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Importance of Having Influencers Involved in Your Content

What did you want to be when you grew up? A doctor? A teacher? A lawyer? If you asked a child this question today, odds are you wouldn’t hear any of those responses. In a recent survey, 75% of children said that they want to grow up to be a vlogger – or in other […]

What did you want to be when you grew up? A doctor? A teacher? A lawyer? If you asked a child this question today, odds are you wouldn’t hear any of those responses. In a recent survey, 75% of children said that they want to grow up to be a vlogger – or in other words, an influencer. Of course, as with any career associated with fame and fortune, only a handful of those who dream of being the next big thing will ever make it. In fact, even now there are countless bloggers, vloggers, and podcasters who consider themselves influential, but aren’t. So what constitutes an influencer? And how can you make sure you’re picking the right influencer for your brand? There’s more to being an influencer than having thousands of followers (especially when those numbers are so easy to fake). Needless to say, influencers influence. Their followers actually engage with their content, listen to what they have to say, and take action as a result of their requests or recommendations. This means the right influencer for you – i.e. someone who not only has a decent-sized following, but who also has an engaged following that fits your brand – can be invaluable to your content. In fact, one in three consumers reportedly trust the words of an influencer over the brand itself. That said, that isn’t the only reason getting influencers involved in your content is so important. There are a number of ways they can be invaluable to its creation and distribution.

They Probably Know Things You Don’t

There’s no doubt that some influencers gain their fame by faking it, but those aren’t the influencers you want to be working with, regardless of how many followers they have or how engaged those followers are. When researching influencers, do some digging to find out whether they legitimately know their stuff. Read their blog. Watch their YouTube content. Listen to podcasts they’ve appeared on (or host themselves). This is vital, since influencers who are more knowledgeable than you can add value to your content by contributing tips or sharing information that’s brand new to you, or that you hadn’t considered including. This is great for you (it makes you look more authoritative, even if the information has clearly come from the influencer) and it adds value for your audience.

They’re Invaluable to Content Distribution

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the more people you reach with your content, the more effective it will be. More eyes means more brand awareness and more shares (which in turn leads to more shares and more visibility – a cycle that, all being well, will continue). Better yet, the more people who see your content, the greater the odds it will lead to other wins, like links, email subscribers, and sales. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for you to start that chain reaction if your brand is largely unknown and your social media accounts have only a handful of followers. This is where influencers come in. When we see an influencer sharing a piece of content, we’re far more likely to reshare it than if we see the content being shared by someone unknown, even if we don’t bother looking at the content ourselves (admit it – we’ve all done it)! This is primarily because if we trust the person sharing the content, we trust the content will be worth resharing. However, while influencers do typically share content they’re involved in, you can’t count on it. So what can you do to up the odds that influencers will play a part in content distribution? One option is to make sharing the content part of your initial arrangement. Unfortunately, this condition is only really fair if you’re paying an influencer for their involvement. If you’re asking them to help out of the goodness of their hearts, you can’t expect anything else from them. Sure, you can ask if they would mind sharing it, but you can’t assume they’ll oblige. So, if you’re not compensating influencers, bear this in mind: the quality of your content will make a big difference in whether or not they’ll push it out to their following. Influencers are much less likely to share their contribution to “50 Growth Tips from 50 Marketers,” for example, than a quality ebook. Influencers only want to share great content, and if anything, they’ll be less likely to share something substandard because they won’t want to advertise their involvement.

They Increase Your Authority

Simply put, working with an influencer earns you a “seal of approval” and makes you more influential in the eyes of your target audience. In other words, it’s authority by association. If an influencer is seen to endorse you, their audience is more likely to buy into what you have to say, to follow you, and to (potentially) purchase from you.

