Buckets full of influencers

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The media landscape has fragmented so much, I’ve found it helpful to segment the various types of third-party influencers into 8 buckets.  I bet you’re not working with all 8 (reply and tell me about it if I’m wrong).

Each group needs to be handled differently – some of them you even pay (gasp) to collaborate with. The common thread is that each bucket contains third-parties your audiences trust.

1. Traditional media – duh, I know, but it would be confusing if I left them off. For definition’s sake – outlets with an offline component, like a dead-tree newspaper or TV feed, as well as their online version.

2. Digital-only media – Outlets with multiple staffers and advertisers that exist only online. BuzzFeed, Business Insider, Quartz, Refinery29. For now I’m putting podcasts here, although there’s an argument for #5 as well.

3. Trade media – industry-specific, online or offline.

4. Bloggers – single-author blogs have a ton of pull with their core audiences, even if content is paid. Tim Ferriss or Ree Drummond at the top end, or your fav less-huge style or food blogger at the other end. If they have multiple authors (occasional guest poster excluded, then they’re #2).

5. Power social influencers – somebody otherwise not famous with a meaningful following on Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, or whatever platform and TRUSTED by those followers.

6. Celebrities – not just entertainers who are household names – could be anyone from a mayor to a speaker/author/thought leader who has a channel that reaches your people.

7. Other organizations’ content marketing – they have an audience and they need to keep serving them fresh, useful content. Who cares if they’re another business or non-profit? Establish a personal relationship with the content team and work out a way to share each other’s stuff. Start by looking at your: customers, suppliers, vendors, and industry groups.

8. Aggregators – this is where I’m putting theSkimm, even though it’s functionally more like #2, because it’s a great example of the power of this overlooked bucket. Another daily email that aggregates news with outside influence is the Aspen Institute’s Best Ideas of the Day. Trade associations and industry groups usually have well-read aggregators. Those editors welcome well-targeted, highly relevant suggestions just like anyone.

Each one requires different research, is measured by different metrics and tools, and responds to different forms and styles of outreach. I covered all that on this week’s special training for my Inner Circle members, with emphasis on Buckets 4-8. We examined case studies from big brands as well as success stories from current members like you.

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