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How can you use Influencer Marketing for PR?

Influencer marketing is one of the best ways to reach new audiences and communicate brand messages directly in 2023. So to what extent should brands integrate partnerships with influencers into their overall PR strategy? In this article, you'll learn everything you need to know about the interplay between influencer marketing and public relations.

personne tient un microphone
personne tient un microphone

Key Takeaways

  • In PR, influencer marketing can be a valuable addition to increase brand reach and build a strong bond with your target audience.
  • If you want to integrate IM into your PR strategy, then it’s crucial to personally take care of influencer relations.
  • For your influencer marketing strategy to be successful, you need to find influencers who fit your brand and reach your target audience.

A look at Influencer Marketing Hub’s Influencer Marketing Report justifies considering influencer relations in your PR strategy. For example, the IM industry is expected to grow to circa $21.1 billion by 2023, while the use of artificial intelligence is also on the rise. Two-thirds of brands plan to use artificial intelligence to identify new cooperation partners in the future, and 63% even say they would use AI in the execution of their campaigns. Nearly one-fifth of respondents also plan to invest more than 40% of their total marketing budget in influencer marketing campaigns. That in itself proves how important integrating influencer partnerships can be to your overall PR strategy.

What is involved in influencer marketing?

Before we dive deep into the topic, we would like to briefly clarify how influencer marketing and public relations differ. Influencer marketing is about working with individuals who have a large online following and influence over their audience. Brands work with influencers to promote products, services, or messages through sponsored content, reviews, recommendations, or mentions mostly on social media. The goal, in general, is to leverage the credibility and reach of influencers to increase brand awareness, engagement, and conversions.

Public relations, on the other hand, generally involves managing and maintaining a positive public image and reputation for a brand or organization. Unlike short-term advertising, PR is the strategy of building relationships with the public, stakeholders, and the media and establishing a good reputation over the long term. Consequently, PR managers develop and execute communications campaigns, handle crisis situations, manage media relations, and ensure a consistent message that aligns with the brand’s values and goals.

When influencer marketing and PR are combined, it refers to the strategic collaboration between influencers and PR professionals and the intertwining of short-term promotional campaigns with a positive image of the brand within the consumer group. This collaboration is about leveraging the influence and credibility of influencers to amplify PR initiatives, deliver key messages, and engage directly with the target audience. Influencers become valuable allies in spreading brand stories, supporting PR campaigns, crisis management, and increasing brand visibility and credibility among their followers.

How media relations and influencer marketing work together

From a marketer’s perspective, media relations and influencer relations are critical components of a comprehensive marketing strategy, but they differ in their focus and target audience, which is why we’ll briefly revisit these differences.  Media relations is a subcategory of PR.

Media relations is about building and maintaining relationships with journalists, reporters and media companies to generate positive coverage and publicity for a brand or organization. Specialized PR managers engage in media relations to secure media coverage through press releases and media presentations; they are providing valuable information and story angles to journalists. In short, media relations is press relations.

In Influencer Relations, on the other hand, the people responsible just ensure fruitful relationships with influential people. This also has advantages, such as:

  • Authenticity and reach: Influencers have a loyal following that trusts their recommendations and opinions, giving brands the opportunity to reach a target audience through sponsored content, reviews, or recommendations.
  • Creative content: Collaborations with KOL (Key Opinion Leaders) often involve creating unique and engaging content that seamlessly integrates the brand’s products or services with the influencer’s content, increasing the brand’s visibility and credibility with its followers.

Media relations and influencer relations can complement each other in a marketing strategy. By combining these two approaches, PR managers can achieve greater reach and impact. For example, a press release or media event can attract the attention of journalists who then cover the story in traditional media. At the same time, the brand can work with relevant influencers to amplify the message on social media platforms to reach a more targeted and engaged audience.

