Interview: James Creech on what it means to be an Influencer

James Creech is an entrepreneur focused on technology and digital media. He is the co-founder & CEO of Paladin, the essential influencer marketing platform for media companies, brands, and agencies.

Prior to Paladin, James served as SVP, Growth of Bent Pixels and VP, Operations at Channel Factory. He is also the creator and host of All Things Video, the first podcast dedicated to uncovering the past and charting the future of the online video industry.

We asked James (as co-founder of influencer marketing platform Paladin) a few questions about influencer marketing. You can find his answers in the interview below. Enjoy!

What does it mean to be an influencer today?

Influencers are people or groups that can impact the opinions or behavior of others. At Paladin, we help companies work with social media influencers, who create content for large online followings on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Twitch. These social media influencers often work with brands to promote products or services to their online audience.

Does being influential mean always the same thing (are there different types of influence)?

There are varying levels of influence, which is typically determined by the quality of relationship an influencer has with his or her audience. The resulting strength of influence may be determined by the influencer’s audience size, perceived authenticity, subject matter expertise, and other factors.

What is the best way to build a solid influence? (an advice for those who want to be an influencer)

The foundation of influence is trust. This trust is built gradually over time by creating original content in an authentic voice that is relevant to the intended audience. There are no shortcuts to building a loyal, enduring fan base.

Aspiring influencers should clearly label their content so it is easy to find, listen to and engage with their community to identify what resonates with their audience, encourage viewers to engage and share their content, and collaborate with like-minded creators to help reach new followers.

What do you think about people who label themselves as an influencer? Is it faux pas or it makes it easier for marketers to find them?

Social media influencers often refer to themselves as creators or use genre or audience specific descriptors, such as vlogger, toy unboxer, or let’s play gamer. The term influencer is more commonly used by talent managers, agencies, and brands to describe their work with social media personalities. As a result, it’s not necessarily a faux pas to characterize oneself as an influencer, but it would be a bit unconventional.

If you can share, what’s your secret sauce in marketing influencer campaign, what it would be?

Successful influencer marketing campaigns start with a thorough understanding of the brand’s objectives and leverage data to inform influencer selection, monitor campaign deliverables, and provide reporting. Our technology helps talent managers, creator networks, and agencies create sales materials to share influencer information with brands during the pitch process to help them make smarter purchasing decisions. The Paladin platform also provides real-time reporting on key metrics to measure and optimize campaign performance.