Will influencer marketing signal the end of PR as we know it?

Will influencer marketing signal the end of PR as we know it?

In the olden days, I was often asked by clients to “fanny around with press releases” (if you don’t know what I’m referring to, watch Bridget Jones immediately, you heathen).

I feel the equivalent phrase in 2017 is being asked to “fanny around with influencers”, which sounds even dirtier than the original.

A lot of clients tell me they have been hearing about these mythical people, called influencers, and we definitely need to do something with them.

Usually, with little goal, or budget in mind, I am set forth in a Lord of the Rings style to search out these shy and cautious creatures and ask them to post a photo on their Instagram feed promoting my clients’ product or services.

To which the reply is usually, that will be one zillion, million, trillion pounds please.

WHAT???? For one Instagram post? That means your rate works out at, like, a billion pounds per minute.

To which, the response is a smug, “YEP SIRREEE.”

I jest, of course. I’ve had some great success for clients with some really brilliant and professional bloggers, who are totally worth the investment.

But, it got me to thinking. If my clients are starting to ask for influencer market over and above PR, does this signal a death knell for the industry?

It is something which I have been pondering for a while.

I’m a glass half-full kind of gal, so I always like to look for the opportunities and I think there are some here.

Rather than moaning about how much money these influencers are earning, PR professionals should add “managing influencer marketing” as an additional service with an additional fee.

After all, if you imagine these people are journalists rather than influencers, your job is still to get them to provide coverage for you (only, this time, it is mostly paid for).

I say, mostly, as creative PRs will be able to find ways to get influencers to post on their social media channels for free.

In my experience sending them a lot of expensive, free things or inviting them to fabulously, glamorous events is often the key to success.

So, actually, not so different to journalists after all…

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