At the same time, don’t confuse the two and keep the following in mind. In media relations, marketers have limited control over how the story is presented because editors have editorial discretion. In contrast, collaborating with influencers allows them to have more control over content and messaging, depending on the contract. Therefore, read the Kolsquare tips and tricks on Influencer Contracts.

What are the strategies for influencer marketing in PR?

Influencer marketing can be a powerful tool to enhance your PR efforts and amplify your brand’s message. Here are some ways you can integrate influencer marketing into your PR strategy:

  • Identify relevant influencers: Research and identify KOLs that align with your brand’s values, target audience, and PR goals. Look for those collaborative partners who have a dedicated following and a strong influence in your industry or niche.
  • Enter into partnerships: Work with influencers for the long term to form partnerships that align with your PR goals. This can include long-term brand ambassadorships, sponsored content, or co-creating content to support your PR campaigns. This is especially fruitful because, as mentioned, PR itself is a long-term strategy for building and maintaining your positive reputation, and this can be a positive development for your brand in general.
  • Share brand stories: Work with influencers to tell compelling brand stories that align with your PR message. Creators create authentic content, such as product reviews, testimonials, or behind-the-scenes insights that can effectively convey your brand’s values, mission, and unique selling points.
  • Crisis management: Crisis management is a classically part of the PR manager’s to-do list. A previously established and trusted partnership with influencers can help you tremendously in a crisis. Together, you can communicate information, address concerns, and counter negative portrayals. Influencers can share your official statements, highlight your crisis management efforts, and be a trusted voice during difficult times.
  • Collaborate on content: Let your partners help you brainstorm and implement campaigns. They tend to be up-to-date and know what kind of content resonates best with their target audience. Talk about guest posts on blogs, social media account takeovers, or video interviews as part of your campaign.
  • Participate in events: if your brand is hosting an event or participating in industry-related activities, invite influencers to cover your event. They can then provide live updates, share their experiences, and introduce their audience to your brand’s key messages. This coverage can create buzz, increase visibility, and amplify your PR efforts.
  • Measure impact and engagement: As PR managers know, it is  important to evaluate partnerships and campaigns. Use analytics and monitoring tools to measure the success of your collaborations as they relate to your PR goals. Track metrics such as reach, engagement, sentiment analysis, and website traffic to evaluate the effectiveness of your campaigns. This data can help you optimize your influencer marketing strategies for better PR results.

How can a PR agency use influencer marketing?

Not only brands, but also PR agencies can effectively use influencer marketing to improve their own brand communication and reputation. PR agencies are, of course, also brands that need to build a reputation and thus a customer base. With influencers from the right niche, agencies can also leverage IM successfully:

1. Identify relevant influencers: Conduct thorough research to identify influencers who align with the client’s brand values, target audience, and PR goals. This is where AI can be a useful support, which is why the statistics listed at the beginning are now hardly surprising. Also, read on the Kolsquare blog

2. Partner-up and collaborate: form strategic partnerships with influencers on your own behalf or on behalf of your clients. There are a variety of influencers that lend themselves to collaboration:

  • Nano-Influencers are strongly on the rise for several reasons. On the one hand, as the industry grows, there are more and more individuals creating creative content that appeals to some people. On the other hand, with this saturation of the market, it is naturally becoming more difficult for the broad mass of creatives to become superstars on social media. Nano-influencers, those who have around 10,000 followers, offer many advantages, which you can read about on the Kolsquare blog.
  • Brand ambassadors are more than just unique faces offering your products or services. This category of creative is genuinely passionate about your agency or brand. They have your back and communicate that enthusiasm to their audience. Kolsquare reveals three ways to turn influencers into your brand ambassadors.
  • Content creation: Work with influencers to create authentic and engaging content that supports your PR goals and those of your customers. This can include product reviews, testimonials, sponsored blog posts, or social media content that highlights the client’s brand stories, values, and unique selling points. You should guide influencers to ensure that the content aligns with their messages and goals, but never limit your partners’ creativity too much.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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