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Ways to incentivize influencers to lead video courses & provide thought-leadership content?

I'm the founder of an online resource for startup companies and entrepreneurs. Other than financial compensation, what is a good way to incentivize influencers to participate in thought-leadership videos and video courses? I want to make sure that I'm providing value to the influencer upfront and in a way that is compelling enough for them to partner with me on content. I would love to hear from other people who have had success with similar initiatives!

6 Replies

Sam McAfee
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Sam McAfee Advisor
Building Popup Incubators for Corporate Innovation Programs
Well, since no-one jumped in, I'll tell you what I can. I was involved in building an "online resource for startup companies and entrepreneurs"in 2013. It did not ultimately succeed but we learned a lot. The biggest pain point that we had was in developing enough content fast enough to keep retention from dropping. So, imagine people sign up for the service because they like the menu of resources. But they will exhaust those resources quickly, so you have to constantly push new content. That means you need a seriously well-oiled process to find, entice, and on-board new content authors, and it has to be incredibly simple to technically produce and upload the resources. I know you asked about incentives, so I can just say that we assumed that revenue share and promotion for their expertise would be enough for our content providers. And it was to get many to agree to do it. However, it wasn't really enough to move the system along. They are busy people, these experts, so there has to be someone riding them and making sure they get their content in. And I think that's where we ultimately broke down.
Renee Teeley
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Renee Teeley Entrepreneur
Founder & Chief Marketing Officer @ Startup Studios: Looking for Guest Bloggers & Marketing Partners

I really appreciate your candid insight into this. Right now, I'm taking a rev share and promotion approach, but I feel like I need to determine other ways to add value. While I believe there is a big opportunity, I also think the online content business is not easy, so I'm trying to look at a number of different strategies including fee-based courses, annual membership, sponsored content, and even various different mediums.

At the company you were involved with, was it video-based and did you charge a subscription fee or use another model?

Thanks again!

Darrel Raynor
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Darrel Raynor Advisor
Project & Ops Turnarounds, Interim CIO/COO, improve performance of dept or teams. Speaker, Trainer, Consultant, Staffing
Hi Renee et al,
I can only tell you what drives me as an expert, to contribute other than shared revenue. Cross promotion that persists. Reciprocal links, social media postings with our URL, and gushing praise on their site :)
Sam McAfee
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Sam McAfee Advisor
Building Popup Incubators for Corporate Innovation Programs
Renee, we were video only, and yes, it was based on a subscription model. There were probably other ways we could have approached it, but that was the MVP. The vids were really just slides with voiceover, which I thought was actually quite clever, as in high impact low effort (even still, getting the script and timing right is hard. I did one, and it took me ages to finish it). Darrel is probably right, too. None of the authors seemed to believe they'd ever make any revenue from it. It was more about yet another platform for exposure.
Rachel Kjack
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Rachel Kjack Advisor
Learning & Development Expert / Speaker / Trainer / Elearning / Organizational Culture Hacker
As someone who has been on both sides of this equation, it ultimately comes down to paying them. Everyone tells SME's that they'll get promotion and exposure.....so if they're worth their salt, they'll see this as just talk. If it materializes into something through your startup's promotion, that's just icing on the cake. If you want to get truly quality content, you need to pay them outright. Otherwise, you're mostly only getting a half effort.
Renee Teeley
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Renee Teeley Entrepreneur
Founder & Chief Marketing Officer @ Startup Studios: Looking for Guest Bloggers & Marketing Partners
Thank you for all the feedback! It sounds like my current model of revenue share + promotion is a good method and I'll continue to explore additional opportunities to provide value to influencers.
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