October 28, 2015 1:58 pm
Just admit it. You love the idea of being an Influencer Marketing rockstar and creating content that has unstoppable sharability. You even dream about showcasing your results as a best practice case study for your brand. However, you are nervous about co-creating content with influencers which aligns to your brand’s messaging.
How do you trust someone else to interpret your brand’s messaging and make it relevant for their audience?
How will they understand what is best for your brand?
What happens if they get it wrong?
But the more important question to ask yourself is rather, what happens if they get it right?
Getting it right
We recently approached the team from How Far From Home to work with us on our very own Influencer Marketing campaign. With the objective of creating awareness of Webfluential with influencers all over the world, we needed to work with influencers who have a global audience.
HFFH have a cult-like following of people who have been inspired by their story of travelling the world and seeing ‘how far from home they can get.’ But they also have a following of eager online influencers wanting to learn from them and how they built such a large audience in a very short space of time. This is where we found relevance to partner with them for our own brand.
Even with part of their audience being relevant to our brand’s messaging, we wanted to ensure we did not alienate the inspired wannabe travellers with content that was of no interest. How could we make our content relevant to both?
It was time to handover to the HFFH team.
We trusted HFFH to conceptualise content ideas for their travel blog and Instagram followers. They know their audience best and we gave them enough guidance to understand our brand and objectives.
I suspect a sigh of disbelief or a little nervous laughter from most marketers at this point – but it worked.
HFFH responded with an idea that we not only loved, but would also resonate with their audience. They would show how many items they could tick off their ‘Wanderlist’ with the money they made from a Webfluential job whilst in Sydney, through sharing a blog and Instagram post. This would appeal to the inspired travellers who want to know what they are up to next, as well as, the influencers who like to learn more about how they make money.
The post they shared on Instagram received 3 801 organic likes within the first few hours.
The blog post they wrote was accompanied by some fantastic illustrations to showcase the items they could tick off their Wanderlist. Not only was the blog post great for building awareness with their audience, but the illustrations provided us with great content we could share with our own Facebook and Twitter communities.
What we learnt from co-creating content with influencers
- Select relevant influencers for your campaign. This might be obvious, but it is a common mistake. Marketers often prioritise reach over relevance, which can result in content not resonating with an influencer’s audience. Our search tool assists with sourcing influencers with interests related to your brand or campaign.
- Explain your objectives in a clear and concise brief. Unpacking your messaging and what you want to achieve from the Influencer Marketing campaign is key. We have a great group of campaign managers that help facilitate this process.
- Trust the influencers you work with to know their audience best and how to position your brand’s messaging. Influencers understand how to position content to their audience and should guide the process on how to share your brand’s messaging with their audience.
- Be open minded. You know your brand best – but not the audience that will be targeted with your messaging. Whilst you need to ensure that you adhere to brand guidelines, be open to new ideas you might never have considered in the past.
As an Influencer Marketing tool, we are advocates of the co-creation of content with influencers – not only for the marketers that use our platform – but for ourselves too. We ensure that we ‘practice what we preach’ in order to share learnings and give guidance to the industry from experience with our own brand.
Sign up as a marketer to start running your own Influencer Marketing campaigns.
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October 13, 2015 4:12 pm
Editors note: This article originally appeared on tech.co to help answer a question we get from marketers often on how to pitch Influencer Marketing and get buy-in from the top.
You have read all the recent Influencer Marketing case studies and are a little jealous of the return other brands are achieving. You would prefer to be the ‘cool kid’ rather than the ‘new kid’ on the block and have a great idea for an Influencer Marketing campaign. There is one thing stopping you from achieving rock star status with your branded content – approval from your boss.
You recognise Influencer Marketing is a necessary addition to your marketing budget, but how do you get buy-in from the top? It is simpler than you think. Just explain the concept of Influencer Marketing to your boss, as you would to an 8-year-old child.
1. Tell a story
As humans, we are wired to be captivated by stories and easily recall information if it is relayed to us with rich meaning and visual cues. Stories engage the emotional side of our brains and drive us to take action. If you open your pitch with a story, you will be able to grab attention, make facts stick and data more retainable and understandable.
You know your boss best and what story would be relevant to them. Perhaps share a personal story of why you booked the company lunch at a restaurant that a friend recommended on Facebook. You could relate your story back to relevant stats such as: the average consumer mentions specific brands over 90 times a week in conversation with friends or family or that 68% of people feel that Facebook is the most trusted platform for product and service recommendations.
Tip: Don’t make your story long, but make it memorable.
2. Be the favourite teacher
We all had a favourite teacher at school that was an expert at explaining complex topics. Influencer Marketing is new and can appear to be overwhelming if explained poorly or if not understood correctly. It is important to provide background information, definitions, statistics etc. but don’t overcomplicate things to appear smart or knowledgeable on the topic.
Instead, keep things simple and avoid using too many technical terms that although might be relevant, make your boss feel that you need to be a rocket scientist to run a successful Influencer Marketing campaign. Don’t make them feel you are under qualified to do the job. Instead, make them feel confident that you have done enough research to take advantage of this new opportunity and are convinced of the value Influencer Marketing can add to your business and marketing plans.
