It’s a scenario no marketer wants to encounter: You’re working on a campaign with a group of influencers, and someone goes radio silent — they’ve missed the deadline for publishing their coverage and are unresponsive to emails. It does happen once in a while in influencer marketing, as in all industries and in life, especially if the influencer might be facing an unexpected personal crisis or challenge.

Influencers with a high degree of professionalism and reliability often remain communicative and take the time to alert you about the situation with a quick email, which allows you to plan accordingly. Others get caught up and don’t think about the business implications of their failure to come through for the campaign. Below, we’ve shared a few best practices from our own experience for making plans and taking action around that possibility.

  • Set expectations up front. When you invite an influencer to participate in campaign you’re leading, include clear deadlines for all pieces of content. Be specific; if you’re expecting to see content published by a certain time of day, for example, be sure to lay out those details to avoid confusion.
  • Be prepared. Expect the best, but assume that an issue will come up for at least one influencer on your campaign team, and engage one or two extra participants to account for that scenario. If everyone comes through, you’ll have some bonus blog posts to help improve your brand’s SEO and grow your digital bookshelf. If not, you are covered.
  • Think through Plans B, C and D. Usually it’s possible to stretch the budget or exceed it by just a bit to bring on an extra influencer in case of emergency. But if you’re limited by other factors — the amount of product you have on hand to send to influencers to sample, for instance, or the fact that you can only facilitate influencer-hosted events in a certain number of markets — you might not be able to give yourself a cushion. In that case, think about where you would stand if an influencer did not honor her commitment to your campaign. Could you go out and purchase additional product to send to a backup influencer in her place? Use the budget allotted for the influencer event and engage a larger group to drive additional traffic to your client’s website? Redistribute the stipend to engage a blogger you’re already working with to publish additional content? Thinking through the possibilities and having backup ideas prepared will help you feel more in control and allow you to offer quick, smart solutions to your client or team.
  • Consider expectations around deliverables and deadlines. If your boss or client expects to see coverage from your influencer marketing efforts on a Friday, ask the influencers on your campaign team to publish content by that Wednesday. It will give you a little extra time to follow up with anyone who might not have her post live right on deadline, or who needs to make small edits before you share her work with your client or executive team. Or, if the campaign content is not extremely time-sensitive, offer a blogger who is dealing with a personal issue a few extra days beyond the stated deadline to complete the requirements. That small extension may mean the difference between a blogger who comes through 100% versus not at all.
  • Follow up with reminders, more than once, if needed. As deadlines approach, send quick reminder emails to influencers about the due date for their blog coverage, the event they agreed to attend (whether virtual or on the ground), and anything else they committed to handle. This will help ensure that their assignments on behalf of your brand or client are top of mind at the right time.
  • Know the difference between true emergencies and patterns of behavior. Influencers are independent operators, and everyone reacts differently to given situations. If you’ve worked with someone consistently in the past who was responsive and reliable, and she has a family emergency and misses her deadline (especially if she’s been communicative), it’s worth keeping her on your list for future work. On the other hand, if you notice that an influencer is consistently late, unresponsive and doesn’t always follow through with all campaign requirements, it might be time to move on.
Working with a large number of individuals can always come with unexpected issues, and influencer marketing is no exception. Life happens, but open and clear communication from all parties can help to mitigate issues throughout the campaign process. With the proper planning and preparation, you can remain flexible, be ready for anything and pivot to a solution that will ensure your campaign is still a success.