Influencer marketing is now growing faster than digital marketing, according to research from Quora.
So it probably comes as no surprise that many people are now scrambling to become digital influencers -- looking to stake a claim and reap the benefits that come along with being a digital influencer.
But how, exactly, do you do that? How do you stand out and get seen when every day there are 2.7 million blog posts published and 432,000 hours worth of video uploaded to Youtube? When you add up all of the posts, pins, tweets and Facebook live videos, that's a mind-boggling amount of content created and shared each day.
Still, becoming a digital influencer is possible. But you have to have a strategy, and you need to work it daily.
I write from personal experience: Three years ago, I was a complete unknown. Now, I have a half million digital followers. I was selected as an Inc. Top 100 Leadership Expert and speaker. I have a top-ranked leadership blog. And I was one of the "Top 241 Push Button Influencers" in 2016.
Here are the five things that helped take me from obscurity to digital influencer which will also help you on your journey.
1. Create your own tribe.
It doesn't matter how much content you create and share; if you don't have a tribe of your own, that content of yours is just never going to get seen.
You can't rely on organic audience growth, either, not unless you're already famous. You have to build your own following. You have to find people interested in your area of expertise, in the niche in which you want to become an influencer, and connect with them.
If you're building a Twitter following, follow people in your target audience so that if your profile and content resonate, they will follow you back. The same goes for Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin.
What's more, you have to do all this on a daily basis. You have to be relentless about building your following until you get to that point where organic growth kicks in; and even then, I would continue building it.
That is what has allowed me to create a following of half a million in just three years.
2. Share strong, relevant and resonating content regularly.
Building a tribe is fairly easy. However, once you've gotten their attention, you need to focus on keeping it, and the best way to do that is by sharing relevant content that resonates with them.
There is so much competition for their attention that you need to be doing this on a daily basis. It doesn't have to be 100 percent your content either. You can curate and share good content produced by others as long as it's relevant and resonates with your audience.
However, if you want to be recognized as an expert, you have to produce your own content, too. This can be in the form of videos, podcasts, memes and of course blogs, and don't forget you can repurpose one piece of content as video, audio and written content, to treble your output.
Blogs are a great way to show and share your knowledge: In the past three years, I have written more than 1,000 blogs on leadership and business. I appreciate that that sounds like a lot, but it's only one blog a day.
You might be thinking that writing a blog a day is too much, but the stats show that blogs that post daily get five times the amount of traffic than those that post less frequently. The more content you create, the more influence you generate.
3. Share, share and share again!
Once you've created your content, don't just post it on your blog and hope that people will come. They won't!
We are in a push economy; you need to be sharing your content, tweeting it, posting it and pinning it. And don't just share it once. The majority of posts/tweets, etc., get seen by only a fraction of your tribe. You will be very lucky if more than 3 percent of your tribe sees any specific post or tweet.
So, use tools like Hootsuite and Social Jukebox to share your content regularly. When you have a large enough tribe that you are continually building, your old content will always be new to someone, so consider re-sharing it.
If your audience can be found on linkedin, then look for groups where you can share your content. The Harvard Business Review LinkedIn group has 1.3 million members. Using groups like that can really help increase your reach and visibility.
The more times you share your content, the greater the number of people who will see it.
4. Leverage other large platforms.
Once you have started to build influence, and increased your authority and credibility, it's time to start to contribute on other platforms.
While it's easy to build an audience of your own, why not benefit from audiences that others have built as well? Content is king, and if you have a good reputation and good content, you will always find an audience for your content.
Find out who the other influencers are in your niche; then ask to become guests on their podcasts, or offer to write guest posts.
Build a portfolio of work on other platforms, then look to pitch the likes of Entrepreneur, Inc., Fast Company, Success or whichever of the larger platforms best aligns with your expertise.
Not only will this allow you to be seen by those publications' networks, you may then be seen elsewhere and create even more visibility. Posting on large platforms has resulted in my work being translated into 20 different languages, and shared on platforms such as the Chicago Tribune, Business Insider, Fortune and Fox News, among others.
5. Engage, engage, engage.
It's all about the engagement. Having people that read your stuff is great, but an engaged audience is what really gives you influence.
Engagement is a two-way street and if you don't engage with people who reach out, either through comments and questions, then they will quickly become less engaged.
On many of the social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, there are algorithms which control how many people see your posts and tweets; and these analytics are all positively impacted by engagement.
Additionally, people are more likely to engage with Influencers who they see engaging with their audiences.
Engagement is win-win. It helps more people see your content and encourages more people to engage, all of which increases your reach and influence.
If you want to become a digital influencer, it is possible. But you need a plan, and you need to work it every day.
The competition is fierce. But there is a never-ending demand for great content, and if you can create that and build an audience, then you can leverage your expertise to gain access to the large platforms, all of which will help you become a digital influencer in your own right.