Tip: When explaining complex topics, show how something works rather than resorting to just talking about a topic.
3. Gives examples of superheroes
My own childhood superheroes were the Ninja Turtles and I was absolutely convinced that nothing could ever beat their ninja moves. In the world of marketing, there are many brand superheroes that kick butt at Influencer Marketing. The internet is full of case studies and examples that you can use to showcase potential success and return on investment. Search for case studies related to your industry, business objectives or even concepts you find innovative. These case studies will provide credibility to your pitch and also give you a foundation for best practice.
Tip: Show what your competitors are doing with their own Influencer Marketing plans and explain how you will differentiate your business. If they are not using Influencer Marketing yet, this is an added opportunity to highlight.
4. Show how you can achieve a gold star
Now that you have given the background into what Influencer Marketing is and have shown the results that other brands are achieving, you need to explain why you think it is relevant for your business and how you plan on achieving your own Influencer Marketing gold star status. This is the point you need to reveal how it will add value to your business.
The most effective way to do this is to show that you have already put thought into your own Influencer Marketing plan. As an Influencer Marketing platform, we have experience in planning campaigns and have developed a 6-step model to make building a successful plan easier. In short, a solid Influencer Marketing plan will specify the target market, propose a campaign that meets the business objectives, identify relevant influencers, explain how workflow and logistics will be managed, as well as how you will track the results.
Tip: Having a plan instils more confidence that the additional investment has potential to add value. Ensure that you showcase what you foresee as being the potential return on investment for the new budget allocation. Use your Influencer Marketing plan to propose not only how you will achieve your first gold star, but also how it is sustainable to be awarded ongoing gold stars.
5. Be ready to answer “Are we there yet?”
Once you have buy-in and approval to go ahead, first give yourself a pat on the back and then be prepared to answer many eager progress questions. Trying something new and innovative is not just exciting for you, but all the stakeholders involved. You will be anxious to prove your campaign victorious and your boss will want regular updates on the status and results.
Tip: There are Influencer Marketing platforms and tools which make tracking your campaign results easy. This is important to not only showcase success, but also to justify ongoing Influencer Marketing budget. Investment in tools like, Webfluential, help you answer the question, “Are we there yet”, with confidence and provide all of the relevant data of the journey.
The tips I have shared are intended to help you put your best foot forward when explaining Influencer Marketing to your boss. Just remember that you know the audience you need to pitch to best – so tweak and personalise your content to what is most relevant to them.
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October 9, 2015 12:15 pm
This blog post was originally written by Ruan Fourie.
As dreams go, getting paid to travel the world is up there with winning the lottery. It’s a nice daydream for a cold Monday morning, but it’s not something many of us would seriously consider. So what about those that do? Are they brave or merely foolhardy? Does the dream live up to expectations, or do they spend their whole adventure working hard and worrying about money? When it comes to ditching the rat race and traveling for a living, there are as many right answers as wrong. We take a look at three very different approaches and the travel bloggers who made them work.
Nomadic Matt: Matthew Kepnes’ story
A two-week tour of Costa Rica was Matt’s first real experience of traveling, and it was one he was keen to repeat. Tied to the standard 9-5 job, he had two weeks a year to travel the world, and he set about making good use of them. That is, until a trip to Thailand in 2005 opened his eyes and he realized he didn’t need to be rich or tied to a job to travel the world full-time.
By 2006, he had completed his MBA, quit his job and was on the road again. Initially planning to be away for twelve months, Matt didn’t return to the states for a year and a half. Once he did, he quickly realized he couldn’t simply slot back into everyday life. He’d caught the travel bug and, three months after he arrived home from his first adventure, he was off again.
He’s documented his journey on his hugely successful blog, Nomadic Matt. Designed to inspire others to follow his example and travel the world on a budget, the site is one of the reasons why he can fund his lifestyle. A self-confessed workaholic, Matt put everything into building up the ‘Nomadic Matt’ brand, successfully turning his blog into a profitable business. His site is full of invaluable resources for fellow travelers, inspirational stories, posts about his travels and hints and tips on how to get the most from a similar experience. But it’s not his only source of income.
Recognizing the insight his experiences provided, Matt diversified. He produced budget city guides and books on traveling, travel blogging, teaching English – any experience he had, he wrote about.
Matt’s guides, books and blog all cross-promote each other and have helped this intrepid explorer to build an internationally recognizable brand. His site attracts over 800,000 visitors a month and has been featured on high authority news sites including CNN and The Huffington Post. His books have been phenomenally successful, ‘How to travel the world on $50 a day’ even made it onto the New York Times bestseller list. It’s an incredible achievement, and one that would not have been possible without courage, innovative thinking and dedication to the blog that started it all.
How Far From Home: Chanel and Stevo’s story
Inspired by a Jim Carey movie of the early noughties, Chanel firmly believes in the ‘Yes man’ theory – saying yes to any experience that comes her way. It’s a philosophy that led her to the blind date where she met partner Stevo, and it’s the reason why this creative couple are now six months into a year-long adventure around the world.
