Influencers reach people. Just one post can deliver the kind of exposure many business owners only dream of having. They aren't just flashing a message in front of their followers either. People who read influencer posts actually pay attention to what they say (a survey found that 40% of US internet users aged between 13–20 would be more interested in a brand if it partnered with an internet celebrity).
So is it any surprise that businesses are now spending more on influencer marketing? Being an influencer sounds great, but it doesn't happen overnight. Most of the people making a big impression have a passion and niche that appeals to people. Here's how you can begin your journey...
Becoming a Blog Influencer in 4 Simple Steps
1. Focus on a topic
One day your blog is about your new product, but then next you're reviewing the latest movie you saw. If readers don't see a central theme in your content, they won't keep coming back. A specialized focus – one that presents you as a thought leader in your field – will help you attract a loyal following of readers who are excited to see your next post.Neil Patel's blog is a great example of this. Neil and his team have produced a large amount of perceptive, informative material at a relentless pace for years. He isn't shy about giving his advice away for free, which attracts the many people who need to become better marketers but don't want to pay a consultant. As a result, he's been able to build the platform he needs to command top dollar for speaking engagements and consultations.
2. Create your blog
Now that you've picked a topic, it's time to create a blog. Think about what your customers will type into search engines and choose headings that match. Strategically gear your posts to the things your ideal customers want to read. Social-listening tools like BuzzSumo can help you see what content performs best over time.After you hit "publish," make sure you promote it across all social networks. Consider hiring a freelance social media manager who can help with this. Author and MarketingProfs head of content Ann Handley promotes every post on her Twitter feed, letting her 420,000 followers know she's posted something new. She also tags anyone mentioned in the piece so they'll also give the article a shout-out to their followers.
3. Boost online credibility
It isn't enough to have a blog out there. You need to make sure people know about you. Spend time interacting with social media users on sites like Twitter, as well as on community and industry-specific Facebook and LinkedIn pages. Reddit and Quora are also strong platforms for building your reputation. Look for freelance experts who can help boost your brand's exposure there. Users on these sites post questions and experts answer. Answer questions and people may start recognizing your name and try to learn more about you.
You may not immediately think "authority" when you hear Quora. Google disagrees. Search for certain questions online and you will find Quora's answers rank at or near the top.
You'll also need to leave the office from time to time. Networking events like conferences connect you with people who do the same work you do, and an online social networking service such as Meetup.com is exactly what you need to look for. Think of them as potential future readers and make sure they know what you write about and how to find you. All of this can help you go beyond simply having a growing readership to more of an influencer status.
4. Market yourself continuously
No matter how well-known you get, you still need to work hard to get the word out about your content. Social media is vital, but you should also consider guest blogging. It will help you bring more blog traffic and it will also improve your visibility in search results. Sites like HubSpot and ShoutMeLoud love guest posts, but other influencers are also helpful for cross promotion. Try to get a guest post on a successful influencer's blog, and also find people at your own level of influence and offer to do a blog swap to get to know each other's audiences. Fiverr's marketplace can also help you find a blogging pro who can get your guest post on top sites.
It takes time to build a big enough of a following to be seen as an influencer. But the most popular bloggers start by posting interesting, unique content, then building relationships by guest blogging, interacting with others on social media, and networking to make important connections. With a set strategy and hard work, you'll eventually find you're gaining a powerful following, which you can then leverage to meet your own goals.
What's your experience with creating a blog been like? Have any questions on building a following? Let us know in the comments!