Sure, most people have seen tv space news stories mentioning NASA, ESA and even SpaceX – but to a much lesser degree of organizations such as XCOR, JAXA, and Blue Origin. And for hundreds of new emerging brands such as Made in Space, PlanetLabs and the rest, getting industry, let alone mainstream publicity, is difficult to say the least.
Even the most well-known space organizations and missions have experienced a decline in popular coverage since NASA’s heyday, due to most space activities occurring away from the mainstream media.
Being a recognized brand that people identify with is one of the most important things that differentiate these organizations from the rest – and because it takes at least 7 ‘touches’ from a brand in order that a potential customer becomes ‘familiar’ enough to start taking an interest in a company’s offering – it is essential that your space organization’s name gets out there as much as possible.
Businesses that provide services or produce hardware (no matter how small) for the space industry must come up with creative ways of making their company more visible and increasing brand visibility in order to grow. One of the techniques used to achieve this in the digital age is influencer marketing – as it not only helps generate public interest, but a tweet or two from the right people can also cause that snow-ball effect that can generate local and national press interest, interviews on space themed websites and an increase of valuable connections throughout the space industry.
Influencer marketing is a brand promotion strategy that makes use of influential people to promote a brand’s message to the target market. Therefore, when it comes to influencer marketing, instead of advertising directly to the consumers, a brand uses influencers are able to inform news organizations, journalists and markets via their websites, twitter profiles or other channels – and even help influence opinion.
This type of publicity can be very effective since it involves people who hold a great sway in an industry. Due to their influential status, their writing, tweets or comments can inform and persuade other reporters, competitors, customers and fans of the brand – simply mentioning its latest news or message in a particular light.
As previously mentioned, a number of space organizations suffer from low brand awareness outside of the industry. Influencer marketing is therefor one of the most effective strategies they can use to promote themselves and their latest news about recent achievements, events and products. Those that use this strategy, such as those responsible for SpaceX’s influence marketing campaigns are able to gain numerous benefits such as:
Space industry influencers are very popular and have a large readership in the space sector. Therefore, they are able to target a wide audience when they are discussing a brand, thus increasing awareness. This allows space organizations to reach more potential customers, consumers or fans than they would have been able to when using direct marketing strategies.
One of the biggest marketing challenges that face space companies is getting potential customers to recognise and trust brand and associated products. However, by using influencers to mention or even promote their brands, space organizations are able to establish credibility much faster – a positive mention (of say, a successful satellite launch, or use of a firm’s hardware) can act as a seal of approval, which makes it easier for future potential customers to build a relationship of trust with the brand.
Direct marketing can be quite expensive, as it requires advertising through many platforms in order to increase its effectiveness. However, influencer marketing can be quite affordable, as it only requires using one or a few individuals. Sometimes industry commentators, journalists and advocates will even help to promote brands at no cost because it is their job to keep the industry informed. Influencer marketing can also be more effective than direct marketing because the mention of important achievements and offerings can easily get lost in the myriad of competing news stories or press releases published on a given day.
Influencers are the most important aspect of influencer marketing. They are the individuals who have built trust within an industry, achieved a lot of connections with important decisions makers and worked their way into the role of informing the industry, potential customers and general consumers. Below is a look at some of the most prominent space industry writers, journalists and reporters who’s work has a large influence the space industry:
Jeff Foust is one of the most prominent space industry influencers who help space brands to get their message across to the world. He is a renowned journalist who writes about the space industry, and he has written several pieces for space news organizations such as Astronomy now, the New Atlantis, the Space Review, Space Politics, and many others. Currently, Jeff Foust is an author for Spacenews.com, one of the most prominent space news organizations. Jeff Foust is also very active on Twitter, where he tweets about various space activities carried out by top space brands.
Philip Swarts is a career journalist who covers, among other topics, defense and space related activities. He has worked for various news agencies/companies, for example. Air Force Times, Washington Times, the Washington Guardian, and the Oregonian. As such, he has built a name for himself, both in the space industry and the mainstream media, making him a very influential figure for the space industry.
Currently, Swarts works for the Space.com news company, where he is a military space reporter. In his capacity, he has covered various stories that touch on the defense and space products/services offered by some of the top space brands.
Keith Cowing is a biologist, who has a multidisciplinary background that includes a lot of space activities. Cowing is an astrobiologist who used to work for the US space program under NASA. According to his website, Cowing also has experience in spacecraft payload integration, spacecraft restoration, and spacecraft data retrieval.
