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These Winning Influencer Strategies Will Make You Better at Content Marketing

Aug 16, 2017

Marketers seem to move at the speed of light, rarely taking a moment to slow down, reflect--and even celebrate.

Recognizing the amazing work we as marketers do allows us to learn and better plan for the future. This act of introspection is essential for our ongoing improvement and success.

Our friends at the Content Marketing Institute aim to accomplish this by recognizing the best of the best with its annual Content Marketing Awards (CMAs). Not to be confused with the Country Music Awards (also CMAs), The 2017 Content Marketing Awards include 92 categories awarding all aspects of content marketing, all the way from strategy and distribution to design and editorial.

Travelocity and Microsoft Named Among the Best Content Marketing Programs in 2017

This year, Travelocity and Microsoft (two Traackr customers) were recognized in the 2017 Content Marketing Awards. These marketers hit the high note for their influencer-focused strategies. Travelocity won first runner up for Best Content Marketing Program in Travel/Tourism and Microsoft Education won first place in Developing Trustworthy Content by Empowering Microsoft’s Education Innovators. (See the full list of 2017 CMA Winners.)

Despite these strategies competing in different categories, the two brands share a common thread: excellence in influencer marketing. To better understand the role influencers played in both of these strategies, let’s walk through each of these winning programs.

How Travelocity Has Revolutionized Content Marketing with its Gnational Gnomads Program

As the world’s first Online Travel Agency (OTA), Travelocity’s mission is to inspire people to travel and be their champion throughout the journey. Travelocity set out to reverse the widespread perception that OTAs are purely transactional by creating a community of travel experts known as The Gnomads. Travelocity leverages these 500+ influencers to create engaging, travel-specific content, and achieves this by building authentic relationships.

Building Advocacy by Focusing on the Long-Term

  • The Gnomad program has an elite tier of hand selected influencers known as the Gnational Gnomads.
  • Travelocity has invested resources into building long-term partnerships with these 14 power influencers.
  • The Gnational Gnomad program champions travel experts from all over the United States, with a wide variety of interests and travel styles.

Fueling Content Creation with Industry Experts

  • Travelocity engages influencers by putting them in the content driver’s seat. Through a series of activations, Gnational Gnomads are invited to visit travel destinations and document their experiences via blog posts, videos and social media posts.
  • Travelocity looks to the influential content producers to literally bring their mission to life through their own authentic voice.

Travelocity’s content has even been singled out by the New York Times, “surprisingly useful travel articles in its “Get Inspired” section, including write-ups on Spanish sparkling wines and ideas for family-friendly locales in Ireland.”

"We think of our influencers as strategic content producers; they are an extension of our marketing program. Considering the value back, this is a great investment. Understanding the value of the influencers within your industry is critical to today’s business success."  —Laura Cleary, Senior Social Media Manager, Travelocity

Developing Trustworthy Content by Empowering Microsoft’s Education Innovators

With over 7,000 Microsoft Innovation Education Experts (MIE Experts) worldwide, this tight-knit community helps Microsoft integrate the innovators’ voices into their entire marketing, content and product development programs by:

Driving Content Strategy with Community Building

  • Giving innovative educators a place to connect with peers and share best practices on effective use of technology in the classroom.
  • The community conversations and shares help educators develop their personal and professional brand and their insights get integrated in broader channels like blogs, community events like the Educator Exchange (E2) event and industry events.

Powering Content Creation via Product Feedback Loop

  • Microsoft relies on its MIE Experts to provide insight to Microsoft on new products and tools for education, and they exchange best practices as they work together to promote innovation in teaching and learning.
  • Focus groups between engineering teams and MIE Experts not only provide Microsoft with valuable input, but they provide innovative educators with authentic, unique experiences they use to support their own content development.

“We’re truly relying on the MIE Expert community to provide us not only with an authentic voice and viewpoint on how Microsoft technologies and tools get integrated in the classroom to drive student engagement and academic results; these are also our strongest reviewers and best advocates and we want to provide them with a communications platform and help them amplify their brand.” —Eve Psalti, Director of Education Programs, Microsoft

How Influencers Set These Content Strategies Apart

By building meaningful influencer partnerships, Travelocity and Microsoft were able to see success.

To learn more about winning content marketing strategies in real life, join us at Content Marketing World (CMW) happening in Cleveland September 5th through the 8th. Register today with code SPONSOR100 for $100 off any event pass. Join us for an influencer marketing panel featuring more Traackr customers who have successfully tackled the biggest hurdles in influencer marketing. Register today and join us in Cleveland!

For online influencer marketing conversations, join our brand new Slack group. Focused on connecting marketers executing influencer strategies, this group is designed to facilitate conversations and connect like-minded marketers. If you have a question, useful advice, or are ready to learn, join the IM at CMW Slack group today.