It's All About The Tastemakers: How To Become An Influencer In Your Industry

by Rayyan Islam

Imagine you have an amazing startup with a catchy name. Your team is solid, your product is functional and you’re starting to attract customers.

But, one thing is missing. You aren’t really getting the buzz you anticipated. One of the hardest things with which a startup founder struggles is garnering public attention for the venture. It’s important to build credibility by creating compelling content and engaging with the community.

So, become an authority in your sector and you will see improvements in your job, your startup and your life — you will become an influencer.

How does one become an authority?

Authority comes from credible content.

There are producers of content and consumers of content. Strive to be a producer, as over time, the production of your content, combined with your experiences, relationships, networks and achievements will help grow your credibility, and thus, make you a potential authority figure.

Content + Credibility = Authority

We naturally decide what information to trust based both on content and credibility.

-You build credibility over time, based on your actions.

-Increasingly, your content is judged on its own merits.

-If you keep generating good content, you build credibility.

James Altucher is an example of a true influencer as a prolific contributing writer on TechCrunchPaul Graham is yet another example, as his posts usually top Hacker News. These two guys are powerhouses swimming in a pool of nobodies – so many contributing writers are people whose names you’ve probably never heard. But through practice and continuous content, you can get to a place of recognition, too.

The beauty is: No experience is necessary.

All you have to do is simply start; check out some ways to do it:

-Write a roundup of rapidly changing topics.

-Boil down a complex topic to easily digestible bullets.

-Write a “Beginner’s Guide To…”

-Interview someone from the space.

Creating compelling content

The first step in creating compelling content is to know your audience and what it desires. Think about the things you like and about what you’d like to write. Then, take a step back and think about the types of people who will likely read and view your content. Think about how they think, their behaviors, their careers and their lifestyles. Write it down so you can internalize your audience and its desires.

Start developing a feel for the conversation.

Regularly read articles from blogs, news sources and magazines that are relevant to your industry or vertical of information.

Practice makes perfect. Continue to post. Post early, and post often.

You may think that you’re not great or that you’re not a professional. But you don’t necessarily have to be great or be a great professional; the only thing that matters is that you recognize you have a good taste and a strong vision.

Just a few months ago, before I was taking my writing seriously, I was having similar thoughts. I was trying to improve my writing abilities, as well as work with creative content tools like Adobe Photoshop and After Effects. But I felt frustrated that I couldn’t seem to reach the caliber of work that “professionals” can achieve. But a friend whom I respect told me to stop worrying, that I have taste and that I need to continue to produce.

Develop a feel for the conversation.

Read up on other blogs, online magazines and news portals to assess and to internalize the flow and feel of the conversation.

Let search and social elements work for you.

Search and social elements fundamentally changed the way information spreads and how we process it. Not long ago, it was impossible to disseminate content and gain a following without PR agencies and their pricey fees. Now, a lot of this is possible through continuous, organic and compelling content.

Search: Make something people want

Create relevant, useful content.

Social: Make something people want to share

Curating sharable content is the best way to create Klout for yourself, your brand and your platform. Look through portals that present viral content to get examples and understand what makes the content so sharable.

Using these tips, you can effectively start to build authority in your space. If you are an entrepreneur, you can build an influence and a following long before you even have a product. You can generate interviews with key people in your industry, intelligently address the problems within the industry, and generate content that will resonate with like-minded individuals. This provides a fantastic foundation for a startups or products that you may launch later.

Furthermore, as an investor, it’s important to present yourself as a knowledgeable individual in terms of scaling businesses, building teams, financial management and industry expertise. Having influence and establishing yourself as an authority can pay dividends in whatever you may be doing, whether you’re an artist, a consultant, a musician or a traveler. Use it to your advantage.

Building yourself to be an authority — like everything else worth pursuing in life — takes hard work and dedication. Successful influencers publish all the time. So again, post early and post often.

Actively capture ideas and keep a log of them. Throughout the day, revisit these ideas and continually add notes. When you’re ready to write, just develop the thought instead of suffering from writer's block as you miserably "search" for an idea. Get out there and start establishing yourself as an authority and an influencer in your industry.

Photo credit: WENN