Nicole Balistreri
Public Relations, Social PR Secrets

102: Nicole Balistreri: All You Need to Know About Influencer Marketing for PR

What exactly is influencer marketing? How have influencers evolved over the past ten years? As an agency owner, how can you start working with influencers? In this episode, Nicole Balistreri, Social Media Manager at USCCA, shares her experience with influencers.

In this new episode of the Social PR Podcast, host Lisa Buyer talks about all things influencers with Nicole Balistreri, a PR, and social media expert. Nicole currently works at USCCA as a social manager, a position that fuels her passion and dedication to social media and digital marketing. Listen to understand what influencer marketing really is about!

2010 vs. 2020

Ten years ago, influencers mostly meant bloggers. They were experts in their areas who put out long-form content. Influencer marketing was all about blogger outreach and blogger relations. In a sense, it was much closer to traditional PR. However, as Nicole explains, the maturation of social channels brought about different influencer groups. Whether they be moms, into fashion, business, tech, these groups self-formed. And the most successful of these experts became more influential. Some, like Pete Cashmore, CEO of Mashable, even grew into established media outlets.

A few years ago, modern influencer marketing really started to take shape. Brand deals became the norm, and influencers started replacing traditional media figures in the PR world. This all brings us to today. Nowadays, there are hundreds of thousands of micro-influencers. Some still write bylines, but others who have never written articles are still considered an authority in their space because of their social media presence. 

Influencers for PR

Why should an agency owner use influencers as part of their PR strategy? According to Nicole, as a business owner, you want to be seen as a thought leader in your space. Influencers can help you achieve that. Additionally, you can also become an influencer yourself. A good way of doing that is writing a book, for example. Nicole’s main tip is, “just get started.” Try to start with content creation; even if it’s not perfect, it’s the only way you’ll build a case for yourself as the influencer.

According to Nicole Balistreri, the best way to find influencers in your area is through a two-step process. First, understand what your goal is. What are you looking for out of a relationship with an influencer? Second, find things you can provide the influencer that they can cover. For example, throw an event and invite key influencers from the local area. Or share a book you wrote with them. Influencer outreach is a mix of PR pitching and creating content for them to talk about.  

Start Your Influencer Strategy Today

Nicole explains that no tool will allow your influencer marketing strategy to work immediately. Most social media tools will help you track influencers, but none of them are truly made to work with influencers. Thus, you should go old fashion about it and really get out there looking for the content. In terms of engagement rate, Nicole Balistreri recommends you ask your influencers to communicate their metrics with you so you can compare your standard engagement rate with theirs.

Here are Nicole’s three tips on how you can start your influencer strategy today:

  1. Sit down and figure out what your goals are.
  2. Identify the people who are creating the content that will make you reach these goals. Make a list, trying to find the people who are creating the content you want to be a part of.
  3. Make and create opportunities or things you can give influencers, so they want to talk about you.


“Look for the influencers accessing the right audience, not the best engagement rate.” – Nicole Balistreri.

Some topics discussed in this episode include:

  • Influencers
  • Engagement rate
  • Marketing
  • Bloggers
  • Content creation 
  • Social media tools

Contact Nicole Balistreri: 

References and Links Mentioned



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