Influencers are all the hype nowadays, with both communicators and marketers jumping to uncover the perfect social media campaign or engage outlets that receive the most impressions online. Yet, time and time again, one very powerful type of influencer is often omitted from even the most robust of engagement plans. 

The Power of Third Party Influencers

When it comes to traditional media strategy, communicators typically focus on the influencers that they need to have relationships with in order to get coverage. Those journalists and authors in turn have relationships with subject matter experts that they frequently contact for comments. These are third-party influencers that can hold great sway in an industry or significantly increase the social sharing of articles when they are quoted or mentioned.

Third-party influencers such as academics, political organizations, regulatory groups, industry experts and NGO’s have significant clout in their fields and is an important step of setting your PR strategy, particularly in highly regulated industries. Other major benefits of these types of influencers is that they:

  • Often have serious audience reach
  • Can bolster trust in your organization’s values if they align
  • Frequently in the news
  • High levels of credibility and expertise
  • Carry a sense of objectivity

While getting a brand mention from third-party influencers is rare, developing relationships with subject matter experts will enable you to educate them about your brand stance and key messages. Depending on your industry, you may already have a clear picture of the key third party influencers and are actively engaging with them. In other cases, you may need to do some research to find them.

Uncover and Engage Third-Party Influencers “Hidden” in the Context of Your Coverage 

So, if these types of influencers are so valuable, why do they continue to fly under the radar of many communicators? Because they have been traditionally difficult to uncover.

It is relatively easy to find information about authors and outlets through a myriad of databases. But gleaning a clear understanding about the people and topics they write about is a different and time-consuming task.  Finding relevant articles to analyze is the most important step as the more niche an industry, the more difficult trending topics are to categorize using a word or string of words. Here is where Human-assisted AI is essential – this approach helps to quickly cull through the influx of content published around various topics and isolate the most important coverage and find those third-parties quoted in it.

Once you have the right data you can start to identify trends and figure out which SME are the most powerful. This is where you answer questions like “do articles that contain particular quotes or view points from political pundits or grassroots organizations get shared on social media more than those who contain an academic?”, “Do some experts tend to be featured in high powered outlets more than others on specific niche topics?”, etc.

Finally, you can start to engage the third-party media influencers that you deem the most impactful to your strategies. And, over time, you can measure these engagement tactics and see if they are helping you improve your brand position.

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