How to Develop an Influential Online Presence - dummies

How to Develop an Influential Online Presence

By Wendy Piersall, Heather B. Armstrong

Influence is the ability to compel others to think or act in a new way. For a professional mom blogger, being influential is important. But there are different ways that a blogger can be an influencer, and these ways range from very general to very specific:

  • Conversation starter

  • Instigator

  • Inspirer

  • Educator

  • Leader

  • Marketer

  • Community builder

  • Entertainer

  • Informer

Also, you don’t need to be an influential personality in order to be an influencer. As is the case with Woo! Jr., many readers don’t know who wrote a particular post; they just know the content is engaging, useful, and relevant to their needs. For other kinds of blogs, it is simply the voice of the writer that is influential.

For all kinds of bloggers, as your influence grows, so will the number of opportunities that come to you.

The best way to increase your influence is to write what you love writing about, not work on increasing your influence. There really isn’t some magical way to get people to listen to you. Instead, you want to focus on adding value and being a resource to your readers. Just as it is in life, the more you give, the more you receive.

Authenticity and integrity are the most important part of blogging. This is true whether you’re blogging for personal or professional reasons. Every single successful blog has been written by writers who have been true to themselves and to their readers. Readers don’t stay attracted to blogs that don’t ring true and writers who aren’t genuine.

Writing authentically doesn’t mean writing perfectly. In fact, every successful blog also has at least a few early blog posts that the bloggers are downright embarrassed to admit they wrote. Authenticity simply means being honest about your intentions and the information you are putting forward. But it also means writing from the heart — whatever that means to you. When you write and represent who you really are, readers know it. And they love it.

In addition to this, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has put forth guidelines for bloggers that aim to ensure that any opinions expressed that have been compensated by an advertiser must be disclosed in certain ways. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) has similar guidelines for all marketers and writers involved in all forms of social media. These guidelines are critically important to maintain the integrity of the blogosphere and all our long-term interests as bloggers.

Earning the trust of your readers is vital, no matter what business you create with your blog. Readers who trust you are likelier to buy from you, recommend you, or come back to your site. Some ways to earn that trust are obvious — for example, telling the truth and being transparent in your words and actions. More ways you can earn the trust of your readers sound a lot like a mom’s good advice, because they are (and they work):

  • Admit your faults and mistakes. It takes courage to be vulnerable to others and it shows that you are human.

  • Put your readers first. Always make sure that your readers’ best interests are served.

  • Be inspiring. Knowing you have had your own struggles makes you more real to your readers. Passing along that feeling of “I can do it” is irresistible!

  • Stick to your word. Make sure that you do everything you say you will do, even in the smallest measure.

  • Be consistent. People want to know what they can expect from you. When you are inconsistent, it can lead readers to wonder what else they don’t know about you.

  • Give more than you expect to receive. Blogging is not the best platform for a hard-sell approach, because of the social nature of the business. Your fellow bloggers will respond to you best when you make adding value a priority.