The following is a guest post by Lauren Jung. Lauren is the co-founder of TheShelf.com, an influencer marketing platform that enables brands and agencies to connect with the most relevant influencers. You can connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.
In the last 10 years, the vast majority of businesses have adopted content marketing strategies to attract, inspire and educate their customers. Even as the digital marketing landscape changes, content continues to play an incredibly powerful role for B2C and B2B companies alike.
While often thought of as separate marketing strategies, influencer marketing plays a complementary and invaluable role in content creation and distribution. “74% of global marketers reported they will use ‘influence marketing’ as part of their marketing strategy in the next 12 months,” according to Social Media Today.
Here’s why you should integrate influencer marketing into your content strategy in 2015.
Content marketing isn’t just about production; it’s also about distribution. As Arthur Hilhorst (@arthurhilhorst) says, “Creating remarkable content is the first step to an effective strategy but if nobody actually interacts with your content it’s a lost effort.” That’s where earned media comes into play. While content marketing through one’s own channels is essential for long-term growth, earned media – like influencer marketing – quickly expands your reach and garners new and relevant eyes for your business.
Trust and Credibility
Independent website publishers are viewed as trustworthy sources of information, and your customers are far more likely to rely on them for buying recommendations. In fact, a recent study by Technorati confirms that blogs are now the third most influential digital resource for discovering new trends and products, right behind retail and brand sites.
If an influential blogger in your niche recommends your product, it adds insta-credibility to your business. Influencers are transparent and authentic with their readers. Authentic promotion in turn resonates with people and can create real results for your business.
The same study by Technorati reports that consumers review blogs before making purchasing decisions; the report found that blogs rank higher than Twitter for shaping perceptions and higher than Facebook for assisting in purchase decisions. Sharing your content through influencers in your industry is one of the best ways to humanize your business, connect with new customers and increase conversion by at least a 3x-10x higher rate.
As companies experiment with influencer marketing, they are finding that these real individuals move more product and are quickly adopting this new endorsement model to boost customer conversion and retention in the long term.
Working Influencer Marketing Into Your Content Marketing Mix
When it’s all said and done, influencer and content marketing are really working toward the same goals—increased awareness, trust and credibility, conversion and retention, just to name a few.
While your own content marketing efforts are essential to your business, adding influencers into the mix amplifies that message in an authentic way and gets your brand story out to a larger, more passionate audience. As a result, influencer marketing can play a meaningful role for your content marketing efforts in 2015.
Image Source: markus spiske via Flickr Creative Commons