How to Become a Better Influencer

Influencers - Steve Jobs and Bill GatesIf you haven’t already figured it out by now, influence can be a pretty powerful thing. Being influential is closely linked to greater career opportunities, wealth and success.

With influence, you can motivate employees, earn donations to charities, and become a respected leader in your community or industry!  The important thing to keep in mind, however, is that you don’t become an influencer over night.  It’s a process that takes time, but if you start using the crucial strategies listed below with persistence and discipline, you can become a person of influence:

  1. Focus

When trying to become an influencer, don’t try to take on a topic too broad; you won’t be as effective, and you’ll quickly get overwhelmed.  Instead, narrow your focus to a specific niche and stay passionate about that target.  Find the top sites on that niche topic and bookmark them.  Follow influencers relevant to your field on Twitter, and pay attention to hashtags around important related content.  Attend events that pertain to your niche and network with those in attendance.

  1. Speak Up

This part is the meat and potatoes of being an influencer.  If you don’t make yourself heard, people won’t know about you, and you can’t gain influence.  Those who are shy or nervous might have a hard time with this step, but voicing your opinion publicly gets easier with time and practice.  Just be mindful of the audience that you are speaking to, and have confidence in yourself.

  1. Develop the Material

When creating your content, you want to grab your audience’s attention ASAP, so hook them right from the beginning.  Tell stories that are meaningful and will resonate with them, stories that will be on their mind long after they’ve read them.  Your content doesn’t always have to be extremely long; you can switch it up and write shorter pieces from time to time.  But each time you write or give a speech, you should have a powerful takeaway for your audience.  This keeps them coming back for more and makes them want to share your material.

  1. Interact and Engage

Interact with other influencers in your niche.  Comment on their posts, ask them questions, and respond to the questions and comments you receive from your own posts.  Be an active listener and show your audience that you value their opinion.  Not only will you learn a lot by engaging with other influencers in your niche and the people in your audience, you’ll also establish yourself as someone who cares.

  1. Be Okay with Mistakes

If you want to build a strong influence, there’s something important you should know right from the get go:  you will make mistakes along the way.  You shouldn’t let that deter you though, because those mistakes (provided you learn from them) pave the way for your successes.  With that in mind, don’t get too hung up on doing the wrong thing.  Adopt the growth mindset, which focuses on failure as part of the learning and growing process.  And remember the wise words of Winston Churchill, who said “success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

So seize the day and take a step towards becoming a better influencer.  You have nothing to lose if you do, but some great opportunities just might pass you by if you don’t.
Alicia works for an Internet marketing company and blogs in her free time at MarCom Land. Her work has been published by the Association for Business Communication, Business Insider, and Spin Sucks.