About Kristian Sturt
Kristian Sturt is the Director of Influencer Marketing at Colossal Influence, a leading influence and talent management agency offering many services, including influencer outreach, influencer strategy, and brand deal negotiation. They were officially founded in 2016, although their first brand deal was in 2012.
In 2012, Kristian was a football journalist and content writer with a significant Twitter audience.
“I was working with a lot of people who were quite a lot younger than me at the time and brands who didn’t know how to get the best out of the influencers they were working with. It was an extremely new field, and so there was a mismatch on both sides.”
@kristian_sturt Are you looking for a talent agency to represent you for brand deals? #talentagent #talentagency #branddeals #influenceragency #influencermarketing #youtubecreator #tiktokcreator #fyp ♬ original sound – Kristian Sturt
He quickly realized he could fill this gap by creating an agency that helped influencers get paid fairly and brands get better results from influencer campaigns, which prompted the start of Colossal Influence.
Transitioning from Journalist to Marketing
In 2013, Kristian gained anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 followers a day as a content creator on Twitter.
“That was the summer that springboarded me into influencer marketing because I quickly learned that I could leverage that account’s position to build new accounts and to create new accounts. The move from journalism into marketing was pretty seamless because as well as working as a football content writer, I was doing a lot of SEO content writing.”
His knowledge of SEO and website content writing easily translated into marketing, allowing him to seamlessly transition to founding Colossal Influence.
Colossal Influence was a natural name for his new company because his web content writing company was called Colossal Content.
The Constantly Changing World of Influencer Marketing
Kristian shares that the world of influencer marketing has changed significantly during his time in the industry. One of the most significant changes has been brands’ approaches to target audiences.
“Brands [were] trying to chase results that didn’t exist by having female-focused brands target people with heavily male orientated audiences and vice versa.”
He shares that he often saw companies targeting influencers with only a 10% to 20% US audience without even being aware of this fact.
“People weren’t aware of this at the time, so it’s developed significantly, now focused on hyper-targeted engagement and not just a follower number. I think very early on everyone in marketing was all about follower number and not so much about engagement which led to a spate of influencer fraud as well.”
He notes that influencer agencies became far more essential to weed out fake influencers trying to take advantage of companies with fake followings.
Kristian runs Colossal Influence with the help of a few freelancers. Kristian shares that his company’s small team means they only take on projects they truly care about and feel they can make a difference with. Currently, they manage about 15 influencers.
“We reject 95% of the [influencer management] requests that come through… We speak to 95% of influencers about what their potential best solution is and why we don’t feel like we’re the best solution for them, which happens a lot.”
Colossal Influence is also unique because they have ten years of experience in a relatively new market, while many agencies have only been open for a year or two.
Next, Kristian shares a recent successful campaign that Colossal Influence managed with the Chelsea Football Club. The Chelsea Football Club designed the 5th Stand App, a free-to-play gameplay predictor where people predict what they think the scores and outcomes of football games will be.
“I’ve been in contact with Chelsea for a while as a Chelsea fan, and so it was a dream come true to work with them, alongside them to amplify their reach. My process in that was to find the best value for them.”
He shares that they worked to find creators not typically known for creating football content because they wanted to avoid the primary football demographic. They specifically looked for social media accounts where creators provided constructive criticism about the football club.
Another factor was looking for influencers with a younger demographic who uses their mobile phone constantly. In this campaign, gender wasn’t a significant factor as they only looked for audiences with a slight male split.
“That campaign was super successful. They even ran a follow-up campaign that December to bring more people on.”
Mistakes in Influencer Marketing
One of the most common mistakes Kristian sees in influencer marketing is brands that are still focused heavily on follower numbers.
“There are still brands who want to hire the top celebrities, who don’t particularly always offer the best value for money… So, I feel like there’s a huge issue around where people don’t feel like they’re getting good value for money because they’re targeting their own creators, which I think is a reason why talent management companies are imperative.”
Nano and micro-influencers can often be a better bang for your buck if you choose the right one with strong engagement and the ideal audience for your message.
The other mistake he frequently sees is companies pushing campaigns on the wrong platforms. For example, companies may try to push followers on TikTok to YouTube and vice versa.
“The more steps you put in any process, the harder it is to convert. So, while it may not seem on the surface that Twitter has the best ROI over a YouTube campaign, if you’re trying to drive people towards the Twitter campaign, then almost a hundred percent without question, it would be best to work on Twitter.”
In the future, Kristian would love to see agencies focus on global influencers and influencers who speak different languages.
“I feel like there could be a huge advantage for influencer marketing companies or brands in those countries to take advantage of those channels where they’ll get more specific engagement and higher ROI. I feel like there’s going to be a move towards that in the next year to 24 months, and I’m looking forward to that.”
Future Plans for Colossal Influence
Kristian shares that “the best thing about influencer marketing for me is that when I wake up every day, I’m not really a hundred percent sure what my inbox might hold. Sure, I’ll have certain tasks I have to do, but the hours beyond that are super exciting with outreach and speaking to existing contacts about new projects .”
He adds that he is working to increase scouting for talent and hiring more freelancers to work with Colossal Influence. Most importantly, he wants to focus on steady growth where he’s not taking on too much at once but is continuing to grow the talent roster and the number of freelancers he’s hiring. In the future, he is also looking to hire part-time or full-time employees.
He is also looking forward to expanding Colossal Influence into Twitch more.
In closing, he shares that he wants to “work on wider projects as well to work on bigger projects that creators have in mind, to work on securing more long-term sponsorships, rather than short-form sponsorships, to expand that side [of the business.].”