Blogosphere magazine (see posts passim) is trying something both interesting and brave: it's running a Kickstarter campaign to build an influencer marketing platform. I noted recently that it's evolved from being a magazine for — principally — lifestyle bloggers to one for influencers, and aspiring influencers. It's not a massive shift, just a reflection of the fact that people in that world use blogging as one component of a wider strategy.
And now they want to build a platform to address trust issues on both sides:
Now, the magazine has already edged into monetising this relationship in two ways:
- Events - where bloggers/influencers and brands can meet, including an awards event
- The Blogosphere Network - their first pass on acting as an intermediary between influencers and brands.
However, there are some challenges ahead of them. I suspect that some people in the influencer marketing world are ill-disposed to add more transparency to the process. An industry that doesn't pay to much attention to outcomes is an easier one for both agencies and influencers — although clearly that is beginning to change.
Also, the perks structure of the Kickstarter is a problem. I'm not sure they're really delivering the value that cost of each tier demands. At only 5% funding a week in, that've got a mountain to climb, and they'll probably only do so by either getting some serious industry agency buy in, or figuring out a low level reward tier that can make a LOT of wannabe influencers contribute smaller sums.
However, I don't want to be too negative about this move. Alice Audley and her team have shown an agility in their business that is lacking in too many magazines. They've actively looked for where they can add value to commercial relationships, and explored ways of taking revenue from that, while still making the print product the central hub of their community building.
A lot of more established magazines could learn from this.