ONN – Why Most Media Types Have Sponsored Content, Influencers, And Disclosure All Wrong
There’s a really wrong-headed assumption that a number of media companies large and small have involving what are called “influencers” and the indivduals, groups, and companies that hire them: that the client hires the content creators simply to say what they tell them to say.
This assumption got legs after the whole Fyre Festival matter, where a giant music and food festival produced by Billy McFarland, CEO of Fyre Media Inc, and rapper Ja Rule, and that was supposed to be held in the Bahamas, used supermodels as what the media identified as “influencers”. By the raw definition of “influencer” as “a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media,” they really weren’t that at all, just great-looking women hired to get you to watch the video.
Still, the entire matter gave influencers a bad name for about a day. The use of the Internet and social media is so wide-spread that, today, anyone can be an influencer, and at any time. In the process of evalulating when a person becomes an influencer, as well as forming the approach that my startup Zennie62Media is using, I’ve noticed one constant that also applies to me: true influencers don’t get hired to say lines. They’re secured because of their followers, reach, and engagement with their audience, as well as the most important consideration of all: their love for the company, product, or service.
In other words, a great influencer has zero problem telling you who they’re pitching for because they are advocates for them, and want you to know it. The very idea that an influencer needs to hide that they’re paid to pitch is insulting, because the very consideration ignores the often very large base of followers and platforms that person has.
What’s lost in the swamp of words when traditional media types write about what influencers do is the technical aspects of the job; it never occurs to the traditional journalist that a blogger and – or vlogger has a range of skills far beyond talking and writing, and that move into the basic world of tech employment.
That’s right: tech employment. If you know how to build a website, a blog theme, cleanup your database, write no-follow-links, write do-follow-links, and more things of a technical platform building and maintaining nature, then welcome to the world inhabited by a merry band of misfits like me.
We chose the clients we want, we go after the people we want to represent. And we reward those who work with us, and give us the freedom to create, with approaches that are as innovative as they are effective. Infographics in a video, that’s then distributed withing a network we built? Linking together of YouTube channels to create what are now called “multi-channel networks?” That’s what influencers do, and it’s far beyond the bounds of traditonal media. And the gap is growing.
So, keep this in mind: many who follow influencers know they get paid because the influencer tells them. What their fans are really interested in, aside from where to get a good pizza burger, is how they do what they do.
So, they imitate that influencers and what do you know? A new generation of influencers is created.
Take note traditional media: influencers are changing your world to their world.
PS: Someone tried to leave a nasty comment that I did not approve. The simple reason is that the common social habit of today, and an evil one, is to for the commenter to assume they know something rather than ask a question, and then to write a paragraph that is deliberately contentious.
In this case, I elected to use a dash rather than a slash, and that’s deliberate: it’s because search engines don’t always place content with a dash where it should be in search results – dashes, not an issue.
In other words, I was doing what I tell others to do: write a computer program to activate one. The person who wrote the comment assumed they were correct, and I was wrong, without even trying to find out why I did what I did.
And we wonder why traditional media is failing.
Note from Oakland News Now Technical: this video-blog post shows the full and live operation of the latest updated version of an experimental Zennie62Media mobile media video-blogging system network that was launched June 2018. This is a major part of Zennie62Media’s new and innovative approach to the production of news media. The uploaded video is from a vlogger with the Zennie62 on YouTube Partner Channel, then uploaded to and formatted automatically at the Oakland News Now site and Zennie62-owned social media pages. The overall objective is smartphone-enabled, real-time, on the scene reporting of news, interviews, observations, and happenings anywhere in the World and within seconds and not hours. Now, news is reported with a smartphone: no heavy and expensive cameras or even a laptop are necessary. The secondary objective is faster, and very inexpensive media production and distribution. We have found there is a disconnect between post length and time to product and revenue generated. With this, the problem is far less, though by no means solved. Zennie62Media is constantly working to improve the system network coding and seeks interested content and media technology partners.
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media