An “Influencer” is one who takes time to convince others to do a something, or not do a something. In Gawker, a writer named Andy Cush uses his obvious hatred for teenage influencer as the basis for a sad, personal, insulting, and completely ridiculous rant and at the end of it proclaims the Influencer economy dead (as if anyone asked for his opinion).
But what got me stirred up enough to fire back with this blog and vlog was Mr. Cush’s clear dislike for anyone younger than 20, and his baseless proclamation that “you can’t rely on content creators all day long.”
Ok. So here is a contest creator making content to tell us content can’t be relied on? Well, if you consider how wrong his content is, he is right. But he had to make the content for me to react to it, and say it’s wrong. So all Andy Cush proved is that content matters.
To be sure there are brands who have made mistakes in how they manage a relationship with an influencer, but that blithely ignores the large number of very successful campaigns. Consider one that the social media company Tap Influencer did in 2012. Their Twitter based effort to market the Google Nexus phone managed to hit the Worldwide Twitter Trend.
Moreover, the game-show approach actually put phones in the hands of those who used Twitter to answer product-based questions. My bet is they could have sold a few phones too, if that is what the client wanted.
Dissing Influencers and content just throws the social media baby out with the bath water and misses an important point: it’s how the content is created and what it’s designed to do that impacts a brand. Thus, a well SEOed series of videos by A Vlogger can alter a search result that can impact a brand.
Go to Google as of the date of this blog post and search for ‘NFL draft hotel’ – make sure your private results are turned off. Then click on videos – 9 of the 10 videos are about one hotel: The Congress Plaza Hotel in Chicago – check it out here. All of the nine were made by me. It was a reward to the hotel for great service to me – I covered the NFL Draft in Chicago in 2015 and 2016.
See? Now I have promoted that hotel and for some time or until someone tries to alter the results – and they can only do that with, you guessed it, more content.
Or how about the incredible work of influencers like Jennifer Ettinger and who partner with publications like Vanity Fair for the Vanity Fair Social Club, an annual effort produced to celebrate The Academy Awards? Participants made content on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (and for some also YouTube) and promoted brand like Chrysler?
Whatever the example, at the end of the day, it’s all about content. Yes, some brands and old media publications approach social media with the “Well, if the person’s under 30, they must know what they’re doing” attitude.
Content is what an Influencer is paid to produce. The discussion should be on how to get better bang for an Influencer buck and not this whining about teenagers on the part of someone who seems to have. It in for teenagers.
Teenagers are two things: young and idealistic. That means they don’t have all the answers but are eager to find them. The Gawker guy disses them whole cloth for this. He blasts then for not knowing what an Influencer does but wanting to be one. Here is a guy who is a content creator, blasting other wanna be content creators for being too young to know that what they produce can influence someone, rather than teaching them how to do what he is, in effect, doing.
There is one word for that: mean.
Folks, pay this guy no mind. His rant contributes nothing of real value other than to piss off content creators who have more than a clue.
The Influencer Economy is alive and well. Content is still king. Thankfully folks like Andy Cush have no real role in it and have to make content in a silly attempt to prove it doesn’t matter.