying Influencers via Referring Site Data | Hugo Guzman

  • Pingback: Raj Sandiya » Relationship Link Building: An Interview with Paul May of BuzzStream

  • Pingback: Social Media & Social Influencer Strategy – Viral Content vs Shareable Content | Hugo Guzman

  • Pingback: 70 Ways To Find Guest Posting Opportunities Using Google | SEOTeky Manila Philippines

  • Pingback: Enterprise SEO Link Building: Linking Out to Smaller, Independent Sites & Blogs | Hugo Guzman