Over the past ten years, web marketers have been focusing in turn on content strategies and then on influencer campaigns. We understand today that it’s a symbiosis of the two that offers the best result as part of an omnichannel strategy. If all this is double Dutch for you, then read on.
Definition of confluence: the meeting of content and influence
Say hello to confluence marketing, a nice word (don’t you think?). But what does it mean? The term is not new, you can find it on the dictionary:
countable noun [oft NOUN of noun] If there is a confluence of two things, they join, combine, or come together.
In marketing, it characterizes the convergence of content and influence, which is quite judicious, because the concept is also the contraction of these two terms.
Now, fasten your seat belt, because confluence marketing combines the best of both worlds to increase reach, generate backlinks, increase traffic to your site and make conversions skyrocket. No less!
An answer to information overload to make yourself heard
How sweet they were, the first days of content marketing. It was enough then to produce a good article (with some key words) to appear in good position in the search results, or perhaps some nice graphics to flood the Linkedin feeds.
Those days are over! Creating content is still essential, but in the age of information overload where the content supply is plethoric, it disappears in the tide of information on the web without ever being noticed. That’s why it’s essential to promote the content created. And what better way to do that than with Influencers, of course.
A response to the shopping journey of connected consumers
Consumers are now more informed than ever before. Thanks to the web, they carry out their own research, compare data, prices, terms of sale, and take into account other consumers’ opinions… And opinion leaders! Already in 2014, in a study by Nielsen, consumers said they trusted:
- “authoritative” content (experts, journalists, influencers) at 51%,
- brand content at 27%,
- advertising content, at 22%.
In addition, buyers share their own product experiences, share their personal opinions, make recommendations, and become influencers themselves.
Web marketers have lost their hold on the purchase journey. If they want to regain some of that journey, they must be present on the channels that their customers take to make their decisions. By teaming up with influencers, they can so get back some impact on the “consideration” phase, the very one that precedes the purchase. In the end, brands are competing here to conquer some of the buyers’ attention, the key to a purchase decision!
That being so, it would be wrong to believe that the customer journey stops once the purchase is made. After this come the phases of satisfaction, retention and recommendation. Again the brand must accompany the customer, especially with the latter, who then themselves become an influencer, with more or less impact depending on their social footprint. If the brand is confident about its product, it’s in its interest to keep watch on the positive opinions given by its customers, to find for example new ambassadors whose voice can be amplified.
A new way of planning your content
There’s no question of hiring experts, or providing turnkey pitches to influencers: it doesn’t work (or no longer does). Instead, brands must enter into a real collaborative approach with content creators. This is the heart of confluence strategy.
Everything starts with watching and listening. You can learn a lot by simply listening to your customers and the influencers in your industry. Then using them as inspiration (not by copying them), using the same hashtags and engaging in conversations with them. Before hoping for close collaboration, you still need to appear on their radar and attract their sympathy or even their admiration. In this respect, Red Bull is the absolute master, but other brands, at their own level, are gradually adopting the confluence strategy by forming partnerships with micro-influencers.
More human content, focused on the prospect’s intentions
Corporate content is the most common mistake companies fall into. They spend money on content that is unlikely to resonate with their potential prospects. Influential bloggers, for their part, know how to communicate authentically with a human touch, it is even the source of their success!
Therefore, giving them the reins of content creation, for example the writing of a sponsored article, is certainly a way of attracting more interest from your prospects. In addition, never underestimate the impact on SEO. Creating human content relayed by influencers is also virtuous from the point of view of Google’s robots. Search algorithms are not there to make sites popular by indexing them, they are there to index the already popular sites, that is to say those with authoritative content and generating backlinks.
What do you think of the confluence strategy? Does it make sense to team up with influencers, or is it better to let them create for you independently? There is no obvious answer, especially because it varies by industry. Still, on paper, confluence is the strategy most in line with the latest trends in marketing. More articles are coming on this blog about it, so stay tuned!