A version of this post was first published by The Content Marketing Institute.
As media publishers have evolved in the digital era, they have found that in order to succeed they need to produce great content as well as cultivate a community of influencers within their industries. These influencers serve the key function of providing content input, participating in the content production process, and supplying links, retweets, and Facebook “likes.”
These contributions are critical to the development of quality content, site audience, and SEO rank, which in turn drive the core objectives of content marketing, including brand awareness and lead generation.
In other words, today’s marketers are faced with transforming themselves into publishers as well as community managers. To better understand these evolving roles and excel at them, let’s take a look at the different levels of influencer engagement and the importance of these interactions.
Here are the main touch points of influencer interaction across different stages of the content marketing process:
Ideation: An influencer might provide you with an idea for content. Or maybe you reach out to an influencer for his or her feedback and input.
Production. An influencer might be quoted or linked to in your content. Or the influencer might create the content herself.
Distribution: You might publish your content on an influencer’s site or mention the influencer in your social distribution of the post (i.e., an @ mention on Twitter). Or the influencer might comment on the content on your site.
Promotion: You might solicit a link or retweet of your content from an influencer. This is particularly worth requesting if the influencer is involved in a preceding step of this process.
And, of course, other influencers might link, retweet, “like,” or share your content on LinkedIn.
Reciprocation: Doing any of the above steps for an influencer is also important to building your influencer community. The world of links, retweets, etc. is driven by relationships and reciprocity, so your actions on their behalf are just as important to the relationship as their actions on your behalf.
Looking across these interactions, the impact of influencers becomes clear. The quality of your content can be strongly impacted by the contributions of influencers in the ideation and production stages. But the real importance of influencers comes in the promotion stage, as well as in your reciprocal actions.
To build an audience for your content marketing efforts, you must cultivate sources of traffic. The distribution you earn from links, retweets, Facebook “likes,” etc. is critical to growing your traffic. In the post-Panda SEO world, these social shares and links are more important than ever in growing your SEO rank and increasing traffic that arrives through search engines.
Thus, cultivating relationships with influencers and soliciting their promotion of your content becomes critical to your content marketing success.
What other types of interactions have you found to be effective in building your influencer community? We’d love to hear more about them in the comments section below.