So you’d like to become an influencer. The question is, where do you start? This guide will show you how to find a great niche and become a powerful influencer.
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Step One: Find Your Niche
The first step in becoming an influencer is to find your niche, and this can be the most difficult part of the process. You may already have a niche in mind that you’re interested in or you need to pursue for other reasons, but if you’re brand new to becoming an influencer, you may need a little help finding your niche.
Passion, Interest, Problem
One of the ways to identify potential niches is to use the PIP method: Passion, Interest, Problems. Make a list of 5 things that you’re passionate about, 5 things you’re interested in, and 5 problems that you’ve had. For example, I might be passionate about equal access to education or locally grown food. I might be interested in gardening or motorcycles. For the problems, I’ll want to consider problems that I have personally experienced: maybe I’ve had a hard time finding information about MBA programs, or perhaps I’ve struggled to find makeup that didn’t have an ingredient I’m allergic to.
Once you have your PIP list, look through it. See how you feel about it. If you’re going to become an influencer, you’ll be producing massive amounts of content about your niche, so it’s important that you choose a niche that you actually like. Which niches on your PIP list could you imagine yourself creating content for over the next 5-10 years?
At this point, you’ll probably find that you have 3-5 topics at the top of your list. Your next step in becoming an influencer is to find the topics that make the best niche. The right niche will be large and robust enough to provide you with interested readers, but it’ll be narrow and lean enough to allow you to gain a competitive advantage. For example, you may not be able to compete with Pioneer Woman, but maybe you’re the best at gluten-free baking, or Thai desserts, or kid-friendly vegan cooking. The key is to hit that sweet spot where a niche is large enough but not too large.
Types of Market Research
You may not have an idea of what you want to do with your influence just yet, and that’s okay. Most of the time, once you build a loyal audience, you’ll be able to influence them in a lot of different ways. But it may be worthwhile to consider your initial plans, because they can help you figure out whether your niche will be a good fit. Your plans will probably change over time, so you’re not locked into one thing.
Growing Social Media:
For research into social media, you’ll want to find a niche that’s in high demand on the social media platforms you want to work with. Hashtagify.me can help you find hashtag volume and hashtag suggestions for Twitter and Instagram. If you prefer a focus on Facebook, looking at group membership can be a good way to ascertain interest, with a few caveats: Some groups may not have a lot of members on Facebook due to the fear of public exposure. For example, depression, astrology, LGBTQ – these groups probably have a lot more people that consume content than are actually in the Facebook groups.
Building Website Traffic:
If you plan to drive traffic to your website, you’ll want to consider SEO, which means keyword research. There are several tools available for you to choose from. The cheapest (free!) is Google Keyword Planner. While this tool is useful in helping you to find keywords and predicting the search volume, it may not always accurately predict the competitiveness of the keyword. Other popular keyword research tools include Moz, SEMrush, and Ahrefs. Keyword research will be slightly different depending on which tool you choose, but the plan in each case is to find keywords with low competition but high search volume.
Choosing Your Channel
Once you have conducted your research, defined the direction of your content, and established your target audience, its time to choose your channel. Whether you’re looking to focus your content efforts around your blog and use social media channels to support it, or on the flip side, create a blog to support your social media channels, you’ll want to define this strategy before creating your content.
If you’re struggling to make a decision about what channels to be focus on, look to your audience and your competition. Where does your audience spend the most time and what kind of information are they looking for? Where are other influencers in your niche creating and promoting their content, and is there opportunity beyond their efforts? These questions will help guide you in determining which channels are right for you and your content.
Step Two: Get Started
Once you’ve decided on a niche, the next step is to grow your audience.
Building Your Content
Influencers get discovered through the quality content they produce. . This may be videos, podcasts, graphics that you share on social media, social media posts, blog posts, or something else. If it’s interesting and valuable, people will share it and follow, and demand more content from you, widening your reach.
The more content they consume from you, the more attached and invested they become, so it’s important to produce content regularly. Over time, they’ll start to expect new content to drop at certain times or on certain days; this consistency helps them learn to trust you, and they’ll like you more when they feel like you’re someone they can trust and depend on.
The tone and voice of your content is important. People like connecting with other people, so it’s important to allow your own voice to shine through in your content. Don’t try to be someone that you’re not. You can become an influencer as yourself, not as some false persona. Authenticity (or the lack of authenticity) always bleeds through, and your audience will notice it.
Collaborating with Other Influencers
When it comes to popularity and recognition, it’s hard to get those elements without some outside help. Once you build a name for yourself, you’ll have authority, but getting there in the beginning can be a challenge. One of the easiest and fastest ways to gain authority is by working with others in your niche who are already considered an authority.
Connecting with other influencers in your niche allows you to become an influencer with authority and consensus. You may exchange guest blog posts with another influencer, trade podcast interviews, include other influencers in a roundup or referral post, or even build something really cool together like a tutorial, webinar, course, or ebook.
If you’re just becoming an influencer yourself, finding other influencers in your niche may be a bit of a challenge. Influencer networks like Perlu allow you to connect with other influencers, or you may be able to connect with some influencers on social media or by emailing them directly. The biggest influencers tend to be very busy and may be less likely to collaborate with a brand new influencer, so it may help to target or collaborate with influencers that are within 1-2 levels of where you’re at. Of course, once you’re a well-known influencer, you’ll have to “pay it forward”, too!
Step Three: Keep it Going!
Once you have your plan, it’s time to jump in! As you become an influencer, you’ll want to focus on three important areas for growth and development:
- Produce content consistently, and do it in the way that your audience wants to consume content. Some audiences will prefer shorter content. Others will prefer video. Some will prefer infographics or podcasts. Figure out how YOUR people want to learn and make that.
- Collaborate with other influencers in your niche. This helps to expand the audience for both you and the people you collaborate with.
- Engage with your audience. Always respond to them on social media. Answer their emails. Consider the advice and suggestions they’re giving you.
Step Four: Rinse & Repeat
Very, very few people who become influencers have massive growth and success right off the bat. It’s been known to happen, but it’s the exception rather than the rule. It’s important to follow the process and continue to create exceptional content that will capture the attention of people.
Once you have the basic system down, you’ll want to start making tweaks, testing new ideas, and refining what works to make it more effective. Becoming an influencer means constant personal development, education, improvement, and relationship-building.