I was at the Social Media Marketing World conference when software provider Onalytica published its “Top 100 #ContentMarketing Thought Leaders” list.
The timing of the list’s release surely wasn’t coincidental. A huge number of the people on it were rubbing elbows and clinking glasses at the San Diego event.
Interestingly, a good many booth sponsors at the event were in the influencer business. That is, they offer products and services to help brands connect with influencers. Onalytica was not among them. However, they made their presence known by publishing their list of leaders, which of course, had great potential to inspire a lot of buzz and social sharing from the people it included.
Whether it worked or not, I’m not sure. It got my attention. However, the show was jam-packed and fast-paced, so beside a few tweets, I didn’t dwell on it any further.
But when I got back to my office, I got an idea.
Influential people are your ticket to great influence.
I took a hard look at that list and wondered: how did these people manage to become influential thought leaders? My next thought: I should simply ask them.
So I emailed the ones I had built relationships with and asked them to participate in a roundup that would become an infographic. I simply explained the graphic I had in mind and asked for a tip they could offer to those who wanted to learn how to build their influence by employing influencer marketing tactics.
I was thrilled with the responses I received and I know you’ll learn something from the collection of ideas in the infographic below, where I believe three themes emerged.
Connect with influencers.
Andy Crestodina’s (@crestodina) tip had to go first because I’ve had more success with the idea he shared than any other. In fact, if I were to have contributed an idea to the collection, it would have echoed my friend Andy who stressed the importance of actually meeting people.
Sure, social media is the great accelerator for influencer marketing. Networking effectively via social networks will serve you well before and after the handshake, but it’ll never substitute for the real thing: meeting, talking, and making a real face-to-face connection. Heidi Cohen (@heidicohen) concurs. She speaks of the P2P dynamic.
Andy simply said, “Go to conferences.” Show up where the influential people are. You can apply his tip to any kind of marketing in any type of market. Join the party. Step into the in crowd. Converse.
Collaborate with influencers.
Lee Odden (@leeodden), who also chipped-in a great tip, delivered a wonderful session at Social Media Marketing World where he spoke to the power of co-creation. Lee talked at length about how he’s collaborated with influential people to increase the visibility of his company’s content. His company, TopRank Marketing, has done the same for numerous brands with an emphasis on creating roundup style eBooks featuring lessons from presenters at industry events. He shared many examples.
Emily Bacheller did an excellent job of detailing Lee’s approach in her post “How Content Plus an Influencer Network Can Grow Your Business.”
It’s no coincidence Lee showed the audience “The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn.” It’s also no coincidence its author is Jason Miller (@JasonMillerCA) of LinkedIn. Nor is it a coincidence Jason contributed to the infographic with a tip on “adding influencers to your content initiatives.”
You sense a circle developing here? This is a group of people who are connecting, collaborating, and benefiting from building links and sharing wisdom.
Contribute to the influencer’s cause.
The idea of reciprocity became the infographic’s top theme. But it’s more than that. I believe it’s the theme of social media itself. It’s the prevalent theme of content marketing. It’s the core idea of Jay Baer’s (@jaybaer) landmark book “Youtility.”
It’s the most powerful principle of persuasion, so it’s no wonder it shines through here. I won’t list which influential marketers spoke to it because I won’t get everyone in (or I’d leave some contributors out).
Have a look for yourself. All 22 marketing professionals added something profound and useful. I thank each one for helping make this infographic so fun and informative. I owe y’all one.
About the Author: Barry Feldman operates Feldman Creative and provides clients content marketing strategies that rock and creative that rolls. Barry has recently been named a Top 40 Digital Strategist by Online Marketing Institute and one of 25 Social Media Marketing Experts You Need to Know by LinkedIn. Visit Feldman Creative and his blog, The Point.