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Confluence: At the Crossroads of Content & Influencers with Joe Pulizzi

Jul 20, 2016

In the last post in our expert series, we discussed how to build trust at every stage of your buyer’s journey with Mark Schaefer. While Mark highlighted the many ways influencers can help brands build trust, we will now turn to Joe Pulizzi to uncover how combining content with the right influencers can continue to build trust, while boosting content reach.

But according to Content Marketing Institute, fewer than 38% of marketers report their content marketing is “effective.” Which means despite all of the hype around content marketing, the majority of marketers are still getting something wrong. So, what’s the problem?

Holy Data!

We’re living in an unprecedented era of big data. Every day, the amount of content produced vastly outpaces what our audiences can reasonably consume. Frankly, it’s not even a daily issue anymore. This is a minute-by-minute phenomenon.

Just last year, Domo sourced a mind-blowing infographic that demonstrated this fact. Consider that globally, there are more than 4 million Google queries performed, more than 2.5 million pieces of content uploaded to Facebook, and nearly 75 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every single minute. Do the math, people. If you don’t have a promotion plan, it’s unlikely your target audience will see your content.

Which is why most marketers have responded by upping their amplification efforts. Paid media, owned media, and earned media have all helped us get in front of the right customer at the right time. In the last two years, more marketers have focused on paid social media efforts to reach consumers. However, only 64% of B2C marketers and fewer than 60% of B2B marketers find paid social efforts to be effective.

Let’s turn to our beloved influencer marketing, which more than 81% of marketers claim to be effective. Simply put, influencer marketing is your best bet for getting the right content in front of the right customer. In this era of data proliferation, getting content shared by your audience’s most trusted advisors is the true recipe for success.

But, how can you do this effectively? Glad you asked. We recently caught up with Joe Pulizzi, the godfather of content marketing, and asked him the exact same thing. Here’s what he had to say.

Should content marketing strategy include influencers?

Any content marketing strategy should involve influencers in some way. Because it takes time and patience to build a loyal audience, influencers help us get in front of an audience we wouldn't normally have access to.

More on Influencer Content Marketing: Content + Influence Strategy Framework

How can brands best work with influencers?

It has to be a win-win on both sides.  When a brand works with any influencer, we need to know up front what the influencer needs out of the relationship. That question should actually be asked. If possible, put it into the agreement so there are no questions as to what needs to happen.

Learn How: The 5 Stages of Influencer Relationships + Infographic

How can marketers get the right content (or any) from influencers?

Ask the influencer first! It is essential that brands and marketers invite influencers to participate from the very beginning. Far too many brands want influencers inserted as a sound bite, or to support a one-off promotion. It’s better to involve them in the deepest aspects of your marketing, as they will have the insights to completely alter a campaign, message, or ongoing content strategy. This is who your audience looks to for advice, after all.

Be Strategic About What You Ask For: Master Influencer Engagement and Get Influencers to Share Your Content

What’s the most important aspect content marketers should focus on?

Keep the list tight and small.  So many brands want to work with dozens, sometimes hundreds of influencers.  It's better to start with a core group and go deep with particular influencers than to spread out your resources over many.

Putting Advice Into Action

Wondering how you can apply Joe’s wisdom in your everyday marketing? Start small, begin developing your list of desired influencers, and bake their contributions into your content. Develop guidelines, but don’t let them stop you from getting your influencer program up and running. If you leave room for significant growth, the relationships you develop early on will yield immense trust and greater marketing success for your brand.