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  • Writer's pictureBrynna Brainard

Is influencer marketing the new PR strategy?

When you think of an influencer, you may think of TikTok models, aesthetic Instagram feeds, and accounts with large followings. But being an influencer is more than just a fun hobby that everyone dreams of having; in fact, influencer marketing is basically a full-time job filled with pushing out daily content and meeting hard deadlines for several brands.

Worth $16.4 billion this year, there is no doubt that this industry is expanding. Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing that involves paid collaborations between brands and influencers. The most successful collaborations are when influencers are sincerely enthusiastic about a brand, which can make influencer marketing look similar to PR.

So how does influencer marketing connect to PR? Although different in practice, influencer marketing and PR have a similar function: brands look for influencers or publications that best fit within their ideal target audience and pay to promote their messaging.

According to Alexa Sciacqua, Junior Account Manager at Infinity Creative Agency, “Influencer marketing has revolutionized the field of PR in lockstep with the extreme growth of Instagram and TikTok user presence. Brands and consumers alike have come to realize that the most trusted source of product reliability is from other consumers, and the most trusted amongst them become influencers. As a successful publicist, staying on top of influencer trends is key in successfully keeping a brand relevant and top of mind to all consumers.”

Influencers are known to have loyal fan bases. Therefore, collaborating with them allows companies to tap into their large followings, potentially leading to significant media coverage. The more popular they are, the more likely the brand they represent will appear in publications. A PR practitioner’s goal is to always tell a story in a positive light and gain trust from media and consumers, but with the help of influencers, stories can be amplified even more so by using their own voices.

Whether you’re promoting a brand, product, or service, influencer marketing is the perfect way to partner with a creator to gain more exposure. 65% say that influencer marketing is the most effective channel for reaching a target audience as it generates ​​11x more ROI than traditional marketing channels. “Influencer marketing has continued to grow as a strategy for PR in importance for brands as they can pinpoint the subgroups of audiences that they’d like to reach with their message far more precisely than other formats of public relations,” said Alexi Erickson, Account Executive for the Digital/Influencer division at AZIONE.

Both PR and influencer marketing go hand-in-hand when it comes to building influencer relationships and establishing a solid brand presence on social media platforms. Because influencers strive to maintain a loyal fan base, they have a significant influence on the 89% of Gen Zers that follow them if they seem like a nice person. They can elevate PR campaigns in ways no one would expect.

Understanding the trade-offs between influencer marketing and public relations will help companies build stronger relationships with influencers, which can increase awareness, while making paid partnerships more effective at the same time.

By Brynna Brainard

Brynna was born and raised in Orange County and moved to San Diego to attend San Diego State University. Brynna is a senior majoring in journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations. She has a lot of background in digital marketing and PR as she has interned for two different agencies. Brynna looks forward to a career in PR or marketing after she graduates.

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