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Influencer marketing: Top five terms you, as an influencer, need to know

Assuming you're growing an active, engaged following as an influencer, chances are that at some point you'll catch the attention of brands hoping to reach new customers through your channels. Working with those companies requires more than just throwing up a post and receiving a check; first, you have to negotiate the work that will be done. In order for that to be a productive conversation on both sides, make sure to familiarize yourself with these five terms.

Disclosure: If your post refers to a product or service that you were sent for free, or that a company has paid you to mention, you have to make that clear in the post or risk a slap on the wrist from the FTC. The FTC has even said that common disclosures, such as #sp (short for “sponsored” or “sponsored post”), or more informal language, such as “Thanks [brand] for your support” aren’t enough to tip off your readers. They’re looking for something more concrete: “I was given X product by Y company,” for example.

Media kit vs. rate card: As your audience grows, a brand could ask you for one or both of these tools. Think of a media kit as a boiled down representation of your brand. It can include your bio, an introduction to your blog or social network, a quick overview of your audience size and demographics, and information on how to get in touch. And don’t forget about the design. The best media kits closely follow the aesthetics you’ve already established. The rate card is a bit more basic. You can simply list your number of followers on each platform, along with the base price you charge for a post.

Do follow vs. no follow: A website’s SEO ranking is determined in part by the links that point back to it. A link to another site from a high-quality source—say your blog—is a signal to Google that the site you’re linking to is a good site and should appear higher in search. If your link is tagged for “nofollow,” the referral won’t register with Google and the site’s SEO won’t be impacted.

Reach vs. engagement: A brand will evaluate both your reach and your engagement levels as they decide whether or not they want to work with you. Reach is the size of your audience—the total number of people that see your posts. Engagement is a measure of how much those people interact with your posts, whether that’s by liking, commenting, tweeting or retweeting, etc. A big reach with a relatively small engagement rate is a big turn-off for brands, and one reason why it’s important to build an enthusiastic audience.

Public relations (PR) vs marketing: The main difference between PR and marketing is the end goal that each is trying to achieve. PR is about bolstering an overall brand’s image, often via favorable coverage in the media. Marketing is more closely tied to sales and advertising, with the main goal of promoting a specific product.

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