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What Does It Take To Become An Influencer?

Influencers. You can’t block ’em. You can’t ignore ’em. And they have legions of passionate fans they can activate. – Mark Schaefer

I’ve always thought that influencer marketing can be described as the love child of social media and celebrity star dust exclusive to B2C businesses. To be honest, I thank The Kardashians for that notion – for making me believe it and for making it popular.
During 2016, the term ‘influencer marketing’ has been around quit a lot on the B2B scene. A similar thing can be said for the term ‘content marketing’ a few years back, which is one of the hottest and most effective strategies for any business; big or small. Recently, we’ve experienced a significant traffic boost thanks to our Online Marketing Tactics Of Experienced Marketers, which got us thinking about the real, tangible power of the influencers.

Demystifying Influencers: what does it take to become an #influencer? Click To Tweet
We return to ‘research mode’ and we’re looking for people that can help us demystify influencers. We are looking for people to help us understand what it takes to be an influencer and how to become one. As we’ve discovered, there are a lot of cool people in the business, many of which were more than happy to share their views on this matter.

Jeff Bullas, digital entrepreneur, marketing blogger, keynote speaker, digital strategist, consultant and best selling author.| | @jeffbullas
Becoming an influencer takes persistence and passion. It also requires an investment of years. It centers around two core tactics.
Creating great content whether that is written, audio, visual or video.
Then you need to build out your distribution and hustle your content centric brand to the world.
The crowd on the social web are the true judges of who an influencer is. On a data driven web that is also measured from data. Your content and the metrics of sharing, engagement and mentions now define you.

Greg Jarboe, president & co-founder of SEO-PR; author of YouTube and Video Marketing; contributor to Tubular Insights & The SEM Post; instructor at Rutgers & Simplilearn. | | @gregjarboe
There are three elements to becoming an influencer — and Google has defined them for us. In their Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, Google uses the term, E-A-T, which stands for “Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.” And it’s the metric by which Google’s evaluators rank pages. High-quality pages possess a high level of E-A-T while low-quality pages don’t. How do you become an expert, an authority, and trustworthy? Know your topic well. Provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis. Describe both sides of a story. Provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious. Be transparent.

Dimirty Dragilev, the founder of JustReachOut – a service used by 3000+ small businesses to pitch relevant journalists and get press coverage without the help of PR firms. | | @dragilev
Write content where topical depth level is crazy deep. Google the term “cold email” – my little tiny dinky blog outranks and FastCompany and HubSpot on this keyword. Why? Because my focus on my site is very deep into this topic. Do more of the same and you’ll succeed.

61% of #marketers have trouble finding the right #influencers & 56% find it difficult to reach out to and engage influencers! Click To Tweet

Ted Rubin, Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker, Brand Evangelist and Acting CMO Brand Innovators. | | @TedRubin
My initial response would be that they already are an influencer… Everyone Influences Someone.
There are countless ways to grab the attention of your audience, but keeping them coming back for more is where the real value lies—it’s where you build influence. Mom bloggers are a good example of this. Those who developed the greatest influence did so with good content—and kept their audiences engaged by producing more of it. But just because they were moms and their audiences were moms didn’t make them influential. It was the quality of the content they produced that resonated with a particular audience.
It doesn’t matter what we call ourselves, we can all create our own content and influence hubs by listening, engaging and sharing with those whose voice either echoes our own, or incites us to think differently. Effective content creation does not depend on labels or names—it does depend on understanding your audience.
As human communicators we all have the power to influence someone. Whether we build on that influence is largely a function of how well we listen, and how well we can use what we learn to produce content that means something to people. The nuts and bolts of content creation is often solitary work, but everything else about the process is ripe for conversation and collaboration. You’ll find what you need to reach your goals, as long as you’re willing to listen.
Welcome to the ‘Age of Influence,’ where anyone can build an audience and effect change, advocate brands, build relationships and make a difference. #RonR… #NoLetUp!

David Schneider, CoFounder of NinjaOutreach, Influencer Marketing Software. | | @ninjaoutreach
To be an influencer is to be a reliable source of information. So you have to be that voice in your industry that’s always present, always with a helping answer, and you have to be consistent about it. It’s going to take some time to build your reputation but you have to make some sacrifices (like other personal development goals and quality time with friends and family, in my case).
For example, NinjaOutreach, it took 18 months to get our blog traffic to 10x more than when we started. To get to that level, we had to execute a combination of aggressive content marketing and influencer marketing.

Kevan Lee from Buffer.comKevan Lee, Director of Marketing at Buffer | | @kevanlee
It’s key to create very high quality content on high-visibility channels. And the faster you’re able to do this, the faster you’ll gain credibility and influence.

Mark Robertson from TubularLabsMark Robertson, Video Marketing Strategist: Digital Growth Marketing @Tubular Labs & Founder @ReelSEO | | @markrrobertson
In my opinion, there are a few main ingredients required to develop both the following, and the respect that goes along with being an “influencer”:
1) Authenticity of Passion – I know, it sounds cliche, but… In my opinion, people can see through those that attempt to build influence without a true passion around a given area of expertise. Most influencers that I know did not set out to become an influencer – rather they were passionate around a given area of expertise and set out to further develop that expertise.
2) Ongoing Quest for Knowledge – It’s not enough to simply regurgitate information for purposes of “thought leadership.” With passion, comes an authentic, inner desire to constantly increase one’s own knowledge and stay abreast of, if not ahead of, the latest information.
3) Sharing for Sharing Sake – In my opinion, with that knowledge comes a responsibility as an influencer to share unique insights freely. A true thought leader is someone who is interested in helping to advance the industry for which they’re a part of. Some may consider unique insights they’ve obtained as individual IP, so to speak, and rather than share that information freely, they keep it to their inner circle in the hopes that they’ll maintain some edge in the market.
In the end, that may be a useful short-term strategy for some, but those that freely share unique insights and information first, are more often considered to be worthy of following.

