Ashley Zeckman

Winfluencer Marketing: How B2B Companies are Winning Hearts & Minds with Influencer Content

Ashley Zeckman on Aug 26th, 2016     B2B Marketing, Influencer Marketing

Lee-Odden-Uberflip-experience

“Influencer Marketing is the practice of developing relationships with connected internal and industry experts to co-create content of mutual value to achieve measurable business goals.” – TopRank Marketing

Influencer marketing has gained an enormous amount of popularity over the past few years but marketers still have lots of questions. How does influencer marketing work? Is influencer marketing right for my brand? How do I find influencers?

In addition to coming up with a new meaning for B2B (Beards & Bacon) and providing one lucky tweeter a box of bacon covered donuts, TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden answered these questions (and more) as he took the stage at the Uberflip Experience in Toronto.

Why the Need for Content Centric Influencer Marketing?

Let’s face it folks, the buyer journey has changed. What was once a clean funnel that followed a predictable path from awareness to action, is now more like this:

New Funnel

This new (and messier) funnel has become very unpredictable and difficult to manage. By incorporating influencers into content programs, marketers are able to help guide the way that buyers move through the funnel.

Benefits of Influencer Content

Many marketers are being tasked with doing more with less. One way to get more bang for your buck is to incorporate influencers into content programs. There are many benefits to incorporating influencers such as:

  • Adding an authentic voice.
  • Increasing content quantity.
  • Improving content quality.
  • Acting as a catalyst for creating relationships.
  • Increasing reach.
  • Tapping into new subject matter expertise.

3 Types of Influencer Content

According to Lee, there are three types of influencer content programs that marketers should be considering and incorporating today. Each of these program types requires different steps and can reap different benefits.

#1 – Influencer MicroContent

MicroContent can take on many forms. One of the most well known is the creation of lists of top influencers within certain industries or roles. Another option for creating influencer MicroContent is to include quotes, tips and insights from influencers into brand created content. In this scenario, the brand will create about 75% of the content and utilize the other 25% in influencer contributions to add credibility and a unique perspective.

An example of influencer MicroContent done well, is Marketo’s new eBook: The Definitive Guide to Social Media Marketing. As you can see in the screenshot below, Marketo used influencer contributions of varying length and type to add to their brand content.

Marketo Influencer Project

#2 – Influencer Content Campaigns

Influencer driven content campaigns are another type of influencer program that brands can implement. These often take on the form of eBooks (with supporting assets) and the influencer content will typically account for most of what is created.

TopRank Marketing recently collaborated with DivvyHQ to produce the Easy-as-Pie Guide to Content Planning. This campaign incorporated a group of content experts and included everything from an eBook to a motion graphic and supporting blog posts.

TopRank Marketing Influencer Campaign

In addition to the larger content assets created, our team also provided influencers with customized social messaging to help inspire amplification. As a bonus, we asked each influencer for their favorite pie flavor and then mailed them a pie. This small act inspired even more unique influencer content.

Divvy Influencer Contributions

#3 – Influencer Community Programs

Brands looking to build an influencer community MUST take a coordinated effort to be successful. In these types of programs, the influencers are aware of each other being part of a common group. They may be paid for some things like writing blog posts or going to events. In order for an ongoing program to work, there must be established mutual value and benefit for both the brand and the influencers.

IBM has implemented a very successful influencer community program that taps into a select group of experts for a variety of different projects over an extended period of time.

IBM Community Program

Building An Influencer & Content Marketing Framework

To help get brands started with influencer content, Lee shared a framework to help guide them down the path to success. The influencer content framework steps include:

  1. Define Goals
  2. Pick Topics, Content
  3. Identify, Qualify & Recruit Influencers
  4. Collect & Co-Create Content
  5. Inspire Promotion
  6. Performance Feedback
  7. Maintain Relationships

Considerations for a B2B Influencer Content Program

Before embarking on a content-centric influencer program, companies should consider the following:

  • Why: Decide why influencer marketing might make sense for your business.
  • Who: Determine what your staffing needs are and what influencers you might incorporate at the beginning.
  • What: Identify the types of content that you plan to create with influencers
  • Where: Choose which content and social channels you’ll use to publish and promote your co-created content.

For Lee’s full presentation you can view it on SlideShare the embed below:

What are some ways that you can incorporate influencer content creation into your current content program?

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Ashley Zeckman About Ashley Zeckman

Ashley Zeckman is the Director of Agency Marketing for TopRank Marketing. In addition to finding innovative ways to showcase the exceptional work of her team, she is also responsible for creating digital marketing programs that drive customer acquisition and growth for the agency. Her background includes expertise in everything from content marketing strategy to branding, account management and social media.

Outside of her role at TopRank Online Marketing, Ashley prides herself on being a great home chef, painter, prankster and dog mom.