Do you ever feel like you’re mumbling into the void? You’re blogging, you’re creating ebooks, you’re offering free downloadable content, you’re doing EVERYTHING you’ve been told to as an inbound marketer, but no one seems to be paying attention.
The simple reason for that is… it’s 2017. Since digital content marketing became a thing in the 90s, it’s become increasingly tricky to cut through the thick smog of content that’s built up on the web. Influence works best when there’s more people listening and less people talking. And of course, everyone’s talking these days.
If you want to amplify your voice in this increasingly noisy world, it’s no longer enough to just post on your blog. Now, if you build it, they won’t always come. You need to elbow your way into the spotlight by establishing yourself as an expert in your industry. You need a solid influencer-strategy.
INFLUENCE in·flu·ence |’infloõ∂ns/ noun 1. The capacity to have an effect on the character, development or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself — Oxford Dictionary
As long as there has been society, there has been influencers. Think of kings, queens, presidents, religious leaders, and of course, celebrities. Their actions are closely watched and frequently discussed — from their talents, to their ideologies, to their lifestyles. These are the kinds of people whose quotes get turned into mantras, whose lives we are jealous of, whose opinion is more often than not, final. Picture someone who particularly influences you; what makes this person so fascinating? You might find that it’s one of these reasons:
They have some kind of niche or charisma
They have legitimate power
They have informational power
They have expert talents
They have referent power
They help others by sharing stories and tips from an expert position
They have greater media coverage
They inspire others to think differently
To be a successful industry influencer in the business realm, you’ve got to have a fully comprehensive marketing strategy and a knack for creating remarkable, storytelling content that really inspires your audience. But first, you need to concentrate on building that audience.
One of the biggest measurements of defining influence these days is, sadly, social media reach. Influence is primarily measured by how many people are paying attention. But how do you get people to pay attention to what you have to share with the world? Here’s a few tips.
1. Find your personal benchmark within your industry
Take some time to research both personal and brand influencers already known in your industry. What kinds of following do they have and what platforms are they using? Check the engagement on their posts and learn how they interact online. It’ll give you an idea of what qualifies as an influencer in your particular industry, so you can set metrics to aim for with your own strategy.
2. Know your audience
I know we’re always banging on about this, but it’s so important to get your buyer personas right for when you’re building any kind of marketing strategy. It’s no use trying to attract everyone; you need to attract the right people for your industry. Check out this 6-step guide to creating a powerful buyer persona.
3. Establish your credibility through original research, analysis and opinions
Don’t just write the same things your competitors are, but add original research and your own opinions. When talking about a popular industry topic, it’s important to make sure your voice is prominent throughout the content. This is so readers don’t recognise it as ‘just another blog about [insert topic here]’.
A great way to make sure you beam with originality is to conduct your own research on a subject — this gives you informational power over others. You could also come up with your very own writing style with a solid tone of voice guide. Interlace your brand’s personality into everything you communicate online, so your words consistently radiate originality, honesty, confidence and legitimacy.
4. Associate yourself with experts and do guest blogs
Networking is a pivotal step. After all, you can’t just appear out of nowhere and start influencing people. This is where referent power comes into play. Think about celebrities and the clothing they wear. Any clothing brand is going to be in for a big win if a celebrity like Kanye West gets papped adorned in their clothing. It’s the same principle. If you can get recognised by industry experts, and even contribute to their blog, you’re stepping in the right direction to becoming one.
5. Use inbound links and SEO to expand reach
You want to reach out to your audience as far and wide as you can. Inbound links and SEO are great ways to do this. Within your content, you need to link to other relevant articles you’ve written and other articles you’ve used for research in the writing process. You also need to make sure it’s SEO-friendly. Google loves Inbound links and properly-tackled SEO, and will certainly reward you for it.
6. Increase social media reach
Strategic, targeted paid advertising — when done right — can help you reach out to all the hidden souls most likely to be interested in your content. Another great way to do this is to frequently share content socially and engage with other industry leaders and their followers. Social media is a tricky game, and a long game at that. But when the work is put in each day, it’s truly worth it.
Unfortunately, unless you’re born into the Kardashian family, you’re probably not going to become an influencer overnight. To achieve a thought-leader status in your industry, you need a powerful multi-channel influencer strategy that shapes your brand into an expert, original and trusted source of knowledge. So it’s time to plan your strategy for becoming an influencer in your industry — understand your audience, fine-tune what you can bring to the table, network, and amplify the hell out of your reach. Good luck!