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Author’s response to “HOW TO: Jump-Start Your Career by Becoming an Online Influencer”

on February 19, 2011

Earlier this week I posted an article up on Mashable entitled “HOW TO: Jump-Start Your Career by Becoming an Online Influencer.” It did surprisingly well and I got a lot of super nice comments. Thanks everyone!

There were also a lot of issues and questions brought up in the comments that I wanted to address. Here they are:

Yes, it’s difficult to be an influencer

One of the many reasons people don’t go down the road of trying to be an influencer is simply because of the commitment, and the lack of recognition you get at the beginning. It can go on for a very long time. It’s very hard to stick to voice building when you don’t get any response. Any successful influencer will tell you there was a time no one was paying attention to them.

“Content is King” is overused and inaccurate

As per the repeated comment that “Content is King.” It’s not the first time you or I have heard this line before and I don’t know why people have chosen to lock onto that analogy. It’s not accurate.

A king is singular, is born into the position, rules over its subjects, and is often dictatorial. Content does not rule, is not dictatorial, you don’t have to be born into it, and it’s everywhere. There isn’t just one hard to find piece of content that only people with royal blood have access to. I really wish people would stop using this analogy. It’s simply wrong. Also overused and irritating to hear is referring to any product as being like something else…”but on steroids.” (Read: “I’m tired of hearing people tell me their product is on steroids.”)

Content is simply an asset. Some assets are more attractive than others. That’s why I like to refer to content as the currency of social media and search. It’s become the mantra of my business, Spark Media Solutions. Not all content is created equal. Some content is worth more currency than other pieces of content. The bottom line is content, not marketing and advertising, is what gets traded across social spheres and sought after via search. You can purchase, via ad dollars, your way to influence.

Will a podcast increase my traffic?

One person who had poor web traffic, and poor SEO techniques asked if a podcast would increase their traffic.

If you’re trying to create a formula where “producing a podcast = increased traffic,” then the answer is no. The reason for that answer is the goal of “increased traffic” should not be the primary reason for doing a podcast.

Your primary goal should be creating influence in terms of great content, relations, and customer service. Out of that could come increased traffic. “Increased traffic” should be a tertiary desire and result from any voice building exercise.

But is increased traffic really what you want? Most people want increased sales or maybe brand building so they charge more for their products and services. That’s what you ultimately want isn’t it? If that’s the case, then building your influence will get you there.

I left a comment in the Mashable post that links to this article.

Stock photos courtesy of Shutterstock. Creative Commons photo attribution to Michael Loke.

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