Why influencer agencies must be more than talent agents

As the industry grapples with how to best deliver influencer content for brand managers, one agency leader argues that PR pros should be essential partners beyond brokering deals.

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“Have your people call my people” is a well-worn phrase finding a voice among a new generation of famous faces: influencers. While traditionally seen representing professional actors, writers, musicians, and athletes, talent agents have begun to pivot to woo today’s digital content creators.

This trend seems to be picking up momentum, but the talent rep model isn’t the right idea for clients or influencers. We know because we tried it ourselves, almost ten years ago.

When we first launched Sway Group, we structured it like a talent agency. We were pioneers in seeing a need for bloggers to be paid what they were worth, and have someone negotiating on their behalf.

However, it wasn’t long before we had to adapt to better suit our clients, our creators—and ourselves. The talent agency model simply isn’t ideal for full-scale production of highly successful influencer marketing campaigns.

A full-service relationship

In the talent agent world, agents focus on negotiating the best rate possible for their client. Once a price is agreed upon, the agent typically steps out of the creative process.

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