The previous articles in the "Influencer Marketing 101" series covered the following areas:
- How to identify and track the right influencers (Part 1)
- Proven influencer pitching tactics (Part 2)
- Creative Ways to Compensate Influencers[Case Studies] (Part 3)
This comprehensive series is sequential. For maximum value, I highly recommend that you read the previous articles before proceeding.
“As long as I get to do my thing and someone wants to write me a check for it, I’m all about it.”
– Mike Perry, Broad City Designer
This self-explanatory quote sums up the mindset of high paid and widely popular influencers.
Does the idea of getting paid for “doing your thing” appeal to you?
Read on to discover the exact roadmap for influencer marketing fame and fortune.
Start With The End In Mind…a Notable Success Story
Michelle Phan started her successful influencer journey by showcasing what she knows best. Back in 2007, she started a series of YouTube videos featuring simple makeup tutorials and celebrity looks demonstrations.
Today, she brags 8+ million YouTube subscribers, 3+ million Facebook fans, 2+ million followers on Instagram and the list goes on…
Michelle became a self-made makeup authority overtime. As a result, big names such as L’Oreal co-branded a cosmetic line with her.
Contrary to Lady Gaga’s timeless hit, I’m sure that Michelle Phan wasn’t “born this way!”
Still, her stellar success reminded me of Gary Vaynerchuk’s awesome book: Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion
Needless to say, Michelle is not alone. You can easily spot top rated Influencers who are bloggers, YouTubers and social media stars.
Do you think I would sound like a boring motivational speaker if I said: “If they can do it, you can do it?” Probably!
If that’s the case, I will get out of your way and throw the ball into your courtyard: Do you agree that the road to influencer marketing success is paved for those who are willing to go for it?
Why Now Is The Time To Cash In Your Influencer Marketing Passion?
Let The Stats Do The Work…
When 500+ marketing professionals were asked about their influencer marketing preferences, a whopping 80% of them said that they are working with brand influencers. In addition, the vast majority confirmed that they preferred working with social media influencers more than celebrities.[rel]The Drum[/rel]
In addition, a Tomoson study revealed that marketers rated influencer outreach “as the fastest-growing online customer acquisition channel, beating organic search, paid search, and email marketing.”[rel]Tomoson Influencer Marketing Study[/rel]
How To Become A High Paid Influencer? (The Short Answer)
Great question! The short and sweet answer is to copycat successful influencers and follow their exact tracks.
Start by downloading the directory of top influencers in 2016. This directory includes 200+ of the best bloggers, social media stars, Podcasters and more!
To eliminate any guesswork, the directory provides influencers’ names, emails, social media profiles, niche, audience reach (number of followers, fans, subscribers…etc.)
To make the most out of this directory, I recommend taking the following steps:
- Choose top influencers in your area of interest and follow them on social media
- Keep an eye on their best content (Content that sparks the highest engagement) in order to:
- Produce similar content: Top influencers’ popular content should be a no-brainer addition to your editorial calendar. (Aim for outperforming the big players by producing a better version of their popular content as I will detail below.)
- Curate their best content on your website for your eager audiences’ pleasure (Example of intelligent content curation is provided below.)
- Pitch top influencers by sharing their content and offering in-depth, value-adding comments on their popular content
How To Become A High Paid Influencer? (The 3-Step Answer)
1. Find Your Niche
Successful influencers are perceived as industry leaders and go-to experts by their trusting audiences. In order to reach an outstanding level of mastery in any field, you must be highly specialized and focused on a very specific area.
Know-it-all content producers who offer widely general (and often shallow) content about zillion topics are NOT high paid influencers material!
Consider the following example: Blogger “A” has a sports blog; while blogger “B” dedicates his blog to his diving passion.
Which of them is more likely to be a target influencer for a brand that sells diving equipment? They would prefer “B” for sure.
2. NEVER Compromise Quality
I firmly believe that information overload is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it creates a kind of pressure on content marketers to stand out and CONSISTENTLY produce stellar content. On the other hand, the few ones who do will become the “crème de la crème” and will be easily noticeable among the crowd.
Rand Fishkin, co-founder of Inbound.org, coined the term “10X Content”: Producing content that’s 10 times better than all search results for your target keywords. That’s the kind of QUALITY content that you must aim for to become a top influencer in your industry.
Easier said than done! Tell me about it. Fortunately for us, high paid influencers wannabes, Rand curated a comprehensive list of 10X content examples. Check it out for a healthy dose of inspiration and feel free to thank me later…
To sum up, CONSISTENTLY producing OUTSTANDING content that’s RELEVANT to your target audience is the key to becoming a top rated influencer.
3. Focus On Engagement Not “Empty” Followers
If you nailed step 2 and consistently produced outstanding content, your loyal fans will gladly share it on your behalf. In other words, quality content amplifies audience engagement (shares, comments, likes) effortlessly. NEVER compromise quality!
