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Under The Influence: PR And Third-Party Endorsers

As most PR experts know, word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family are still powerful: 84% of respondents in a recent survey claim this source is the most trustworthy. As more of our time is dominated by social media, the definition of “friends” in particular has spread to include celebrities, authors, companies and the ubiquitous brand ambassador.
PR has always known the power of these influencers. Here are three smart tips to harness their power for good.

Only “swipe right” for the best possible match. As part of our recent work on behalf of a popular new beer, we sought out hot local chefs to create recipes that would showcase the product. We began by researching chefs with the right kind of restaurant to match our brand attributes, very specifically, ones specializing in all-American, unpretentious, comfort food. We struck gold with a chef who understood the brand right away and developed a perfect holiday recipe that was snatched up by influential publications like InStyle.

Act fast, but act smart.  Remember James Blunt or Fountains of Wayne? In the mid-2000s they were uber-popular but have now faded into “one-hit-wonder” obscurity. If you want your campaign to benefit from a top influencer, strike while the iron is hot, or even better, become a professional prognosticator and tap someone one on the rise. Timing is everything, smartly evidenced by MasterCard’s signing of the very funny SNL star Kate McKinnon  before she does a star turn in the hotly anticipated all-female “Ghostbusters” remake due out in summer 2016.

Make the deal as watertight as you can. Even low-level influencers are getting savvy to pricing what they peddle, six figures for a single tweet, seven for a broadcast interview. It helps to be very strategic in structuring a contract with an influencer that maximizes the outreach you need the most to benefit the campaign. We also find that adding success benchmarks, as you would with any outside vendor, keeps the campaign rooted in measurable results. Many in the influencer biz can claim thousands of followers on Twitter, or Instagram but do these followers just follow or take action as well?

Just as anyone can be a journalist today as demonstrated by the proliferation of UGC, soon anyone will be an influencer as well. Just this week, I was asked by my favorite fitness class app, MindBody to be one!

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