As you will know, I’m at VidConUS at the moment. Every year for the last 8 years, the world’s biggest instagram stars, YouTubers, bloggers, content makers and digital creators come together to celebrate all things to do with internet video content.
And I’ve spent the last 3 days mingling with the good and the great of the internet. You can read what I’ve been up to in previous posts here. Having now attended 20 different panels and talks in 3 days, I feel like I can share some of the most commonly talked about issues and insights from the influencers (or creators, as they prefer to call themselves) themselves about working with brands.
- They wish brands were braver – they’re really keen to work with brands and they wish you’d let them be a bit more creative and trust them a bit more. They know their audiences and they spend far more time creating content and engaging an audience than any agency person, Marketing Director or Brand Manager ever will. And they want us to recognise that.
- They think we’re all too slow – these guys are creating and pushing out full-length videos at least 3 times a week, to YouTube alone. That doesn’t include everything they do on Snapchat, their blog, Pinterest, Twitter etc. Our 2 week approval times and lengthy rounds of amends? They hate it. “I’d create 10 times as many posts and pieces of content for brands for the same price if I didn’t have to factor in their ridiculously protracted approvals and amends processes,” was a sentiment we heard from almost all creators.
- They want to have direct contact with one person at the brand or the agency, no more – we heard so many gripes from influencers about having to deal with multiple people from multiple agencies and multiple people from different parts of a brand business. They quite simply don’t have time to manage so many different people. To a brand, the partnership with them is everything during the campaign development, but for them, it’s one of a hundred pieces of content they’re making and they won’t work with you again if you make the process difficult.
- They prefer long term relationships with brands and agencies to single projects – if you bring influencers into your brand more closely, give them exclusive access to events and content before the public and treat them more like partners, they feel they’d more effortlessly create content that promoted your brand and they’d create a lot more of it. Now there’s food for thought.
- Yes they want creative freedom, but like all good creatives, they want a clear brief. I was surprised to hear how many creators are craving clarity on what brands are looking for and expecting from them. They absolutely want to be able to show off to you and show you how creative they can be, but they’re not mind-readers. Most want clarity on the roles and responsibilities between brand and creator and an idea of what you expect the output to be. “Talk to us! We’re humans! We’re tired of feeling like you’re scared of us – we know influencer marketing is new-ish, but we’re new to working with you too.”
The overwhelming sentiment from creators is that they want to work with brands, but that we’re making it a little painful right now. They are emploring us to better understand them, their processes and to communicate better with them. Seems simple enough to me?