Three Forms of Influencer Marketing Tools to Know
As the Internet has democratized the media world—effectively making anyone with specific subject-matter knowledge, the desire, and a keyboard into a “publisher”—traditional public relations (PR) has arguably morphed into the broader practice of influencer relations.
To be sure, PR remains a vibrant profession. Though its tools and methods have evolved with digital technology, its practitioners still produce news releases, build relationships with key journalists and editors, and work to procure industry, business, and (often) local news coverage.
But it is also increasingly viewed as a key component of earned media exposure, along with analyst relations, influencer marketing, and even partner marketing through industry trade groups and associations. To the extent it helps build high-quality links, PR (and more broadly, influencer marketing) also supports SEO efforts.
Influencer marketing is one of the four key channels in the POSE model for content distribution and promotion, along with search optimization of content (owned media), social media marketing (shared media), and online advertising (paid media).
As with those channels, influencer marketing has its own unique set of tools to help expand capabilities and automate repetitive tasks. Here are three vital types of tools to assist with influencer marketing efforts.
Content Distribution and Amplification Tools
You’ve just written an awesome blog post—a carefully researched, insightful piece of writing, complemented with compelling and relevant images, that addresses a hot topic. Great! Now what?
Producing high-quality content is only half the battle. That blog post, article, video, or infographic won’t produce results that provide a positive return on effort without promotion. Certainly, if it’s optimized for popular keywords, if should draw some organic search traffic. And sharing it across your social media accounts will drive some additional visits.
But that’s not the end of the story; much more can be done to gain exposure and readership for your content. Here are four specific types of content distribution and amplification tools that get your text and visual content in front of a larger audience.
Content Publishing Tools: LinkedIn Pulse and Medium enable you to publish original or previously published (e.g., on your company blog) posts in order to reach a wider audience.
Content Distribution Tools: There are several different types of tools within this group. Some enable to you to expose content in specific formats to a wider audience, including SlideShare for presentations and Vimeo for videos. Triberr and Dlvr.it help you build networks of content producers and encourage co-sharing of topical posts. Paper.li and Tumblr are social content curation tools.
Content Amplification Tools: Outbrain and Taboola increase exposure to your blog posts by positioning them as similar or “you may also like…” content on high-traffic media sites. Zemanta and inPowered programmatically distribute native advertising content.
Social Sharing Tools: Start A Fire enables you to promote your own content each time you share a link on social networks, while Flare connects to your Google Analytics account to provide visibility of where your content is being shared.
Influencer Marketing (Outreach) Tools
Influencer marketing tools typically offer a core set of features for finding and connecting with industry influencers, including the ability to:
- identify influencers by topic, industry, or subject matter expertise;
- rate or rank influencers by their level of influence;
- manage outreach activities; and
- monitor engagement and results.
There are dozens of tools that provide these core features. Among the most popular alternatives are Klout, Buzzstream, Kred, Little Bird, Onalytica, ContentMarketer.io, and InkyBee.
There are also a number of tools that put a bit of a different spin on influencer marketing. For example, tools that focus mainly on connecting marketing and PR professionals with journalists, and journalists with expert sources. In the U.S., this group includes Muck Rack, HARO, and Cision. In the UK, options are Gorkana, Journalisted, and JournoRequests.
Influencer relationship management (IRM) platforms are pretty much what they sound like: CRM-like platforms designed specifically for managing relationships with industry influencers. Popular IRM tools include FullContact, Contactually, Prezly, and Traackr.
Among popular apps for connecting brands with paid influencers are Izea, Influence.co, and Grin. Tools like Social Crawlytics and Klear add competitive analysis to standard influencer marketing functions. And InfluencerDB is an Instagram-specific influencer marketing app.
Reputation Management, RSS, and Social Search Tools
While the key goal of influencer marketing is getting others to talk about you, it’s also imperative to understand what people are already saying about your company, brand, products, competitors, and hot topics in your industry.
Here are four types of tools that can help you monitor the pulse of your industry and jump in where and when necessary.
- Reputation management tools: Sites like Reputation.com and BrandYourself enable you to monitor brand mentions, encourage advocacy, and fight back against negative comments and content.
- Topic monitoring tools: Set up TalkWalker Alerts or Google Alerts to receive periodic updates of the latest online news or content based on your search parameters.
- RSS readers: Use Feedly, Digg, or Feedspot to create a curated stream of news and posts from any sites that produce an RSS feed, including publications, blogs, and YouTube channels.
- Social search tools: When periodic alerts aren’t timely enough, try a tool like BrandMentions, Whos Talkin, or Social Searcher to conduct real-time searches for topics or brand names across blogs, social bookmarking sites, online forums, and social networks.
Long gone are the days when your brand image relied on a what a few key publishers and analysts wrote about it. Today, marketers have direct access to a wide range of journalists, analysts, bloggers, social media influencers, and trade association partners each with a distinct voice and (overlapping) following.
Influencer marketing tools help you find and reach those voices. Content distribution and amplification platforms, meanwhile, extend exposure to your brand’s content. Together, they help you maximize your “earned media” coverage across the web.
This is the sixth post in the Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing Tools series.
#1: The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing Tools: Introduction
#2: Three Types of Tools to Use for Content Strategy and Planning
#3: Seven Kinds of Tools to Help Develop Better Marketing Content
#4: Seven Groups of Tools for Designing and Optimizing Websites
#5: Seven Key Categories of Social Media Marketing Tools
#6: Three Forms of Influencer Marketing Tools to Know