Six influencer marketing tools for PR pros
Influencer marketing may just be the industry buzzword of the year- and for good reason.
This technique has been used for decades by PR professionals, but has been popularized in the past few years. In a nutshell, it’s a marketing tactic where individuals select a group of highly respected and connected people in a given industry such as journalists, bloggers, consultants or industry analysts to influence prospective or current customers’ buying decisions.
Influencer marketing can range from sponsored celebrity tweets or guest posts, to traditional media relations. “Leveraging the clout of authoritative, influential voices can be the difference between a ripple and a tidal wave,” noted Steve Olenski of Marketing Land.
Brand marketers and PR pros love leveraging the jet stream of a larger entity or person because it:
- Enables you to build your brand.
- Expands your reach, leading to new visitors.
- Is less expensive than mass advertising.
- Allows you to reach your “sweet spot” audience.
- Gives you the power to communicate your value proposition, offerings and background to a new audience, which can render qualified leads.
- Enables you to piggyback off the credibility of the influencer, which leads to less customer objections and more sales.
- Improves the efficiency of your PR campaigns, thus reducing direct marketing costs.
- Extends the life of your campaign because brand influencer networks have an immeasurable lifetime value, meaning brands can use repeatedly over time.
In this age of information, PR pros are blessed with abundant tools to make our job of identifying, engaging, measuring, and tracking our efforts of influencer marketing easier. Here are six tools I have had success with when running influencer marketing campaigns.
ClearVoice & MuckRack
Launched in June in beta, ClearVoice (full disclosure: the author of this post works here) features a smart search tool that assigns metrics to the subjective measure of content quality. At its heart is an algorithm that “scores” writers by weighing their post frequency, quality of publishing sites, quantity of sites contributed to and social relevance. Based on the defined parameters, online voices are scored from a 1 to 100 scale.
ClearVoice also connects authoritative writers with content producers who need their subject matter expertise. You can search for a specific term or publication and find authors who rank the highest for those terms based on their overall ClearVoice authorship score. Selecting contributors, for example, for your blog with a high social following can bring more visitors to your site, which in turn creates loyalty and conversions.
For example: Say I am an in-house PR manager for a tax accounting firm, and I was looking for influential bloggers and writers to contribute to my company blog. I can utilize ClearVoice Search to identify those writers and reach out to them to become an extension of my news team. PR pros can also utilize ClearVoice to identify journalists at a particular publication. If I was that same in-house PR manager for the tax company, I could look for writers and editors from “Accounting Today” and conduct outreach from there!
Where ClearVoice is a tool to find authoritative writers on the web, Muck Rack allows PR pros to discover relevant journalists and bloggers by searching keywords, company names, competitors, beats and outlets. Plus, all within one dashboard, you can create media lists, pitch reporters and generate reports to share with colleagues and clients. And, because we live in a 2.0 world that is driven by social media, Muck Rack has visible Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora and social profiles for the journalists within their list. Muck Rack is a great way to connect with high-profile journalists to maximize your influence through media mentions.
BuzzSumo & InkyBee
If you are reaching out to multiple influencers at any given time, you need a way to organize your outreach. BuzzSumo does just this; it can be utilized as a CRM tool -- so you know where you are at in the process of the relationship with your influencer. Whether you are in the prospecting, email outreach or nurturing phase, you can track the relationships with multiple influencers at any given time.
Also, if you have already created content and just need to find the right people to share it, BuzzSumo enables you to identify influencers who have shared similar content.
Inkybee is another great tool used for managing influencer outreach. With its tracking functionality, Inkybee enables you to manage the outreach process, track engagement and produce reports for a project’s stakeholders.
Google Alerts & Mention
Now that you’ve found tools for identifying influencers and tracking the relationship status, the next step is finding a tool that allows you to monitor coverage you’ve garnered from building influencer relationships. Journalists and bloggers might not always send you the published article or mention of your brand, so it’s up to you to track all of the mentions and links you’ve garnered.
One simple way to do this is through Google Alert to get mentions emailed to you. Choose brand mentions, product names and even long-tail industry phrases to properly track your web coverage.
Another great service for tracking coverage is Mention, which scans several social networks, Google and other sites for particular keywords or phrases. Get email notifications or through a widget installed on your computer to stay up-to-speed on the mentions you’ve gotten from your influencer outreach tactics. The tool is free for up to 200 keywords per month, an extra $9.99 allows you to track 500+ monthly mentions.
Influencer marketing is a long-term strategy for building and managing authentic, enduring, and profitable relationships between influencers and brands. Use these tools and comment below on what you think! What's your favorite tool?
Allie Freeland is the PR Director at ClearVoice and iAcquire. She has worked in marketing communications for a decade and received her bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. Follow tweets about authorship, brand journalism, and writing on @CVContent.
Photo: Influence definition via Shutterstock