Get Heroic Results from B2B Influencer Marketing with Advice from Ashley Zeckman #CMWorld

Ashley Zeckman Presents at CMWorld 2019

Ashley Zeckman Presents at CMWorld 2019 B2B content marketers have faced many epic foes over the
last few years. There’s the nefarious Content Shock, the
demoralizing Facebook Algorithm, and the destructive Google Search
Update. We have battled them all and continued to thrive. But now
we face our most fearsome foe: The Dreaded Trust Gap. Less than
half of consumers trust brands. Seventy-one percent of buyers are
turned off by overly sales-y content. Buyers increasingly prefer
content from industry influencers rather than brands. It’s a
daunting problem that needs a bold solution: The Guardians of
Content! In her Content Marketing
World
2019 presentation, our very own Director of Digital
Strategy Ashley Zeckman
explained how B2B content marketers can initiate and scale up a
heroic influencer content program of their own. Here are a few key
takeaways. Three Common B2B Influncer Pitfalls If you’re just

getting started with B2B influencer marketing
, there are easy
mistakes to make. Most of them come from trying to emulate the B2C
model: Transactional, glorified sponsorship rather than content
co-creation. Here are Ashley’s three most common pitfalls and how
to avoid them: #1: A Disconnected Approach Say you have a hole in
your editorial calendar, so you ask an influencer for an interview.
Then you need some quotes for an infographic, so you ask a few
others for a nugget of wisdom. Then you reach out on social media
to a couple of folks you admire. Then you ask a different set of
influencers for quotes for an eBook… You get the picture. Instead
of a strategic campaign that can build into something bigger, you
have a ton of one-offs. It’s inefficient. It’s inconsistent for
your audience and for the influencers you’re courting. Instead,
Ashley says, aim for a strategic, connected approach. Plan in
advance which topics you’re covering, which influencers you want
to include, how you’ll use the content, and your plans for
repurposing. #2: Transactional Relationships There are two ways
that influencer relationships can get too transactional. The first
is asking too much too quickly, while offering nothing of value in
return. Imagine you got an email from a stranger asking you to help
them move. Would you do it? Now imagine an email from a friend
asking for that help, and promising pizza and beer? Relationships
matter. Take time to honor your influencers, follow them on social
media, promote them and their work. Help them succeed, then start
with a small ask, like a sound bite for a blog post. The second way
relationships can be too transactional is more literal. If you only
work with paid influencers who promote content you wrote… well,
that’s more endorsement than influencer content, and it can be
less likely to find an enthusiastic audience. While you may
financially compensate some influencers, Ashley says, the emphasis
should always be on content co-creation. You want influencers to
feel ownership of the finished product – they’ll be much more
likely to promote something they’re excited to have made. #3:
Lack of Measurement Like any other marketing tactic, influencer
marketing should be able to prove its worth. Many marketers fail to
build in measurement at the beginning, and end up with nothing but
vanity metrics to show. It’s important to plan for measurement
before you start. Lay the groundwork for the KPIs you plan to meet,
and the metrics you’ll use to show progress. And don’t forget
to set
benchmarks
! Here are a few of Ashley’s sample KPIs: Planning Content and Assembling
Your Heroes Keeping those pitfalls in mind, here’s how Ashley
recommends designing and implementing an influencer program. First,
determine your topical focus. The topics you plan to cover should
hit the intersection of your business priorities, search demand,
and influencer expertise. It shouldn’t be too tied to your
products and solutions. Think more about what you want your brand
to be known for. Use the same tools you use for content research to
find the key terms where there is audience demand and competitor
whitespace as well. With topics in hand, you can start identifying
your influencer mix: You’re not looking for just the
people with the largest audience. Instead, focus on people who are
respected in their fields, shared interest in your topics, and the
ability to actually move people to engage. It’s also important,
says Ashley, to find influencers who fit your content type. If
it’s an audio or video asset, look for folks who have
demonstrated a willingness an ability to provide that type of
content. Beyond that, influencers should be reputable, practical,
with real-life experience to draw from. When you reach out to these
influencers, remember to give before you ask: The nurturing process helps prove
your own credibility to influencers, showing you’re a trustworthy
partner, and hopefully sparking interest in co-creating awesome
content. The Adventure Continues (and Continues, and Continues) The
ultimate goal of your influencer outreach and nurturing should be a
connected universe of content (much like Marvel’s cinematic
universe). Who would assemble a hero team and disband them after
one adventure? Continue nurturing relationships with your
influencers and encourage them to acknowledge and support each
other, too. The goal is to develop a community of folks who are
always up for another mission to save the world from boring B2B
content. Ready for a heroic influencer marketing success
story? See how
Alcatel-Lucent drove 6-figure leads
with their campaign.
Looking for more insights out of CMWorld 2019? Check out these
other posts featuring several of this year’s speakers:

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Get Heroic Results from B2B Influencer Marketing with Advice from
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Get Heroic Results from B2B Influencer Marketing with Advice from Ashley Zeckman #CMWorld