Today I'm going to give you actionable ideas of how to become an Online Influencer - a buzzphrase that is probably going to take over the world during 2014.
What is an Online Influencer?
Online Influencers usually are professionals that live and breath via their over-populated social accounts, while focusing on very specific niches. They can coin terms, spread news like fire and INFLUENCE other people's opinions.
An example of an Online Influencer in the niche of Online Marketing would be the facsinating Neil Patel, founder of CrazyEGG and KISSmetrics which you probalby know. A Growth-Hacking Influencer must be Sean Ellis, the dude in charge of Dropbox's historical viral spread. Another thought-leader you might know is Hillel Fuldz, marketer of famous Apps and an author for Mashable, GigaOM and Huffington Post.
The number of companies that are implementing growth hacking techniques is increasing exponentially. In this growth hacking inspirational article, Robbie Richard uncovers the growth hacking strategies and techniques used by 77 of the most successful companies on the planet to acquire their first customers and generate quick traction in the market.
So one of the most famous marketing tactics today would have to be "Targeting Influencers". You see this everywhere; as a tactic of getting people to notice your product, as a strategy of getting your app reviewed, trying to piggyback the influencer's crowd in order to win some extra social signals on your own content... and the list goes on.
Why fight so hard to win the graces of an already-influencer, if you can actually become one yourself? Or at least, improve your "influential" status right now?
Actually, according to Google Trends, long tail keywords such as "How To Become An Influencer" were one of 2013's most trending topics.
And searching for that keyword brings quite an impressive amount of search results - after all, it's a long-tail keyword!
Problem is that most of the posts out there about becoming an Online Influencer are pure rubbish. Here are some important websites that will really let you down when trying to instruct you about becoming an influencer:
"You must create content" - Mashable. (DUH!)
"Twitter is a good distribution channel" - Forbes. (No joking?)
"Update your social networks regularely" -SalesForce blog...
Truth is, there are REAL things you should know in order to become an online influencer. Probably dozens of them.
Today I will be discussing the 3 of them which I like best, and they actually worked for me and helped me boost my growth-hacking related following circle to 3,350 loyal followers.
#1: Replace Email With Twitter
Yup, Out with the Gmail, In with the Twitter.
If you are performing a blogger outreach for some manner - whether to guest post or to get a product reviewed by them - and you are doing this just via email...
...You are actually throwing about 30-50 Twitter followers to the TRASH CAN with each email you send out.
That is, if you know how to use hashtags of course.
When I wanted our educational post about 'Growth Hacking 101' to be linked from KISSmetrics' resource page about Growth Hacking - I could have old-fashionly EMAIL them, but instead these 3 steps took place:
Step #1: Found the post author on Twitter and followed him, he followed me back.
Step #2: Tweeted him my post and suggested to be added to their resource page.
Step #3: Less than 24 hours later...
That's not all.
Do you want to ask a question about a product you are using? Don't email them - TWEET THEM!
Not a good enough example for you?
How do you like THEM apples:
The beauty is that with Twitter, the "cold email" barrier doesn't exist.
I could go on and on, but you get the picture - Replace EMAIL with TWITTER - and thank me later.
#2: Be Worthy Of Wikipedia
Influencers get mentioned in Wikipedia pages, A LOT, as trustworthy resources.
Now, forget about everything you have read in the blogosphere about using Wikipedia for Link Building. First off, Link building is DEAD. Second, the links are NoFollowed.
P.S - if your'e already doing Wikipedia editing for SEO purposes, here's a hint: did you know that Comedy Central gets 100,000 unique visitors a month from Wikipedia references alone?
Wikipedia references are a strategy of its own, but generally each and every one of you could just stop by at a random page and request for edits.
Thing is, there are real life editors behind the screens that monitor and reject/accept each and every edit - with only about 10% chance of getting accepted.
So, just like with any other positive tactic, the lovely guys at the SEO community try to manipulate it over and over, until the good ones remain out as well (and the bad ones get IP-Banned from Wikipedia).
Here's what you need to do:
Step #1: Write educational content, bringing something new to the world, perhaps even coining a new term.
Step#2: Wait for Google to index it, spread your educational piece around Google+ communities, Twitter and so on to gather social shares.
Step #3: Seek the most relevant and focused Wikipedia page that shares the same topic with your educational piece.
Step #4: Either find a line, or add a line that talks about your idea, then use your idea as the reference to prove it.
