How influencer marketing works

21 Sep 2015 | by Ian Blake

Content marketing isn’t just a buzzword, it’s a proven way to boost lead generation and marketing ROI without breaking the bank. 

How Influencer Marketing Works

Content marketing isn’t just a buzzword, it’s a proven way to boost lead generation and marketing ROI without breaking the bank. 

And it’s easy to see why. 

After all, offering prospective clients quality content that helps them tackle pressing problems in their industry – and offering it to them for free – is a far more compelling conversation starter than simply suggesting they buy your stuff.

But what if you’re coming fresh to the brave new world of content marketing - making the shift from conventional approaches that are focussed on the hard sell?

How do you build up an audience for your content fast, allowing you to hit the ground running when it comes to converting your website visitors into leads, and leads into sales?

It’s a good question. 

And if you’re doing it all by yourself, it’s going to take time and effort. 

No company will be able to establish trust overnight. You can’t position yourself as a thought leader in your industry with just one post or webinar. 

It takes sustained, targeted work to nurture a community.

…if you’re doing it all by yourself. 

Because there’s another way to fast track the process of reaching out to an audience.

And it’s simple.

Find an influencer in your industry – someone who has already spent years growing their subscriber base - and tap into their success. This is how influencer marketing works.

Okay, you can’t go in all guns blazing and poach someone’s audience. Nor should you try. But if you’re smart about your content marketing strategy, and you’ve got something genuinely great to offer, partnering with an established thought leader can be a win-win situation. 

Even the most popular and productive influencers lack the time and resources to continually pump out killer content of their own making. But, in order to keep up the pace, they do need a steady stream of quality content at their disposal. 

That’s why the most effective business bloggers outsource a quarter of their content creation, usually to specialist guest writers who have a unique and insightful take on the industry. 

It’s why journalists at business sites and trade publications are constantly on the lookout for engaging infographics, videos, whitepapers and reliable research to use as a basis for their stories. 

And when the majority of successful B2B podcasts, B2B blog content and video content marketing feature regular industry interviews, reviews or other tie-ins, there are endless opportunities to reach out and collaborate on great, informative content to build your reputation and credibility among your target audience. 

Of course, you have to be prepared to work at building a relationship with the influencer or influencers you have in mind. Unless you’re a very well-known brand, coming at them out of the blue with a proposal to work together is unlikely to be well-received. 

It helps if you’ve laid the groundwork – if you’ve reached out before and made a point of following what they do, sharing their posts and initiating a conversation. 

As career consultant (and expert self-marketer) Marianne Cantwell puts it

“You wouldn’t just run up to a stranger in the street, grab them by the lapels and shout let me market to your people! So let’s not do that online. Focus on them, on their needs and what you can contribute.

“The question is not just ‘how can that person benefit me’, the bigger question is ‘how can I benefit them?’

But, while you can’t rush in too fast, it’s ultimately going to be a lot easier to win over one person than millions. 

And, if you can use the relationship to tap into their extensive network, the returns will be rewarding. Without requiring significant financial outlay from you at all. 

The trick is simply this: add value. Make sure you’ve funnelled your energies into making something – whether it’s an eBook, an infographic, or other form of content – that’s thoroughly researched, accurate and engaging, and most of all, addresses a pain point shared by your audience and theirs. 

If you’ve got something seriously good to offer, chances are they’ll be more than happy to share in your success.

Want more tips on how to take your content marketing strategy to the next level? Download The B2B Content Creation Masterclass.

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