The easiest way to become an influencer as a consultant is by picking a super small, niche market, becoming a ‘Consulting Niche Celebrity’ (https://getonpodcasts.wpengine.com/becoming-a-consulting-niche-celebrity/), and then expanding over time.
First, what the hell is an influencer?
Google’s knowledge box tells me that an Influencer is:
Someone with an audience and who has the power to affect purchasing decisions because of their authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with their audience. Someone who has a following in a particular niche.
Think “Instagrammers with a big following” or “People with an email list you read regularly.” Things like that.
Becoming an influencer is an excellent goal for every single freelancer and consultant.
I’m a big fan of this approach. Becoming a ‘Consulting Niche Celebrity’ is the Top Tier™ of Marketing and Personal Branding for consultants.
Let’s say you’ve embraced the idea of Personality Powered Marketing/Influencer Marketing. You want to become an influencer.
The reason why I say do not focus on becoming an influencer in the short- or medium-term?
It’s all (ALL!) an audience/numbers game.
You’re an influencer when you have an audience and a platform.
No audience? You’re not an influencer.
To become an influencer, you need to focus on ‘stacking the bricks’ and building an audience (Ideally? An audience as a mailing list.)
Building a mailing list gives you an audience and a platform. It’s the long game (seriously: it is a long-game play), and it works (seriously: it works very well).
There are shortcuts. I’ve yet to see more than a handful that meets the requirements of the Project Design Tetrahedron:
- Predictable Results
How can you efficiently move from freelancer to influencer? It takes time.
The best path I’ve seen from freelancer to influencer is this:
First, pick a specific target market (even if you’re iterating through different target markets over time) to focus your marketing.
Picking a target market is an exercise to make it easier for you to know what opportunities to focus on.
If you’re trying to reach Shopify Store Owners and you have an opportunity to reach WordPress Plugin Developers, you’ll know to say
> No, that is not a market I am looking to reach, thank you for the opportunity. I must pass at this time.
Then, start building your email list.
Work on growing your email list for the next 2-5+ years. Building your email list is now the central focus of your business.
We just had a great ‘Lunch and Learn’ presentation on going form 0 to 200 email subscribers for Freelance Camp community members. All presentations are saved and shared for new members to watch and dig into with a https://freelance.campmembership.
Then, Write. Write consistently.
Write in service of your current target market. Produce content. More content. Share your views on topics. Curate your thoughts from months of writing and discover where you have strong opinions.
Ship a small, initial, self-published book for your target market.
Essentially, a piece of 10x content (https://moz.com/blog/how-to-create-10x-content-whiteboard-friday) as a PDF book.
The goal is demonstrating that you a lot about this topic and are an authority vis a vis the book you wrote on this topic.
You goal isn’t to make money with this book. (Here’s a personal reference article of mine on how to ‘Write Your Book’ http://getonpodcasts.wpengine.com/write-your-book).
Pause to congratulate yourself!
Congratulations! You’ve picked a target market, you’ve started building an email list, you’ve written content for your target market, you’ve discovered your strong opinions, and you’ve shipped your lean self-published book.
You are awesome.
Do a Podcast Tour
Use your email list, existing content, and book as leverage for why you’re relevant to be a guest on podcasts that your target market listens to. Do a podcast tour. Guest on 6-12+ podcasts. Grow your email list.
Rinse and repeat.
Each time you go through this cycle, you get more efficient and see the easy wins within it, and grow your audience. Even if your change target markets/niches, you get to take your content, authority, and email list with you. That’s a huge advantage.
Building an audience and becoming an influencer takes time.
Becoming an influencer as a consultant is very much doable as a medium- or long-term goal.
Picking a Super Narrow Target Market or Niche is a powerful additive when you have a goal of becoming an influencer.
It shrinks the size of the population you want to recognize you as an influencer.
Again, it’s a numbers game. When you pick a specific, narrow target market or niche you’re shrinking the size of the audience you need to grow.
Let’s say you want to be seen as as an authority in the Shopify Ecommerce space. There are 800,000+ Shopify stores.
That’s a ton.
Let’s say you decide you want to pick a narrow target market or niche to focus on.
Shopify Stores selling CBD Dog Treats to help Dog Anxiety.
Boom. Narrow niche. (And look at the Shopify stores in that niche that we can find with a quick Google search: https://www.google.com/searchq=”powered+by+shopify”+”cbd”+”dog+treats”).
If you pick a super narrow niche, you’re choosing a ‘smaller pool’ to become an influencer in. You’re going from 800,000+ potential clients and people you’re looking to reach to a much smaller sub-section of that target market.
Because this is a smaller target market, you can more easily become an influencer.
Then, iterate through similar, related target markets and build up your status as an influencer.
You started with “CBD Dog Treats to help Dog Anxiety.”
From there, maybe you go a little broader and say “I’m working with Shopify stores selling products to calm dog anxiety.”
(Hey, look at the Shopify stores we can find within that niche: https://www.google.com/search?q=”powered+by+shopify”+”dog+anxiety”+%28″medication”+OR+”relief”%29).
What do you do then?
- Write content.
- Get more traffic.
- Grow your email list.
- Create relationships with people in your target market
- Rinse, repeat.
- Chop wood, carry water.
- Play the long game.