A start-up marketing platform is pairing up travel brands with ‘influencers’ so they can promote their business through a “trusted” and “authentic” person without wasting time on those who are not interested.
Considerable Influence works by giving bloggers, industry experts and well-known faces the chance to pitch for work with brands that are looking to launch a campaign.
Brands upload a marketing budget to the platform and can browse the profiles of influencers and contact the people who they’d like to work with.
Influencers can also reach out by approaching brands with their creative ideas and give an idea of the price they expect.
Negotiations over fees are made over a messaging service on the platform and, because cash is pre-loaded, influencers receive payment within a few days rather than invoicing companies.
The platform’s full launch comes as an expert panel said influencer marketing is expected to be a big trend in travel in 2017.
Founder Adrian Land, who also runs the SEO and content marketing firm SESOME and has worked in SEO (search engine optimisation) since the early 1990s, says his new platform will save a lot of wasted time and effort.
The former head of SEO at Thomas Cook, Expedia, Hotels.com and Holiday Rentals, said: “How we consume media and interact with travel brands is becoming increasingly fragmented. More and more companies have begun to align themselves with digital influencers as a key part of their marketing strategy.
Land says that consumers are increasingly plumping for “authentic, trusted opinion” more than the voice of the brand.
“Lots of studies are showing that consumers are listening to their favourite bloggers or celebrities more than before and the rise of social media has given those influencers a platform to reach more people.”
And for PR agencies, he said the platform would help them find people they know are interested.
“Agencies will have their own databases but they will be full of the big companies,” Land added. “The media, for example, is easy to find. But then emails get ignored and it’s hard to know who is genuinely interested in your brand or product.
“With Considerable Influence you might find the smaller bloggers, who are growing their reach but are not yet really well known, but have great content.”
An example he used was Leftovercurrency.com, which has been using the Considerable Influence platform during its soft launch (the site has been up and running since November).
More than 20 influencers applied to work with the brand on its campaign within two days of the listing.
“Mario [Van Poppel, founder of Leftovercurrency.com] has posted saying he’s looking for travel bloggers to write a story about his business, because it’s a solution he’s found to a common problem of theirs.
“He doesn’t have a huge marketing budget like the big brands, so it works for him.
”It’s seen as OK to be a blogger these days, but the danger is that people always go to the same small number of people. What we are doing is democratising the marketplace.”
Land insists this is not advertising, in the traditional sense. He added: “An advert implies that you will do exactly what the brand wants you to do. Influencers work around a broad topic and give honest reviews. It’s all about collaboration.”
But isn’t that dangerous, you ask? Might an influencer give a negative review and damage a brand while charging them for the privilege?
Land says that it is the responsibility of the brand – during the selection process – to make sure their chosen influencer is on the same page; to find someone with “similar brand values”.
But there is a dispute process “just in case” which Land says is used “rarely”, and usually for typos.
The platform takes its cut by charging brands, but the fee the blogger sees on screen is the amount they receive.
Naturally, the better-known influencers command a larger fee, and Considerable Influence varies its percentage cut based on the cost of the work, with it going down as the cost increases.
Land says this means travel PR agencies can save cash by working on a campaign by campaign basis rather than paying a monthly subscription to a database of contacts and could potentially save them staff costs as less time would be spent “reaching out” to potentially uninterested people.
He added that 59% of marketing professionals questioned in the in the 2015 EConsultancy report said getting an influencer’s attention and engaging them was an “ongoing challenge”.
Land concludes: “Basically, we’re trying to make it as easy as possible for as many people as we can.”