Wikipedia is not an intuitive platform whatsoever, so let me help you by providing you with this code:
<ref>Your Last Name, Your First Name (Date Of Publishing Your Piece). [http://www.yoursite.com/yourpiece/ "Piece Title"], Your Site Name.</ref>
Just copy that to the end of the argument that you wish to support with your article. There is a grace period of about 2 days, meaning if after 48 hours you can refresh the page and still see your addition, then you are in for good.
When we realized that our "Growth Hacking 101" is worthy of Wikipedia, we simply edited the Growth Hacking page on Wikipedia and added our post as a resource...
...And that resource drives us 50-60 visitors a day, not to mention potential clients that see us an authority in the Growth Hacking niche.
Can you imagine the amounts of people that would consider us Growth-Hacking influencers if we had the will or power to be mentioned in 30 Wikipedia pages instead of 1?
#Protip: if you want to find DEAD wikipedia links and place your link instead of them, use this Google Operator:
site:wikipedia.org insert keyword “dead link”
#3: DARE (AND DARE AGAIN) WHEN APPROACHING BIG BLOGS
If you don't think much of yourself, NO ONE is going to think anything of you.
This is true in real life, and VERY true in the online arena.
What's a good example of daring, you ask? Well, let's talk about Guest Posts. Guest posts are a slippery slope and have the potential of triggering Google penalties during 2014,
Between us, the only reason you have never guest posted for major outlets, and just mediocre ones that are Penguin-Happy - is that you don't think you can.
I wrote a guest article for ReadWriteWeb (link) and over the past year have seen hundreds of super-targeted users and a bunch of very serious leads. How come I did it and you haven't? Because YOU THINK YOU CAN'T.
Contributing to top tier magazines can boost your thought leadership in half a sec. Here is the roadmap of accomplishing it.
Phase (a): Partner with a 2nd Tier blog.
That blog should have thousands of social followers - REAL and ENGAGED ones - but not in the level of big magazines like ReadWriteWeb.
The content is real and productive, each article is exposed to lots of readers - and the Editor is open for suggestions.
My favorite 2nd Tier blogs are KISSmetrics, HubSpot, Unbounce and Buffer.
(I wouldn't want to spam this post with external links, so just google them or type them directly in your browser).
In this strategy, you are to offer them something they can't refuse - to get quick and safe access to writing content for them.
My favorite ideas are:
Idea #1: Offer them a FREE service. If you'll offer such a blog to run an SEO audit at your own time and expense - they might dig you and accept your column.
Idea #2: Offer to be a MONTHLY writer, not a one-off. They will respect you much more if your'e not writing just for the sake of 1 poor backlink.
Idea #3: Volunteer to EDIT some of the blog posts. If your'e an assistant-Editor, your'e surely going to be able to get your own content accepted.
Don't underestimate this step; a large portion of Editors in top tier sites will want to see an example of a great article written by you and published in a famous blog.
Phase (b): Create a life-changing piece of content.
Now that you have one (or more) good pieces of content published in well-known 2nd tier blogs, you need to start producing your technology-related post that you think can get accepted to a Magazine.
Don't write thinking "I'll just jot this off, this ain't gonna work anyway..."
...Because it is going to work ONLY if your post is friggin' amazing.
Phase (c): DARE AND OUTREACH!
This is where you really need to grow a sack down there (pardon my foul language).
First off, submit your magnificant post to a top tier magazine that allows AUTOMATIC submissions. For example, ReadWriteWeb's submission page is here.
If the first outlet declines your post, don't argue or try to negotiate - the Editors in the big sites deal with 30-100 guest posts a DAY and you'll just walk right into their ignore list.
If RWW declines your post, I would try the next big magazine that openly accepts guest posts: GigaOM.
If they decline, move on to Huffington Post or any other big magazine that until now you have only dreamed of contributing to.
Phase (d): Follow-Up and Kiss-Ass
Wait, did I just say Kiss-Ass?
Yup, I did.
You see, there's a need for you to stand out from the crowd. The editors in the magazines see lots of awesome content, but choose only 5-10% of it.
What you should do is FOLLOW the editor on Twitter, TELL him you did so and engage with him while he is making up is mind.
Phase (e): Phase (b).
If you followed each in every step, especially the parts of writing an overwhelming article and not giving up on it, you have probably nailed your own author page in one of the major websites.
Your adventure of becoming an Online Influencer isn't finished, it's just getting started. Show the next big magazine how well your post did in their competitor's space - and you'll be in there in no-time!
Being a Thought Leader or an Online Influencer is hard. It requires the only thing that you cannot completely control; other people's love and loyalty.
But if your'e good enough and following the right steps, you will eventually get there.
Just a matter of time.
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