We recently held a live event for a longstanding customer, inviting a number of industry influencers to the customer’s site to learn firsthand from subject-matter experts, partners and customers. There are numerous keys to getting a live event right, with some looming larger than others.
It’s always the case that something will go sideways in a real-time situation, but that’s to be expected – so long as you have a plan in place and can handle the inevitable snafu with grace, no one will be the worse for wear. In fact, it’s expected that “no good demo goes unpunished”, so when circumstances do go awry it’s how you respond that often makes all the difference. Anyone who has put on an event of their own will observe how you handle the situation and, if it only creates a small wrinkle and doesn’t devolve into a larger ripple effect, will applaud your show of self-assured poise.
But I digress. One of the most critical success factors is getting the right people in the room. This may be self-evident – to the point of being patently obvious – but nevertheless is the first place where you can trip up mightily. In the final summation, the primary point of our events is to produce content (secondary pursuits being to establish longstanding relationships and to field feedback) that supports our client’s messaging and lends third-party endorsement to those messages.
In order to go about this you need to know your client’s marketing objectives, priorities and success measures backward and forward. From this essential basis you can construct a framework for influencer selection, and also construct a persona of the ideal influencer candidate. If you can identify, recruit and enfranchise the right people – meaning, you understand how their individual agendas link arms with your client’s agenda, thus creating a basis for mutual benefit – you’re in good position to accomplish your stated goals.
So on to the overarching question … what are those selection criteria? To help you out, a fairly comprehensive (but not nec. exhaustive) list of selection criteria follows:
- Total reach
- Number of channels
- Relevancy to market
- Brand sentiment (neutral to positive)
- Engagement ratio
- Content depth
- Content quality
- Content variety
- Compensation considerations
I could write a blog post on each one of these criteria (in fact, I just might …), but in scanning the overall list you can see arrive at a number of conclusions. Firstly, while listed at the top, reach is not nec. the most important criterion. It’s easy to measure, sure, but relying on reach alone is incomplete and thus sloppy analysis. In other words, if you promote reach above all else you may sacrifice other critical elements such as relevancy, sentiment and depth. It’s important to evaluate each influencer in his/her totality in order to make an appropriate selection.
OK, so I’ve strayed a bit from the framework of a real-world, live event; I do so, however, because influencer selection is a critical success factor regardless of the medium. Whether you’re working online, offline or a mixture of the two, getting the wrong people “in the room” (virtual or otherwise) is a sure-fire way to place an artificial ceiling on your metrics.
Now that you’re square on the importance of influencer recruitment, know that your next hurdle will be constructing an event agenda that truly piques the interest of both your influencers, as well as their audiences by extension. This is a challenge but there are a few tricks to it you can employ. I’ll discuss those in my next post …