It May Lead to Other Opportunities Down the Line

Don’t “use” an influencer to your advantage and then disappear. Use this initial partnership as an opportunity to build a genuine relationship with this person. Do that, and odds are it will lead to bigger and better things in the future – things like:
  • More detailed contributions to your content
  • Speaking opportunities
  • Distribution of content (whether or not the influencer in question was involved)
  • The chance to collaborate 50/50 on content – i.e. create an ebook together, speak on a podcast, or appear in a YouTube video

How to Get Influencers Involved in Your Content

So you want to get an influencer involved in your content, and based on the number of followers they have, how engaged those followers are, and how relevant the influencer is to your target audience, you’ve drawn up a shortlist of who you’d like to work with … What happens next? While there are agencies that can organize campaigns for you, going down that road limits your options. It also, of course, entails paying for an influencer’s involvement and chances are, you’ll be paying more than necessary, compared to going direct. So what’s the alternative? Start by tracking down the email address of everyone on your shortlist (you can do this en-masse using a tool like Voila Norbert). Then, once you’re ready, send a personalized pitch to influencers you want to work with. You can also streamline the process of contacting influencers and manage campaigns more effectively with platforms such as Mailshake. In your pitch, briefly detail:
  • The project you want their involvement in
  • What you’d ideally like their involvement to consist of – this could mean contributing to a blog post you’re writing, but it could also entail things like writing a guest post for your blog or appearing on your podcast or YouTube channel
  • Why you think they’re a great match for this project (in other words, butter them up)
  • Any compensation you can offer (if applicable)
This approach is a little different than what I’d advocate using in most outreach emails. In the majority of outreach emails, it’s critical to highlight what’s in it for the recipient. However, unless you’re offering some sort of compensation, the influencer doesn’t get much from participating. They’re an influencer because their audience is bigger than yours – they don’t need to help you, and they have little to gain. You have to make them want to work with you because you’re a likeable person who follows what they do, and has a genuinely interesting project for them to be involved in. Your email should be about them, but it shouldn’t be about what’s in it for them (unless you’re offering actual compensation). Have you ever had influencers involved in your content? Do you have any tips for getting them involved, or getting more out of their contributions? It’d be great if you could share your tips in the comments below:

Content Islands: A Framework for Generating Long-Term Results with Inbound Marketing

  The Truth About Inbound Marketing The truth about inbound marketing: Content only works when it has a goal. All too often, people create content just for the sake of creating it. This content doesn’t have a plan, a direction or a purpose, and lackluster results usually follow. Of course, there are times when you […]

 

The Truth About Inbound Marketing

The truth about inbound marketing: Content only works when it has a goal.

All too often, people create content just for the sake of creating it.

This content doesn’t have a plan, a direction or a purpose, and lackluster results usually follow. Of course, there are times when you strike it lucky and the content you create generates 10x the amount of traffic and leads you expected. However, unless this was planned (and it usually isn’t), you can’t hope to repeat this success.

However, unless this was planned (and it usually isn’t), you can’t hope to repeat this success.

So I come back to my original statement: Content only works when it has a goal. And to have a goal you need a structure with a beginning, a middle and an end. In other words, it’s crucial that you have a plan for your content, with each piece leading onto the next. This takes the people who interact with your content on a journey with your brand.

This takes the people who interact with your content on a journey with your brand.

There are many content methodologies and frameworks out there. One of my favorites is the Hubspot Inbound Methodology; I’m a huge fan.

In this methodology, they neatly present the process of inbound marketing, from creating content to attract people to your website, through to converting those people into leads for your business, closing them to a customer, and finally delighting that customer so much that they tell their colleagues and friends all about your brand.

Along with this, Hubspot lists the different content you can use at each stage:

Source: Hubspot

However, based on this methodology and most of the other frameworks out there, a few things are still unclear:

  • What content should you create?
  • When should you create it?
  • And how?!

While there are methodologies that explain how you should think about content at each stage of a person’s journey with your brand, it’s still not clear how all this content should function together.

So we created our own framework, taking everything we understand from the buyer journey, the inbound methodology, and our experience with content marketing.

The framework is called Content Islands, and it gives structure to the content creation process.

Content Islands ensures you are creating the right amount of content, in the right areas, and that every piece of content you create has a purpose and a goal. The result is a well-oiled machine that will generate targeted traffic, leads and customers for the long term.

Before I dive in, you should know that the Content Islands framework focuses on helping you structure the creation of your content. It is based on the belief that you have already planned out your personas, you know your audience, where they hang out, what they like and the content they like to consume.

To use Content Islands you should be ready to start the creation of content.

Ok, so let me explain how it works…

 

Getting Started with Content Islands

Before you create your first Content Island, you need to decide on a broad topic.

For example, if you are a video production agency you might choose a topic that interests your users, such as “Training”. If you manufacture premium headphones you might choose “Fitness” as your topic.

