Content marketing  is perhaps the most cost-effective method of building brand awareness. So it’s no wonder why the use of content marketing has been steadily increasing over the past several years. In 2009, content marketing strategies generated revenues of over $87.22 billion, and in 2019 it is expected to generate more than $300 billion  in revenue.
Given how effective content marketing  is, it naturally poses the question — should you focus on content or influencer marketing ? Here’s your answer. Content marketing and influencer marketing are different pieces of the same puzzle. In fact, influencer marketing is an integral part of content marketing.
Influencer marketing is not a new concept. Earlier, brands would collaborate with well-known personalities to promote their products and services. However, now that times have changed, people find it difficult to trust brand messages from celebrities. And so, businesses have started collaborating with influencers — people who have large, engaged social media followings and who are experts in their niches.
From 2016 to 2017, there has been more than a 325%  increase in searches for the term “influencer marketing.” According to an Influencer Marketing Hub study, more than 200 new agencies have been established who focus on influencer marketing. The same report states that 28% of marketers found it to be the fastest method of acquiring customers.
Let’s have a look at the benefits of both influencer and content marketing. And why they need to be integrated for the best results.
The Benefits of Influencer Marketing
1. Builds Authority and Brand Awareness
Influencer marketing is the best way to boost your authority and brand awareness. Followers of an influencer trust brand messages when they’re shared by the influencer. Why? hey trust the opinions and recommendations of the influencer.
By leveraging this, brands can increase their authority and boost their brand awareness when the followers of influencers engage with branded influencer content on social media platforms.
For example, Dunkin’ Donuts  wanted to spread awareness about National Donut Day. For this, they partnered with Collab, a digital network studio, and eight well-known influencers for a campaign.
On National Donut Day, these influencers took over the company’s SnapChat profile and posted content for more than 24 hours. The campaign was immensely successful , and the company gained 10X more followers on their SnapChat account. The campaign reached 3 million people and generated 40K engagement.
To make your influencer marketing truly successful, you need to collaborate with relevant influencers. People who have a genuine group of followers, who post authentic content, and whose niche aligns with yours.
Many brands still face challenges in getting connected with the right influencers for their campaigns. This is where influencer marketing platforms can be very useful. Vetterview , an emerging platform, provides a user-friendly process to discover and collaborate with relevant influencers. The team at Vetterview can also step in to help you to run and manage your influencer campaigns based on agreed upon standards and objectives.
2. Strengthens Customers Trust
If an influencer believes in your product, they can create compelling stories around your product or brand. When their followers come across such content, they’re likely to trust it and consequently, your brand too.
To strengthen customer trust, you need to invite influencers to experience your services or products. Explain your products, including their benefits and features to your target influencers. Make sure to let them know your value-proposition and unique selling point. They need to know why your product is worth mentioning on social media.
For example, Sephora  has a community called “Beauty Insiders.” Popular beauty vloggers and bloggers share their genuine feedback about the brand’s products.
Image Source – Sephora.com
The reviews are original and authentic as these vloggers and bloggers have actually experienced the products. Customers appreciate the honesty, which leads them to trust the brand more.
3. Increases Brand Reach
With influencer marketing, it is easier for brands to tap into new markets, which are otherwise not so easy to capture. Brands gain greater exposure to their potential customers, who trust the feedback and recommendations of influencers.
Nearly 75% of people  search for advice or product recommendations on social media before they make a purchase decision. Collaborating with an influencer, you can get your brand in front of your potential customers – people who are relevant to your brand given their interests and trust in the influencer’s recommendations.
For example, Motorola collaborated with YouTube influencers to promote their Moto Z and Moto Mods. Their target audience was millennials. So they collaborated with 13 YouTubers to create 13 different videos for the campaign.
You may be surprised to know that these videos were able to generate 11.6 million views . This resulted in 122K clicks to Motorola’s website, out of which 80K were visiting the website for the first time.
4. Boosts ROI
By leveraging influencer marketing, brands can increase their returns many fold. According to the Bloglovin’ Marketers Survey Report 2017, 53% of companies practice influencer marketing to boost their sales.
It can be safely said that investing in influencer marketing truly pays off. Companies have been known to earn $6.85  for every $1 invested in influencer marketing campaigns.
Here’s an example that demonstrates the incredible ROI that influencer marketing can generate.
Pepsi developed a limited-edition packaging as they wanted to increase their sales at Walgreens. So, they created a #SayItWithPepsi hashtag for their social media promotions. The message they wanted to deliver through this campaign was – summer activities can be even more exciting by adding cool Pepsi emojis to it.
Image Source – Instagram 
Pepsi collaborated with influencers and created content for 200 Pepsi emojis and shared it on social media. The content was powerful enough to attract teenagers to Duane Reade and Walgreens to buy Pepsi bottles with emojis on them.
5. Helps with SEO
When influencers link to you in their content, you get more traffic as well as backlinks that help your SEO  efforts. Influencers having a high Domain Authority  (DA) can have a considerable impact on your search rankings. This is good for your brand as the odds of people trusting organic search listings is higher than paid ad results.
Jaclyn Hill , a professional makeup artist and influencer, has more than 5M followers  on YouTube. She posts her makeup tutorials on her YouTube channel. On her website as well as on her YouTube channel, she always mentions the brands she shops from.
