Six Steps for Safeguarding Brands & Clients in Influencer Collaborations

Influencer marketing has become a pervasive element of a successful comms strategy, with marcomms professionals playing a crucial role in ensuring mutually beneficial collaborations for all stakeholders. Priscila Martinez, founder and CEO of The Brand Agency, shares six key steps for publicists to protect their clients in influencer contracts. From thorough research to clear communication, these proactive measures serve as a strategic playbook to secure brand integrity and deliver successful influencer partnerships. 

Since the beginning of time, publicists have been asked to wear many hats. Our profession isn’t easy: it's fast-paced and constantly evolving. In today's digital-first world, where social media influencers play a crucial role in the promotion of our clients, publicists must navigate the complex landscape of brand deals with precision and best practices. Protecting your client in the lead-up to these engagements is crucial. Doing this involves several important steps that will guarantee a homerun for all involved. Good results equal happy clients, and at the end of the day, that is all a publicist can ask for. 

Step 1: Internet Sleuthing

Even before the engagement begins, publicists have a very important job: they need to become internet detectives. You never want to be in a position where you grant talent a contract and the new attention to their profile digs up old posts that don’t align with your client’s values. Begin with a comprehensive background check on potential influencers. You should review their past content and any history of controversies. Be on the lookout for consistency in values and messaging that aligns with your client’s identity.

Step 2: Clear & Managed Expectations 

Establishing a clear set of guidelines and expectations from the outset is crucial. This includes content deliverables, messaging focus, and any off-limits topics or behaviors. Your contract should be as granular as possible; don’t shy away from including things that seem like they are so logical that they can be left unsaid. The more detailed the contract, the more you will avoid misunderstandings later on.

Step 3: Over Communicating Messaging

An essential part of success is overcommunicating messaging to influencers. Despite diligent seeding of guidelines by publicists, influencers are often busy and working from their phones. Formal messaging documents and decks can be breezed through or overlooked altogether.  A tried and true tactic is requesting that influencers sign a document that details campaign messaging and brand guidelines. This same document should also include correct hashtags, handles, and brand dos and don'ts. To note, handles and hashtags should also be included in the contract, but reiterating them here is always helpful. 

Step 4: Include Pre-Posting Approvals in the Contract 

Including a contract clause for pre-approval of content before it goes live is crucial. This step prevents potential misalignments from becoming public, safeguarding the brand from wasting a contracted post that they paid good money for. 

Step 5: Ongoing Monitoring 

Once the partnership is kicked-off, continuous monitoring of the contracted influencer’s content and community interaction is essential. Publicists should be prepared to answer last minute questions and offer support and best practices. This will ensure the partnership’s content remains on-brand and meets the agreed-upon contract points. 

Step 6: Don’t Be Afraid of Data

Utilize data analytics to monitor the performance of influencer partnerships. If the reported data doesn’t match your research and expectations (for example, engagement rates are much lower), get ahead of it by having candid conversations with the influencer and/or their management. You’ll be surprised at how willing most of them will be to provide creative solutions for bumping results. Ultimately, their success lies in the campaign being a homerun for everyone involved. More often than not they will agree to make goods or additional deliverables to hit KPI goals.

A publicist is the bridge between brands and influencers. Without their network and know-how, clients would be left vulnerable. Your role as a publicist is crucial in ensuring clients experience ROI. By taking proactive steps with monitoring, vetting, and setting clear expectations, publicists can effectively create value in the influencer landscape.

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