We have landed on our opening missing statement of:
Influencer Marketing. Simplified
I hope that gives you a clue to what we are intending to do.
If you are in the trade or are working in digital marketing you will have heard the phrases, Content Marketing, Blogger Outreach, Reputation building, Blogger collaborations, Blogger brand partnership, Ambassador marketing to name a few. They are all very similar and very different simultaneously.
I set up a SEO and content marketing agency a little over 3 years ago after being client side for >14 years. And, we do a lot of content marketing & outreach. And, in the past 3 years, the blogger-sphere has changed so much.
Key changes, and ‘pain-points’!
- Budget – as bloggers and social-stars are gaining popularity they are [rightly] wanting to monetise their influence. Progressive brands are embracing this. Those who think people will promote a brand for free are losing traction.
- Negotiating and payment. It’s via email and invoicing. Many companies who have budgets, have big finance teams and pay on 30, if not 60 days. They are not set up for micro-payments. This doesn’t really work for either party and can build distrust.
- A relatively small number of influencers get approached a lot. And, up-and-coming influencers don’t get a look-in. These few, get a varying quality of approach, in terms of campaign briefs, and offered rewards. Those who do receive requests need to ask for a lot more information, and it’s labour intensive. Those rising-stars, currently have no way to find work without investing a lot of time mailing agencies, and companies on spec. This is not working for either party.
- It’s more than just link building. In the ‘good-old-days’ agencies wanted high metric sites for links. These days, it’s about a package of collaboration that is desired. Links are still important in SEO, but you have to be thinking about brand endorsement, social mentions and the elusive ‘tipping point’. Think more ‘reach’ than single objectives.
Options available to Brands and Agencies today
- If you are a company, you can either employ an agency OR try to do it yourself.
- If you are an agency, you will pitch to companies about the size of your current database and send a lot of emails.
There are many Pros and Cons to both options. I am not going to diss agencies – I own one! But, we all know that it is labour intensive. Response rates are low and disbursement budgets need to be substantial, databases cost a lot to grow & maintain. Training and retaining outreach staff is difficult and if this is only part of your job, the lack of time is a killer.
We know of many Brands that will do their own blogger collaborations. They classically want to save on agency fees or just want to have a go themselves. But, as many of them then tell us, it’s harder than they think, and blogger recruitment is not a one time task, the tools are expensive and it’s a continuous process.
So, WE built our own marketplace. Our key tenants:
- It’s a real market place. It’s honest, transparent and promotes both parties interests.
- There are NO sign-up fees for either party.
- Brands and Agencies can post a campaign brief. Search and invite bloggers to work on it on a pay-as-you-go basis.
- Influencers can accept/reject invites online. Influencers can apply for live & funded campaigns.
- Influencers keep 100% of the fee that is agreed with the brands they work for.
- The owner of the Campaign pays a single invoice and fee, CI will make the micro-payment out once work has been accepted.
- It saves Brands and Agencies time and costs.
- And, it provides a marketplace for all Influencers.
So, as of late October, we have put our MVP live. We want to be at the forefront of this movement. I would love your feedback on this site and your own experiences.
Please leave a comment or use the contact form.
Thanks for reading,
Adrian, founder of CI.