For years we’ve heard that content is king, so is influencer marketing throwing a coup? The answer is no. Influencer marketing should be there to support our content marketing efforts rather than compete with them. With that said, the degree to which we invest in working with influencers varies from company to company and so content marketing and influencer marketing are in effect fighting for the same budget.

Content marketing vs influencer marketing

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as the process of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage an audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action. Similarly, influencer marketing involves collaborating with a prominent individual to (sometimes) help produce and (always) distribute content. Whilst the difference isn’t huge, the distribution impact can be.

Why invest in influencer marketing?

Nowadays anybody with a keyboard is a publisher. Because of this, the noise on the web has been notched up a peg…or 10! Brands are finding it increasingly difficult to cut through the buzz and have their message heard and so they’re turning to influencer marketing to combat the influx in content.

Even an outstanding piece of quality content will go unheard if it’s not promoted properly. If we want to quickly boost the reach of our content, there’s no doubt that influencer marketing will be able to help through capitalising on established relevance, engagement, authority, and multi-platform exposure.

A well-constructed influencer marketing message will mention the brand in an organic way. Influencers tell stories of their personal experience and show the audience how a brand fits in with their lifestyle. When we compare this with how brands typically tell audiences how their product should fit in with their life, we see the sense of authenticity and trust we could gain from working with influencers.

Why only invest in content marketing?

If we’re considering investing in an influencer marketing strategy, chances are we’re already bought into the benefits of content marketing, but if you need reminding, download this ebook to learn about the positive effects that content marketing has on our wider communication strategy.

We mentioned some pros of influencer marketing above, but it’s important to note that this form of marketing also has drawbacks. There are a number of factors we must consider before investing in influencer marketing and unfortunately there isn’t a one size fits all answer so we’ve put together the below consideration points to help structure thoughts so we can make a decision based on our companies’ personal circumstance.

Long term vision

A third party’s influence doesn’t belong to us. Yes, we may gain influence off the back of using theirs but it’s important to acknowledge that we could also be running the risk of losing out on creating our own sense of authority for example. By doing so we may end up diluting our brand or find building our own brand image difficult. We must make sure our brand is reputable enough to stand on its own two feet before investing in influencer marketing so that this technique compliments our marketing strategy rather than defining it.

Message control

The distribution element of content marketing usually lies in the hands of the brand, but when we work with influencers we’re giving that total control away, or at least we should be. Check out our previous blog on how to work effectively with influencers here. This shouldn’t be an issue for companies who don’t mind taking risks. The new age influencer (e.g. bloggers, vloggers, social media famous) is however a new concept and so heavily investing in this form of marketing isn’t recommended for risk averse companies.

Proving ROI

Influencer marketing can be expensive and it’s likely that we’re going to have to take a plunge and run with a trial and error situation whereby we only truly understand whether the influencer was right for us after we’ve built a relationship with them. A media monitoring tool can however help ease the blow. For example, by looking at trending themes surrounding the influencer, their reach, and the sentiment of the buzz we can make data driven decisions as to whether we should opt for this person.

When it comes to measuring ROI from influencer marketing there are a ton of metrics out there to help us but the ones we choose really depend on our goal. Setting the right objectives and measurement tactics (e.g. brand sentiment, engagement, reach, conversation rates) in the first place is crucial to 1. understand if influencer marketing is the best strategy for us and 2. see if it has been worth the investment and decide whether we should pursue this strategy. If this is something you’re struggling with a Meltwater strategic consultant is on hand to have a chat. Contact them here.