The past few years has seen a shift of emphasis in many marketing and PR activities to take account of tech. Whereas before, opportunities for getting in front of the eyes of your audience were limited, now everybody’s online engagement means the ways we reach our audience have changed.
The reframing of marcom’s topology has seen the rise of ‘influencers’. An influencer is defined as: ‘a person or group that has the ability to influence the behaviour or opinions of others: the influencer is the individual whose effect on the purchase decision is in some way significant or authoritative.’
There are various online tools which you can use to identify who are the influencers in your industry, (Buzzsumo, and Followerwonk are two of the better known) and obviously, tech firms are (again) at an advantage here, because they can tightly define their area of focus according to their vertical or technology.
These tools, and others like them, rank individuals and bodies as ‘influencers’ according to some variation of: page and domain authority (effectively how easily the can be found on the web), along with how many followers they have, how many relevant tweets, how many retweets, and so on.
Generally, when I go through results, I usually find the greater number of ‘influencers’ breaks down into the following groups (based on observation):
company blogs (usually larger competitors of the company I am researching for),
industry representative bodies,
trade journalists (usually from sites and magazines I am already familiar with),
What’s interesting from a PR perspective is how little has really changed. Taking away content published by individual companies (your competitors!) and industry bodies, the biggest ‘influencers’ thrown up by these tools remains…industry journalists. So I would say, leaving aside uncritical measurements like volume of tweets etc., this group remains the number 1 influencer due to their authority, industry knowledge and general neutrality and critical view of your industry.
Having said that, studying their content and communicating with the last 2 groups identified is also highly recommended. Add them to your lists, follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn, retweet and interact where appropriate. Remember that being an ‘influencer’ is a two way street, and they will want to hear of tech innovation or industry news. If the approach is right, then they will be interested to hear what you have to say and possibly amplifying it to their audience, if it suits their cause. That last bit is up to us!