Options for brands to grow awareness, loyalty, leads and conversions have expanded substantially in the last decade. Consider the concepts of influencer marketing and content marketing. When you’re wondering which one is best for your brand, it’s important to have an understanding of both so you can see how these strategies can work together for your brand.

According to the Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report 2020, the influencer market will reach a value of $9.7 billion in 2020. Martech Advisor reports that the content marketing arena is projected to be worth more than $412 billion by 2021.

Content marketing is often used as a catchall term for any content a brand uses to promote a product or service, either directly or indirectly. This can include long-form content, such as blogs, case studies, white papers and emails as well as social media posts and customer testimonials. Influencer marketing involves using an influencer to create content such as posts and videos on social media channels like Instagram and YouTube as well as articles on blogs. Influencer marketing technically is a component of a brand’s content marketing.

Both long-form website content and short-form social media posts and videos are critical to a brand’s success. Your brand’s influencer marketing and content marketing shouldn’t work at cross-purposes with each other. In fact, they can and should work hand in hand for your brand, strengthening and boosting your brand’s campaigns.

Communication is key when it comes to successful influencer and content marketing. When your influencers and your content marketing team know the vision, message and goals of your campaigns, the outcome is much more likely to be successful.

Influencer Marketing Pros

Influencer marketing can make targeting very specific niche markets easier. For example, say your brand wants to target consumers who love to travel but also have peanut allergies. You’re likely to find reputable influencers who post specifically about that topic and have loyal followers who find their content valuable.

But social media influencer marketing isn’t only limited to niches. It can also help you reach broader markets in industries like fashion, beauty, travel, interior design, and health and fitness. For instance, lifestyle influencer Kylie Jenner, who has her own line of cosmetics and skincare products, boasts 190 million followers on Instagram alone. Jenner’s cosmetics line has attracted 24.5 million followers on Instagram and her skincare line has attracted 4.2 million followers.

Brands can easily use influencer marketing to reach audiences on the go and at the point of purchase. It’s easy for consumers to quickly read a Facebook or Instagram post that doesn’t require much attention or focus on a mobile device. However, comprehending the nuances of an in-depth article that’s part of a content marketing campaign on a cell phone isn’t so simple or quick.

Younger demographic groups like millennials and Gen Z tend to respond better to influencer marketing on social media than to traditional marketing. Influencer marketing is designed to catch the attention of an audience that’s bombarded with digital messages at just the right time and in just the right places.

Influencer Marketing Cons

Influencer marketing’s impact can be difficult to track without the right tools. Some content creators can also inflate their follower numbers with fake followers that are bots or people who’ve been paid to follow their social media accounts. Because they’re not legitimate followers, they’re not real leads for conversions; however, they are expensive. CNBC reports that brands were estimated to have lost $1.3 billion on fake followers in 2019.

Partnering with an influencer that’s not the right match for your brand can bring negative results. An influencer can damage a brand’s image through inappropriate or offensive actions and posts. That’s why it’s essential for brands to take the time to thoroughly vet influencers by checking out their histories and reputations before partnering with them.

Content Marketing Pros

Content marketing can frequently lend itself a little easier to SEO content marketing. That’s especially true when the content is presented as a long-form article or blog. A long-form article allows your brand to use more keywords and phrases that can help consumers find information relevant to your product.

Content marketing through blogs and articles can also help establish credibility and expertise, especially within industries that are more technical or scientific. Within these industries, a thoroughly researched white paper or article will probably have a greater impact than a tweet or an Instagram post would.

Brands typically have more control over content marketing than they do over influencer marketing. If you need to keep a tight rein on your message, focus on content that springs from the brand. Outsource content to influencers once you’ve formed a relationship with them.

Content Marketing Cons

Content marketing usually doesn’t have the immediacy of influencer marketing. It doesn’t typically go viral as often or as quickly as influencer marketing does. Its impact doesn’t have the same up-to-the-minute, word-of-mouth quality that an influencer’s social media post might. With social media channels like Twitter and Facebook, followers can easily retweet or share a tweet or a post, boosting awareness.

When a brand controls its content marketing too tightly, it can seem inauthentic to consumers. In contrast, one of the pros of influencer marketing is that consumers find it more trustworthy than a brand’s content marketing. Savvy brands know that when they work with influencers, it’s important to allow them creative freedom to do what they do best, and that’s to appeal to their audiences.

Using Both Influencer Marketing and Content Marketing

In order to cover all their demographic bases, brands often use both influencer marketing and content marketing for campaigns. If influencer marketing only reaches part of your demographic, content marketing can often reach the rest, and vice versa. It’s important to work toward a best-case scenario, where both types of marketing dovetail with each other.

Putting research first is key for brands. Once you know the demographics of your content marketing and influencer-marketing audiences, then you can tweak your campaign message. You can adjust your message according to factors like age, location and gender. Knowing your audience demographics also helps you choose the right content platforms to reach them.

You can often repurpose long-form content marketing into short influencer posts on social media by breaking it up into bite-size pieces. For example, you can transform a Q&A or FAQ page on your brand’s website into social media posts, each addressing a different question that your customers typically ask. If consumers often ask about different ways to use your product, influencers can answer those questions with how-to videos and posts on social media.

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