Sep 07 5 Reasons Listening to Influencers Will Better Inform Your Content Strategy
Of what use can influencers be to our brands? This is an important question, but one that rarely yields a response beyond the obvious, they have influence. In efforts of helping you articulate the subtler advantages to be had through influencer cooperation, we’ve compiled this list of five surefire reasons that listening to influencers will better inform your own brand’s content strategy. Now, that was a mouthful, but we will help break it down into manageable, bite-sized morsels.
Influencers Understand the Audience You Want to Target
“So right away you can see a couple of things that look potentially great, for U.S. fiction writers, about U.S. television. First, television does a lot of our predatory human research for us. American human beings are a slippery and protean bunch, in real life, as hard to get any kind of univocal handle on as a literary territory that’s gone from Darwinianly naturalistic to cybernetically post-postmodern in eighty years. But television comes equipped with just such a syncretic handle. If we want to know what American normality is – what Americans want to regard as normal – we can trust television. For television’s whole raison is reflecting what people want to see. It’s a mirror. Not the Stendhalian mirror reflecting the blue sky and mud puddle. More like the overlit bathroom mirror before which the teenager monitors his biceps and determines his better profile. This kind of window on nervous American self-perception is just invaluable, fictionwise. And writers can have faith in television. There is a lot of money at stake, after all; and television retains the best demographers applied social science has to offer, and these researchers can determine precisely what Americans in 1990 are, want, see: what we as Audience want to see ourselves as. Television, from the surface on down, is about desire. Fictionally speaking, desire is the sugar in human food.”
– David Foster Wallace from E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction
If we conceive of influencers as performing the function of television in the above quotation, and of your brand as performing that of the fiction writer looking for a next subject, then we can begin to see how the relationships are, in fact, quite parallel! From the relatively isolated vantage of the writer/brand, one might worry (or at least be unsure) about how or if they’re relating to their audience. However, by following the cues of the (nearly) universally tried and true television/influencer, we, as content strategists for brands, can rest much more easily in the knowledge that they’ve already done the hard work of charting the path for you.
Influencers Have Sizeable, Relevant Audiences
Riding the coattails of the previous point, successful influencers within your niche or target market are surely going to already have large, interested audiences just waiting to lap up content. This fact benefits your content strategy twofold. First, you can employ such an influencer to tap into their audiences on your behalf, effectively spreading awareness of your brand as well as growing your audience at a markedly increased rate. Second, you can observe, analyze, and mimic (to a certain extent) how a given influencer within your niche is interacting with his or her audience. By seeing what works (and what doesn’t), you can begin to shape your own branded content to best reach and resonate with your desired audience.
Influencers Can Speak for You, but Don’t Have to Speak As You
While you, as a representative of your brand, are required to adhere to certain stone-etched brand guidelines, this isn’t exactly the case for a contracted influencer. You’ll want to provide a certain brass tacks framework to an influencer with whom your cooperating on a campaign, but, by and large, you can allow them to take your initial conceptual kernel and manifest it as they see fit. In doing so, you’re providing your audience (and the audiences of however many influencers you’ve contracted) with content that highlights your brand, but varies in tone of voice, aesthetic vision, and overall feel. In essence, an influencer can do with your content what you, as the brand, aren’t able to do yourself.
Influencers are a Great Source of User-Generated Content
Now, this next piece you can surely accomplish on your own, but why work harder than you need to when easier and more effective alternatives are available? Scouring your channels, and even the vast internet beyond, for good UGC that really showcases your brand can be a cumbersome task. With the help of professional influencers, though, this endeavor can be simplified considerably. Your average influencer is capable of creating content of their own that will often prove very good, and your above average influencer can offer you content that will more than wow. Beyond what the influencers, themselves, are capable of creating for your brand, you can request that they tap into their often immense audiences for what will result in an absolute avalanche of UGC, much of which will be ripe for the picking (with permission, of course)!
Influencers Help Keep Your Content Fresh and Help You Avoid ‘Writers Block’
Finally, we all know those feelings of exhaustion and frustration that can present themselves when you’re completely out of ideas for new, fresh content. They can range from unpleasant or downright terrifying (especially if deadlines are almost upon us). One more excellent way to use influencers to inform your brand’s content strategy is so simple, it may not even have occurred to you. When you’re in a rut, or even when you’re not, take a close look at what those influencers in your niche or market are doing, and how they’re doing it. Even if you’re not actively engaged in a campaign with any of these influencers, you might still learn something valuable, or be struck by some inspiration, by seeing how they’re discussing this, that, or the other. Don’t bang your head against your desk when your idea reservoir has run dry. Just step outside of yourself and see what’s happening out there! It may just prove invaluable.
So, from understanding your audience to reaching and growing it, and from stockpiling topnotch UGC to breaking a writer’s block, influencers can often be of critical importance in informing your brand’s content strategy, if you know how to put them to use. Hopefully now, with these five tips for doing just that, you’re ready to take your branded content to the next level and allow an influencer or two to help you take it there!