Updated with brand new resources, blogs, tools, and marketing influencers: 11/11/2019
You know a marketing discipline has "made it" when it gets inundated with dozens of "this form of marketing is dead" posts. Like those "SEO is dead" posts that we've all been reading for the past 18 years.
So don't take "influencer marketing is dead" as gospel, even though this year has been chock full of those sorts of articles. Treat these doomsday cries as markers of success, because this form of marketing is a $6.5 billion industry now, and it is getting stronger. Which means it's a good idea to have some awesome resources at your fingertips as you look ahead to 2020.
Here are some of this year's best.
Top Blogs In Influencer Marketing for 2020
This blog has a great mix of posts. You'll find the usual run of "how to" posts, but you'll also find a lot more. My favorites are the campaign teardown segments. These posts walk you through actual campaigns, how they were put together, and the results they achieved.
Some posts worth catching:
Some of their content focuses on social media instead, but you can't have influencers without social, so it still fits. A little bit of the content is aimed at influencers themselves, offering them tips and tricks for making it big.
This year Grin.co has put out tons of actionable posts, and they've remained consistent about doing it, which is a big plus.
Some posts worth catching:
This blog is heavily focused on influencer marketing. It's a perfect addition to your reading list if you want a blog that's going to stay firmly in its lane.
In-depth posts and original research make this blog incredibly useful. You'll also get a lot of news which is reported in ways that make it easy for you to get ideas for your own campaigns.
Some posts worth catching:
This blog is especially good for people who are trying to reach the Gen Z and beauty audiences, as Obvious.ly does a lot of work in both arenas.
Viral Nation doesn't just post a bunch of great content. They also go back and update content so it's even better when people find it. You'll find a lot of actionable posts here, as well as coverage on emerging trends and places where influencers are gaining traction.
Just check out these articles:
They don't strictly stick to influencer marketing, but they do stick to organic forms of marketing likely to gain attention from specific audiences.
Sideqik does a good job of identifying problems businesses face. You'll see two types: problems with influencer marketing, and problems influencer marketing can solve. In both cases, you'll see plenty of solutions, too.
Take a look:
New to influencer marketing? Sideqik does feature quite a bit of content aimed squarely at beginners, too.
If you love blogs with lots of interviews, industry-specific posts, how-they-did-it posts and cutting edge news, then this is a blog you won't want to miss.
Check out these posts:
Be aware of one thing if you follow this blog. Traackr is a MarTech tool for influencer marketing that was featured here on Grade.us as one of the top tools of 2018. A few of their posts do run heavy on "and here's how you use Traackr to do this."
Sure, the name's a little on the nose, but the content is good stuff. You'll find all sorts of meaty insights here.
Check out these posts:
You'll also find a smattering of social media and other digital marketing content on this blog.
Here, you'll find well-organized, actionable posts. Influencer Marketing Hub is perfect for the busy digital marketer. They make it easy to click around in posts to get to what you want, and they report on average reading times.
Take some time for:
They make their blog easy to navigate too. Interested in using influencers on a specific social network? Just click the appropriate tag and read your heart out.
Shane Barker talks all things digital marketing on his blog, but he devotes lots of time to influencer marketing. Last year he spoke with us about some of the ways agencies and brands can approach influencer marketing, and he continues to be one of the strongest voices in the sphere.
Honestly though, y'all. Go for the influencer marketing stuff, stay for the rest.
Like Shane Barker's blog, the Convince and Convert blog focuses on all things digital marketing, not just influencer marketing. That doesn't mean you won't find loads of great influencer marketing content though. You can use the "Now Viewing" dropdown to get straight to it.
You will find all sorts of incredible people blogging here, including founder Jay Baer and writer (and tech/B2B influencer) Ann Smarty.
The Best Influencer Marketing Articles of 2019
This list doesn't count anything that is already on one of our top blogs. Instead, it focuses on some of the coolest, most useful, and most insightful one-off articles on influencer marketing published in 2019.
Everything Brands Need to Know About Snapchat Influencer Marketing - Snapchat doesn't get nearly the attention Instagram does, but it's a key platform for reaching out to the Gen Z audience. This actionable article makes making a splash a, uh, snap.
Three Influencer Marketing Problems That Brands Themselves Have Created - The title kind of says it all. You'll have solutions for all three problems by the end of the article.
Choosing an Influencer Marketing Agency or Platform: 5 Questions to Ask - Pinpoint whether to use an agency or platform, then get guidance on finding the one that will do the best job of helping you reach your business goals.
The Psychological Reasons We Can't Resist Influencers - Why this form of marketing continues to work, even in an age of #ad and #sponsored disclosures.
6 Dangers of Influencer Marketing - Everything has the potential to backfire at some point. This article will help you see where your campaign could go wrong, and will offer some solutions for avoiding these concerns.
Influencer Marketing 3.0: How Modern Marketers Are Moving Influencer Programs Into the Mainstream - This special report by Chief Marketer is really four articles wrapped into one. You'll get some insights into what makes good campaigns work, a few fabulous Q&As, and more.
Influencer Marketing for Retail: How to Find Influencers that Fit Your Brand - We tend to think influencer campaigns are for brands, not for the stores that sell things. This article proves this doesn't have to be the case.
