A decade ago, shilling products to your fans may have been seen as selling out. Now it’s a sign of success.
the hardest deal to land is your first, several influencers say; companies want to see your promotional abilities and past campaign work. So many have adopted a new strategy: Fake it until you make it.
Sydney Pugh, a lifestyle influencer in Los Angeles, recently staged a fake ad for a local cafe, purchasing her own mug of coffee, photographing it, and adding a promotional caption carefully written in that particular style of ad speak anyone who spends a lot of time on Instagram will recognize.
When a local amusement park paid several bloggers to attend the venue and post about their experience there, Joshi, a fashion and lifestyle influencer, went on her own dime and posted promotional posts as if she were part of the bigger influencer campaign.
A few years back, when the "influencer" cult was really just getting started (with e.g. the recently defunct Klout), I had a little bit of fun and scored some free products for review, sponsored blog posts, etc.
I never considered pretending that stuff was sponsored/compensated when it wasn't, though. In fact, I went out of my way to make it clear whether or not that was the case (and I still do vis a vis affiliate links and so forth).
I'm obviously not an "influencer" on the scale of a well-known athlete, model, or whatever, but I do hope I exert a certain amount of benevolent influence on those who bother to check out what I'm up to.
Maybe I ought to start promoting (and thanking) "sponsors" who've never heard of me?