Should your brand focus on developing a content marketing strategy, or focus on influencer marketing? More and more, the answer to that question should be “both.”
In recent years, both influencer marketing and content marketing have become more common in the marketing field. As the 2017 State of the Creator Economy (SOCE) study found, 94 percent of content marketers had direct professional experience with content marketing, and 76 percent of influencer marketers had direct professional experience with influencer marketing.
Meanwhile, 87 percent of influencer marketers also had professional experience with content marketing. About 75 percent of content marketers had professional experience with influencer marketing.
Defining Content & Influencer Marketing
Before taking a closer look at how content and influencer marketing are starting to merge, it’s important to define what each one means. In the simplest of terms, content marketing deals with the creation of materials that help to position a brand in a positive light to attract new customers.
The “content” involved in content marketing can take many forms, including:
- White papers
- Trend pieces
- Advice articles or how-tos
Often, the content is created by someone from the company or brand itself, such as the marketing team or CEO. According to the SOCE, 63 percent of marketers use an in-house team of writers and creators for content marketing. But the content can occasionally come from an outside source.
Influencer marketing, in contrast, focuses on using the social media standing and clout of particular people to create interest in a brand and convert potential customers. Generally speaking, influencer marketing is a form of word-of-mouth advertising, and a blend of earned and paid media. When you work with an influencer, you’re relying on that person’s ability to spread the word about your brand or product.
Content & Influencer Marketers Often Overlap
There’s already a considerable amount of overlap between content marketing and influencer marketing. Not only do influencer marketers tend to have experience with content marketing and vice versa, but influencers need to use content to promote a product or brand. A few examples of content that influencers might use include:
- Sponsored photo (on Instagram, for example)
- Sponsored blog post
- Sponsored video on Facebook or YouTube
- Sponsored pin
Content marketers and influencers also show similarities in terms of the type of content they prefer to create. According to the SOCE, marketers tend to prefer visually based or “quick” content, such as infographics or photographs. A similar trend is occurring among influencers.
Platforms that require a considerable amount of time and effort, such as blogging platforms and YouTube, were used less frequently by influencers in 2016 compared to 2015. Short-form platforms, like Instagram and Snapchat, were the only two platforms to show usage gains between 2015 and 2016, according to the SOCE.
Content Marketers Need Influencers
Here’s one more reason why combining content marketing and influencer marketing is the next big thing: Content marketers need influencers. Anyone who has ever written a blog post or created a video promoting their brand, only to see it get few views or reads, knows that making the content isn’t enough. You also need someone to promote it.
That’s where influencers come in. Many marketers work with influencers to put together campaigns that involve the influencers making their own content. But it’s also possible to have influencers share content created by a brand. For example, an influencer can link to a blog post written by the CEO of your brand on his or her Facebook wall. Similarly, an influencer can tweet the link to the blog post.
Having an influencer share a link to an article or video gives that piece of content some credibility. It also means that the people who follow that influencer are more likely to check out the content, and also more likely to share it with their own followers or friends.