Now, let me start off by saying, when I say “known,” I don’t mean “famous.” This post is not about turning you into the next overnight YouTube sensation or getting your Instagram followers to one million. This post is about truly becoming known as an influencer in your field, and while Instagram and YouTube can certainly be a part of that process, there so much more to it.
Being an influencer in your field gives you power. It gives you a platform to share knowledge and expertise on a topic that is important to you and your audience.
But in this noisy digital world, how do you stand out above the rest, get your voice heard, and actually become known? How do you get the opportunity to become an influencer? Why would someone pick you to follow and listen to as opposed to someone else?
As you get started, becoming an influencer in your field can seem like a daunting task, so I’ve broken down a few tips that can make this process seem more digestible. The keyword here is “process.” Becoming an influencer doesn’t happen overnight, but with time, patience, and dedication, you can get there.
“Begin with the end in mind”
Cliche, I know, but true. In order to become known, you must have a deep understanding of what you want to become known for. Pick something you really want to master within your industry and stick with it.
My friend Mark Schaefer (author of KNOWN) said it best when he said you need to find a sustainable interest. This interest doesn’t necessarily mean it’s your passion, but it has to be something that lasts a long time, affect enough people to make a difference, and be something you love (so that you’ll stick with it). Whatever your focus is, make sure it isn’t too broad, as that will likely give you more work than you’ll know what to do with and it will be harder for you to achieve influencer status.
Here’s the thing I can’t stress enough. Nobody starts out as an expert. You become one through constant learning and trial and error. You should start small and master a topic you truly believe in to the point that you generate your own thoughts around it and not just regurgitate information from others.
As a marketer, I’d be remiss if I also didn’t mention that it’s important to set goals in the beginning. This will help to keep you on track but it will also give you something to measure against to check your progress.
In addition to knowing what you’d like to focus on, you also must have a deep understanding of your audience. Learn as much as you can about them and commit to them. It will be these people who will help you grow and become known, so take care of them.
Establish thought leadership and authority
People are impressed by authoritative figures as they are seemingly knowledgeable and experts on their given topics. By being an authority and establishing thought leadership in your area, people will be more likely to trust and support you. As an authority figure, you will be able to help solve the pain points of your audience. Give valuable insight and advice to your followers and your influence and reach will be sure to grow.
I can’t stress this enough, you must put in the effort to generate educational and useful content on your topic of interest consistently and frequently in order to become an influencer. I’m not going to lie, this is time-consuming, especially as you’re ramping up, but they pay off is worth it.
You need to choose the type of content you’ll create, and this goes back to having a deep understanding of your audience as the content you develop must resonate with them. You don’t need to be everywhere, you just need to be where your audience is (more on that later).
Keep in mind that you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. You can repurpose content you already have and extend the value of it. For example, a blog post can be repurposed as a video or podcast episode. An ebook can be broken into a series of blog posts. Get creative with this as it will save you time and expand your reach.
Get in front of your audience
I can’t say this enough: Be everywhere your audience is.
The thing is, no matter how great your content is, none of it will matter if nobody sees it. You need to ensure your content gets promoted to the right channels. Here are a few ideas to help ensure your content gets seen.
Blog – Blogging not only helps to educate your audience and build trust, if you blog often, it will help your rank in search engine results pages as well, which will help to expand reach as more eyes will be on it when Googling for relevant search terms.
Guest blog – Write guest blog posts on other people’s sites that cannot only link back to your own site to increase exposure but also extend to the audience of the site you published on.
Social media – Influencers must be active on social media and promote their content and messaging there. Be helpful, and not overly promotional in your posts, and be sure to keep your profiles current.
Speaking – Speak at relevant meetups, conferences, and any other speaking engagements that you can make it to within your field. This will not only increase exposure, but it’s a great way to get leads as well.
Get interviewed – Whether this is on TV, a podcast, or a written article, interview are a great way for your name to be seen and heard.
The big takeaway here is that you need to be present in all relevant channels. Identify what those are and get started!
This may seem like a no-brainer, but I have to put it in here. The more people like you, the more likely you’ll be able to influence them, and the more influence you have, the more potential you have to grow your audience. I’ll say this a few times throughout this post, but building trust and rapport with those in your field is a must, no questions asked.
It’s easy to quit something. Anybody can quit something, but it’s the people that stick around and stick through the tough time and doubt that come through as experts and influencers on the other side. As I said earlier in this post, becoming an influencer is a marathon, not a sprint.
The more consistent you are with something, the more committed you’ll become to it and stick with it long term. To piggyback off that, be passionate about your area of interest. It will make the ride a lot more enjoyable.
Know what’s going on in your industry both with trends and other influencers. Read books, listen to podcasts, subscribe to newsletters, the works! In addition, stay current on trends with your audience as well and know what’s going on with your competition. Don’t have tunnel vision with your efforts alone, be aware of the surroundings within your industry in order to truly become the expert in your field.
Networking is perhaps the oldest trick in the book, but it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. In order to become an influencer, you must have a large focus on building relationships and gaining the trust of the people you come into contact with. By making connections, I don’t simply mean reaching out to somebody on LinkedIn. You must connect with people both online and in the real world. Nothing can replace that human-to-human interaction. Respond to comments, hold Q&As, and be present. The communication with your audience should be a two-way street. Make sure they know you acknowledge and appreciate them. Establishing an emotional connection is key to turning your followers into your personal brand ambassadors.
As you begin your road to becoming known, what has helped you succeed thus far along the way? I’d love to hear your thoughts.