Jessica Vomiero, Jan 19 —
News outlets and traditional media publishers have long viewed the growing volume of social influencers as direct competition for their audience’s attention and loyalty. In Cision’s 2022 State of the Media Report, 14% of journalists told us that instances of influencers bypassing traditional media were one of their biggest challenges of the year.
In the last few years, however, leveraging the power of influencers has begun to catch on among several major media players. For instance, the New York Times, Conde Nast, Refinery29, and Time have all waded into influencer marketing.
By being selective and finding the influencers that align with their brands, media outlets can meet their audiences where they are while still delivering high-quality content.
Here are a few tips for getting started with influencer marketing.
1. Cross-post with established influencers within your outlet’s area of coverage.
Many of today’s influencers are subject matter experts who produce content for their own platforms around their area of expertise. The simplest way to leverage the brand power of influencers is to cross-post some of their content to your outlet’s digital site (with their permission of course). This strategy works well when you’ve taken the time to appropriately vet the influencers you choose to partner with.
For publishers who want more editorial control over the content appearing on their digital site, another option is to commission subject-matter-expert influencers to write op-eds similarly to how you would engage with a freelance writer. Top this off by promoting each other on social media, and you’ll likely be able to interact with some new users that otherwise wouldn’t have visited your outlet’s site. Some larger outlets may even choose to include social sharing as part of the obligations of the contract.
2. Jointly promote livestreams, contests, and other events that drive engagement.
These days, influencers’ personal brands are just as well known to audiences as some of the world’s largest media brands. A simple strategy for attracting larger audiences for promotional events (such as livestreams, contests, giveaways, etc.) is to jointly promote these events with a popular influencer within your outlet’s niche.
One method some larger outlets have undertaken is allowing an influencer to take over their social media accounts for a day to cover an important event. This often results in attracting that influencer’s audiences to your outlet’s social media accounts for a day. Some of them are likely to return!
3. Invite popular influencers to sit on panels.
Media brands are uniquely well-positioned to facilitate conversations on the most pressing topics of the day. A tried-and-true strategy for driving audience growth through these events is to invite popular influencers, creators, speakers, and other experts with a professional interest in a particular topic to participate in these panels.
More likely than not, these are influencers of varying sizes with diverse, engaged audiences who will tune in to hear their favorite personalities speak on issues that matter to them. This approach has the added bonus of allowing members of your own news team to engage with high-profile influencers, helping them boost their own profiles as well.
4. Leverage your outlet’s own employees as influencers.
Remember when I said that anyone with a platform can be an influencer in their own right? The journalists employed by your outlet have likely gained some notoriety from their time spent in the public eye. All the strategies above can be leveraged with members of your own news team as well, which may save your outlet money on recruiting external influencers.
This is also why it’s critical to support your news team in developing their public profiles. If nurtured properly, their brands might just become another tool in your outlet’s monetization toolbox.
5. Develop relationships with potential freelance writers and expert sources.
Lastly, another long-term benefit of working closely with a trusted roster of influencers is that these individuals often serve as subject matter experts in their area or niche. This opens the door to engaging with them as freelance writers or even expert sources as part of other stories at some point down the line.