Your guide to successful content creator partnerships

When outsourcing content creation, success depends on the strength of your partnerships. Here's how to make them work.

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Working with expert content creators and influencers is a smart decision. You can boost your content output for more marketing, grow your audience, and increase your credibility more quickly. 

Brands get $5.78 in earned media value (EMV) for every dollar they spend on influencers. Top performers get an amazing $18 of EMV for the same spend.

Naturally, the benefits are cumulative when you work with the same creators over time. They’ll be able to refine their output to even more closely align with your goals and become more effective at reaching your audience.

Discover suggestions for strengthening partnerships with content creators.

Key takeaways:

  • Lay the basis for strong long-term relationships with content creators by setting clear goals and communicating regularly with them.
  • Find content creators who match your culture and can learn to or already love what you do.
  • Give your content creators honest feedback, and trust their input as well.
  • Remember to keep monitoring your campaigns so you can optimize them for better results.

Define success and set your goals

Don’t just start working with a content creator or agency without understanding what you want to accomplish. True, everyone wants more engagement and sales, but how do you aim for that in a replicable and sustainable way? 

Start by clearly defining:

  • Who your target audience is.
  • The value you bring to them.
  • What messaging best communicates that value?
  • The metrics that show you’re delivering on that.

Maintain that focus for each initiative and campaign you’ll execute with your content creators. Don’t be vague and only talk about increasing site visitors or brand awareness. Set good old-fashioned SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound).

At our agency, we find staying measurable and focused brings continual success because we know what we’re aiming for and how we’re trying to get there. Plot a clear path for what you want to accomplish with your content creators.

Look for a culture match to create brand evangelists

Once you know the audience you’re targeting and how you want to do it, you can start looking for influencers and content creators in the best position to help you. Do your homework and connect in a way that shows you respect them and what they do. 

Don’t use a spammy fill-in-blanks template when reaching out. Show you know something about them and what they offer and why you want to work with them in particular.

Arrange for a coffee talk to see how compatible your perspectives are. Content creators need to align with your vision to be truly effective.

When you start as a good partner and client to your content creators, you’ll find them going above and beyond to support you, even when they’re “not on the clock.” Such partners can become brand evangelists who love what you do and want others to benefit from your services. 

This lays the foundation for the most profitable and long-lasting creator partnerships. People will sense that the creator genuinely loves your brand, and they’ll want to join the community.

Dig deeper: Influencer marketing: The bridge between B2B brands and genuine connections

Have regular, productive communication

Relationships are the foundation of good business, and solid communication is the foundation of strong relationships. Once you have a formal agreement, provide a clear brief with your expectations and content schedules. 

Be open to answering any questions and sharing regular feedback during individual campaigns. Nobody’s perfect, and your guides, templates and directions may not be as clear to others as they are to you. 

Take a collaborative approach where there is “no stupid question” from the creator. Kindly provide the answers to any misunderstandings.

Additionally, don’t be afraid to give feedback when something isn’t right. Commend the existing efforts and what works with it, which lets the creator sense your appreciation, even when the content misses the mark. Then, highlight what improvements are necessary to meet your goals.

Be willing to learn from them and trust their process

There’s a reason why you came to a full-time creative agency or influencer for help with your marketing. If you could have handled it yourself for a higher ROI, you would have done so.

Allow your creators a level of freedom: They know what they’re doing. Though you’re steering the ship and guiding the message, they can be of great value in showing you how to make your content even more effective.

Monitor your campaigns and track the results

This is where your definition of success and the proper key performance indicators come full circle. Don’t forget to keep tracking things to see what’s working and how to make it better. 

For example, pay attention to engagement more than followers. 1,000 passionate and engaged followers are much better than 100,000 folks who only give you a passing glance for a little mindless entertainment.

You’ll have to play around with which software works for you and gives you the best data, but that’s something you should be doing with all marketing campaigns anyway. We’ve found that SharedCount and Mention are great tools for tracking just what their names say (shares and mentions).

At the same time, be patient and don’t expect overnight magic. Nearly everything in business takes at least a quarter or two to show discernible results, so tell your creators what you’re seeing and if there are signs that you’re moving in the right direction.

Build long-lasting partnerships with content creators for highly effective marketing

Like the rest of your marketing efforts, working with content creators takes patience and consistency to get the desired results. If you diligently apply the suggestions here, you’ll find that you’ll build long-term partnerships with content creators that yield excellent results.

Dig deeper: Doing more with less: How marketers can make content go further

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner is a top Content Marketing influencer, an experienced CMO and Digital Marketer with stints at brands like SAP and Nielsen and multiple high-growth startups. Today, Michael runs a fast-growing content marketing agency, Marketing Insider Group. He is also the author of The Content Formula, and Mean People Suck. When he's not running after his 4 kids, or building effective content marketing programs. Michael enjoys sharing his experiences and client stories to inspire leaders like you to create growth and impact.

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