Are you an industry influencer?
Depending on the niche you are in or how you portray yourself online, you very well may be an influencer to many people around the world already and just not know it. However, what if you are actively trying to become an influencer and not seeing the results or reach you want?
Good news. After being in the internet and affiliate marketing space for over 20 years, I know a thing or two about building a trusted brand and following online. So, I want to share my best tips and advice with you.
Best of all, no matter how big or small your following is right now, these actionable tips will work for anyone, in any industry.
How to become an industry influencer
Before you run out there and start posting as many articles, links, and social shares as you possibly can to gain attention… STOP! First, understand what it means to be an influencer. Consider best way to reach your audience and how to gain their trust.
Some of the most important factors to consider are audience, trust, and value. Know who your audience is, how to get in front of them, gain their trust and provide value at all times. With all of this in mind, know what you are best at and “niche down” your target audience as much as possible.
To understand how to “niche down” in a heavily saturate niche, take a look at top retail influencers. While the concept of retail is quite bland and generic, you can look at the expertise of retail influencers and quickly realize how experts select and speak to an audience while operating in a massive market.
But don’t get too carried away. Becoming an industry influencer is still not an easy task. Thanks to the power of the internet, it’s easier than every to build an online presence and become a self-proclaimed industry expert. However, you are competing with any number of people who are actively doing the same thing.
The best way to stand out from this crowd and prove your value is to niche down. In my case, I went with blogging and affiliate marketing (which is very saturated). It has been an accomplishment that is 20+ years in the making.
Now let’s dive into the meat of this article and show you how to accomplish the same.
Grow your personal brand and expertise with actionable tips
Now that you know it’s possible to become an influencer within your niche, it’s time to build the foundation. Each of these actionable tips will solidify your expertise and grow your brand,reach and following 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This is exactly what you need to achieve influencer status.
Start a blog
You may have a company website and social media profiles, but a blog is a key piece of your influence puzzle. Owned media is what you can control and it’s essential.
Your website is owned media and channels such as social media and blogs are extensions of it. These are all extensions of your brand as a whole. A blog solves one part of the content creation and distribution dilemma. Just one new article per week results in over 50 articles per year. Imagine what this can do for your SEO, reach and awareness over the course of a year.
If you aren’t actively blogging, check out this article and learn why you should start today.
Get active on social media
When it comes to social media and your target audience, every business has its own preference. Whether you build your brand using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Instagram it’s important to know where your niche audience hangs out.
According to Social Media Examiner, “81%+ of marketers found that increased traffic occurred with as little as 6 hours per week invested in social media marketing.”
Get the most out of social media by growing a following on each platform. Automate your social media activities wherever possible using tools like Buffer. Curate third-party content alongside your own. Share relevant content from other experts and influencers within your industry to further promote your own content and value.
Contribute to other industry sites
If you aren’t actively providing content to other magazines, websites and blogs within your niche, you are seriously missing out. Content marketing — creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action — is a non-negotiable if you want to build industry influence.
In addition to my own sites, I have hundreds of articles featured on other sites. Not only does this generate references to my content and backlinks to my own sites, it instantly puts my name and expertise in front of new audiences. This also helps you dominate the first page of Google when someone searches for your personal name.
Use testimonials to your advantage
You can boast about your personal achievements all you want, but at the end of the day, testimonials and referrals mean everything. Include customer testimonials and mentions on your website, blog and even within your LinkedIn profile. Reach out to previous clients and see if they’d like to provide a short blurb for your site. Testimonials are one of the most effective ways to gain trust from your audience.
Create original and shareable branded content
All successful marketers understand the importance of creating great content for their sites. But don’t overlook the power of creating content that others will want to share and then link back to you as an expert and resource.
Infographic marketing is a great example. Create original infographics from existing content using free apps like Canva Infographic Maker or Piktochart. Then contact targeted sites who would be likely to share it and gain some powerful media backlinks and references in the process.
Be yourself and love your audience
Yeah, I have to throw in one of those clichés in here as well. Simply because it’s the truth. In a world where anyone can build a website and reach audiences around the world, it’s more important than ever to build a personal relationship with your audience and make that connection.
You can do all of the paid advertising and content marketing you want, but if the connection isn’t there, the trust and influence simply won’t follow.
Now that you’ve seen some proven and practical examples of what it takes to become an industry influencer, it’s time to put some of these tips into action. As I’ve said already, the internet might be saturated, but there will always be smaller niche markets waiting for a new influencer to shake things up!
There has never been a better time for you to start a blog, create meaningful content, reach new audiences and turn your expertise and passion into influence. Stop thinking about what it would be like to be an influencer and take action to become one.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Zac Johnson, the creator of Blogging.org, is an entrepreneur with nearly 20 years of experience in the online marketing space. You can learn more about Zac through his blog at ZacJohnson.com. Connect with @zacjohnson on Twitter.
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