Why PR agencies should lead influencer marketing campaigns

It’s a debate that continues. Where should influencer marketing sit within the marketing mix? It started in the PR world with blogger engagement and then naturally expanded to influencers across social platforms.

But as the influencer world exploded, so did who those who led the campaigns. Marketing and media buying teams treat them as a media platform, selecting and paying influencers to create sponsored content to shift products. It also sits within social teams who bring their invaluable understanding to the social media landscape, such as algorithms and specialist influencer marketing teams who aim to utilise all specialities into the perfect blend of expertise. Brands are often left to decide which way they want to play it.

‘Sponcon’ doesn’t cut it

No matter which way brands choose to go, there has been a tendency for the industry to use a generic platform approach to influencer marketing where vanity metrics to deliver big number reach campaigns have ruled and sponsored content, ‘sponcon’, has taken over. This approach doesn’t cut it anymore as it dilutes influence and credibility. A personalised and targeted relationship led approach drives long-term brand advocates and delivers tenfold in value and sincerity.

Authentic relationships with relevant creators enables the production and delivery of bespoke creative solutions. It is these relationships that help deliver real ROI for brands, beyond just vanity metrics. So, have we gone full-circle and should PR agencies deliver influencer marketing campaigns?

PR is based on relationships

It’s probably not a question of should PR agencies deliver influencer marketing campaigns, but how can they best offer the service. First of all, it’s worth comparing both industries and identifying the parallels, of which there are many. Primarily, PR is built on established relationships and from those relationships, results are achieved.

Influencer marketing is no different - the need for a collaborative approach within the industry has never been more apparent, and in order to achieve this, trusting relationships need to have been established. You’d be naïve to think there aren’t plenty of brands out there who have been burnt through their experiences in influencer marketing, but how many of these would have had a different experience if the approach had been built fully collaboratively where all parties worked together?

It’s not to say you’re guaranteed to always achieve perfect harmony in the industry, but by having established relationships you’re certainly better placed to achieve a more positive outcome when all people are pulling in the same direction.

Written by Joe Stratton, Client Services Director at What They Said

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