Working with content creators involves more than just paying.

The world of content creators, influencers and brand ambassadors is in a constant state of change. It is one of the most dynamic and exciting channels a brand can use to reach and engage with its target audience. And one of the biggest changes in recent years is a move toward paying contents creators. There are a number of reasons that this change has happened: content creators are realising the value they bring; many content creators want to make the work they do, the way they make a living; and, scarcity of great influencers means more competition between brands for the best people.

However, it is not a cut-and-dry situation. There are always new creators entering the market. And many content creators see the value in the partnerships they have with brands beyond simply the cash they can earn.

So if you work for a brand that wants to work with content creators, here are some suggestions for how you can either boost the effectiveness of a paid campaign or – if you are really just starting out – run a campaign where the value for the people you work with is not cash payments.

Travel and experiences

Contents creators – especially those in the running, cycling, outdoors and fitness lifestyle worlds that we cater for at Freestak – are passionate about the activities in which your brand is involved. And this provides you with a great way to incentivise content creators: give them experiences that they would not have otherwise.

Perhaps your brand sponsors a race or other event and you can offer your ideal contents creators an all-expenses paid trip to take part (especially effective if the event your brand is involved with is one where it is hard to get a place). This is a great opportunity for the influencers you invite to  create content that their audiences will love. And it is a chance for you to spend some time with them and get to know them better.

Freestak has organised trips with content creators for many of our clients and if you would like to know more or see some case studies, just drop us a line.

Connect influencers with high-profile people

Many brands run influencer campaigns or ambassador programmes alongside more traditional athlete sponsorship programmes. Bringing these two strands of the marketing mix together is a great way to give content creators a chance to meet their heroes and produce engaging content that their followers will love and that will raise the profile of your brand or products.

There are plenty of ways you can do this. Here are a few suggestions;

  • Combine this suggestion with the one above – if you sponsor athletes who will be competing at a race that your brand is involved with, invite some content creators along to meet the stars and perhaps see how they prepare for a big challenge
  • Set up a private online AMA (or Ask Me Anything) with your sponsored athletes and invited contents creators. This is an ideal opportunity for the influencers to create some unique content with which their followers will really engage
  • Organise one-to-one meet-ups for content creators and high profile people linked to your brand – perhaps that would be a run, hike or a bike ride that doubles up as an interview opportunity or a private training session or simply bringing a celebrity that endorses your brand together with a special content creator for a coffee or lunch one day.

For examples of how we have done this for our clients, drop us a line.

Special or early product drops

We all know the power of scarcity. So gifting products to contents creators, that are not widely available or before the public can get hold of them, is a great way to encourage those people to promote your brand to their followers.

There are many ways you can do this. Here are a few suggestions:

  • If you have a limited edition product, reserve a few for your ideal content creators and send them to the people you want to work with so they can share the special moment with their followers.
  • A similar idea is to make sure the content creators you want to work with receive a product before it is available to the public.
  • Customise a product – one way to generate some buzz is to take a product that is part of your standard range but make it special, perhaps by getting an artist to customise it or by asking a high-profile athlete to write a few words on it. These are easy ways to make seeding a product much more special (and therefore sharable).

Behind the scenes

Most brands we work with underestimate the appetite for behind-the-scenes access. Whether that is meeting product designers or visiting a factory, giving content creators a peek behind the curtain is often a great way to engage them and their audiences. Here are a few ideas for how you might do that:

  • Founders’ stories are often a source or engaging content – why and how the business was created in the first place is something many influencer and their audiences find interesting.
  • Giving content creators the opportunity to see how sustainability or other types of good practice are hard-wired into a business adds a new dimension to the stories influencers tell about your business.
  • Allowing content creators to sit in on product development sessions not only gives their audiences a sense of the type of business yours is but also teases them about exciting future product releases.

Professional content creation

As influencer and ambassador marketing has established itself as a highly valuable channel through which brands are able to reach their target audiences, the quality of content production has increased. Now many of the top influencers employ production teams to make sure their content is as engaging as possible. But this is not something that most content creators can afford. One of the ways you can work with more or better influencers is to create high-quality content for them. Here are a few ideas:

  • If you are inviting influencers to an event, pay for professional photographers or film-makers to come along and capture each influencer as they participate. Then give those influencers free and unfettered access to the content to use on their channels. They will appreciate that you have given them great content and their audiences will be even more engaged.
  • Offer your ambassadors one-on-one content creation sessions. You can hire a photographer and give your ambassadors one or more dates and locations where they can book a professional photography session after which they will be able to share the images on their social channels (and perhaps even some of the behind-the-scenes shots as well).
  • Hire a professional photographer or film-maker to host a session – online or in-person – with your content creators to teach them some of the techniques and tricks to improve their own content creation – this often ends up being the ultimate win-win.

It is undeniable that content creators, influencers and ambassadors now expect – and deserve – payment much of the time. However it is not always the case that money needs to change hands. In which case, some of these suggestions might be a way to generate good-will and enthusiasm from the content creators you want to work with. And if you are paying content creators, you can still use some of these ideas to maximise the investment you are making.

If you have any questions about this or any aspect of influencer and ambassador programmes in the running, cycling, outdoors, fitness and lifestyle spaces, please drop us a line and we’ll be back in touch.


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