With the rise of ad blocking
and evidence of advertising "blindness", particularly amongst the millennial audience, content marketing is becoming an increasingly important part of the marketing mix.
In the face of this consumer disillusion with traditional marketing there is a huge opportunity for the PR industry to capture some ground lost to advertising budgets by grasping and driving the relationship between brands and digital influencers.
Mid-tier influencers - so called "power users", with followings from 1,000-100,000 - are marketing’s closest replication of the "purity" of peer endorsement.
With smaller, more intensely connected followers, mid-tier influencers share similar interests and passions with their audiences, so their content is viewed as being more trustworthy and genuine to those who follow them.
This, in turn, presents PR teams with an opportunity to create more effective brand communications and authentic brand stories.
Authenticity is key to influencer marketing, but the impact of traditional celebrities and social media "super-influencers" is increasingly limited with content engagement rates usually lucky to reach one percent.
Barbara Soltysinska, chief executive and founder of indahash
Authenticity is key to influencer marketing, but the impact of traditional celebrities and social media "super-influencers" is increasingly limited with content engagement rates usually lucky to reach one per cent.
Conversely, mid-tier influencers and power users are proving to punch above their weight when it comes to brand engagement and awareness with performance rates as high as 12 per cent, versus an industry average of 0.5 per cent.
For today’s consumer, branded content needs to feel native to the platform so as not to be an annoying distraction, but also be creative enough to attract their attention.
PR professionals are the custodians of brand narratives and responsible for crafting the authentic communications and storytelling to resonate with the desired audience.
However, until now, it was a challenge to reach smaller influencers (let alone hundreds of them) because they don’t enjoy the same talent management or other professional support.
The time and cost made such campaigns prohibitively expensive or cumbersome and meant that these mid-tier influencers weren’t given the same opportunity to work with big brands.
And in turn, brands and PR agencies were missing out on the reach and engagement offered by these smaller bloggers and vloggers.
New technology platforms are now emerging which will enable clients and agencies to harness the creativity of social influencers efficiently and automate the administrative part of the creative process.
Rather than the gamble of traditional press coverage, reach and engagement with influencer campaigns can be guaranteed and messaging managed - surely music to the ears of any PR who has painfully crafted work only to see the client mention edited out at the last minute.
With some offerings, the copyright to the creative is retained by the client rather than the creator, enabling PR teams to take the best of the influencer-generated campaigns and work them harder over other communication streams.
The ability to manage multiple influencers - across the world - and unite them under one brand narrative simply and cost-effectively is a real game-changer for brand communications and a real opportunity for PR agencies.
Barbara Soltysinska is chief executive and founder of indahash