So, PewDiePie happened.
And a YouTube star fell from the sky.
Like many things in our industry we will no doubt write about, talk about, panel about, blog and vlog about it until blood comes out of our collective ears.
Traditional advertising folks will use his offensive lack of judgment as proof that the old models are the only models you can trust. People in the influencer marketing space will use it as a means to distance themselves from his network and point to the myriad of ways they are better than the other guys.
Since people have been in the public eye, they have stabbed themselves in that very same eye.
We are not here to condemn or celebrate. Let’s do better.
Let’s be better.
This is a seminal moment. One in which we must all recognize the power of the “influencer,” and the importance of making wise choices and understanding how to work with them.
Short form content is the most popular type of video entertainment, as evidenced by the gargantuan numbers powered by the web’s biggest stars.
But, when you ask marketers and their agencies how gung-ho they are about working with multichannel networks, they aren’t exactly gushing.
Perhaps, it is because they felt like they don’t have real control of the process, or because they found working with influencers to be challenging. Or, maybe the groups they worked with over-claimed the roles they played in the process and the truth of their relationships with “their” influencers.
So from us to you brands out there, a few important things to consider when deciding to work with influencers:
First, make sure that the people who claim to represent the talent you want to work with actually do. This is still a young business and lots of people over-state the nature of their relationships. You want those relationships to be exclusive to the network team with whom you partner.
Second, make sure you control where your dollars show up. You deserve to know that your ads precede content on channels that you feel good about. And there are ways to make sure that happens so that your pre-roll ads don’t fall victim to the whims of a black box or potential ad fraud.
Third, don’t just show up on a channel because that creator gets the audience you want. Be there because the show is better because of your brand. Viewers shouldn’t feel as though you paid to be there. They should feel that you belong there.
Fourth, work with the creators who love you. If you are already in their fridge, in their bathroom, or on their feet, there’s a very good chance they are going to integrate you into their stories in an honest and genuine way. You belong there.
Fifth, experiment. None of us is going to get this right all of the time. When something goes wrong--which it just might--cop to it and move on.
Remember when Michael Jackson’s hair caught on fire? Shit happens. It’s what you do when it does that matters most.We are not in the wild, wild west. This is already a well-established medium. Our industry has and is evolving. We need to embrace it with open arms, open minds…and open eyes.