An influencer is an individual who people look up to and listen to for advice about their career. Influencers in the self-publishing sphere are the podcasters, the course creators, and the authors who spend their time educating others about how to succeed in the indie market. When you become an influencer yourself, you’re able to make greater connections and take further leaps ahead in your career. Most people in self-publishing know influencers like Johnny B. Truant and Joanna Penn because their content has had a major impact on thousands of indie authors. These well-known individuals have reaped the rewards of their efforts in book sales, speaking engagements, and more.
Becoming an influencer yourself is within your reach. It will take a lot of hard work, but if you go about it the right way, then you’ll be able to join the club as well. Here are five things you didn’t know about becoming an influencer:
1. It’s a Lot of Work
One of the things that turns you into an influencer is the creation of regular content. Making content every day or every week takes a significant time commitment. It requires even more effort and research to make the content worthwhile so it stands out from the crowd.
For example, Simon Whistler of the Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast has conducted nearly 100 weeks in a row of interview podcasts. While he’s optimized the process over time, he’s still puts in several hours a week of research, interviewing, and editing the content. If you’re not willing to put in hundreds of hours over the course of a year or two, then you probably aren’t going to reach the heights of other influencers in either the self-publishing market or in your own genre.
2. You Provide More Than a Service
In part four of the author marketing series, we talked about the need to provide a service to other authors and influencers. Becoming an influencer on your own is like taking a large leap forward. Instead of just providing something for a few key people, you’re making yourself available for hundreds to thousands of readers or listeners. The quality of what you provide will determine whether or not you become a full-fledged influencer.
The Sell More Books Show is a relative newcomer to the self-publishing podcast world. Many shows have come and gone after trying to replicate the success of The Creative Penn and the Self-Publishing Podcast. The Sell More Books Show sought to provide a different kind of value to indie authors. By providing fresh, newsworthy content every single week, the show has been able to hold its own and find new followers in what could be considered a crowded field. Your content needs to help people, and the more people you can help, the bigger your platform can become.
3. Podcasts and Videos Build Stronger Bonds
We talk a lot about the importance of podcasts here on the Author Marketing Institute. There are few platforms that allow you to make as direct a connection with fans as regular audio and video content can. The reason podcasts can achieve this is because there is less distance between the show creator and the show consumer. When people hear your voice or see your face they feel like they know you better than someone whose words they’ve just read on the page.
You want to place as little distance between you and your listeners or watchers as possible. The most successful influencers have the confidence they need to put themselves out there. Mustering up this intestinal fortitude is a challenge for an introverted author, but people don’t want to hear a radio guy or an orator. They want someone they can relate to. As long as you’re honest with your followers, you shouldn’t have any trouble showing people who you really are.
4. You’ll Become Someone People Want to Meet
Building an influencer platform seems like it takes forever. You’ll probably find yourself checking your stats daily to see how many new people you’ve picked up along the way. Once you’ve put in a few months to a year of work, you’ll start to get a number of fans you can get excited about. These are the kind of people who’ll want to meet up with you and get to know you better. It’s a good idea to connect with these fans in whatever way you can to keep them fired up about your platform.
In the early stages of building your influence, fans are the ones who will review you on iTunes and they’ll share your show with their friends. You may get a bigger boost from having influencers talk about your program later on, but fan excitement is publicity you shouldn’t ignore. Spend time every week interacting with your fans and you’ll find your platform growing faster than you ever expected.
5. Your Net of Connections Becomes Wider
If you keep your content regular and better than almost anything else out there, then you’ll make more than new fans, you’ll get other influencers on board. Big time authors are always looking to share content that will help their followers. When you create something that good, you’re bound to find authors with their own fans who are more than willing to spread the word.
Publicity isn’t the only potential benefit of these new relationships. As you meet other influencers, you’ll learn more and people will want to share knowledge directly with you. It’s kind of like an inner circle thing where you get to find things out before most of the rest of the industry. This is something you need to take full advantage of. When you learn about a new publishing feature or a better method for building your email list, you should put it into practice right away. After that, you can share your results with your content-hungry followers.
Building Your Influence Takes Time
Creating your influencer platform is something that comes with a major time commitment. You can’t just expect to put together five to 10 episodes and make a killing. It takes months if not years to grow your following as wide as possible. Set aside one to three hours every week to make platform-building a priority. It’s an investment, and the people who spend the necessary time on this process are the ones who will grow their following over time.