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Blogosphere: Serious Influence live podcast event

Last night (30.1.19) our campaigns team went to the live recording of Blogosphere’s podcast; Serious Influence. If you haven’t come across Blogosphere before, they are a media company rooted in the world of digital influencers. Blogosphere organises events, publishes a magazine and produces a podcast about influencer marketing.

In the last two weeks the subject of influencer marketing has come under renewed scrutiny. The release of the Netflix documentary on Fyre Festival, the CMA clampdown on social media influencers and their new guideline release have all fuelled the debate. We believe it is essential to keep up with what is going on in the wider industry in influencer marketing, so attending the Blogosphere event was a must.

When you are part of an industry it can sometimes feel like an echo chamber. At trade events are we just talking to the same people? Validating our shared opinions with one another rather than being challenged by those outside the industry? There are definite instances where this is the case. Influencers, brands and agencies who all believe in the power of influencers talking in a room is not necessarily going to have any wider impact. However, we think this event was particularly useful and informative. We wanted to share why, and give some helpful take aways.

Useful and informative

There were 3 topics addressed at this event that we think are worth sharing;

1. Relevant topics of discussion: brand campaigns

The focus of the evening was around brand campaigns with influencers, covering all aspects from briefs, influencer/brand selection to ASA/CMA guidance on responsibility for disclosure. No matter what sector you are in – sports, fashion, travel, etc – if you are working in influencer marketing the ins-and-outs of brand campaigns are relevant to all. Discussing best practice, tips on finding the right fit for a brand (both from the influencer and brands perspectives) and experiential tales of success and failure gave the discussion purpose and provided practical take aways for the audience.

Takeaway #1: Collaboration. Brands if you are working with influencers don’t be too restrictive in your brief. Ask the influencers what content they want to create, what they think would work for the product and their audiences. Influencers don’t be shy to voice your opinion. You are the experts with a loyal following of your content. If you think a campaign could have more impact by doing things differently share that with the brand.

2. Range of industry experts

The panel was made up of a range of genuine industry experts. The wonderful Rupa Shah, who has been part of a Freestak event and contributed to our blog on Influencer Guidelines, gave just the tip of her extensive knowledge on the guidelines; for influencers, brands and agencies. Two successful and inspiring influencers @dannydefreitas and @me_and_orla, contributed their experience and thoughts on working with brands. Kat Perrium brought the brand perspective from Google Pixel’s work with influencers, and the witty and insightful Nic Speller¬†provided opinions from the platform/agency side. All the panelists were thoughtful and creative in their answers, totally honest and demonstrated their passion for the success of the industry and not just their own careers.

Takeaway #2: Legal advice, brand opinions, agency experience; there is a lot of noise around influencer marketing and finding the expert gems that you really need can be tough. If you are new to the sector or a small team then you could lean on resources such as influencer platforms and agencies to help you navigate.

3. #authentic

The opinions and thoughts expressed were not all light and fluffy. The laws were focused on, not skirted around. Mistakes were openly admitted. And despite being from an agency Nic Speller chose his favourite influencer marketing campaign as one done entirely in-house. There was a strong sense of earnest passion in the room for influencer marketing to be done in the best way possible. As we truly believe in the power of influencers to make great positive change on brands and consumers, it was refreshing to hear to focus on creativity and quality, whilst acknowledging the pitfalls and struggles of working in this industry.

Takeaway #3: Alliance of brand and influencer values is crucial. If brands pick the wrong influencer their brand message becomes diluted. If influencers work with brands that do not match their values, the content becomes inauthentic and unengaging.

The podcast: not an echo chamber

The icing on the cake for this event is the podcast. Like influencers, the purpose of the event was not to reach a few already engaged and informed people, but share this content with thousands. Creating content out of influencer events sounds obvious but with the focus of getting an event right on the night it can be easy to forget about the importance of the ripple effect*. We have found the Serious Influence podcast series to be interesting, valuable and inspiring. Whether you are a brand, influencer or agency working in any area of influencer marketing – especially if you’re looking at starting influencer marketing – I would recommend a listen.

*this applies to all events. If you run events don’t see the event as an isolated one off, but work out what content you can create out of it and how that can be utilised to create impact long after the event.

When done well, we think these events are not just helpful for the industry but for those new to influencer marketing and on the outside of the industry. Personally I would love to see more industry specific events, as the conversation around influencer marketing can often be dominated by fashion and cosmetics.

What’s Next?

We are planning an event around influencer marketing specifically for the endurance sports sector… what do you think? Is this something you would be interested in? We would love to hear from you, whether you represent a brand, work at an influencer agency or you’re just interested in influencer marketing. Please drop me an email georgia@freestak.com

If you have any thoughts or want to discuss the take-aways we have highlighted, please drop us a line.

NB: We have no affiliation with Blogosphere and paid for our tickets. If you are interested you can listen to the podcast here.

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