Today I was on a conference call with Matthew Kepnes (Nomadic Matt; https://www.nomadicmatt.com). Matt is one of the largest and most success travel bloggers in the world and has played the game for a long time. During our call, the topic of ‘influencer marketing’ came up. I asked the question: ‘is influencer marketing a fad?’
Matt’s answer was simple: ‘yes’, it is.
Influencers seem to be all the rage nowadays. You can’t go on instagram without seeing hordes of them… but Matt assured me this trend would soon collapse in on itself. The challenge brands are facing is measuring ROI from these influencer engagements. Sure, they can generate you a lot of likes, but likes don’t always translate into sales. Matt mentioned he’s talked to several brands that are moving away from the influencer marketing trend- they just aren’t getting enough real, measurable value. This isn’t to say that they will go away completely, but you’ll likely find that brands will become much more demanding on real results, not just a few comments or likes.
A side note here: I love influencers and follow many. I find them incredibly inspiring. That’s well and good, but from a commercial business point of view, that doesn’t always translate into sales for brands.
As a content creator myself, I’ll admit I’ve aspired to be an ‘influencer’. Free trips, sponsored trips, and the likes, likes, likes! Matt told me there’s a better way.
Build a niche audience that loves you and sell to them directly. Create products like books, affiliate products, plugins, utilize Amazon links, courses, tours etc…
The ultimate goal is to have 1000 true fans that are willing to support you in anything you do.
With this, you can easily thrive. Matt is living proof. Websites like Patreon are incredible for this, where your superfans can directly support your work (I love this concept). Creating an adoring audience/viewership/readership in your niche is far more viable and financially successful in the long run than chasing individual paid sponsorships.
Sponsored content, although sometimes great, is not sustainable in the long and oh such a hustle! If you do go this route you’re better off creating a lasting and recurring brand relationship. The one off trips will burn you out over time and ensure you’re constantly on a treadmill of chasing the next one.
You need to build your audience.
Matt’s final advice was eloquently simple:
Solve people’s problems to make their life better. Add value. This is real influence.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Have you worked with influencers before and if so, what was your experience? Are you an influencer? Let me know in the comments down below.