THE C* WORD GUEST AUTHOR: TORI CANONGE

Three years ago, I jumped head-first into the world of Influencer Marketing by becoming a blogger. I spent all my free time learning basic HTML, social media marketing, and finding my direction. After about a year, I realized that I could do so much more with my blog—like make some side income through sponsored posts.

Next, I became a member of Influencer Marketing platforms—including CLEVER!—and I was surprised to see how many large brands wanted influencers—like myself—posting about their new products and services. On the outside, it seemed like such an easy process: I would complete a relatively short application, receive a set of instructions to write my post, and publish! Voila!

That all changed when I became a membership services project manager at CLEVER—I realized quickly that there is so much more to producing amazing Influencer Marketing programs than I assumed.

From creating content to managing content, below is a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the agency side of influencer marketing, with the top five takeaways this unique industry experience has taught me.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE. 

As an influencer, I never realized how many people are working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure each program runs smoothly.  

That newsletter copy you read? Someone is writing that newsletter, editing it, editing again, and then putting it into a mail system to be delivered to your inbox.

The instructions you get? A number of people review those to make sure everything is perfect so that when you receive them, you know exactly what’s expected of you.

Every person on this staff plays a crucial role in making sure our Influencer Marketing programs are successful, so the next time you log into your dashboard, give a shout-out to our tech team who work miracles, our graphic designer who creates design magic, and the project managers who look at every. single. applicant. to make sure the right fit is made between influencer and client.

WE WORK HARD TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT. 

Have you ever taken a sponsored opportunity and received an email later asking you to make updates or change some things that weren’t in the original ask? Me, too.

As an influencer, this always got under my skin, but now I realize that this is a two-sided relationship; I can’t be the only one happy — the client has to be, as well.

I promise you that we do whatever we can to avoid these last-minute changes so that you don’t have to worry about them… but sometimes things change that are out of our control. We do our best to make things right for all involved parties as painlessly as possible. (We hate having to ask you to change something as much as you do.)

WE WANT TO KNOW OUR INFLUENCERS.

One of my favorite things about being a membership services project manager is getting to interact with our awesome influencers.

I make it a point to become familiar with as many as I can because I remember walking in those shoes and feeling like nothing more than a name on a page.

CLEVER is different.

In fact, we LOVE bragging about our awesome influencers to each other so much that we have an entire chat stream focused solely on calling out our favorite posts!

As an influencer, I never thought that so many people actually saw the work I was producing. Now, I realize that nothing could be further from the truth.

NUMBERS REALLY AREN’T EVERYTHING. 

I used to have this assumption that blog impressions were king.

As an influencer, I think it’s really easy to get into a numbers-driven mindset because you think that high numbers equal more opportunities…which leads to more money. Not necessarily.

Now that I’m on the other side and vet through program applicants on a regular basis, I realize that there is so much more that goes into the selection process than just crunching numbers.

Below are just a few highlights of what we look into:

  • How well you fit the client’s requested demos

  • The type of content you produce

  • Your creativity and what unique angle you can bring to the post

  • Your photography, writing style, and ability to sound authentic

  • Your social media accounts (the content you publish there, following, and engagement)

Ultimately, we’re here to create the best matches we can between influencers and clients, and that goes so much deeper than your impressions.

THERE IS NO “TYPICAL DAY” — AND, I LOVE IT. 

I used to think that project managers just made sure my post looked okay and that my payment was processed on time. I know better, now!

I could never have imagined all of the little details that need to get done for every program. Some days are spent writing numerous emails to dozens of influencers, while others are focused on sending edit emails and reviewing posts. That’s on top of the newsletter copy we write, the phone calls and meetings we’re a part of, and any troubleshooting that comes up along the way.

That’s why I enjoy this position so much — I never know what new challenge is going to come on my plate!

I write all this because I want you to know that you matter.
Every time I take a phone call or work on a program, I always have you in mind because I’ve been in your shoes and I know the challenges you face. If you ever feel like you need some more perspective or guidance from us, I’d encourage you to reach out to any of the project managers you work with—we’re always happy to hear from you and help in any way we can.

Comments

  • Great post Tori. Love how you gave both perspective, as an influencer and as project manager. I was wondering, as project manager how do you evaluate which influencers to work with?

    • Hi Emmerey!

      That’s a great question. Every program is different in its asks, and I always take the client’s needs into consideration when looking for the right type of influencers. I’ll often ask the client what their ideal influencer looks like, and that gives me a better idea of what to look for when I’m vetting. For some clients, photography is the most important thing, so I may look for stellar images with good lighting and crisp colors. Other clients may be looking for exceptional storytellers, so I take the time to see how our influencers are weaving in products naturally so that they stay authentic and true to their audiences. Ultimately, every program is different and every list of applicants is different, so the process is constantly changing. If there’s one piece of advice I could give influencers though, it’s to stay true to who you are and work on building up the quality of your site and content – we’re always looking for that no matter what the client’s needs are!

      — Tori

  • Great! Thanks Tori for the response. Helps a lot! 🙂

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