Once a trend, recruiting creators and influencers is now a powerful strategy for marketing agencies. Companies of all shapes and sizes are investing more and more of their valuable marketing dollars to boost their brand awareness and increase sales — and they’re leaning on their agencies to do some of the heavy lifting.
If you’re an agency called upon by a client to help create and implement an influencer marketing campaign with defined, measurable goals, read on.
Marketing Agencies Turn To The Creator Economy
For marketing agencies instructed by clients to utilize content creators as part of a dedicated influencer marketing initiative, doing the work of identifying, nurturing, and managing the right creators for the brand can seem daunting.
- Where do you look?
- How do you vet prospective content partners and negotiate terms?
- How can you ensure the needs of creator and brand are met?
When it comes to recruiting creators, marketing agencies have a bit of an edge over the brands they have as clients, in part because they’re already working with independent contractors in their creative departments. Simply put, creators and influencers are independent contractors in the business of creating content for their audiences. In addition, they become the content creation engine for your client, producing appealing, entertaining content on-brand.
Recruiting Creators: The Roadmap
Without clearly defined goals and the right metrics to gauge effectiveness, your agency – or the client – doesn’t have a strategy. You have a loose framework at best.
First, define the marketing KPIs of creator recruitment.
- What does success look like for the client in the preliminary stages of the campaign? The number of earned media impressions and the overall size of the audience or softer engagement metrics like shares, comments, and reactions? Spell these out with the client.
- What marketing functions will be served by identifying and recruiting content creators for the client?
- Which role(s) will a content creator fill in the marketing mix?
- Who is the ideal content creator for your client? Most importantly, be specific here. Factor in audience category and size, posting frequency, engagement, and the social platform where they are most active in their content efforts. Recruiting creators successfully is about aligning their audiences with your own.
Finding Creators: Fish Where the Fish Are
Once you’ve defined the ideal content creator persona, it’s time to engage and pitch. So where do you start?
There’s a saying with fishermen:
“Fish where the fish are.”
In other words, recruiting Instagram content creators with a Twitter DM is not an effective tactic. No, it’s just burning resources with little to no gain. Conversely, engagement touches like a comment here or a reaction there signal intent. Warm up the introduction before sliding into their DMs. No one likes a lazy pitch. Despite that, our inboxes are overflowing with them.
Rather than pitch cold, start the conversation with a clear and concise ask. Show you know who they are and why they are a good fit for your client. For instance, mention a recent post or interaction. Most of all, be straightforward. If you’ve done your homework about the content creator’s previous work and successful partnerships, however, you’re well on your way to getting them on board.
Let Creators and Brand be Heard!
Successful partnerships don’t just happen out of thin air. Like all relationships, they require attention and care to flourish. They need clear expectations, open communication and, especially, mutual respect to thrive. To ensure success for all, meet their needs.
Creators need to feel supported, creatively understood, and never pushed into branded content ideas that don’t sync with their values, content style, or audience tastes. Most importantly, they need fair compensation for the work they do in support of the brand.
Brand clients need to feel informed, have their specific campaign needs and KPIs understood (and served), and feel assured and looked after with absolute transparency through what is, to many, still a relatively new process. Brands need results and positive ROI.
As the agency, you play matchmaker by bringing content creator and brand client together in a mutually beneficial relationship.