THE BLOG
02/04/2013 01:50 pm ET Updated Apr 06, 2013

5 Tips on How to Be an Influencer

It's only a matter of time before influence has a direct affect on your career opportunities, career autonomy, wealth, respect and success.

The time to build a Social ID is now. We're not far from the time brands and organizations alike will wake up to the power of influencer engagement. And influencer engagement is not just an opportunity for marketers who want to get the word out about their products and services, it's an even bigger opportunity for you. With online influence you might receive one or more of the following: invitations to exclusive events, exotic trips, access to pre-released media/entertainment, sponsorship money...even donations to your favorite charity. Contrary to the marketing campaigns of yore influencer engagement is a REAL thing.

Unlike the Superbowl this weekend influence is not something you can "win" or "lose"--it's more of a journey. Today I set you out on your own path of influence. Here are my five tips!

Step 1. Focus. In order to become an influencer you need to focus on a key area. It's in your best interest to get laser focused on a niche and become the known expert on that niche. People need to know your name and your face--and associate it with that niche. Bookmark the top blogs on that niche topic. Follow relevant influencers on twitter and the hashtags around key related topics. Attend events and get involved locally. The key here is to pick one area and focus on it.

Step 2. Find your voice. For those of you who hate public speaking, I have bad news for you--it's time for you to put on your big girl pants and go up to the mic. The good news is--it's much easier to do this online than it is offline. You can edit! The truth is the more you publicly vocalize your opinion the easier it . While finding your voice may take some time, it will eventually happen. If you're unsure on how to find a charismatic voice, the following attributes are generally those of charismatic people--I find these attributes (taken from O Magazine) are relevant to you.

A. Expressiveness (a talent for spontaneously striking up conversations and easily conveying feelings).
B. Control (the ability to fine-tine your persona to fit the mood and social makeup of any group).
C. Sensitivity (a gift for listening and sussing out other people's mind-sets).

Step 3. Create content. Once you've found your voice, now is the time to create shareable material. If you're like me you'll get your best ideas when not at your computer--you're jogging, taking a shower or playing with your dog. You don't always need to be profound but you do need to say something meaningful. Keep in mind meaningful doesn't necessarily mean lengthy. Sometimes you will write a little, sometimes you will write a lot. People don't generally read to the end of a blog. Learn to tell stories that are engaging out the gate. They've got to open with a bang--a hook. Don't forget to be creative about it--make cartoons, podcasts, short films, whatever you like. You need to make content that will resonate with people on a gut level--not just me too content. Choose topics that are ever-green, not just news from the last 24 hours. You will be able to reuse that timeless content when you're too busy to write.

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The key with content is consistency particularly around your niche topic. Keywords and categories matter. When you do write be mindful of SEO. By writing a lot of content around a key topic--that's tagged correctly--you will greatly improve your SEO rank. Don't be an automaton who writes purely for SEO, but be considerate of the Google algorithm. That means play nice with Google products--post your content in Google+. Post to ALL of your social networks.

Step 4. Engage. Perhaps you're rolling your eyes with the overuse of this word, but it's no joke. You need to make yourself engaging and take a reminder course in the art of listening. There's something very attractive about people who ask listen and ask questions--mostly because most people don't do it. People who incessantly talk about themselves and the minutiae in their life are irritating. If you're guilty of this--not to worry--we've all gotten too wrapped up in our own problems and stuck in our heads--but don't make a habit of it. That's what therapists are for. Social media is NOT therapy. This stuff stays on the web FOREVER--make sure you'd be willing to say whatever you're writing to a room of people. Considering this room full of people on the web, be mindful of your engagement. Don't "sing in the shower" by looking at your own content and social profiles repeatedly. Life is more fun by singing with other people out in the world.

Step 5. Make mistakes and get back up. If you aren't ok with failure and rejection, creating an influential social presence isn't for you. The beauty of the web is the ease with which you can try again. For most successful people it's rarely the first attempt they "make it big." Building influence takes time. You'll have to be ok with putting yourself out there and losing a little control. According to Amy Jo Martin, author of the book Renegades Write the Rules, when Kobe Bryant set up his twitter account and within 30 minutes he had 60,000 followers. He immediately got cold feet and deleted it. Don't miss this shot. Over time you will grow thick skin.

Be on the frontlines of this influence thing. It's a real thing, not to be taken lightly. Eventually when you're winning the influence game you'll feel very glad you stuck with it.

Those are my five tips. What influence tips do you have? Please feel free to share in the comments section below.