Marketers, who work for brands that are keen to conduct KOL campaigns, usually approach an agency for a quote and a suggested list of KOLs. When an agency provides this list, it’s a gamble. If it fits with what the client wants, then, it’s a bingo! To be honest, I am slightly hesitant about entrusting KOLs to take their own feature photo of the brand’s products. An advertising senior once commented that a certain game console brand had managed to do a good job in executing a KOL campaign. Such a comment attracted some ridicule from around the room and prompted further discussion. If you are a well-known brand with a valuable product that has not yet been launched in the market, you could send your product to many celebrities in exchange for a decent amount of exposure with minimal effort on your part. The question is, are other brands able to do the same and achieve the same amount of success?
With brands that approach us for KOL Campaigns, I would first discuss the brand’s intended messaging and strategy before suggesting a suitable KOL. I would even venture to talk about the ideal KOL candidate when it comes down to the details of implementation. I don’t believe that a product is guaranteed to sell well simply because a certain KOL is engaged in the process. Although there are certainly successful case studies in China, I believe it is critical for the brand’s messaging to be properly conveyed through the entire KOL marketing campaign. It is something that should not be ignored, given the tendency to simply focus on sales volume.
If we look at it from a different perspective, as social media platforms develop in multiple dimensions, high-quality content from KOLs becomes even more valuable. Besides being a Blogger, YouTuber, or showcasing one’s beauty on IG, someone who writes well can also earn a lot from Patreon. If you don’t want to be captured on camera, there is also hope with the rise of audio marketing. The Clubhouse app has grown in popularity. Twitter built its own Spaces. Facebook’s Hotline has also followed suit. With more opportunities available, KOLs have to make their content more in-depth or interesting. This is an important point, and it’s something that I – as someone who has to occasionally make speeches – have to constantly remind myself of.
I recently read a content marketing article on 5 actions that begin with ‘Ex’. With minor tweaks, these 5 verbs can also apply to how KOLs can develop good content:
- Examine: Examine the audience and who your readers are. Understand their preferences by researching what websites they spend much time on and what they search for.
- Explain: Explain your content in simple words that even a 5-year-old can understand.
- Engage: The content, layout, and topic should resonate with your audience Incorporate a call to action on what their next step should be.
- Engineer: Conceptualize a logical and appealing content flow.
- Earn: Earn the trust of your audience.
It seems simple, but with constant self-examination on how to better execute a campaign, coupled with solid themes and delivery, the KOL industry can become one to be reckoned with.