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The Changing Landscape of Influence

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by Chris Borgione and Megan DeAngelo

In the world that we live in today, blogging is everything. If you are a stay-at-home mom, professional athlete, fashion designer, educator, etc., your second job is to blog about it. Documenting our personal and professional experiences has exploded into an influential and extremely competitive world of its own. One question that continues to present itself is, do any of these bloggers have journalism degrees? The answer is, most of them don’t, but what they do have is a fierce and comprehensive knowledge of everything digital media related. Social media channels are wrapped around their fingers, and their diverse knowledge is an amalgamation of their own passion and social media strategies.

Pockets of influencers are commonplace in today’s digital media takeover of traditional media. Sure, lifestyle magazines like Travel and Leisure and Forbes will always be the pinnacle of trends; but, there’s something that resonates with young people in particular about seeing someone they follow on Instagram embrace a brand or movement.

It’s common now to see publications, like the aforementioned, utilizing influencers; inviting them to events, sending them products, featuring them on their website, anything for the publication to gain the attention of the influencer’s adoring followers. And why wouldn’t they? In a world of dying traditional media, lifestyle magazines must do everything they can to embrace the worlds of influencers, or get left behind.

As a public relations agency, we encounter this all the time. We invite esteemed journalists to frolic around Tuscany alongside young, trendy bloggers. We collaborate with experienced and respected mixologists just as we do with home bartenders with 100K followers on Instagram. We host elite wine tastings with Master Sommeliers and organize exclusive industry events with new wave wine enthusiasts.

We deeply honor and respect the relationships we have built with our food and wine veterans, as they offer a sense of knowledge and experience only an expert can, but does it mean there isn’t room for this new ambitious group of influencers in our industry?

Social media’s progression allows anyone with a smartphone to have a voice. Online people create and recreate themselves all the time right in front of us. They grow businesses, promote bands, sell products and create empires all with the help of camera filters and geotargeted campaigns.

We believe that integrated communication is the most successful way to grow a brand, so it behooves us to change as standards of communication do. Like with anything new, it is going to take time to adjust to how quick and content heavy our worlds have become. What remains important is to respect traditional and embrace the change – one avocado toast post at a time.