Influencers are the Media

Influencers are the new mediaIf you've ever worked in the PR, marketing or advertising business, you know that the media industry isn't the same as it used to be. Yes, everyone knows about newspapers closing, smaller staffs and dwindling advertisers numbers.

However, when you work in the business, there is a noticeable dynamic shift in the value placed on media coverage by both clients and agencies.

I'll admit, securing a positive piece in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe or a trade magazine gets clients excited still. Afterall, those are top tier publications. However, do "clips," as they called in the business, really move the needle? Do they help sell product or service?

The answer is yes and no; yes, if you're selling a consumer-facing product like the iPad, but no if you're selling a B2B service like public relations. For the most part though, consumers want their news and information tailored and customized. They want it where they live online and they want it customized to their interests — thus the quick rise of social media channels as viable news sources.

So the question becomes, how can businesses really move the needle in a media environment that's all about "what have you don't for me lately?"

The answer is influencer marketing — a program that's focused on helping clients building stronger relationships with those that purchase their products or services, i.e. no longer relying on the filter and pass-through that is the media.

Companies need to stop relying solely on media relations to build brand awareness through influence and 1:1 communications. They need third party credibility driven by real conversations around key industry issues. They need to leverage viral content and social media channels.

Finally, another consideration should be a cause platform and an integrated "big idea." When it comes to measurement, this sort of approach to brand building will have a direct impact on sales and not focus on things like followers or media impressions.