Dear Brands: Don’t judge an influencer (entirely) by their metrics.

Mar 21, 2016Blogging & Content0 comments

SEO Experts, Advertisers and PR-types, are social & influencer marketing campaigns all about the metrics? What drives the success of these campaigns? I think there’s more to a successful campaign than raw numbers.

I launched a brand new “daddy blog” back in May of 2015 called Dadtography. I’m not new to blogging – my first was called “Memoirs of a Single Dad” and launched in 2007.

The stats on my new blog are okay, but still growing. I’ve got a decent sized following on social, a few other daddy contributors writing on the blog and sharing photos, but we’re still just above 5,000 page views a month – for now.

But you know what? I think it’s got some serious potential because we’ve got a pretty unique perspective, a very visual look and a blogger  (aka me) that’s experienced and committed to growing it.

There’s something to be said for quality over quantity and I think brands should understand that when it comes to choosing their partners for influencer marketing campaigns. What makes a blog successful, ultimately? Is it the fancy graphics? The eccentric owners? Perhaps a blog’s success is due to tireless networking? All of the aforementioned reasons can contribute to a blog’s success, but I’m convinced the biggest factor is the content.

A good blog = good content.

Good content will almost always = higher traffic.

Higher traffic = exposure.

Successful influencer marketing campaigns come down to more than just metrics.

I regularly see a very simple, yet core mistake made by many online advertisers, PR representatives and self-touted “SEO experts”evaluating blogs for campaigns and I feel the need to offer up some corrective action. When you base your decision to engage with a blogger or to skip them, what’s on your checklist of criteria?

  • Facebook page likes?
  • Twitter follower count?
  • Instagram followers?
  • Blog page views per month?
  • Blog Google pagerank (yes, that’s still a thing).
  • Likes, shares, comments and engagement on their content?

While relevant, the above list of criteria shouldn’t be the only factors you examine when considering who to work with. PageRank is antiquated, page views can be faked, as can followers, “likes” and even comments.

What can’t be faked is quality content.

What’s your impression of the quality of their presence? Are they churning out blog posts, tweets and shares with little regard for the actual message? Are they taking the time to “brand” themselves in a visually cohesive way? Are they acting and behaving like a brand advocate you’d want on your side?

The right piece of quality content, shared to the right audience and amplified by a brand’s audience can be just as powerful, if not more, than a poor quality piece of content from a “popular” influencer.

If not my precious metrics, then what?

Good question!

If you’re not to focus on views, followers, likes and PageRank as determining factors in engaging a blogger, then what should be the deciding factors? How about the below suggestions instead?

The Blogger’s Following

As an SEO, Public Relations or Advertising professional, you should be examining the sites and social accounts that you choose to advertise with and engage. Take a look at the blogger’s following. How many legitimate comments do you see on blog and social posts? Is the influencer interacting with visitors on a (semi) regular basis?

If you see a relatively small but active community around their site, chances are they’ve fostered more of a relationship with their readers. This relationship will make any message coming from the blog’s owner all that much more effective and believable to the reader.

You want to engage with bloggers that have a strong, loyal and active following.

The Blog’s Look & Feel

I participated in a campaign with a national brand not long ago. I did some investigating on the other bloggers the brand was leveraging in its campaign and I was somewhat disappointed with what I found. I personally found many of their blogs to be sub-par, with numerous spammy-looking ads, a cluttered look and feel and what I believed to be a disingenuous followership.

When you’re considering a blogger, what sort of initial impression do you get when visiting the prospective blogger’s site? Is it neat, tidy and well-organized? Is the content laid out in a way that is easy for the reader to find? Do you get the impression that the blogger takes their site seriously (and, therefore, your product, service or promotional effort)?

If you arbitrarily seek out blogs with a PageRank of PR4 or higher, but the site is cluttered, unkempt and borderline unusable what good would that do you anyway?

You want to engage with bloggers that have a clean, organized look & feel.

The Blogger’s Social Influence

Social media marketing is all the rage, and for good reason. One of the cornerstones to “viral marketing” efforts is to engage mavens, social hubs and salespeople. Bloggers are often all of these rolled into one – at least to some varying degree.

If you’re looking for an influencers with a million followers, but they end up being bought and paid for on Fiverr, how effective do you think they’ll be?

A far more relevant factor in deciding to engage a blogger is their sphere of social media influence over their raw “quantity” based metrics. Do you see Twitter users engaging and actively mentioning the blogger? Do the influencer’s Facebook and Instagram posts actively seek to engage their followership. Are they influential and providing thought leadership and generating conversations in their LinkedIn groups?

You want to engage with bloggers that have an established social influence, thought leadership and focus on quality over quantity.

What do you think?

Influencer marketing campaigns can be a difficult, but high ROI tactic to use. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article. Please leave a comment below or feel free to contact me with your thoughts.