The aphorism, “Content Is King,” is no doubt familiar to all marketers as the digital space becomes inundated with blog posts, white papers, webinars, case studies, and newsletters. In the face of all of this noise, marketers are finding it increasingly difficult to reach their intended audiences. In fact, a recent study from the Content Marketing Institute found that while over 85% of brands rely on some form of content marketing, only 30% say their efforts are effective.

The uncertainty and oversaturation of content has led digital marketers to test new techniques and channels, and influencer marketing is definitely one of the most popular. Based on the theory of social proof, influencer marketing allows businesses to tap individuals who have built-up credibility and are recognized as experts by others in their industry. As a result, they are seen as a reliable source for top-notch content. However, there are a number of hurdles to overcome when it comes to influencer marketing.

Despite the added convenience of having a built-out audience, the real challenge comes in the form of selecting the most appropriate influencers for your campaign. You want to create an authoritative voice that builds trust, while targeting unique audience members in the process. Follower count doesn’t matter as much as how positively those followers will react to a potential advertisement. It’s for this reason that micro-influencers (those with follow counts under 50k) are often very appealing as it increases the probability of targeting potential customers with high purchase intent.

Many businesses have found success with micro-influencers, but have also found it difficult to scale. Advertisers must constantly seek out new influencers, create engaging content for their followers, and measure the results. Due to a lack of automation and AI in influencer marketing, completing these tasks in a time-effective manner is nearly impossible. In essence, you’re wasting valuable time that could be spent more effectively. So why do so many marketers fall into this trap?

Given the tremendous success of influencers on platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok, brands think they’re looking at the single most lucrative means of advertising. However, recent influencer marketing campaigns often gloss over the fundamentals of a thoughtful content strategy. In fact, many marketers view content marketing and influencer marketing as inherently separate, when in reality, influencer marketing is just a subset of your overall content strategy.

When looking at the different types of content present in digital marketing”owned media, earned media, and paid media”we can get a better idea of how influencer dollars could be better spent. Owned media allows you to position your brand according toyour values, while earned media is an effective way to establish authority. This is why paid content marketing is arguably the most practical way to generate awareness, engagement, and conversion, all in the same piece of content”what we like to call direct response.

Thanks to the massive reach of various social and native networks, coupled with a nexus of independent and third-party publishers, content marketing is experiencing a bit of a renaissance. With paid content marketing, you can scale your brand at a rapid pace through a full-funnel content strategy that is far more cost effective than pouring your ad spend into unreliable influencers.

Of course, there are many barriers to entry (like any form of marketing). From the difficulty of ranking on Google’s SERP to the need for consistency across all content, creating authentic content that is both engaging and highly visible is no simple task. But if it’s done right, the pay-off is invaluable.

With GeistM’s proprietary BlackFire technology and our extensive network of owned and operated publishers, we can help reinvent your content strategy. Our unique sales funnel leverages the reach of major ad networks to guide potential customers to high-quality content that we create in-house and is hosted across a myriad of publishers. Thanks to BlackFire, we can ideate, deploy, measure, and optimize content campaigns in real time. Rather than blindly investing in influencers, be smart about your ad spend and invest in a full-funnel content strategy.

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