By Michele Linn published June 8, 2014

The Complete Guide to Influencer Marketing: Strategies, Templates & Tools

image-lips whispering in woman's earThe practice of influencer marketing isn’t new. In fact, some may argue it’s one of the most long-standing marketing techniques around. But building a high-quality influencer program in the digital era — where just about anyone can claim to be a “guru” on a given topic — is no small feat.

Creating and sustaining an influencer marketing program takes time, but our latest eBook, The Complete Guide to Influencer Marketing: Strategies, Templates & Tools, simplifies the process. (A huge shout-out to Anna Ritchie, who authored this guide.)

Inside, we’ve gathered industry-leading practices and insights from the experts, as well as codified templates and vetted tools to help you actually draft, execute, and measure an influencer program. We’ve broken the process down into 10 straightforward steps so, depending on your marketing objectives, priorities and resources, you can use some or all of them as you build your program. When downloading the guide, you’ll also get three templates you can customize for your program.

Here are just a few of the insights and tools you will find in our newest eBook:

Making the case for influencer marketing

Studies show that “brand advocates are 70 percent more likely to be seen as a good source of information by people around them,” which is why “74 percent of global marketers reported they will use ‘influencer marketing’ as part of their marketing strategy in the next 12 months,” according to Social Media Today.

Even if your company is convinced that it needs to build an influencer marketing program, there are still some common barriers you are likely to encounter when trying to start a program, including getting broader internal awareness of what influencers are and a basic understanding of how influencer marketing programs work. This eBook will equip you with some key facts, stats, and talking points to help you make the case for an influencer marketing program and quickly start building one that will meet stakeholder expectations.

Developing goals

Before launching an influencer program, you need to understand and document what you are looking to accomplish. Said another way: How will your influencer marketing program help you achieve your key business goals?

In our eBook, you’ll find seven sample objectives, along with additional suggestions that will help you identify the goals of your influencer marketing strategy. You will also learn how your goals can (and should) shift and evolve (as your program does) over time. These goals will be the backbone of any strategy you subsequently develop.

Finding and working with the right influencers

Of course, the most critical part of your influencer marketing strategy will be finding the right people to work with — which will really depend on what your specific objective for your program is. For example, if your objective is awareness/broad reach, you may choose a bigger number of influencers to work with who can all produce “bite-sized” pieces of content to increase your share of voice within your target industry. On the other hand, if you are looking to retain or up-sell existing customers, you will likely want to use other clients as influencers.

A great tip is to ensure you’re focusing on the right people for your business. As Scott Lumsen shared during a recent CMI Twitter Chat, “You don’t need to find the big names, but find the big thinkers in your field.”

Not only does the eBook share tips on how to identify the right influencers for whatever your specific objectives may be, but it also shares sample templates for initial outreach, tracking your influencers, and measuring success.

Tips for co-creating powerful content

After you’ve started making connections with your targeted influencers, you may feel more comfortable asking to work together in different ways. Our eBook includes 10 sample projects you can engage your new influencers to work on with you, including insights on compensation, ideas for nurturing your influencers on an ongoing basis, and ways to continually assess and optimize the projects you’re creating together. One tip: Make it as easy for them to participate as possible: As Lee Odden shared in our recent Twitter Chat: “Most influencers are BUSY. Make promotions easy for them. Provide pre-written shares, embed codes, images, and other ways to easily distribute content.”

Tools and templates for tracking and measuring your program’s success

There are many tools available to help you build and manage your influencer marketing program, though which ones will be best to implement depends on the resources and budgets you have available within your company.

In general, these tools fall into three categories:

  • Content campaigns
  • Discovery and connection tools
  • Distribution tools

In addition to outlining the types of tools you should consider, the eBook also features a vendor selection template, influencer tracking template, and some of the top key performance indicators (KPIs) marketers should be considering when measuring their influencer marketing programs.

Ready to develop a strategy and begin building your own influencer marketing program? Download our Influencer Marketing Guide. And, for more influencer marketing resources, check out our current list of influencer marketing tools (and feel free to contribute your own favorites, as well). 

Author: Michele Linn

Michele is the Vice President of Content at the Content Marketing Institute. She is one of those people who truly loves what she does and who she works with. You can follow her on Twitter at @michelelinn.

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