First important point is that everyone in the blogging community is NOT an Influencer. But they have other, just as useful, roles.
I’m defining the ICE ecosystem as follows:
Influencers – these are folks whom other folks really “follow”. They jump, and others jump too. They use a lipstick and so do their followers. Not all of them have the ginormous reach of a Virat Kohli or Kim Kardashian, but to be in this club their followers must follow.
Curators – these folks create amazing content and curate special experiences. Their “followers” are really readers who like their content and use it as a resource to inform their decisions. You want to know how to use a niche ingredient or how to make your photos pop, this is the kind of content you want.
Endorsers – this is anyone who publicly endorses your product. It can be a celebrity or it can be a regular Joe on TripAdvisor writing a review about a hotel.
Some people in your target eco-system will tick all three of the ICE boxes, but many will tick just one.
You need to have a distinct strategy to reach out to each of them, and have different expectations of the value you can get. Those in the ICE system must also understand their role, and pitch themselves accordingly.
critical factor for good Influencer Marketing is the Message. What is the unique message that you wish to have the Influencers communicate? What is the single point that everyone should know? Can this be distilled into one sentence?
Too often influencer briefs are instructional not inspirational. Along the lines of here are my keywords, some things I want mentioned, and you need to produce a piece like this and ensure so much engagement. But ICE briefs should be similar to your creative briefs. And they should be given the freedom to operate within your brand framework. Message + ICE gives you M+ICE
So how do we arrive at the “Message”? If you don’t already have a positioning framework, you can consider using the ABCD Model (see my analysis of the now extinct Tata Nano “Fizz or Fizzle” using this model in 2011 – //www.jessiepaul.com)
You send your message to the ICE and they publish their views. The trouble is that most members of ICE have a relatively small reach, often in the hundreds of thousands. Given the lack of organic reach on most platforms, this further shrinks. So you need to back this content like your own to give it REACH. This is R+ICE. Whatever brand assets you get from the ICE community should be treated as complementary to any in-house properties and promoted with the same passion. You can also look to extend the life of this content by Refresh – Reuse – Recycle methods.
ICE is an element of your marketing strategy. Every campaign should deliver an OTS (Opportunity To See of at least 3, and ICE is no exception. Either it needs to be a part of an omni-channel campaign to ensure it delivers OTS, or it needs to be conceptualised and funded to achieve the required reach.
A simple acronym to remember all of this – Feed the M+ICE R+ICE
If you would like to discuss your positioning or Influencer outreach strategy please get in touch with the author at firstname.lastname@example.org