Image Source – Jaclynhillmakeup.com
Not only do such mentions drive more customers to these brands’ websites but also help improve their search rankings.
The Benefits of Content Marketing
1. Increased Brand Credibility
You can build credibility for your brand by creating and sharing high quality and valuable content with your audiences. Testimonials and reviews are some of the best forms of content that can drive audiences towards making a purchase.
Your target audiences will always be eager to learn about your products or services from people who have used them. They’d like to know about the performance of your products before they invest in them. So make sure to include reviews and feedback in your content strategy as this will help you build credibility.
Here’s a great example of how product reviews can be used as a successful content marketing strategy. Glossier  has less than 30 products to their name. However, they still generate amazing engagement on Instagram.
The founder of the company, Emily Weissman, describes it as a “content-first” company. Their Instagram  account showcases influencer content and information related to any new releases. But largely, their Instagram account is driven by user stories or user-generated content.
Image Source – Instagram
The company turns real and genuine feedback from customers into content to be posted on Instagram.
2. Improved Customer Relationships
It’s essential to cultivate strong relationships with customers if you want to turn them into loyal advocates of your brand. Content is a great medium to answer any queries about your products and address the needs of your customers.
Informative and engaging content can help to build great relationships with your customers. So keep your customers updated on a regular basis about your services and products using emails, blog posts, or your FAQ page.
Cox Media Group , one of the largest digital media, publishing, and broadcasting companies, leveraged content marketing to build their brand online. The company launched an online “Success Kit” which provided useful information for businesses to become successful. It helped them reach small and medium-sized businesses, which their advertisements could not.
They produced the content in the form of videos and ebooks, which helped them expand into untapped markets. The “Success Kit” was downloaded more than 5K times and it helped them generate more than 2K leads.
3. Positioning Your Brand As An Expert
You can position your brand as an expert in your niche by creating appealing content for your existing customer base. Consumers often search for industry experts to get useful and pertinent information, which helps them make better decisions.
You need to produce great quality content, which is of value to your customers. But what if there are already a lot of competitors in your industry? Put your efforts into developing content by using key differentiators like design, components, innovation, or target market.
For example, Domino’s used content marketing innovatively to stand out among other companies in their niche. In February 2017, Domino’s Pizza introduced Domino’s Wedding Registry  – a wedding registry for pizza. You can even register for bachelorette and bachelor parties, or honeymoon pizza.
Image Source – Domino’s
This created a lot of buzz  all around and the company received nearly $1 million worth registrations. The content managed to get 3,000 registrations and generated 1 billion impressions in just a week.
4. Generate Website Traffic
You can boost your website traffic  consistently with quality content. Users can find your content when they search for something related to your products or industry. And if you post valuable and relevant content, they will keep coming back for more.
According to HubSpot , companies publishing, 16 or more blog posts every month can generate 4.5X more traffic. You need to create blog posts which can continually generate organic traffic to your website, even after they’ve been published. To succeed with this tactic, the key is to create posts on a topic that’s relevant and optimize them for searches.
5. Can Be Used Across All Platforms
Managing multiple social media accounts can be pretty taxing. Here’s where your content can act as a binding agent, which holds everything together. You can use and repurpose your content on all your social channels. By doing so, you can also ensure that your marketing goals and messages are always in sync.
Content Marketing and Influencers
Content marketing and influencer marketing are not fundamentally different from each other. Marketers need to understand that influencer marketing is a key part of content marketing. And they should integrate influencer marketing into their content marketing strategy.
Ebooks, white papers, or webinars are all useful ingredients of content marketing. But none of them can possibly bring the human touch to a brand like influencer marketing does. No wonder why it is the most effective form of content marketing.
Let’s have a look at the top 3 reasons why influencer marketing needs to be a part of content marketing.
1. Originality And Authenticity
Relevance and authenticity are the key benefits of influencer-generated content. Because of their close interactions with their followers, there’s probably no one else who understands the market better than them. So brands can benefit immensely if they collaborate with influencers as part of their content marketing strategy.
2. Influencers Sell Experiences
One of the biggest benefits of working with influencers is that they share their personal experiences of using your products. These experiences are real and authentic. They don’t look like paid advertisements. And so, customers can relate to them easily and trust their recommendations.
Remember, people trust people. Take advantage of it. According to 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer Global report , 78% of people ask their family and friends before making any purchase. And, 65% of people trust experts. So, brands need to collaborate with influencers to promote authentic experience instead of just selling their products.
3. Access New Audiences
Regardless of whether your brand is new or already established, influencer marketing will never disappoint you. Why? Because getting the attention of people remains one of the core objectives of marketing. Influencers can make brands visible to new audiences which they might not have been able to reach otherwise.
Content marketing and influencer marketing need to go hand in hand. Content alone cannot generate exceptional results without the involvement of a trusted voice. The voice of influencers.
Even if you have excellent content, it won’t be truly effective unless influencers can promote it to their audiences. Content marketing and influencer marketing are both powerful strategies. If integrated, however, they can generate unbelievable results.
Do you think it makes sense to integrate influencer marketing with your content marketing strategy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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