online influencers

Content Curation Follows in Footsteps of Reliable Influentials

Online influencers and celebrity endorsers are long-time marketing staples. Now content curation is entering the picture as an authentic, reliable source of advice on products, services and information.

Online influencers and celebrity endorsers are long-time marketing staples. Now content curation is entering the picture as an authentic, reliable source of advice on products, services and information.

Online influencers and celebrity endorsers may face competition from curators, who collect, organize and share content from multiple sources.

Like online influencers and celebrity endorsers, content curators target specific audiences, but their approach is different – and often more authentic. Curators aren’t typically paid for the content they collect, organize and share.

Influencers who specialize in product niches and celebrities who have fans and followers pitch products for cash. Scrupulous influencers review products with enough independence to point out the good and the bad. Celebrities like to guard their reputations and avoid endorsements that conflict with their stage personas or may offend their fans.

Curators are more like thought leaders or trusted advisers. They build audiences and monetize their curation based on the value of information they find, organize and share. Instead of getting paid by advertisers, they have subscribers or followers.

[CFM’s Rules of Engagement blog is an example of content curation in the form of thought leadership. We canvass a spectrum of information about marketing trends, select the most useful articles to our followers and share our perspective on them. We don’t accept payment for blog topics or charge for subscriptions.]

Influencers and celebrities gravitate to platforms such as Instagram. Curators thrive in a wider array of mediums from social media to blogs to podcasts. Influencers and celebrities try to generate buzz. Curators are more about water-cooler conversations.

Influencers offer value by trying out new products so busy consumers can skip expensive, time-consuming trial-and-error. Celebrity endorsements traffic in a product’s cool factor. Curators are more like your friend who is well-read, thoughtful and eager to share what he or she has learned.

Influencers and celebrities can be critical pieces of marketing and advertising campaigns. For consumer-facing startups, a favorable review by an influencer can be marketing gold at a fraction of the price. A celebrity endorsement can put a popular face on an organization (Tom Selleck/NRA) or lend style to a product (Jennifer Garner/Neutrogena).

Curators serve a broader purpose. They include news article aggregators to services such as Angie’s List that provide qualified lists of products and services. Their popularity is based on the value they deliver to individuals who don’t have time to read 10 daily newspapers or want an easy, reliable place to look for a plumber.

Content curation, at its best, replicates the hallmarks of Influentials who do their homework and share what they have learned for the rest of us who are too busy to do the homework ourselves.

Content curation, at its best, replicates the hallmarks of Influentials who do their homework and share what they have learned for the rest of us who are too busy to do the homework ourselves.

For years, market researchers took advantage of “influentials,” the roughly one in 10 people who are well-read and willing to share what they know. Influentials often form an early majority in a market. They may not be trend-setters, but they reflect emerging trends. 

Influencers and curators both seek to fill the role of Influentials in a faster-moving, more fragmented society to provide relevant, reliable views on what camera to buy or the significance of a surging political movement.

Influentials deserve credit for expediting public acceptance of 401(k) retirement accounts, personal computers and cell phones. They also have led mass skepticism of marketing claims, which accounts for why the reputation of the public relations and advertising industry ranks so low. 

You could extrapolate that the best content curators today are trying to follow the long-time example of Influentials as authentic, trusted advisers. In an era of fake news, skewed information sources and partisan bubbles, content curation can play an invaluable role in sorting, organizing and fact-checking product claims and news stories in service of restoring public confidence in what they read.

Gary Conkling Image.jpg

Gary Conkling is principal and co-founder of CFM Strategic Communications, and he leads the firm's PR practice, specializing in crisis communications. He is a former journalist, who later worked on Capitol Hill and represented a major Oregon company. But most importantly, he’s a die-hard Ducks fan. You can reach Gary at garyc@cfmpdx.com and you can follow him on Twitter at @GaryConkling.

 

 

Include Online Influencers in Your Media Relations Strategy

Growing an army of online influencers is an important part of your media relations strategy. 

Growing an army of online influencers is an important part of your media relations strategy. 

You’ve built your media list, filling it with great contacts from local and national media. You’ve included television, radio, newspapers and magazines. Is something missing? Yes. You’ve forgotten online influencers. 

Online influencers are an essential part of any robust media relations strategy. Online influencers include bloggers. Some may not have an official blog, but they have significant followings on social media. 

Online influencers are often more topic-specific than traditional media. In these days of shrinking newsrooms, most reporters cover a wide range of issues. Most bloggers and online influencers tend to focus on specific interests. They have followers, often in large numbers, interested in the same topics. If your business is related to these interests, partnering with an online influencer can create a direct line to your target audience. 

After you’ve decided to connect with online influencers, the question becomes how. Here are a few suggestions for how to connect with online influencers. 

1. Check your media database. Most media databases include prominent bloggers with significant followings. This is a great way to identify some of the most famous bloggers who write about businesses similar to yours. However, if you want to partner with one of these bloggers, be prepared to pay. Most popular bloggers are willing to partner with businesses, but they expect to be paid for the privilege. Their blog is a business. Don't rule this out. A great sponsored post by a top blogger may be more valuable than an advertisement. 

2. Check your social media followings. If you’re active on Twitter and Facebook, take a look at your followers who you interact with the most. Twitter is usually a better platform for this than Facebook, given its one-on-one nature. It’s also very easy to look at Twitter follower profiles to check out their number and quality of followers. If they are blogging, most will link to their blogs on their profiles. 

Instagram is another great platform for finding online influencers. If one of your followers has a large following on Instagram that could be enough to consider them an online influencer. Note that Instagram followings may be smaller than other social media, but the level of engagement on this platform is often higher. If your business has a physical location, be sure to look to see if anyone has checked in to your business. Many people might have checked into your business without finding your account so be sure to follow them. 

3. Hold a social media contest. Having a Instagram contest is a great way to grow your social media following and find great online influencers. Ask people to use a particular hashtag to tag their Instagram photos. Have a physical location? You have even more options. Consider setting up a selfie station. Make sure to follow and engage with everyone who participates in the contest. 

After you’ve grown your list of online influencers you can start offering special promotions and opportunities to keep them engaged. These influencers can be powerful brand ambassadors.