There are experts, and then there are influencers. Experts know their stuff. Influencers not only know their stuff, but are the people we look to for expert guidance and opinion about it, and about their industry in general.
Many of us aspire to become influencers, and when you apply the right strategies, it’s not complicated. In fact, it is relatively simple to do but it requires clear and focused strategic thinking … and lots of hard work.
1. Know your craft
Just because you like a topic or have dabbled in it, does not make you an expert or put you in a position to be an influencer. You need to really know your craft. This may mean you have to over time acquire qualifications, memberships, testimonials — whatever applies and carries weight in your field. And don’t just know your stuff… KNOW IT WELL. Know it both deeply and broadly. You don’t want to be in a position where you are unable to answer a question.
2. Have runs on the board
This is where time is your friend. You need to have runs on the board in regards to implementing what you know. Have examples of success. Walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Even if you need to take on some clients for free, you need to get a collection of success stories.
If you are going to do free work, make sure it is for the most desirable and impressive clients — the ones that are leaders and innovators in your field.
3. Tell the world who you are
Being an influencer is not for the timid or the shy. You need to start getting comfortable telling people who you are and what you do. In every possible avenue. Social media is a great way to kick start this. Although you also need to do it at events, meetings, functions and the media.
Make sure you have a polished and compelling story to tell, and take the best opportunities to tell it.
4. Share what you know
Don’t hide your content. People can access information from absolutely everywhere these days. You need to share as much as you can to prove to your market that not only do you know your stuff, but that you are “THE” hub for your industry.
Use social media, offer it to publications, create press releases and send them to relevant journalists. And keep at it. This is not something you can do a couple of times and then stop, it’s an ongoing effort. Which brings me to…
5. Be persistent
If you want to build a long term brand of being an influencer you need tenacity. You need to be persistent. You need to be thick skinned. You will be rejected, sometimes mocked, and told no on multiple occasions. These should be used as motivators to move forward. Never give up. Each day you are in the race someone else is dropping out. Never take your eyes off the goal. Keep. Going.
Something often talked about but not often done. Making the sacrifices required to succeed. This includes cutting out irrelevant meetings, superfluous coffee catch-ups and even unnecessary friends. Yes friends. Keep your circle small and of high quality.
You can’t afford to be watching rubbish TV every night and going out on the weekends drinking or partying. Your priority is your brand and to keep both mentally and physically fit.
7. Content, content, content
You need to be a machine when it comes to producing content. The market is hungry for good quality content and you need to establish yourself as the top dog in the industry before people will start taking you seriously. So write, write, write. If you hate writing — too bad, start getting used to it. Get yourself an editor if needed, but keep the content flowing.
You can find many tips for improving your writing skills and speed, but the first one is: just write. Write every day, write for practice, write to publish, write every time an idea hits you. Just write.