When it comes to real engagement, the number of followers can be misleading. Don’t be fooled by your empty followers. For example, if you have 500K followers on Twitter but your tweets are rarely retweeted, that’s a sign that your content is not attractive enough for your large following.
Brands can easily measure your content’s “sharability” and if they detect empty followers, they would exclude you from their target influencers list.
In addition to producing outstanding content that sparks engagement, you can also invite more targeted traffic to your website by taking the following steps:
- Seek guest blogging opportunities to amplify your content outreach
- Offer your outstanding content to blogs that offer weekly/bi-weekly/monthly content roundups in your industry. These folks are hungry for quality content to curate. If your content measured up to their criteria, they will feature it on their website and you will reap all the visibility and traffic rewards
- Offering value-packed comments on popular blogs, Q&A sites and relevant forums can lead to more targeted traffic to your website
- Link to your popular content via social media on regular basis
- For more detailed content marketing best practices, the following articles offer invaluable tips and insights:
Keep in mind that the more TARGETED traffic you receive, the higher your content engagement rate.
In his outstanding article about the explosive growth of influential marketing, Kyle Wong, summed up influence in the following equation:
Influence = Audience Reach (# of followers) x Brand Affinity (expertise and credibility) x Strength of Relationship with Followers
How To Become A High Paid Influencer? (The Smart Answer)
Now I’m saving the best for last… The smartest way to fast track your way to top influencers fame and fortune is to build relationships with the best influencers in your field.
In his stellar article, How to Create Content That Influencers Will Link To, Neil Patel offers very specific and proven tactics for grabbing top influencers attention.
To give you just one example, Neil recommends a content reverse engineering approach:
“If you reverse engineer content that gets the most love in a particular community, you can craft a better piece that gets more upvotes.
For example – Inbound.org is an aggregator where passionate inbound marketers share their content and users vote on them. If you end up creating content that gets loved in one such esteemed community, you’ll gain attention from linkers.”
This article is a must-read for ambitious influencers. I shared with you my absolute favorite part. Hopefully, it will entice you to read the entire article. You will be glad you did.
Intelligent Content Curation Example
I was so thrilled to receive an email notification that my article Influencer Marketing 101 – Creative Ways to Compensate Influencers was featured in a humongous resource showcasing 100 successful influencer marketing examples.
After getting a refreshing sense of “ego tickling”, I had to reciprocate by sharing their post several times, making sure to highlight my featured sections as well.
Newswiregenius comprehensive blog post is an example of intelligent content curation for the following reasons:
- They took the time to compile 100 influencer marketing resources in one page, making it super-convenient for their readers to get ample information on the topic effortlessly
- The second action I took after sharing their post was saving the link. These folks will get repeat visits from me because I can’t read through 100 links in one time. I bet all their keen readers would do the same
- They took the time to pitch me, as well as all the influencers they featured, via email. Needless to say, I gladly shared their humongous resource with my network and so did every single person they featured
I know for certain that it took a ton of time and effort to compile this huge list but it’s a time well-spent.
Can you imagine the instant and long-term traffic rewards they will reap by curating a humongous resource for their readers’ pleasure?
I’m certain that this technique works as I used to publish monthly top-20 content roundups on my client’s blog. In contrast with Newswiregenius, I preferred pitching featured influencers publicly via social media rather than email. Bottom line, the massive targeted traffic rewards are well worth the time invested in curating quality content.
Key Takeaway: What’s Your Next Move?
Out of the countless influencer marketing best practices that I came across, Neil Patel’s content reverse engineering advice struck a chord with me, particularly because it’s super-easy to find the most “loved” content in a community. The information is readily available. All you need is to create a better version of a popular piece of content to spark attention.
However, you can’t possibly outperform the big players unless you’re very knowledgeable in your field. If you aspire to be more competent than the top 1% in your industry, you need to FOCUS on a certain niche which brings us back to step 1 in the 3-step section above. Are you beginning to see how all the pieces of the puzzle are intertwined?
That’s why it’s important to climb the ladder of influencer marketing success in the right order without skipping any steps. Before applying content reverse engineering or the “10X content” tactics, focus on reaching top 1% competency level in your area of expertise.
You also need to set your content creation, content curation and traffic priorities straight. Sending targeted traffic to mediocre content is a recipe for a catastrophic bounce rate!
Don’t waste your time curating other people’s content if your own content is not up to par. Instead, FOCUS on creating quality content on your own before sharing third party content or inviting traffic to your website.
The good news is that if your chosen niche is aligned with your passions, investing lots of time and effort on mastering it and producing engaging content wouldn’t feel like a daunting task after all.
High Paid influencers follow through and make it big time because they cash in their passion.
I invite you to become one of them. I look forward to reading your insights in the comments. To your success!
Influencer Marketing 101 Series:
- How to Identify and Track Influencers
- Smart Influencer Pitching Tactics
- Creative Ways to Compensate Influencers [Case Studies]
- How to Become a High Paid Influencer (Part 4)
* Adapted images: Public Domain, pixabay.com via getstencil.com