Free webinars. Do you get as many offers in your email as I do? The skeptic in me views these free webinars as veiled product pitches. So it was with some hesitation that I attended the VidCon Now “Influencer Marketing for the Right Reasons: Long Term Partnership.” Full disclosure: my company, August United was the sponsor, and our founder Tyler Farnsworth was on the panel.

But so was Arie Luyendyk, former Bachelor, Heidi Bergeron, Director of Brand Marketing at P. F. Chang’s China Bistro, and Paul Desisto, Talent Agent. What could they teach me, especially a Bachelor? Turns out a lot, with no sales pitch in sight (thanks, Tyler)!

Luyendyk has been a successful influencer partner with P.F. Chang’s for a while, so it was nice to hear the benefits of this long-term partnership from him, Bergeron, and Luyendyk’s agent, Desisto. Long story short: the days of “jumping in” on a short-term influencer campaign is so five years ago. Why? Because sought after, authentic influencers, like Luyendyk are increasingly tied up with and want long-term relationships with brands they believe in. And, Millennials and Gen Z can sniff out a short-term campaign like that to-go food you left overnight in your car. Everyone wants authenticity. A true, long-term brand relationship is the secret sauce.

If you would like a written summary of this webinar DM me and I will send it your way. (Sales pitch free!) But for now, here are some highlights from my notes:

  • Heidi Bergeron, P. F. Chang’s – With influencers, the objective is to reach a new audience. Our objective is to get people to return to a 27 year old brand. Email and social doesn’t move the needle as much because we are talking to the same people over and over again.
  • Paul Desisto, Agent – There’s value in a long-term relationship vs. a one-off. Long-term allows better planning and not having to pay top dollar for last minute decisions. Long-term also secures relationships with your brand and protects you from competitors who may want to use the same talent.
  • Heidi – In the past, it was okay for someone to say “go try this.” Now, audiences want to see a real story.
  • Arie Luyendyk, Bachelor – The great thing about a social partnership is that you can quantify it. There’s a passionate audience out there and if you tap into it, it’s hugely powerful. Longer-term relationships give you more reason to get creative and do more fun things for a brand.
  • Paul – There’s value in a long-term relationship vs. a one-off. Long-term allows better planning and not having to pay top dollar for last minute decisions. Long-term also secures relationships with your brand and protects you from competitors who may want to use the same talent.

There’s so much more…but this post is getting a bit long. Happy marketing.