Last week, myself (Senior Account Executive Marya Purrington) and Account Supervisor Daniella Dela Osa had the opportunity to attend The Gossip & Glamour Style Summit, which brings Seattle’s fashion and lifestyle blogging community together. The summit featured interactive panel discussions and valuable insight from top local bloggers and brands with the goal of exploring top trends directly shaping this fast-evolving industry and empowering bloggers with the tools needed to seize opportunities in the year ahead.
As PR pros, we were excited to learn more about what’s trending (no pun intended) in the influencer world, along with best practices that lead to collaborative and mutually beneficial campaigns. As we all know, influencer engagement has become an essential part of modern public relations. In fact, PRNews listed influencers as one of the top PR trends for 2017 and a recent study uncovered that 84 percent of marketers intend to launch an influencer campaign this year.
So, what did we take away from the Style Summit? Plenty. Below are some key learnings.
- Influencers know their worth (and so should we): Influencer Brandy Brown spoke to the importance of influencers knowing their worth. She made it very clear that each influencer needs to be aware that they are influencing people’s opinions, so if a brand wants to work with them, they need to be compensated for their work. The panel discussed knowing your worth and asking for what you deserve. This is something brands can keep in mind – influencers are not just an “easy” hit – they have worked long and hard to establish themselves. Understandingly, they want this effort to be both acknowledged and respected. Brands, take notes. If you want to work with top influencers today, be prepared to pay up (remember, payment can be anything from free product to actual checks).
- Pitching goes both ways: As a PR person, when I think about influencers, I think about pitching them on my client’s news. I find key influencers who relate to the news I have to share and craft a personalized pitch for them, telling them why my client makes a great partner and a natural fit. At the Style Summit, we got a backstage pass into how influencers are driving their own PR and pitching themselves to brands they love. It’s a two-way street and influencers that want to work with top brands need to be able to create strong, personalized pitches.
- Audiences listen to influencers: According to a recent survey, 92 percent of people trust influencer recommendations over what brands communicate. Ninety. Two. Percent. Smart brands should realize this growth and partner with a few great influencers in their industry. Seattle-area influencers are very aware that they are listened to and are becoming more conscious about which brands they partner with, in efforts to keep their outreach genuine. It is important for brands to do great research when it comes to influencers – does the influencer relate to your brand? Would a post about your brand make sense for the influencer’s own brand?
I’m excited to see what’s next in the world of PR, but don’t foresee the influencer trend dying off anytime soon. Are you planning to engage with influencers this year? I’d love to hear more!