Having heard Stefan Sagmeister discuss his theory on creative sabbaticals at the 2014 Design Indaba, Chanel and Stevo knew they needed a break. They decided to say ‘yes’ to adventure and set about planning the trip of a lifetime. Both were award-winning creative professionals, and both sold nearly everything they owned to embark on this challenge, an experience they are currently documenting on their blog How Far From Home.
An experiment to see how far they can travel, both figuratively outside of their comfort zone and literally away from their native South Africa, these two have built up quite a following in a very short space of time. Their creative approach to life and the demands of living on the road is evident from their blog. Full of traveling challenges from their online community and an ever decreasing Wanderlist, their site documents their journey and provides more and more opportunities to say yes.
Unlike Nomadic Matt, with his helpful tips and travel guides, How Far From Home is less of a travel resource and more of a showcase for the creative efforts of its authors. This is a creative trip for them, and it’s as much about discovering new muses as it is exploring the world. Both have social media accounts full of artistic photos, videos, and illustrations. Stevo’s ‘Ghost Dogs’ series is captivating, and their ‘Deforestation faces’ series is truly thought provoking.
Their dedication to their traveling lifestyle and the work it inspires is impressive. Their photography and their story has been featured in international publications and has helped to garner them sponsorship from fitness app UP. They might have built a dedicated following far quicker than other travel bloggers, but even two advertising professionals can’t create a money spinning blog overnight.
Funding their trip with savings, they’re making the most of their experience and budget with sites such as Work Away. Meeting new people and helping out in the local communities, Chanel and Stevo are enjoying a truly authentic traveling experience. And they’re relying on their blog and the online community they’ve built to ensure they don’t miss out on a single challenge.
Expert Vagabond: Matthew Karsten’s story
Working two jobs in Miami and struggling to make ends meet, Matthew Karsten was inspired by his friends, both traveling on a budget, to contemplate a new way of life. He spent a year living cheaply at home to get some savings behind him, but he knew this wouldn’t be enough. So he started burning the midnight oil, working late, early and throughout the weekends trying to establish an online revenue stream, a steady income that he could rely on while he was away.
Like Nomadic Matt, Matthew published ebooks. He built a small, online business selling three how-to guides on various topics in the nightclub industry and had established a reliable income by the time he left. But his success was short-lived. His ebook business didn’t have the longevity he had expected, and he needed to find other sources of income fast. So he turned to his blog, expertvagabond.com.
With his traveling dreams reliant completely on his site, Matthew set about leveraging every available income stream. Unlike Chanel and Stevo, who’s blog is a way to document their experience, Matthew’s has always been run as a business. He sells advertising space, enters brand partnerships and uses affiliate links to make the most of his blog. He even sells his travel photography from a satellite site, using it to cross promote expertvagabond.com.
And he didn’t stop there. Having watched his initial plans fall apart with his ebook business, Matthew understands better than most the importance of diversification. He successfully developed and monetized his blog, and then used it as a jumping board, seeking freelance writing projects with other sites and publications off the back of it.
One of the most commercially minded travel bloggers out there, Matthew’s determined approach has helped him cultivate a name for himself in the travel industry. This, in turn, has led to more opportunities and means that he is one of the few travel bloggers with an agent and an established career in destination marketing. The Holy Grail for travel bloggers, destination marketing means that Matthew gets paid to visit countries all around the world. His fee includes flights, accommodation and excursions, and costs him nothing more than the time it takes to document his stay through his blog, photography and social media accounts.
Building his blog into a business didn’t happen overnight, and it took Matthew two years to monetize it. Four years later, and it’s his main source of income, although he’s the first to admit that it’s far from reliable. What it does allow him to do, however, is live life on his own terms. This is something all of our featured travel bloggers have in common, despite the fact that each of their blogs fulfills a different purpose. For Chanel and Stevo, it’s chronicling one of the most exciting experiences of their lives and showcasing the work it inspires. For Nomadic Matt, it’s an integral part of a lucrative brand. For Matthew Karsten, it’s the business that facilitates his lifestyle.
These four bloggers have succeeded in realizing a dream many wouldn’t have had the courage to attempt.They have each built a very different online business that plays to their strengths and fits easily into their lives. Whether they’ve been blogging for years like Matt or months like Chanel and Stevo, with 1000+ Twitter followers, each of these influencers can capitalize on their success.
How Webfluential helps travel bloggers fund their travels
By signing up to a respected Influencer Marketing platform, travel bloggers can effortlessly align themselves with brands that share the same vision. Like Matthew’s destination marketing (but a lot less labour intensive), they can effortlessly generate extra revenue from the social media accounts they have already invested so much time developing. All it takes is a few minutes to set up a profile. With platforms like Webfluential widely respected by international brands, bloggers simply have to accept or decline the freelance job offers that suit them. Whatever their business model, Influencer Marketing means that each travel blogger can boost their income without changing their daily routine — which is the secret to blogging your way around the world.
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