How to tailor your PR strategy for the influencer age

A young boy dressed in paper boy hat and retro attire stands on a stool calling out his message through a megaphone. He is on a rural road in the mountains of Utah County, Utah, USA.

It’s news to nobody that influencer marketing is one of the most divisive topics in modern media. We’ve written several pieces ourselves about what can happen when it all goes wrong. Nevertheless, it remains a vital part of any PR strategy.

Elle Darby came a cropper after asking for multiple free nights in a luxe Dublin hotel, run by a rather sarcastic manager. Fyre Festival gave us a veritable vision of hell on Earth. Many old school journalists have little time for the young upstarts, and in order to guarantee ROI you need to be very good at evaluating conversion rates.

But still, you can’t ignore these statistics…

According to the results of ‘Sizing The Worldwide Travel Economy’, conducted by Oxford Economics and published last month, the global travel market is now worth $5.29 trillion. Within this, TripAdvisor— a peer to peer review site— has influence worth around $546billion. It’s believed to have helped guide more than 433million trip decisions last year alone.

What this tells us is that what people say has plenty of sway, and getting someone to say something positive is the fundamental principle of influencer marketing. Although, granted, it’s can’t just anyone for it to be considered influencer marketing.

Review sites are influencer pools

While it’s true, the majority of TripAdvisor reviews are written by regular folk, there are also many semi-pro and pro users submitting content and sharing links to their published work.

You may not do your business in the travel sector (although don’t forget, TripAdvisor covers food, drink, attractions and much more, not just hotels and destinations), but there are forums and review sites out there for pretty much everything. It’s just a matter of finding the best for your specialism and then shortlisting people of interest.

You’re already engaging with influencer marketing

Once you’ve taken that step— making sure to search for potential candidates on the major social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (simply search by subject and take it from there)— you’ve already begun to bring influencer marketing into your PR strategy.

The next step is to analyse how powerful these voices actually are. There are several free apps that can do this for you. A couple to consider are:

*FollowerWonk

*BuzzSumo

*TweetReach

 Where from there?

The next step is to consider how these voices could align with your brand and become part of your PR strategy. Any glaring questions over this it’s best to move on pretty quickly to other candidates as we can all ill-afford a poorly conceived partnership.

Approaching influencers is the same as any other media, you need to take some time to familiarise yourself with their work and how they operate. This should guide you in terms of what you can expect from any arrangement, and what they will expect, if anything is agreed.

Don’t rush straight in with proposals. One of the main reasons influencers have so much power is they have a far more personal format than the perceived ivory towers of traditional media. Make things as individual as they are and look to open the lines of communication first, rather than jumping off the deep end with a pitch.

Ultimately, much of this applies to traditional PR strategy too, which brings us the final point. Don’t be stumped by influencers, or mystified by the process— chances are you already inherently know how to get the ball rolling.

Want to learn (A LOT) more?

Download Your Free Guide To Influencer Marketing