Can you achieve influence marketing traction, then success without having to pay influencers? We’ve asked that question several times on this show and it’s a bit of a controversial one.

One perspective is you might be able to, but you shouldn’t. You are, after all, getting not just access to someone’s audience, but also their talent in creating content, plus the content you can then negotiate to use. All three of those elements are worth money you would  have to invest otherwise to get the same output. So why disrespect the creator by asking them to post for just product.

But then there are creators, mostly micro- and nano-influencers, who might be happy to just receive free product in exchange for a post. Those just starting out want to appear to be successful and big enough to warrant brands approaching them. Plus, they can also use the product-only content to prove their audience is responsive or content is successful enough to convert customers. That leads to them making more real dollar collaborations down the road.

The answer to most question in the marketing world applies here. Can you gain traction or be successful with influencer marketing without paying the influencers? It depends. 

One person who can illustrate how to do it successfully is Taylor Lagace. He’s one of the co-founders of a company and application called Kynship. They are focused on  product seeding to drive organic influencer placements. That’s right! Seed product with influencers, no payments on top of that, and they post everything from unboxing videos to honest reviews and endorsements of your brand.

If you’re a regular listener to this show or an influencer/creator advocate, that approach on the surface is probably going to irritate you. My stance has always been that you’re asking for an influencer’s time, creative talents and access to their audience. You should pay them. 

But give Taylor and Kynship’s philosophy here a listen. They simply ask content creators if they’d be interested in receiving the product. For those that say “yes” they ship them the product. And that’s all they ask for … their approach is no strings attached. There’s no requirement for the recipient to post anything. They only do so if they wish to do so.

And the results Kynship’s customers are seeing are quite impressive.

I tried to shoot some holes in the philosophy with our conversation, but quickly realized Taylor and his team have emerged as the reason “it depends” is often the answer to marketing questions. Paying influencers to post isn’t a black or white issue. I think when you hear what he has to say, you’ll agree.

I also think for you brand or agency folks out there listening, you’ll very quickly lose your skepticism that just sending product out without asking for something in return is a bad idea. 

For those interested in the tech stack and tools Taylor talked about on the episode, here’s a list:

This episode of Winfluence – The Influence Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Tagger. It is the influence marketing software I’m using Cornett. They sponsor the show and provide us with their fantastic software to use.

Tagger - Influencer Marketing Software

In today’s episode, Meredith Jacobson from We Are Boosters talks more about her confidence in the creators and influencers Tagger’s discovery tool recommends. Give the episode a listen and see how Tagger helps her consultancy get to the right list of the right influencers.

Learn more about the software at Tagger is the new influencer marketing campaign software of choice for me. I hope it will be for you, too.

The Winfluence theme music is “One More ook” featuring Jacquire King and Stephan Sharp by The K Club found on Facebook Sound Collection.

Winfluence - Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand

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Winfluence – Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand is available now in paperback, Kindle/eBook and audio book formats. Get it in the medium of your choice on Amazon or get a special discount on the paperback version of the book by clicking the button below, buying on the Entrepreneur Press bookstore and using the discount code FALLS20. That earns you 20% off the retail price. Read and learn why we’ve been backed into a corner to think influencer marketing means Instagram and YouTube and how reframing it to be “influence” marketing makes us smarter marketers.

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