By now you have seen brands spanning almost every industry tapping into the influencer marketing world. Major brands like Walmart, Target, Samsung, BMW, and GE are writing some heavy checks to influencers with the right set of qualifications. Small time bloggers are still in the game, but they are bringing in less money than the major leaguers. What does it take to play in the major league of influencer marketing? I have composed a list of key components brands look for when searching for an influencer. With these qualifications, you can earn up to $500 per sponsored blog post.
1. Be US Based
Companies trying to market to US consumers like to have a local US voice leading the social conversation. Influencers should relate to their audience via hobbies, likes, and purchasing habits. Your audience gets excited when you find great local and national deals and wants to have access to them too. International is great too, but brands in the U.S are paying top dollar for this type of advertising now.
2. Have a Clear Point Of View
When you are posting on behalf of a brand you need to make sure that your thoughts on the product or service are clearly understood. Brands don’t pay top dollar for your influencer reach, as much as they do for your reference and power of suggestion over your following. Make it clear that the product is something you would purchase and highly recommend to your following.
3. Be Original
There is a strong 80-20 standard across the influencer marketing industry. When you are posting on your blog site, you want to have 80 percent of your postings be original content directly from you, the authority in your category. Producing more original content is not only good for bringing in more money on your sponsored posts, but it also helps rank you higher in SEO and boosts your self-branding power. 20 percent can be sponsored posts and branded content. The sponsored postings should blend right into your page, adding to the look, feel, and overall tone of your message. Many successful influencers make it difficult to tell which articles are even sponsored, perfecting the self-branding, and sponsored-branding synergy.
4. Post Regularly
You are going to want to make sure you’re keeping your audience engaged and waiting for your next post. If you go a week without posting any content you can lose the attention of thousands of followers. Give your audience their daily dose of “you”. It is understandable that you are not going to (and really shouldn’t) create an original post every day. This is where repurposed content makes a big splash. Take your top retweeted tweets, liked posts, and most read articles and republish them. With Facebook allowing your posts to only be seen by about 2 percent of your following, and Twitter allowing only slightly more than that, you are safe to assume the people who see the “re-post” will be seeing it for the first time!
5. Have Serious Reach
Many influencers making $500 an article have a reach that is 25,000 plus. This number can be achieved by combining the followings from your blog traffic, Facebook page likes, Instagram followers, Twitter followers, Vine, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, etc. If your follower count is slightly less and a company feels you are deeply influential to your audience you may still achieve a high pay-out, but typically the bigger the following, the greater your social influence, and the higher the income earned.
6. Engage Your Following
Companies don’t strictly look at numbers when searching for influencers. Thousands of people have purchased massive followings through third-party apps and services. This does no good to a company trying to reach the masses. Your audience needs to be engaged with your blog posts, retweeting your tweets, liking and sharing your Facebook posts, and engaging with you on all of your active social handles. When a brand can tell your audience is listening to you they will feel more comfortable passing you the torch to communicate their product value.
7. Build Longevity
Strong influencers have been in the business for quite some time. Building a strong following that listens to your advice and seeks out your original content can take years. To bring in $500 per post, you should at LEAST be in the game for no less than six months, sharing, tweeting, posting, and engaging with your following.
8. Blast Your Content
You should be blasting out your original blog content across all of your social handles. Tweet it, Facebook post it, Pin it, Instagram the preview image, talk about it on your vine and any other channels you post on. If you are not getting the reach you would like, try cross promoting it on a friend’s page or any other outlet you can think of. When you are growing your brand and proving to companies that you can help grow theirs, sometimes you need to think outside the box. Open new social handles that you haven’t already. Start making Vines, Google+, post to LinkedIn – the whole nine.
9. Have a Blog
I know it seems like this one goes without saying, but it is all too often that influencers who get their start on YouTube, Instagram, Vine, or Snapchat think that they don’t need to expand. While they do have the option of just staying on their social media channel of choice, their growth opportunity is limited. If you want to gain a greater following and boost your sponsored media revenue, a blog is essential. Yes, continue to use your bread-winning social media channel and feed your following with incredible original content, but start a new blog and encourage your following to check it out. Once you get the blog going your influencer reach, and earning potential will open up much wider.
10. Keep It Clean
One major flop in the influencer marketing industry is a blog page that is too cluttered, too riddled with ads, too “spammy” looking, loads slow, and is harshly laid out. Remember, simple, clean, and easy to read blogs are the most user-friendly. You don’t need “fluff” when it comes to your page. This will help you have a clear path for your user to navigate your site. Page view times are a great bragging point when pitching to advertisers. If you can keep a user on your site for a long time, you will see much higher engagement rates and content shares in the long run. When it comes to your site, it is all about the user-experience. Make it a good one!
11. Watch the Spammy “Contest Only” Posts
When you are blogging, make sure your titles are going to catch someone’s attention. Most people would rather click on a blog titled “Rare Gold Fish” than a blog titled “Giveaway Contest” or “Freebie Friday” or “Review of….” Sure, you can have contests, and product giveaways, but make sure you are providing your reader with more than just a spammy product ad. The difference between a good (and well paid) influencer and a bad (and typically underpaid) one is content quality. Give your users something new to learn or a topic to discuss along with your sponsored material. Not only does it make you sound more human, but it makes people actually want to read your post.
If you are looking to earn even more than $500 per post, there are a few ways to do that as well. If you meet all of the above qualifications, these are a few things that can boost your potential earnings even higher.
12. Lights, Camera, Action
Create original videos for YouTube and Vine if you are not already on them. Video is hot right now and brands are paying out big!
13. Selfie It Up
14. Social Media Visit
Doing a review for Starbucks K-Cups? Buy an apron with your logo on it, go behind the counter and take some pictures, pay the guy at Starbucks $20 to let you hand out coffee for 2 minutes while they take a picture of you. Pictures of coffee are boring, but this is fun and exciting. The brand is buying you, use yourself and your star power like a celebrity would.
15. Use The Product
Did you get some winter gloves that claim to be warm? Go stick your hand in the snow for 30 minutes and create a time lapse Vine video from your experience. Did you get a boring screen protector? Slap it on your phone and throw knives at it to show it works. Get some speakers? Throw a party and take some great pictures of them in use. How about sunscreen? Try putting it on only one arm and not the other. Or better yet, draw the company’s logo on your arm with their sunscreen and get burnt everywhere else! That is what brands want people. That is what people share online.