The Public Relations BlogDigital PRInfluencers & AudiencesMagic Middle: The Nash Equilibrium of Influencer Outreach

Magic Middle: The Nash Equilibrium of Influencer Outreach

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Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

Influencers in the magic middle are way underrated.

There you are, final­ising your influ­en­cer map­ping, only to hear your col­leagues’ voices echo­ing in the back of your head, “Oh, wouldn’t it be awe­some if we could get [insert mega-pop­u­lar A‑list influ­en­cer here] to cov­er our new line of products?”

Yeah, totally,” every­one agrees. And your boss says, “Yeah, we should make that happen!”

We, as in you, that is. 

And now you’re strug­gling with get­ting an A‑list influ­en­cer to cov­er your brand. 

Maybe there’s anoth­er way to go about this? 

If so, it could save you from the humi­li­ation of pitch­ing even when you know before­hand that it won’t work.

The Nash Equilibrium of Influencer Outreach

Some of you might have seen the movie A Beautiful Mind (2001), star­ring Russell Crowe. In that movie, if you saw it, you might remem­ber this scene (starts at 1:20):

Everyone’s wrong, and that can be a good thing for you.

Regarding influ­en­cer mar­ket­ing, every­one loves to go for the hot­test names with the most sig­ni­fic­ant fol­low­ings — “the pret­ti­est blonde in the room.” But, of course, this viol­ates the Nash Equilibrium by not tak­ing into account the actions of others. 

Big-name influ­en­cers are cour­ted by tons of oth­er brands at any giv­en moment.

And from there, it trickles down. 

Let’s talk about the “Magic Middle”. What does it mean?

Influencers in the Magic Middle

David Sifry, the founder of Technorati, coined the term “Magic Middle” for blog­gers with 20−1,000 act­ive inbound links. 

The term was made fam­ous mainly by Brian Solis, who dis­cussed magic middle influ­en­cers in Putting The Public Back Into Public Relations.

These magic middle influ­en­cers carry much more influ­ence than one might think; many top influ­en­cers are today pro­fes­sion­als, mean­ing they can make a liv­ing off their digit­al impact. The same can not be said for the magic middle influencers.

So why do magic middle influ­en­cers keep push­ing through? 

The answer is pas­sion and ambi­tion.

And that counts for some­thing. Now, their influ­ence might be nar­row. Especially com­pared to the A‑listers and their massive online entourage. 

But how many influ­en­tial brand ambas­sad­ors does it take for your com­pany to do sig­ni­fic­antly better?

An Online Army of Tastemakers

Referral traffic volume often has very little to do with con­ver­sion rates.

Traffic from magic middle influ­en­cers usu­ally con­verts bet­ter; their com­munity trusts them, and when they send traffic your way, they do it out of pas­sion and not for acclaim. 

Such influ­en­cers tend to be pas­sion­ate about their niche sub­jects, shar­ing and learn­ing from each oth­er in a circle based on trust and dia­logue; they are the taste­m­akers of mod­ern-day society.

It’s said that one in ten people tells the oth­er nine how to vote, where to eat and what to buy.

Leveraging the Trickle-Up Effect

Getting top influ­en­cer pub­li­city isn’t by any means impossible: 

Lots of times, it makes com­plete sense to go big.

However, unless you also pay ‘big’, you can’t expect the most prom­in­ent names to stay loy­al to your brand over time. 

But if your com­pany appre­ci­ated and acknow­ledged a magic middle influ­en­cer, you might earn a long-last­ing and mutu­ally bene­fi­cial relationship.

And who knows, with your help, they might make it into the big leagues them­selves — and your emails will be among the few that reach them.

Signature - Jerry Silfwer - Doctor Spin

Thanks for read­ing. Please con­sider shar­ing my pub­lic rela­tions blog with oth­er com­mu­nic­a­tion and mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als. If you have ques­tions (or want to retain my PR ser­vices), please con­tact me at jerry@​spinfactory.​com.

PR Resource: Different Types of Influencer Marketing

Spin Academy | Online PR Courses

Influencer Marketing vs Influencer Relations

There are two main types of influ­en­cer mar­ket­ing and two main types of influ­en­cer relations:

Influencer Marketing

Influencer advert­ising = the influ­en­cer will pub­lish the brand’s pre-made con­tent in their channels.

Influencer spon­sor­ship = the influ­en­cer will read a script to con­vey an offer­ing fol­low­ing the brand’s instructions.

Influencer Relations

Influencer col­lab­or­a­tion = the influ­en­cer show­cases the brand’s offer­ing by cre­at­ing con­tent sim­il­ar to the influ­en­cer­’s reg­u­lar content.

Influencer out­reach = the influ­en­cer receives invit­a­tions, demos, or exclus­ive mater­i­al without strings attached.

Advertising and spon­sor­ships are what we typ­ic­ally refer to as influ­en­cer mar­ket­ing. Collaborations and out­reach are typ­ic­ally referred to as influ­en­cer rela­tions.

Organisations look­ing to util­ise the poten­tial reach of rel­ev­ant influ­en­cers will be wise to pay atten­tion to these dis­tinc­tions. 1Silfwer, J. (2020, January 15). The Influencers in Public Relations. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​i​n​f​l​u​e​n​c​e​r​s​-​i​n​-​p​u​b​l​i​c​-​r​e​l​a​t​i​o​ns/

Learn more: Influencer Relations Is Not Influencer Marketing

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1 Silfwer, J. (2020, January 15). The Influencers in Public Relations. Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​i​n​f​l​u​e​n​c​e​r​s​-​i​n​-​p​u​b​l​i​c​-​r​e​l​a​t​i​o​ns/
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at Spin Factory and KIX Communication Index. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Cover Photo

The cover photo isn't related to public relations; it's just a photo of mine. Think of it as a 'decorative diversion', a subtle reminder that there is more to life than strategic communication.

The cover photo has


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