Yes, PR has changed drastically since social and digital media disrupted the publishing industry. One of the biggest changes is the rise of ‘Influencer Relations”. We used to focus on media professionals as the core influencer group and we still do. But now infuencers include a much broader range of people. Facebookers, bloggers, Instagrammers, YouTube Creators, Podcasters, among others, are all people with whom brands and businesses seek to build relationships. However, the basic principles of PR still apply. Here’s six rules for good influencer relations.
1. Deal honestly. Not only is honesty the best policy in most things in life, in PR it’s just common sense. No tricks, evasion or hiding the facts; with a lot of influencer groups that’s just like waving a red flag to a bull. Be accurate, helpful and have integrity in all your dealings.
2. Work for the influencer. Remember that, in a way, influencers are your most important bosses or clients. Serve them well by providing interesting, timely content that their audiences want. Meet their deadlines. Know their interests. Help them out; even if there’s nothing in it for you. Your reputation as a friend and supporter can be a valuable asset.
3. Don’t nag or plead. If the idea is weak or ill-targeted or you have no budget, no amount of pleading will work. And, if you get a mention and it isn’t what you had hoped for (not long enough, wrong angle) don’t whine. It’s ok to point out factual inaccuracies, but respect the influencer’s treatment. He or she knows the followers best.
4. Don’t kill. Trying to kill a story is a fool’s errand. If you want influencers to cover your brand or business, you’ll have to accept that they’ll cover your bad news too. Asking them to take something down will only damage relationships, and that’s never a good thing.
5. Never spray & pray. Use only well-targeted pitches. Angle stories to suit the needs of each influencer. If someone is constantly getting irrelevant information from you, you’ll end up getting blocked all together. Think before you send.
6. Be respectful. For many influencers their online profile is a business. If they ask for payment you have to respect that. Don’t expect freebies, but if you get one, be appreciative. Say thank you. Share their content in your own channels. Find other ways to provide recripricol value (see number 2, above).
Building positive relationships with influencers if an important part of every communications initiative. Let’s set up a call to discuss how this strategy can work for you.