How Influencers Can Elevate Your PR Campaign

As digital content consumption continues to grow, PR pros are always looking for ways to target specific audiences through social media. We know the power that social media campaigns can wield – from amplifying earned media that PR generates to marketing products. And adding influencers to the mix can boost those PR efforts exponentially. 

Influencers who resonate with a specific segment help brands stay relevant by cutting through the digital noise. The blend of social media reach and trust in specific personalities can really amplify a campaign. Read on to find out how to craft the best collaboration.

Don’t count out influencers for B2B PR

The splashiest influencer marketing campaigns tend to be in beauty, fashion, and other lifestyle sectors, but don’t count it out for B2B PR. Many B2B categories, like software, have long selling cycles where customers spend significant time learning about products and services. Educational or service-oriented content that shares expertise is typically a big part of a B2B PR program, and that’s where expert influencers come in. A business leader or subject-matter expert (SME) who posts content in the form of bylined pieces, white papers, blog posts, or explainer videos can help differentiate a company and add personality to its brand.

Influencer marketing creates trust

In nearly any category peer recommendations can play a pivotal role in a buying decision. Ninety percent of people are more likely to trust others they see when scrolling through their feed versus a traditional marketing post by a brand that’s clearly pushing a product or service. 

Influencers typically spend a significant amount of time – in most cases, years – building a relationship with a base of fans or followers. Their credibility (or lack of it) stems from how they show expertise while remaining relatable. The most successful will leverage their emotional connections with audiences to create brand loyalty and inspire people to try something new.

Micro-Influencers help manage risk 

As engagement with traditional media channels like TV, radio, and print has declined, marketing with influencers offers a natural and low-pressure way to get brand-related information in front of a targeted audience. 

Micro-influencers have between 5,000 to 100,000 followers and may operate in niche markets. Some will even have higher engagement and conversion rates compared to mega influencers with millions of followers, due to their perceived authenticity. These smaller-scale influencers can also be powerful for B2B PR efforts, where they offer the advantages of lower costs and the ability to generate social engagement that is more tightly focused in vertical sectors like financial services or business technology, for example. 

Working with micro-influencers is also a way to manage risk and stretch a marketing or PR budget. A group of micro-influencers with small, but highly engaged audiences might be a wiser investment than partnering with a single, more expensive mega- influencer, and there’s always the flexibility to ramp up or down as things progress.  

Finding the right influencer

The right fit is essential to a successful influencer campaign. Brands and their PR teams should look for the right partner based on a highly engaged following rather than a dazzling follower count. Here are other factors to keep in mind:


Look through the influencer’s content to see how it aligns with your messaging. The content and the audience of the influencer far outweigh the amount of traffic they receive. 


Engagement is indicative of how frequently an influencer’s audience engages with their content. Frequency of fan engagement is a key sign of meaningful relationships.


Though it can actually be overrated, reach is a valid metric, and the trend line of an influencer’s reach is an important factor in planning a future relationship. It’s also vital to keep in mind the platforms prioritized by the target audience, of course. B2B brands will want to reach industry decision-makers who are typically more engaged on Twitter and LinkedIn, while consumer marketers may want to focus on Instagram or Snap. 


High-quality content posted on a consistent basis correlates with the traffic and a higher rate of returning visitors, which, in turn, this increases audience engagement and reach.


Influencers with a smaller ratio of sponsored content appear more authentic and are more trusted by their audiences. Personal anecdotes with natural mention of a brand are also a good idea, as they often hold more weight than a review.

It’s also a good idea to see if a potential influencer has strong relationships with other influencers, and if so, how their respective audiences overlap. The overlap between their audience and yours is a key indicator of whether a campaign or long-term partnership will offer a high return-on-investment.

Influencer content and measurement goals 

Explore the type of content that potential influencers publish and compare it with your audience’s preferences and behaviors.  

Creating content with an influencer is a great way to build a relationship. Here are some ideas:

– Host a live Q&A 

– Hold a webinar with an influencer as the host

– Write a series or blog together

– Record a podcast episode

Match metrics like reach and share of voice with your overall PR goals to examine the impact of your influencer.

Engage with your community and build relationships

Once the collaboration begins, it’s time to focus on building and strengthening relationships with your followers. Offering valuable content on a regular basis will lay a foundation, while aligning with an expert or influencer will deepen the engagement and build trust over time.

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!

5 Steps To A PR Influencer Strategy

Tapping the power of influencers can be a PR agency‘s not-so-secret weapon. It’s also an indispensable tool of good marketing.

Whether it was your best friend in middle school talking up the new boy band or curiosity about the champagne Kim Kardashian, ahem, poured in her ubiquitous photo, there are definitely personalities who can affect decisions. (Although in the case of the Kardashian image, the answer is none, since no champagne wanted that notoriety).

Influential figures who have sway because of their real or perceived authority, knowledge, or position, are of strategic significance when launching or re-launching a product or service. The rules of outreach have changed over the years, but there are some nearly surefire ways to use the power of influence effectively. And not all influencers are celebrities.

Don’t overlook the ones you already have

The most efficient way to start to build a list of potential influencers is by looking at who already likes, follows and tweets about your brand. Examining each individual in your brand or business’s existing sphere of influence will unlock potential additional contacts with a likely chance of sharing some affinity with it. Often you can cement the relationship with special treatment, swag, or insider access.

Don’t be too exclusive to start

Gauge influencer strength by who becomes a passionate and authentic advocate, not just by one’s Klout score or other analytic. Just because someone has a large following or has achieved certain success with content -haring doesn’t guarantee that voice will be the best one for your brand.

Be in it for the long haul

Of course there is pressure to line up influencers quickly and get a campaign off the ground, but true advocacy builds over time. Ensure that your initiative has short-term and long-term goals to maximize the brand/influencer relationships.

Be prepared to invest

For a health technology interested in securing athlete and broadcast figures, we struck up a relationship early on with a respected TV personality who allowed us to use photos and quotes liberally – and gratis. But that was a rarity, and it was important to prepare the company leadership for the reality that most other media or sports personality relationships would come with more of a price tag. The key is to determine in advance how much you are willing to invest and how you will measure the return on that investment.

Let influencers truly influence

The best don’t have to be sold on your product or service. They’ve already organically gotten to know features and attributes and can speak from the heart (not a script) when advocating, so let them. Invite them to give opinions on brand extensions or other ideas on the drawing board that only the privileged few are privy to, and let them know how much they are valued.