Whether you are looking for a new career challenge, growing your business or starting a new company, becoming a person of influence in your industry can be very rewarding – both personally and professionally.
An influencer is someone who is regarded as being in-the-know; someone who others in their industry look to for advice, knowledge and opinions. To become a successful industry influencer takes time and a strong dedication to serving others.
But the rewards are well worth the effort. You’ll find doors open to new opportunities as well as a deeper sense of connection to your peers.
Here are my tips for growing your industry influence.
Understand your motivation
Ask yourself why you want to be considered an influencer in your industry. If your motivation is purely to get sales, then your audience will quickly see through this. Sales and business growth can of course be a driver, but there needs to be a deeper purpose behind this.
It could be a desire to connect with your peers more meaningfully, or simply a desire to share your knowledge so others can benefit from your insights.
Shake off your fears
The idea of putting yourself forward can be incredibly uncomfortable and confronting. Self-doubt – do I know enough? Am I really an expert? – can hold us back. But we need to shake off those self-limiting beliefs.
We all have stories, experiences and knowledge that are unique to us and can help others in some way. By sharing your knowledge and experiences, you will be able to connect and inspire others. You can even positively influence their future decisions.
Be the go-to expert
Sharing useful and interesting information can be a powerful tool in building a positive reputation and solid credibility. But don’t try and be the expert on everything in your industry. Find a targeted, focused niche in which to specialise.
People need to know your name and your face – and associate it with that niche. Use your own experiences in your industry and do some thinking about who you are, what you stand for and the value you offer.
Be of service
Being an influencer in your industry isn’t about you – it’s actually about the people you want to influence. Put them first. Share something that is of value to them, whether this is your IP, time or expertise. For instance, if you are a management consultant, you could share your tips on how to reduce the increasing amount of time people have to spend on emails through the clever use of Rules or Filters on email programs. Or if you’ve attended a large industry event overseas, share your observations and learnings from your trip.
In today’s business environment it takes more than being good at what you do to stand out. People want to know what you have to offer, but they don’t necessarily want you to sell to them. It has now become all about your personal brand, what you stand for and how you are perceived. Becoming an industry influencer is an effective way of raising your profile in a way that enhances your reputation and credibility.
Catriona Pollard is the author of From Unknown To Expert, a step by step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognised as influencers in their field. She is also the director of CP Communications.