Due to the proliferation of channels consumers can access to read or watch content, individuals no longer rely on mass media to learn new information or seek out entertainment. Today, anyone can create, publish and distribute stories and build an audience over time; such people can be bloggers, freelance writers, topic experts or passionate hobbyists. In this article, we'll address how you can use influences to engage relevant audiences.
Just as media has become more democratized, so too has the role of influencer. Today’s influencers aren’t just celebrities, politicians, journalists or business leaders (though they all count too). Influencers are as likely to be ordinary people who have built a following by publishing great content in a particular area of interest – be it a personal hobby or a professional area of expertise.
Three excellent examples of influencers
Jaclyn Hill is a professional makeup artist. Her YouTube channel reviews new products, offers makeup application advice and feels a lot like a chat among friends. Hill’s audience? Over 3,000,000 followers worldwide tune in to watch her show.
2. Engineer podcasters
Four engineers gather every two weeks to record a podcast about trending issues in engineering – from an extensive hour-long discussion about steel to a quirky review of places engineers like to vacation. Their podcast is called The Engineering Commons and is popular among the STEM crowd.
3. The beer bloggers
Jessica Boak and Ray Bailey are self-confessed geeks who blog about beer and pubs. The duo lives in Cornwall, England, and have been writing about their sudsy passion since 2007. Want to know what makes a “classic pub” or which are the best brown bitter beers? This is the pair to ask.
Influencers engage people’s passions
You may be asking: What do any of these individuals have to do with the business I run?
The answer: There is a set of niche influencers for any subject matter you can come up with and in any region you operate in – whether you’re in consulting, agriculture, food services or fashion (actually, especially the fashion industry). For each hobby or professional interest, some passionate individuals create great content about it.
These people already have an audience – and it’s the audience you’re trying to reach. For many businesses trying to get started with a storytelling approach, connecting with and even collaborating with influencers is a way to build an audience more quickly and efficiently. For small- and medium-sized businesses, influencer programs can also be more cost effective than building an audience from scratch.
Don’t forget that journalists are influencers too. Working with influencers doesn’t mean abandoning your existing portfolio of contacts, but rather adding to that group with different types of content creators who speak to the audience you want to reach.
To learn more on how to develop an influencer relations program, please visit the Digital PR Academy.