Andrew Boer, President of Movable Media, recently did an Ask Me Anything on Yabbly. Here is a preview of one of the questions and his answer:
Q: What makes a person a good influencer?
A: Lets start with the term “influencer,” which I personally dislike for a pretty simple reason. Because once you start referring to content creators/authors/bloggers/artists as “influencers” you are emphasizing the wrong approach. After all, there is a well known word in the English Language whose definition means the buying and selling of influence, and it isn’t a particularly nice one: “bribery.”
The major problems with “blogger outreach” and “influencer marketing” occur when brands try to leverage a person’s influence to convince consumers that their product or service is better. The right approach is to think of the influencer as a “Custom Publisher of one.” Influencers should be compensated for their content and their distribution (“reach”) to a targeted audience, and not for how well they influence the decisions of that audience. A subtle point, for sure.
Taking your questions in reverse order:
What makes a person a good influencer?
We believe that a good influencer is 1) an outstanding content creator in their medium (see below) with deep expertise 2) has a targeted audience that is willing to read/follow them wherever they create content, and 3) generally prefers to create content that is in service of the *reader* and not their own self interest or agenda. (Authors with strong personal agendas can be provocative and interesting, but often aren’t able to create the kind of content that works for brands).
Typically our influencers are not “raising their hands” to join some author network, and they are harder to identify and recruit. They may not be a professional journalist or blogger, and often are employed in the target industry.
What kind of content do they create?
The kind of content they create is dependent on the brand’s needs. But instead of trying to shoehorn the influencer into the brand’s needs, we try to find an influencer who already has an audience and creates the kind of content the brand’s audience seeks, with an authorial voice that is close to the brand’s own voice. We have created interviews, opinion pieces, editorials, videos, humor, how-to, cartoons, photo-essays, quizzes, tutorials, infographics, evergreen articles, and curation.
What is your definition of an influencer?
An influencer is a person who has a combination of authority AND an audience. If they have one, but not the other, we think of them as either an Authority (often with no following, but huge authority and credibility) or a Celebrity (the opposite case, with very big audiences, but often very little authority on the topic).
Anyone who can consistently move an audience of 1000+ people — wherever they create content — is an influencer. That usually translates into a “following” (let’s say Twitter/newsletter/Facebook followers) of five to fifty thousand. But the number of “followers” that someone has, and that influencer’s actual ability to move that audience varies greatly, from as low as .5% to as much as 15%. The bigger someone’s audience, the more that “Movable” audience degrades, so 10% would be huge for someone with a million followers.
We generally prefer people with email audiences to Twitter since those audiences are both more predictable and more “movable”.
This content originally appeared on Yabbly.com and you can see the full thread here.