Received wisdom has it that the dinosaurs died out abruptly about 65 million years ago.
Not so. Many were already covered in feathers and evolved successfully into the many species of birds that surround us today.
I feel the same way when I read yet another commentator pronouncing that influencer marketing is going extinct.
It isn’t. It’s evolving before our very eyes into something far better adapted to social media and the wider marketing environment.
Many such adaptations are already visible, but for the purposes of this post, I'm going to focus on the renaissance of user generated content.
First used as an expression almost 20 years ago, UGC is more relevant than ever. Tools for the creation and distribution of original media are more accessible than ever before.
There’s more to this than the next viral meme on Tik-Tok or Facebook trying to get in on the act with Lasso (although these are still important).
What matters more is that influencers can choose from a dazzling array of tools to create original content from video, to graphics, podcasts and - yes - blogs.
This impacts not just external partners, but the influencer-employees who lurk within your own organisation.
Buzzfeed is ahead of the game. It initially launched ‘The Creator Program’ to help retain frustrated staff who wanted to create non-Buzzfeed content while working at the company.
The program has now expanded to take in external partners. According to Digiday, “a creator doesn’t have to be a full-time BuzzFeed employee but could be an alumnus of the company or even an external content creator who hasn’t ever been associated with the brand.”
You don’t have to be a global media brand to take this approach. Even the smallest start-up will be home to creative employees building a personal brand in their spare time.
Harness their talents – and their brand if they give you permission. Blending in-house influence with external partners is a potent recipe for success in 2020.
I'll cover more about the future of influencer marketing in another post. Meantime, for fear of laboring the avian metaphor, make 2020 the year your influencer strategy takes flight. No one wants to be a dodo after all.
BuzzFeed has since expanded opportunities for in-house talent with The Creators Program, in order to strike the balance of retaining top talent while also allowing them to build their own brands with personal YouTube pages and the like. Since then, the program has evolved to include not just BuzzFeed stars, like Freddie Ransom from its Ladylike vertical and Curly Velasquez from its Pero Like vertical, but also include non-BuzzFeed talent like chef and TV personality Marcus Samuelsson. In all, Creators Program has 36 personalities and has brokered 65 branded content campaigns this year, already double the number the program ran in all of 2018.