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4 fundamental elements for creating a confluence strategy

, 13 September 2018

You’ve been convinced of it since you read our brilliant article on confluence marketing: it’s the ultimate strategy, the best of both worlds, the combined strengths of content creation and influence. Maybe, but you still have to execute it concretely. The most difficult is therefore still to come, but here is your compass, your route, your salvation in the storm: the definitive list of 4 fundamental elements for a strategy. Let’s go!

Focus on the human being

The web is flooded with content. There’s quite frankly no shortage of it. Internet users will survive without your contribution. The real scarce resource is influence. In each domain, a handful of players – recognized sites, influential blogs, opinion leaders or charismatic personalities – monopolize attention, be it on Google (the first page of the search results) or on social networks (a large and engaged audience).

Focusing on the human being is obvious, but you’d be surprised by how the overwhelming majority of your competitors are hiding behind their logo, corporate speech and dehumanized product names. (Photo credit: Matthew Kane, Unsplash)

So how do you generate your own influence? It’s simple: you need to have this dimension in mind right from the first stages of content creation. Don’t create content to be indexed by Google: you’d be 10 years behind the times. It just doesn’t work like that anymore. Google’s algorithms are not programmed to crown anonymous sites and make them popular. Instead, they’re trained to spot influential sites to improve search results. Don’t take on the problem the wrong way round!

Concretely, to become influential, you’ll need to copy a little the recipes of existing influencers. Each sector varies, but we find this aspect almost systematically: influencers always focus on the human being. Companies, however, often focus more on their brand or product: a fatal error, and an unnecessary waste of time and resources. The good news is that it’s probably exactly what all your competitors are doing right now. It’s up to you to differentiate yourself, talking about humans rather than things. In the 16th century, Jean Bodin, a great specialist in influencer marketing (or not), had already written:

“The only wealth is man”

So, do like Jean, and focus on people. OK, there are more than 7 billion of us, we’ll have to be a bit more specific, which brings us to the next point.

Look for the most established and potential influencers in your niche

The humans to focus on, are leading figures of your sector. Yes, believe it or not, we become influential by surrounding ourselves with influencers. It’s true that it’s not easy at first to attract them into your domain. The trick then is to get closer to less well known profiles with great potential. But you still have to find them! This requires constant monitoring, identifying weak signals, sniffing out promising profiles, in short, recognizing potential before it blossoms. The ideal goal is to find micro-influencers before they become macro or even mega.

If you believe that this strategy is reserved for small budgets that can’t afford the stars of the sector, you’re wrong. Big brands have also understood the interest of getting closer to emerging profiles and supporting their growth. Adidas has launched The Creators Source with the ambition of identifying and supporting talent in the worlds of music and art. In this way the brand provides them with unhoped for means to accelerate their breakthrough. In exchange, the talents are happy to display the colours of the brand on their respective accounts.

Appear on their radars

You’ve found some interesting profiles in your niche; now you need to become known to them. For that, start by observing their actions, understanding their ideals, identifying their values, determining their vision (cross out as appropriate).

Then, it’s up to you to generate ideas, content, which mentions those influencers, their projects, their articles, their creations. Yes, before they become interested in you, you’ll have to offer them visibility, and win, if not their admiration, at least their respect. On the Internet and especially on social networks and blogs, everything is a matter of reciprocity. Don’t expect to “receive” if you don’t give before.

Adhering and supporting the values ​​of a community is the best way to gain their sympathy and therefore to gain a strong and lasting influence. (Photo credit: Tiago Felipe Ferreira, Unsplash)

Think of the content as an opportunity to make a community and its codes stand out, to create new links and to be rewarded for your involvement.

Involve influencers in your content creation

We’re coming to the ultimate step: co-creating content with influencers. Either you accompany the influencers in their own artistic process (see the example seen above of Adidas with the French artist Madijuwon), or you involve them in your own creative process.

You don’t need to call yourself Adidas and be the coolest brand in your industry (or the universe) to implement this strategy. Adapt it to your scale. This can be as simple as creating a top 10 of the voices that matter in your area. Similarly, a platform to connect with influential bloggers can greatly simplify your task. Remember: when you place the human being in the centre of your approach, your content becomes authentic, worthy of interest and potentially a vector of influence.

Co-creation is the ultimate goal of your confluence strategy. (Photo credit: rawpixel, Unsplash)

By fostering special relationships with influencers, other opportunities are sure to emerge. They’ll talk about you, or invite you to publish on their own media (a guest post with an influential blogger, typically). Influence has the characteristic of amplifying while circulating. It’s up to you to take advantage of it.

While your competitors, big or small, are still stuck on their promotional content, you’ll slowly but surely weave your web with influential bloggers or figures. By the time they realize it, your advance will be such that it’ll be almost impossible for them to catch up, and then you’ll start nibbling into their market share. Confluence is a long-term strategy, but if you do it well, you’ll become invincible.

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