Danail Donchev from Fortunelords.comDanail Donchev, Online Marketing Expert | | @DannyDonchev
You need to provide tons of value on a daily basis and ask for nothing in return. Build a platform such as blog, Youtube channel etc where you provide free information which is better than the average.
Solve people’s problem providing actionable tips.
Connect with industry influencers and let them know that you mentioned them in your content. Offer them free help. Build strong relationships with them.

Aaron Agius from Louder.OnlineAaron Agius, Search, Social & Content Marketer, Co-Founder & MD at Louder Online. Speaker, Entrepreneur, Author. | | @IAmAaronAgius
Content Marketing. You need to be creating great content and publishing to known editorial publications on a regular basis to establish yourself as a thought leader. This, and talking at conferences, leads to interviews, round up requests and much more.

Julia KlineJulia Kline, Sales & Leadership Coach, Best-selling Author & Keynote Speaker | | @Julia_Kline
I wanted to address something that others might gloss over. And that is willingness to be Visible. What does it mean to be Visible, and why are so many people unwilling to do it?
1. Being Visible means being out there, in public, where people are free to judge, criticize and flame you. Often in completely unfounded and untruthful ways. Not fun.
2. Being Visible requires a willingness – an eagerness, even – to attract negative feedback, to be divisive. This is different than the vitriol you get from haters, above. Even if they won’t get flamed, some people can’t even stand the idea of being legitimately questioned or disagreed with. So they’d rather keep their ideas quiet.
3. Being Visible requires the audaciousness to believe that you – little old you – have something worthwhile to offer. A lot of people can’t get past their self-doubt and insecurity in order to take that stand.
4. Being Visible means commitment. You can’t decide to sleep late or call in sick or cancel the whole idea if there are people out there waiting for you to show up.
5. Being Visible means responsibility. When you show up with your message, and your audience shows up to listen to you, something’s going to happen. It may be inconsequential; but what if someone kills themselves and they say it was because of your lyrics? Even if you disagree that you were responsible, *some* people will always hold you responsible.

#Influencermarketing increases Ur content reach & engagement to a targeted audience! Click To Tweet

Rob Ciampa from Business CatalyticsRob Ciampa, From advertising to technology to consulting, Rob brings life to industries through innovative and bold execution. | | @robciampa
Having worked with so many influencers, I’ve put together the traits of the ones who’ve succeeded:
1. Focus – At the beginning, influencers need to focus on one topic area, such as beauty, fashion, tech, etc. Audiences won’t gravitate toward up-and-comers if they seem all over the map. My research shows that as influencers become more famous, they add more genres to keep them relevant and maintain their edge – but only later and after they’ve become famous.
2. Niche – In the beauty industry, for example, there are thousands of influencers covering the same field. A unique angle may be makeup for women of specific ethnicity, etc. A good niche drives early audience growth, critical to success.
3. Authenticity – The influencers who end up doing well didn’t go looking for money and sponsorships at the beginning. The audience will detect that immediately and walk away from the creator. Over time, sponsorship will roll in and even the more famous players will disclose when they’re being paid to sponsor.
4. Audience-orientation – Great influencers truly care about their audience, pick products that they believe would be important to that audience, and – most importantly – interact with their audience. One of the things I covered in my book was that some influencers actually invite some of their audience members to be part of their YouTube videos. Cool, huh? Responding to comments is important not just at the beginning, but also throughout their brand growth.

Amy Van Atta SlaterAmy Van Atta Slater, Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Business Leader | | @AmyVASlater
For years, I have been a student of personal and professional brand creation and have found one of the most critical pieces of advice I receieved was to stand for something. There is truth to the cliché walk your talk. It is critical to have a consistent brand that will then allow you to generate a following and magnify your influence. Once you have a brand, keep building it and leverage all of the social channels at your fingertips. The key is consistency, content and clarity in your messaging. Who are you? What do you have to say that is meaningful to your reader, viewer or follower? It is also not just about you. One of the other ingredients is to promote others with whom you share common interests. From there, you create a following of like-minded people and you can attract their base of fans. When you package this up across social media platforms, you want to promote authenticity and sincerity. You have to promote your values and beliefs without looking like you are self-promoting. When all is said and done, you will have influence and recognition you never dreamed of!

Alex YongMichael Bremmer, Making technology roll up its sleeves and go to work. | | @telecomquotes
I think becoming an influencer is all about not worrying about becoming an influencer. I know that sounds fortune cookie stuff but here’s the thing…if you help people without expecting a reward…you’ll get invited to lots of stuff where you will make money.
To be clear…you have to be strategic about it. For example, if I speak at an event and I’m not being paid, I require the ability to record it/use it for marketing purposes…but MOST IMPORTANTLY…I educate people with the belief that they’ll buy IF IT MAKES SENSE FOR THEM.
I also make sure every media mention I’m blessed to get is on my Linked In and I promote them mercilessly!

Providing value to your audience without expectations? Consider yourself half way to the #influencer status! Click To Tweet
There is no magic wand or secret recipe to becoming influencer. Even though we all might have somewhat different approach to the question of influencers and influencer marketing, understand the needs of your targeted audience and providing content that addresses that particular need is at it’s core.
It takes time to achieve this status, but following the right steps, providing value to your audience without expectations, consider yourself half way to the influencer status.

For Further Reading

Dig a bit more about subject of influencers and influencer marketing with the following posts:

Now, over to you!

What’s your take on the subject of influencers? What would be your advice if someone asked you: what does it take to become an influencer? Let us know. Let’s turn this post into discussion we all could benefit from. Leave a comment in the comment section below! and thank you for reading!

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