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The Power of the Few



The Power of the Few

[By Stacey Lawson]

In the not-so-distant past, companies relied on simultaneous mass outreach to connect with potential influencers who could impact a number of corporate objectives – brand visibility, purchasing decisions, marketing campaigns and so forth. These same companies then relied on their internal or external teams/agencies to sift through super-sized databases of traditional journalists in the hopes of forging relationships with local and tier-one media, ultimately leading to potentially positive coverage in the future.

The days of email blasting journalists and crossing your fingers that one of them actually reads your content and decides to write about it are dwindling. Media outlets across the globe are shrinking, leaving traditional journalists strapped for both time and budget, while social channels are growing exponentially. In August, 2014, We Are Social reported that worldwide social media users had exceeded 2 billion. The trend shows no signs of slowing, which equates to the rapidly growing influence and power of the individual.

A few years ago the phrase “citizen journalist” took off. We, the people, became the producers and directors of our own news. We, the citizen journalists, now decide what is important through social channels like Digg, Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, and the exorbitant number of blogs. (According to Wikipedia, a new blog is created every second of every minute of every hour of every day.) Not only do we share content we find interesting, we also cover the news by posting photos and/or videos of news events.

Because of our individual influence and ability to share, we determine the content that goes viral and the stories that crawl back to bed. We’ve come to realize that it’s not only the traditional journalists who are driving brand visibility, kick-starting a marketing campaign, influencing a consumer’s buying decision, etc. – it’s also the citizen journalists who hold the greatest clout among their followers. In a traditional sense, journalism is simply about reporting the news, right?

Now it’s more about identifying influencers relevant to your brand and building a relationship with them. Honing in on the influencers in your space requires looking beyond the number of posts or fans or followers you have; it requires looking at the type of content your fans and followers share (could even be negative – opportunity!) and at their fans and followers.

Influencers can be found across all digital mediums. Building a two-way dialogue with them in the hopes of moving them from fan (or frenemy) to “super advocate” is vitally important in this ever-evolving digital age. A not-so-recent, but incredibly powerful example is Harry Potter. A Sysomos study conducted with W20 Group for market research around the Harry Potter franchise found that a mere 43 influencers were driving 92% of the online conversations around Harry Potter. Why? Because those people were passionate about sharing information and content with their communities.

Uncovering those individuals who have influence over your vertical and/or brand requires a little research, but connecting requires consistent nurturing and mutual respect over time. For tips on developing these relationships, check out our post on creating sustainable relationships with influencers. The bottom line is to stop getting caught up in the sheer number of media, citizen journalists or influencers you reach. Instead, consider the power of the few. Sometimes, the influence of one is all that matters.


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