His extensive career in the space industry makes him a perfect person for influencer marketing – he has managed to build a name for himself as an authority figure in the industry, and thus his word can carry a lot of weight among the space industry consumers.
Cowing is also a freelance writer, and he is an editor for NASA watch, an online space publication that covers NASA space activities. He is also an editor at Spaceref.com, one of the top space industry news company that covers a lot of stories touching on several space industry brands.
Marc Boucher is another influential person in the space industry, who plays (or has played) an active role in many space news organizations. He is the co-founder of two of the most prominent space brands, SpaceRef and Canadian Space Commerce Association, which are at the forefront of promoting the space industry, and hence the space organizations that operate in the industry.
Marc Boucher uses his prominence in the space industry to promote various space organizations, especially on Twitter, where he has a very active presence. He is also the current President and CEO (as well as a Senior Editor) of SpaceRef.com.
Craig Covault is another influential person in the space industry, who uses his prominence to promote the message of space industry brands. He is a career space writer and an award-winning aerospace journalist, who started writing about the space industry while still in university (Bowling Green State University, Ohio). Since then, he has worked for several space organizations as a space writer, namely, Aviation Week, Space Technology, AmericaSpace.com, and SpaceRef.com.
Stephen Clark is a journalist who works in the space industry, which makes him a very good influencer for the industry. Clark works for Spaceflightnow.com, a top space company news that covers spaceflight activities, among other stories, in the space industry. At the company, Clark has covered many stories touching on top space brands such as NASA, SpaceX, Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada, and others.
Marcia Smith is another journalist who is quite active in the space industry, making her a good influencer. She works for the SpacePolicyOnline.com, an online space news publication that covers stories touching on civil, commercial, and military space activities of the both the US and foreign space programs. As such, Smith covers various activities that are carried out by top space brands that partners in one way or another with national and international space organizations.
Sarah Cruddas is a British space journalist, TV presenter and children’s author. She has an academic background in astrophysics and is a passionate advocate for the commercial space industry.
Sarah is the ‘face of space’ on British television and can be seen covering space on Sky News, as well as other national UK channels, including Channel 5, Channel 4 News, BBC News and ITV. She also appears on screen on shows on National Geographic and The Discovery Channel, as well as various BBC shows.
Douglas Messier is a space journalist who has helped to promote various brands in the space industry through his work. A graduate of the International Space University (summer session), Messier has a very successful career in the space industry, and he has worked in various capacities in the industry including:
Parabolicarc.com – where he is the managing editor and covers stories related to space tourism, commercialization of the space frontier, human spaceflight activities, and planetary exploration.
As a career journalist who specializes in the space industry, Messier is a very influential person, and he has helped to advertise various space companies he has covered during the course of his work.
Robert Pearlman is another top space industry influencer, who has helped to promote the space activities of several space brands. In the past, Pearlman has served as the director of marketing for Space Adventures, a space tourism company that is famous for having booked the first private tourists to the International Space Station.
Pearlman was the founder of CollectSpace, an online space industry community that offers resources (which he also contributes) for space history enthusiasts. He is also an editor at Space.com, where he has written several news articles http://www.space.com/search?q=robert+pearlman featuring various space brands.
Emily Lakdawalla is another influential figure in the space industry, who is mainly involved in the advocacy of space exploration activities. She is a senior editor of the Planetary Society, one of the top space advocacy organizations in the world. Lakdawalla is also a public speaker – and as a planetary scientist, she is involved in promoting various space activities, and as such, the space organizations that carry them out.
Rand Simberg is one of the influential people in the space industry who are not journalists – Simberg is an aerospace engineer with over 3 decades experience working in the space industry. Due to his long and successful career, he has been able to establish himself as an authority figure in the industry, thus making him one of the best influencers in the industry. Through the course of his career, Simberg has worked in various capacities that include:
Simberg is mostly vocal on social media platforms, where he is considered to be an authority in the space exploration field.
Miriam Kramer is another space industry journalist who helps to promote various space brands. According to her LinkedIn profile, she is a science journalist who specializes in space industry reporting. She was previously a staff writer for Space.com where she wrote and edited several pieces http://www.space.com/search?q=miriam+Kramer featuring top brands in the space industry. Currently, Kramer is a reporter and editor at Mashable, a global media company that specializes in, among other things, the space industry.