How to become an influencer in 7 simple steps

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The 3-step system I used to make 7-figures of Affiliate Commissions in my first 3 years as an affiliate marketer.

We’ve all heard the buzz about influencer marketing over the past few years. It’s the fastest growing online consumer acquisition channel. Businesses are increasing their influencer marketing budgets year after year. More opportunities are arising for regular bloggers or social media personalities to earn money online. People just don’t know how to become an influencer.

It’s true, just about anyone can become a successful influencer promoting brands and products, but only if they follow the right steps for success:

How to become an influencer in 7 simple steps

Step 1: Choose your niche

The blogosphere and social media are already oversaturated with generalists. If you want to become a successful influencer, you shouldn’t focus on finding a niche you’re passionate about, but rather a niche topic that you can really make your own.

That means don’t become a gaming blogger, become a VR gaming blogger. Don’t create an Instagram profile around fitness and diet tips, focus on something specific, like Paleo or Fruitarianism. Identify a sub niche that you’re passionate about and build your influencer persona around that.

And don’t worry, the sub-niche you pick doesn’t have to be the end-all of your influencer career. You’ll start out as a micro-influencer and grow from there.

Don’t let the name fool you. Micro-influencers are actually the most powerful kind of influencer out there. Research has shown an interesting trend: The more followers you have, the less engagement you get:

Once you grow your following and fame, you’ll be successful enough to cover all sorts of related topics from your blog and/or social profiles. You just can’t get that kind of traction with a generalist niche from day one.

Step 2: Develop a USP

Once you’ve picked your niche, the next step is to define your unique selling proposition (USP). No, you’re not selling any products as of yet, but you are selling yourself. So you need to find a way to stand out from all the other Fruitarianism bloggers out there (really).

Start by doing some reconnaissance into everyone else who’s an influencer in your niche. What could you do to make yourself stand out from their personas, content strategy, etc? Maybe you discover there’s zero Fruitarianism podcasts on the web. That could be your USP. Or maybe none of the other VR gaming bloggers invite guest hosts to try out new games on their YouTube channel. That’s another USP you can offer.

Figure out a way to offer value to your target audience in a way none of your competitors are.

Step 3: Choose your channels

It’s rare to find a successful Instagram influencer who only has a presence on Instagram. Most influencers have a social presence on several channels, maybe even a blog and a following on YouTube.

As influencer marketing becomes even more popular, most brands will expect you to have a strong presence on several channels. Influencer marketing platform Onalytica anticipates brands will start evaluating potential influencers by weighting their influence across several channels:

While it’s not possible for you to build and maintain a presence on every relevant platform, that doesn’t mean you should put all your eggs in one basket. Chose a few key channels to work with in the beginning to drive more traffic and interest for your main gig, whether it be your blog, Instagram, YouTube, etc.

Step 4: Develop your content strategy

This is the biggest step you’ll take to becoming a successful influencer, and it’s one that never ends. You need to create great engaging content that helps shape your image as an influencer and attract a stream of loyal followers.

The content you create is how you put your USP into action. It’s how you build your personal brand. So don’t publish anything unless it’s the most top notch content you can create. Invest in being creative, and don’t be afraid to invest financially as well, if you can see it paying off.

The key to creating compelling content that helps your following grow is variety. You don’t want to stick to just one kind of content. For example, a VR gaming influencer that does nothing but game reviews isn’t very interesting to follow.

Instead strike a balance between different content types. Some content should be informative and help your audience learn, other content should be just entertaining.

Curating content should also be a big part of your content strategy. People will follow you because they know you’ll help them discover the most relevant content related to your niche topic, whether you created it or not. Curating and sharing the content of other powerful influencers can also help you get on their radar, so they might promote your content to their audience as well.

Step 5: Develop a promotion strategy

The content you create is only as effective as the promotion strategies you use to reach your target audience. Develop a system to broaden your content’s reach on whatever platforms you share it on. This means using targeted hashtags, joining and promoting to social subgroups, etc.

Collaborating with other influencers is another powerful strategy to promote your content. Team up with related influencers to create content both your audiences will enjoy. Then you can broaden your reach to their audience as well.

Ultimately, when it comes to getting worthwhile reach on social media, you have to pay to play. Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms offer options to help you boost your content and get more visibility with your desired audience.

The great news is that you have complete control over how much you spend to promote your content and reach your audience. So invest as little or as much as you can in paid promotion to drive the results you need.  

Step 6: Focus on engagement

When brands look for potential influencers to work with, they’re not focusing on how many followers you have. They’re focusing on how engaged your audience is with your message.

Brands don’t want to work with an influencer who has 1 million followers and a 0.05% engagement rate. They’d much rather work with someone who as 3,000 followers and a 7% engagement rate.

So instead of focusing all your energy on growth, pay close attention to factors that lead to engagement. A lot of that is on you. Every time your post gets a comment, comment back. Try to further the discussion. When you get new followers, follow them back, etc.

Better yet, follow up on audience requests/discussions in future content you create. That way they know you’re really listening to them, and feel encouraged to engage even more.

Step 7: Analyze and adjust

The potential brands you promote will be analyzing your content, audience and performance, so you should too. Especially if you sign up for an influencer marketing platform like Klear, brands will be able to get a detailed look at your content, audience, engagement rate across platforms, and more:

Keeping a close eye on what content types perform best with your audience will help you create more relevant content for your audience in the future.

You should also make sure your audience is shaping up to be what you had in mind. Is your audience skewed towards certain demographics? Is that beneficial to your potential as an influencer or detrimental? What changes can you make in your content and promotion strategy to fix the skew?

Ask and answer these questions to help yourself develop a more relevant strategy to become the kind of influencer you want to be.

The bottom line

Influencer marketing is a consumer acquisition trend that’s here to stay for the long run. It can take some time to build up a valuable audience that can help you land gigs and earn money as an influencer. But if you follow the right steps and persevere in the long run, you can build your own personal brand that brings you consistent income as an influencer.

Just remember to start from the beginning (step 1) to build a powerful online personality that attracts a captivated audience. There are no shortcuts to success when becoming an influencer, but the journey is worth the payoff.

Looking for more ways to earn money?

Check out the video below to learn how I went from $0 to $3,000,000:

Affiliate Disclaimer: I may (and probably do) receive affiliate commissions from any products I recommend or links I put on this page. My opinions are my own but they are truthful and I do my best to recommend products that I have vetted and/or purchased myself.