Spend enough time on the web and you’ll hear the advice that you need somebody influential to take an interest in what you’re doing. That’s the key to increasing your traffic or building a more popular blog. But influential people have many people vying for their attention. It’s not enough to grab a snatch of their attention.
1. Develop Skills
In order to gain the respect of an influencer, you must develop skills at something. You can’t just start a blog or business and say “hey, pay attention to me.”
- If you’re a writer, then write a 1000 words a day for a year.
- If you’re a web designer build a portfolio
- If you’re a speaker, do 20 free speaking gigs
For you to be able to deliver value to an influencer, you must become a master of your craft.
2. Deliver Something of Value
I recently had a chance to speak with Charlie Hoehn, who shortly after graduating from college landed a role as Tim Ferris’ first full time employee. Needless to say he understands what it takes to get the attention and respect of an influencer. One of the most important things he said to me was that you have to bring something of value to the table because influential people get pitched all day long.
3 Basic Tips to a Cold Email
- Find common ground: If you can find a common ground, like a friend you have in common or even a referral from that person, you’re much more likely to get a response from your cold email.
- Tell them what you can do: This is critical. You must be get to the point very quickly if you want to stand out among the 1000′s of emails that influential people get every single day. Be very specific about what you can do for this influential person.
- Work for Free : This might make you cringe. But you don’t have to work for free forever. It’s just an opportunity to give people a sample of your work. For somebody like my friend Charlie it’s lead to a stream of A-list clients and others have used the same techniques to land high caliber clients.
It has to be about what you can bring to them instead of what they can do for you, which takes me to my next point.
3. Make it About Something Bigger Than Yourself
If you start an online project of any sort and it’s only about what YOU can get out of it (i.e. money, fame, accolades, etc) you start the game with handcuffs on. You’re setting yourself up for an uphill battle. Even if you do succeed this way, you’ll find that it’s lonely at the top. It has to be about being part of something bigger than yourself. What that means is something different to everybody. It’s the compass not the map.
Approaching work this way takes a leap of faith. It’s counterintuitive. Thinking this way may not even click for a long time. But once it does you’ll realize it’s not about thinking a certain way, but being a certain way. It’s just how you show up in the world. Service and contribution are the foundation for your castle in the sky.
Once influential people see that you are committed to service and contribution, they’re more likely to endorse whatever you do.
4. Over-deliver in a Big Way
Once a door has been opened for you, your work is far from over. In fact it’s just beginning. Whatever value you deliver must be as good if not better than any of the paid work that you’ve done in the past. To get a real understanding I’d recommending reading the 12 lessons learned from marketing the 4-hour body. You can’t save your best work for when you’re getting paid. You have to put your best foot forward
5. Don’t bet your future on influencers
Some people have this idea that an influencer can catapult them into stardom. But, if your product, blog post, or book is absolutely terrible, an influencer won’t’ be able to do much.
Make what you do so good they can’t ignore you. Influencers are gasoline on a fire. But you have to start the fire. That’s why you must embrace emerging talent, and nurture the audience you already have. You must treat them like the most important people in the world because they are. Build an audience of people instead of one of numbers. You can buy an audience of numbers, but one made of people will have a far greater return on your investment.
Like just about everything else in life that has a big payoff, building a network of influential connections takes time, energy and effort. It’s something that will not happen overnight. But you can’t even put a price on how much it will impact your life. What’s been your experience connecting with influencers?