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Content Creator vs. Influencer: It’s All About Authenticity

Change Your Mindset, Change Your Influencer Marketing Outcomes

There’s a reason that we at BENlabs say content creators and not just influencers.

An influencer is defined as a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending stuff on social media. Selling stuff, in other words.

Ignoring religious definitions (please), a creator is defined as a person that creates, usually by bringing something new or original into being. Making stuff, in other words.

That’s kind of the whole argument right there.

We believe that creators are more than the influence they hold, and we know that seeing creators as partners as opposed to a commodity is key to authenticity in influence marketing, and authenticity is key to influence marketing success.

While direct sales are just one potential goal for a content creator influence campaign, influence marketing comes down to how well the content creators’ efforts perform against the brand marketer’s KPIs, and selling stuff is ultimately what all those KPIs boil down to. 

The problem with the term “influencer” is that it risks distilling everything down to just selling stuff.

So while content creators have influence, to lump them all together as mere “influencers” ignores the value they can bring as creative partners.

In Defense of Selling Stuff

There’s nothing wrong with selling stuff… or if there is, all our case studies that show how BENlabs AI and BENlabs team help connect content creators and brands to do just that suggest we don’t want to be right.

But by changing our mindset from influencers to content creators, we change our approach. Instead of thinking about selling stuff as the end goal (short term, extractive), we think about how content creators can help us connect with people (long term, additive) to build brand affinity, and to demonstrate how our product or service can solve a problem, whatever that problem may be.

For Example

Turo needed to build the kind of “sticky awareness” that would change vehicle rental behavior down the road, when someone was getting ready to rent a vehicle. That’s where BENlabs came in to create authentic content creator influence moments.

Turo’s content creator influencer campaign, led by BENlabs and its AI tools, saw a 305% awareness lift with 46% of exposed audiences considering Turo for their next rental, and 39% brand recall four weeks after exposure. The campaign “stole” 44 points of awareness from vehicle rental industry leaders (a key KPI) with 37% awareness stolen from the category leader.

Authenticity is Key

Thinking about content creators as creative partners and trusting them to incorporate brand messages into their content in a way that feels authentic, we see results in every KPI that matters. We raise brand awareness and affinity and build trust with the target audience via their favorite content creators. And yes, we sell more stuff.  

The trick is to find creators whose content and audience is a perfect brand match. 

At BENlabs, our Smart Creator Matching, Audience Intelligence, and other AI tools make this easy. With the BENlabs Creator Community of over 13 million content creators, our AI goes way beyond broad subject matter and follower counts. It’s more like a dating matchmaker algorithm that pairs brands and creators based on shared values to make brand messages a credible and additive part of the content.

Creators Empower the Creative Process

By thinking of content creators in one dimension, as influencers, marketers don’t just risk losing a valuable creative partner, they can compromise the creator’s authenticity, which benefits no one.

Creators work hard to make content and build an audience, and to turn that audience into a community.

As a result, content creators become the most influential voices in these communities. As marketers, we can tap into this influence, to find alignment with content creators and to make our brands, products, and services a part of the conversation in that community.

If we, as brands, think of content creators as mere influencers, the relationship becomes purely transactional. We’re telling creators exactly where to stand, what to say, and how to say it… and that’s the opposite of authentic. There’s no need to get philosophical here; the data is clear and inauthenticity kills influence

By thinking of influencers as content creators first, we can invite them into a collaborative creative process and get real buy-in. Instead of telling them what to say, we can invite them to tell us how they think our brand messages would be best presented to their audience for maximum impact. 

After all, creators make the content that builds the community a brand is trying to reach with their message. Who better to help ensure that message lands well with the community than the creators who helped build it?

Connect With Creators

BENlabs AI helps brands connect with the best content creators to reach their target audience. With AI creator matching and AI audience intelligence, marketers take the guesswork out of authentic influence marketing. 

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