If you’re in the digital marketing and PR industry, you would agree that managing digital campaigns across multiple platforms, bloggers, social media influencers, and news websites can be a big challenge.

Most of the time, digital marketers would need to combine several digital PR/marketing tools to run one campaign. Then there’s the problem of easily finding the best influencers, creators and publishers to collaborate with for campaigns.

That’s why BlackHouse Media (BHM), one of the leading PR companies in Africa launched Plaqad, back in 2017, to connect brands and individuals to bloggers, news websites, publishers and social influencers. Plaqad’s founder, Ayeni Adekunle’s vision when launching the platform was to democratize paid content management, influencer engagement, and measurement.

With its proprietary marketing platform, Plaqad’s users can launch a campaign from start to finish. From the discovery of service providers to engagement, measurement to tracking, reporting to payment, Plaqad has become a go-to place for brands, agencies, non-profits, and individuals who want to run a cost-effective influencer marketing campaign as well as other forms of marketing/PR campaigns.

Within the past three years, Plaqad says it has worked with over 100 brands and agencies, boasting a community of over 15,000 influencers, creators and publishers, who have successfully placed over 25,000 pieces of content on social and web platforms across four continents. The influencer marketing platform says it has paid out over $1 million on hundreds of campaigns to members, in effect helping its program members monetize their content, platform and influence.

“Plaqad, a contorted way of spelling the word ‘placard’, is a protest against the norm.” — Ayeni Adekunle, Founder of Plaqad.

Fast forward to December 2020, Plaqad’s CEO, Gbenga Sogbaike announced a new Plaqad.com platform with two innovative products — PlaqadM and PlaqadIQ — which according to him, “completely automates the entire marketing and PR campaign workflow from talent discovery and engagement to execution, tracking and reporting.”

PlaqadM, its end-to-end talent marketplace and analytics platform, lets users run marketing and PR campaigns without having to combine multiple PR tools, while PlaqadIQ, helps brand managers, marketers and individuals to track real-time data for campaigns on Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube through hashtags and keywords.

Techloy recently signed up to use the Plaqad platform and found it to be a really innovative and data-driven platform for the digital marketing and PR industry. The fact that Plaqad was created by creators who have been in the industry for a combined 20 years makes it a very compelling product for both brands and talents.

If you’re a blogger, publisher, writer, creator or influencer, Plaqad offers you the opportunity to work with the biggest brands in Africa and around the world. Upon sign up, you can choose whether you’re a publisher, creator or influencer, select your audience category from entertainment to business, the services you offer and your rates.

After sign up, you can then explore and find tasks featuring jobs, campaigns or projects posted by brands that you may be eligible for, or you may receive an invitation from a brand to work on a campaign.

“PlaqadM and PlaqadIQ completely automates the entire marketing and PR campaign workflow from talent discovery and engagement to execution, tracking and reporting. ” — Gbenga Sogbaike, co-founder and CEO of Plaqad.

If you’re a brand manager or a PR agency’s account manager, Plaqad lets you discover and find the best talents to sell your brand from top influencers, content creators and publishers in Africa and around the world. The platform allows you to get insights into metrics that demonstrate a particular influencer’s reach and engagement on social media, so you can understand their audience.

You can filter your search for professional talents, audience content type, publishing services, number of followers, rate card and geographical location. When you find the right talent for your campaign, you can invite them to work with your brand using existing brand campaigns or creating a new campaign on the platform.

While Plaqad has focused on signing up as many influencers, publishers and creators to its platform as possible, it has yet to get the popular, albeit expensive talented professionals such as Taooma or Lasisi Elenu on the platform. Of course, getting these A-list influencers to use the platform would take some time, so Plaqad would need to make this happen sooner than later to keep the vibe going and avoid diluting the talent pool.

Let’s say that a brand wants to work with, Taooma, a top content creator and influencer, for example — who, by the way, is my favourite Nigerian short video skit maker — and discovers that she isn’t on the platform (yet), are there B-list or C-list talents available on the platform that can achieve the targets of the campaign?

During sign up as a publisher, Techloy also couldn’t ascertain how Plaqad verifies or vets the talents on its platform, despite the fact that there’s a search filter functionality that narrows down talent search. If added, a vetting process could make it quicker and easier for brands to find the best talents to work with.

“In line with our mantra ‘Make Your Voice Heard’, we continue to live our mission to help businesses irrespective of their sizes, location or budget, reach and effectively engage their audience.” — Ayeni Adekunle, Founder of Plaqad.

But as word spreads about Plaqad, it is expected that top creators and influencers will be interested in using the platform as a way to demonstrate their value. Most importantly, brands that want to work with the best professionals will expect a lot of the vetting out of the way even before they log on.

For Plaqad and its team, they should be proud of themselves for creating such a novel solution to this fragmented PR industry conundrum and deserve a pat on the back for attempting to disrupt the industry.

Their mission tag line of m​aking your voice heard ​is quite clear and resonating, providing you with the platform to build your voice and value in the digital marketplace regardless of your budget, location, and size. The influencer marketing platform is currently running a free trial so you should sign up today and start growing your business and earning money.

I believe that with an affordable price point and a huge selection of top influencers, Plaqad will level the playing field and disrupt the PR industry. With its user-friendly interface, talent discovery feature, engagement, measurement, tracking, reporting and payments functionalities, it is only a matter of time before the platform becomes a global PR industry hit.