For brands, one big challenge is to engage, interest, and encourage prospects to become paying customers. They hire influencers from influencer platforms to get this done, though this is mostly contract-based. However, this is a continuous process for which many brands have an in-house team to create and publish engaging content.
Though this is pretty much the standard practice across industries, brands know that User Generated Content (UGC) coming from influencers and customers has a far greater impact on potential leads than content created in-house.
Here is where content co-creation comes into play. Here, brands and influencers tie up to create engaging content from a whole new perspective. For example, an influencer can go behind the scenes and show how a product is manufactured, or he could interview the brand’s top brass. This gives influencers more creative participation and helps the customers know the brand better.
Benefits of content co-creation
Authenticity- No one can speak more authentically than the influencer. His followers follow him for this very reason. When brands generate and publish content independently, it is not taken that seriously as people may think it is another way to market their products. In fact, this is the very reason why paid advertising in print media, TV and radio do not work- people are so used to advertisements that they tend to subconsciously ignore them. This is sometimes called ‘advertisement bias’.
Creativity- Influencers know how to interest their audience. When you give them the liberty to co-create content, they can present your products uniquely and interestingly. The creativity present by the influencer is the biggest asset in content co-creation.
A new perspective- Everyone knows what kind of features you can expect from a product. They can spot one product’s advantages against the other. Co-created content can help brands show the product in a completely different perspective- for example, influencers can make a video on how the product is manufactured or how to use the product in a new way that most people would not know about.
Perceived benefits- Brands usually highlight the benefits of the product, while influencers demonstrate it. When brands collaborate with influencers to demonstrate the product, this shows the brand is approachable and authentic. The influencer’s unique presentation style highlighting the product’s benefits can be more effective than the same message from brand-generated content.
How content co-creation is changing in 2021
Though content co-creation isn’t a new concept, brands are going to new lengths to reach out to customers. They have rewritten the whole concept of content co-creation.
Deeper content co-creation
Just hiring a niche influencer for promoting a single product within a specific time frame is now passé. Brands know that if the content creator has a highly engaged following, hiring him for a short stint can result in losing him to his competitors. Brands are now drafting long-term influencer contracts which include co-creating content and repurposing the content for further use. Brands now want their influencers to-
- Attend exclusive events
- Become long-term brand ambassadors
- Co-host events and even co-produce products
- Design, develop and produce content for websites, ads, email campaigns, and much more.
Co-creation with customers, industry experts, and more
Brands have realized that each influencer has his influence within a niche. This means brands are now co-creating content with professionals in their sphere of influence. Gone are the days where content co-creation was done only with celebrities. When an expert is brought into the picture, his views are seen as genuine and trustworthy.
Better rewards for co-creation
Brands are now showing flexibility in compensation. The influencer isn’t just the face of the business, he has a specific role to play. Businesses are now giving influencer’s a part-time or even full-time role in the business. For example, many airline brands have hired influencers as ‘chief relationship officers’ whose main role is to give a behind-the-scenes look into the working of the airline and what people can expect when flying with the airline.
Some brands are going a step further. They are giving their influencers a share in the business. This gives the influencer the responsibility to increase sales and brand awareness while also giving the brand a great source of engaging and informative content that can be repurposed as and when needed.
Summing it up
Brands of all hues understand the value and sales figures they can get from an influencer marketing campaign. They know that finding and retaining the influencer is a challenge. For sustaining a consistent number of conversions, brands need to create content regularly. Co-creating content with influencers helps solve these challenges. Brands in 2021 now prefer to hire influencers for the long-term, some are even offering them a part-time role in the company with special perks for consistent content generation. The days of paid offline advertising are now gone.