Your topic should be an area of interest that surrounds your product or service, or helps your audience decide how they might use your product or service. The topic you choose will be the basis for each piece of content you create for your first Content Island.

 

Creating Your First Content Island

Once you have decided on the topic for your Content Island, the first piece of content you should create is the island.

This is a gated piece of content such as an ebook, a white paper, a webinar or a report. This is a high-value piece of content that your audience would be happy to download or view for free in exchange for their contact details.

The framework starts with the island as this is the high-value piece of content you are using as the conversion point.

It’s the piece of content that should be most valuable and interesting to your audience. It’s the piece they would be happy to share their contact details for.

Based on the examples I mentioned earlier, the video company might create “The Ultimate Guide to Using Video to Train Your Team”, and the headphone company might create “25 Workout Routines That Burn 500 Calories”.

It’s clear from the titles that both would be high-value pieces that comprehensively explain the topic. I can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure your island is a killer piece of content.

The island is what makes this whole framework strong.

 

Feeder Content

Once you have created your island piece, your next priority is to create feeder content.

These pieces of content acts as a way to get traffic to your island. This type of content will attract your audience, and is also known as traffic generation content. It includes items such as blog articles, social media posts, infographics, guest posts, videos etc.

Note:

All of this content must be based around the same topic as your island!

The aim with your feeder content is for people to find it online, enjoy it and then be directed towards your high-value island content to ultimately convert.

For example, people may search Google for “What’s the best way to train my team?”

Your feeder content could be a range of articles such as:

  • 10 Ways to Train Your Sales Team in 2017
  • How to Use Video to Train Your Team (repurposed from island content)
  • Why Training Has Changed: 3 New Ways to Train Your Team

The idea is that the person searching for an answer to the question “What’s the best way to train my team?” would find one of your articles, read it and value it.

Within the article, you should make clear references to your island content, and as this is high value and on topic, you would expect a percentage of people to follow through and download the island content.

Then: voila! 

You have a new lead for your business.

And not just any lead: Someone who you know is interested in your topic, someone who has had at least 2 touch points with your business, someone who has valued your content enough to share their details with you.

All of your other feeder content will work in the same way, but through different channels.

Guest posts on other niche websites, social media posts, videos on YouTube, interviews on websites, podcasts and events, partnerships with other companies – the list can be as large as your imagination.

The feeder content you create will be out in the world for people to find for a long time. As such, your feeder content will generate targeted traffic to your island piece for a long time, and you’ll continue to generate leads for your business around this topic for…you guessed it: a long time.

However, once you’ve created your island and your feeder content, your job doesn’t stop there.

 

Island Beach

The next part of the Content Islands framework is the Island Beach.

When people get to your island, you want them to have a good experience.

Why invite guests if you’re not going to look after them and give them an experience to remember?!

Give them a room that makes them say WOW! Make them their perfect cocktail and prepare a sun lounger in a prime location on the beach. Make sure they have a reservation in their favorite restaurant and give them the full VIP treatment.

In content terms, this means nurturing your leads to find out what their interests are, providing more relevant content, helping them buy the right products and providing supportive after sales.

The aim is to make the experience so good that they tell their friends.

The good news is, a lot of this work – creating campaigns that take people on a journey with your brand, providing them with the right content at the right time based on their actions, and supporting them at each stage of their journey with your business – can be done using well-planned out marketing automation.

 

Wrapping Up

So there you have it, Content Islands: a simple framework that helps you create targeted content based around topics of interest for your audience.

The reason that this framework is so successful is that it makes sure you create content at the right time and for every part of a person’s journey. All too often, brands create content that has no goal and doesn’t achieve anything. It’s common to create content that generates traffic, but doesn’t direct that traffic anywhere afterward.

Similarly, some brands create conversion content that generates leads, but doesn’t attract any traffic.

Content Islands makes sure you have content at every stage from attracting to converting and nurturing your audience.

I’d encourage you to use content islands in your business today. It will help you focus on creating content that achieves your goals. It will make sure all the content you create has a purpose. It will generate traffic and leads for you long term. And, it will make sure that you attract, convert & nurture people in the right way.

Your first Content Island is just the start.

Once you have your first island up and running, you can move on to the next topic, and then the next. For optimum results, I’d suggest you create Content Islands for all the topics of interest for your product and service.