Brands Don't Take Our Work Seriously: Confessions of a Travel Influencer - Understanding life from the point of view of an influencer can help you do a better job of building and maintaining profitable relationships. For example, it's important to understand that being an influencer is a business, too.
How to Approach Instagram Influencers the Right Way - This is an infographic more than it is an article, but it offers fantastic advice all the same.
Repurpose Influencer Content: How-to Guide - Repurposing influencer content lets you get the most bang for your buck. Here are some ways to do it effectively.
2020's Top Influence Marketing Thought Leaders
You can't become an expert without listening to experts. So listen to these folks.
Neal Schaffer - Neal continues to serve up incredible content on both his blog and his Twitter feed. Follow him at @NealSchaffer.
Lee Odden - The New Forrester Report named Top Rank Marketing as the only B2B marketing agency with influencer marketing capabilities. Lee Odden is the CEO. If you're a B2B brand or a marketer that serves them you'll want to follow @leeodden today.
Shane Barker - His blog was featured above, of course. What can I say? Shane's unstoppable. Follow him at @shane_barker.
Alice Audley - Founder and CEO of Blogosphere, and host of the Blogosphere: Serious Influence podcast. Check her out at @AliceAudley and get yourself a steady stream of insights.
Brian Fanzo - Brian's all about simplifying the complex, including influencer marketing. He's a frequent keynote speaker. He's also the host of two podcasts: SMAC Talk Live and FOMO Fanz.
Stephen Farrell - Stephen is the Associate Director of Influencer Relations at KetchumPR, and has spoken about all kinds of issues, including the intersection between data privacy and influencer marketing. Follow him at @SJIFarrell.
Scott Guthrie - You'll get no-nonsense thought leadership from Scott Guthrie. He's been featured in numerous publications, and for good reason. Follow him at @sabguthrie.
Amie Caitlin Shearer - Influencer marketing and social media consultant Amie Caitlin talks a lot about making influencer marketing more diverse and inclusive. These are insights worth having. Follow her at @amiecaitlin.
Worth noting that several of the other experts I've covered in past posts could also be considered influence marketing experts, such Jeff Bullas. I just try not to repeat the same people twice in these resource posts. Nevertheless, if you didn't follow them on my other posts, take the opportunity now.
The Best Influencer Marketing Tools for 2020
Finding influencers, keeping track of them, managing payments, launching campaigns, and measuring results can all get complex fast. These tools can all make your life easier.
Sideqik - Sideqik is meant to be an all-in-one solution. It includes a database of 16 million influencer profiles across 10 social networks so you can find people to work with. You can reach out to them and communicate with them on your Sideqik dashboard. It's also got the ability to create and measure campaigns, and integrates with a solid list of MarTech tools.
Activate Social - Activate Social lets you build a customized list of influencers. You can create comprehensive briefs which can bring influencers to you instead of forcing you to search for them. If you're also doing original research content you'll find the custom survey feature delightful.
Influence.co - Influencers come to Influence.co to build portfolios. Businesses can do the same. The result? A streamlined approach to building relationships that doesn't require you to send out (and track) all sorts of emails and direct messages.
Awario - Awario is a powerful social listening tool. It's not strictly an influencer marketing tool. Still, it's a very easy way to find out which influencers are already talking about your brand, meaning the firm foundation for a more authentic and powerful relationship is already in place.
Instagram's Branded Content Ads - A new Instagram feature which makes it easy to repurpose influencer content. Take a creator's organic post, then promote it. It benefits the creator by sending them new followers. It benefits you by allowing you to reach beyond those audiences. You'll still want to talk with creators, as they'll need to tag your business in their feed post or story for you to use this feature.
Upfluence - Returning from our 2018 list. This tool helps you identify influencers, then gives you the power to get their direct contact details quickly. You can send automated bulk emails to a short list of influencers. Just make sure they don't sound too much like robotic templates, or the influencers might not want to work with you.
Hype Auditor - Another tool that's returning from our 2018 list. This one's more relevant than ever: follower fraud has become a big deal as many companies and influencers still set rates based on follower count. Audience quality scores, engagement rates, and other statistics will help you determine whether it's a good idea to invest in any given influencer. Like I said last year...almost a must-have.
Trend - Trend’s influencer marketing platform can help your brand reach any goal through influencer-generated content. Influencer network can help you blow up your ROI and also easily engage your audience with user-generated content. Omni-channel marketing becomes a breeze with influencers that keep delivering fresh, engaging content to your audience. Micro-influencers have better engagement rates than macro-influencers and Trend gives you the tools to tap into this market efficiently.
The Best Influencer Marketing Webinars, eBooks, and Other Resources
Time to take a deeper dive? Start here.
The Content Marketer's Guide to Influencer Marketing - Only 3% of influencers actually produce results. This ebook will tell you how to link up with those guys.
Shane Barker's Influencer Marketing Blueprint - Learn how to find influencers, pitch influencers, and choose the right tools by downloading this blueprint.
How to Write Your First Influencer Marketing Strategy - Ready to hit the ground running? Time to do this thing? Stop long enough to read this, then have at!
What Did We Miss?
Do you have a favorite influencer marketing blog that didn't make the list? Follow a thought leader we didn't include? Have a favorite tool? Let us know in the comments below!