How to Turn Your Next Influencer Brief Into a Powerful Weapon for Persuasion

Opinion: Start thinking more like a PR practitioner and less like a marketer

Writing an influencer brief is a creative, data-intensive endeavor
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Most influencer marketing briefs go a little something like this: “Dear blogger XYZ: We’re excited to partner with you on our product launch! Here are some benefits to highlight and ideas on how to style your product shots. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!”

There’s a gaping hole in this strategy.

If your influencers don’t know what prevents your dream customer from trying or buying your product—like price or a perceived social stigma—how can you expect them to create content that will effectively persuade their audience?

The key to developing a better influencer brief is to start thinking more like a public relations practitioner and less like a marketer. Every great PR pro knows how to tell a great story: Great stories are rooted in time and place. Great stories have the power to persuade you to think, act or behave differently. Great stories are told by someone with authority on the subject matter.

As a digital marketer embedded in a PR agency, I’ve learned that the best influencer campaigns are ones that allow great storytelling to happen organically. They address the right barriers, are introduced at the right moments and are told by the right voices.

Before you draft your next influencer brief, ask yourself these three questions:

Do I really know my product’s biggest barriers?

Five years ago, it was taboo to admit that you met your partner on a dating site. And then came Tinder. How did Whitney Wolfe, Tinder’s then-marketing chief, get people on board? With an airtight influencer marketing campaign rooted in the application’s No. 1 obstacle: the social stigma of meeting someone online.

Wolfe’s creative brief to her influencer army of sorority leaders was simple: Help us make it socially acceptable to find a date through an app. Her army obliged, and the stigma was eradicated. Today, Tinder is now the highest-grossing app on Apple’s iTunes App Store.

While influencer marketing is still a relatively nascent discipline, it boggles my mind that so many brands opt for the “hard sell” when bringing influencers on board. “Take a close-up of your eyes with the eyeshadow.” Or: “Our cookie dough is made with organic sugar, so make sure you mention this.” Or: “Our laundry detergent comes in three new scents, so tell your audience which one is your favorite!”

Maybe some makeup enthusiasts don’t trust that the eyeshadow will last until happy hour without creasing. Maybe suburban moms could care less about organic sugar and more about whether the cookie dough will taste as good as homemade. Maybe college students are skeptical about whether the detergent works better than what they’re currently using.

The point is this: If you know exactly what beliefs, obstacles or psychological barriers you need to overcome, you can more effectively counsel your influencers to address them head-on in their posts.

Do I know the right moments where my product will be most welcome?

Back to school. Halloween. Holiday shopping season. They’re all generic moments in a marketer’s campaign calendar.

We can do better than this. What about the oh-so-relatable micro-moments that make up your audience’s daily life? Mining social data for moment-related patterns can help you think beyond the obvious.

For example: What do families think about when planning a cross-country road trip? Pay close attention to their social feeds and you may find a perfect micro-moment for your brand—“Doing laundry on the road seems like a headache.” Or, “There’s no way I can eat healthy on road trips.”

The key is that it has to be natural. Scott Disick may have crazy reach, but is this post really any better than a disruptive pop-up ad? Think about how you’re persuaded. You’re more inclined to listen when you don’t know you’re being sold to, and the product enters your world at the perfect moment.

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