Anyone who spends time in social networks has heard about them. We know we are supposed to follow them. We want them to follow us back. We want to become like them. Who are they? Influencers.
They are the people on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, and Pinterest (even Instagram) with the ginormous followings. They are the ones whose status updates are shared by everyone. Like the famous advertisement slogan for E.F. Hutton, when they talk, “people to listen.” They have Klout. They share valuable information, and we want to read it. We want to know what they think. We want to know their opinions. And their opinions influence what we think and believe and sometimes even how we act.
But why are these social media users influencers? That’s the real question. And here’s the answer: They have something to say that is worth listening to, something worth reading, something that impacts us at an emotional or personal level.
Authors are Influencers
Yet, another group of people serve as influencers in the same way: authors. Write a nonfiction book, and you become an author expert. You become the authority on your topic. Authors get interviewed on the radio and on the television as well as in newspapers and magazines. When they speak, people listen. They have clout. They are influencers.
Bloggers are Influencers
Know something else? If you are a blogger, you also can become an influencer. You can develop authority just by blogging. You can become an authority blogger, as Chris Garrett, coauthor of Problogger and founder of the course Authority Blogger, says. This is especially true if you blog about a particular area of expertise or any area you know a lot about.
A few years ago, technorati.com conducted a survey and found that:
- 56 percent of all bloggers say their blog has helped them establish a position as a thought leader within an industry.
- 58 percent say they are better-known in their industry because of their blog.
Here’s some interesting information: Most of the influencers on social networks have successful blogs. They have posts shared widely. That means they “reach” beyond just their immediate circle of influence.
No one knew me as an expert or thought leader on the topic of blogging books until I began my blog, How to Blog a Book. After five months of blogging on the topic, however, my site had #1 Google search engine results page ranking, I began speaking at writing conferences about blogging books, and I began guest posting on the subject on more popular blogs than mine. Not only that, I landed a traditional publishing contract. After blogging about boys who want to become professional dancers for several years on my own blog, My Son Can Dance, I started to be asked to write articles on the topic for some of the top magazines in the dance industry and to write a monthly column for a membership website.
Know something else? Most influencers on social networks are authority bloggers and expert authors. They have written and published a book.
Boost Your Authority with a Blog AND a Book
You can boost your authority quotient by becoming both an author and a blogger. You can do this simply by blogging a book.
Let me clarify what I mean. I’m not talking about “booking a blog,” which means repurposing your old blog posts into a book. You can do that and end up with a book. That’s fine; at the end of the day you’ll still become an author expert. (And if you already enjoy expert status and are seen as an influencer in your industry, booking your blog makes total sense!) However, that methodology takes a fair amount of effort, especially if you’ve blogged for a long time and have a lot of posts through which to pilfer.
I’m talking about writing your book from scratch on your blog—post by post—so you end up with a book you can self-publish. If you do this successfully, you might, however, also end up with a traditional publishing deal. (An agent or publisher might discover you and your blog.) You also can lay the groundwork for a very successful self-published book.
The Blogged Book Process
As I said, the process is simple, and I’ve written about it here at length…but not for a long time. So I’ll repeat the steps in a condensed manner:
- Map out your content; do a brain dump (or a mind map) of all the subjects you might cover in your book.
- Organize the subjects into a content plan, table of contents or outline.
- Decide on “extra” content you will add to the printed or ebook version and that you will not publish on your blog; this provides an incentive to your blog readers to purchase the final version of the book.
- Break your content plan, or chapters, down into post-sized bits (300-500 words); create subheadings or titles for all the bits of content that constitute posts and will fill each chapter.
- Create a publishing schedule—preferably a minimum of twice a week, but more is better. The best is seven days a week; aim for three to five days per week.
- Compose your posts in a word processing program or Scrivener following your content plan sequentially so you create a manuscript. Do this on schedule (see step #3).
- Copy and paste your posts into your blogging program on schedule and publish them (see step #3).
- Share your posts on your social networks.
Of course, use good social networking practices. For each post you publish, be sure to converse with your followers, offer other useful information, retweet relevant information, etc.
Increase Your Influence During NaBloLoMo
If you follow the seven steps above, in a fairly short amount of time, you will complete the first draft of your book. I wrote 26,300 words in five months posting three to four times per week. When I was finished, How to Blog a Book contained more than double the number of words found in that first draft here on the blog. (Now it’s been revised and it’s even longer!)
You can create quite a bit of influence in even a month—and most of a manuscript. You don’t need to write a full-length book to become an author. You can write a short ebook. If you write 30 posts during National Book Blogging Month (NaBoBloMo), and if each one is 500 words long, you will produce a 15,000-word ebook. That’s not shabby! Write 750-word posts, and you’ll have 22,500 words by the end of April. That’s a solid book, if not a full-length book. You can even write 1,000 words per post just three days per week and end up with about 12,000 words.
And if you share these posts on all your social networks, you will begin to be seen as an influencer. You see, it’s all about providing valuable content on a consistent and regular basis. Do that with your blog. Then publish the book you blogged. You’ll be an authority blogger and an expert author.
By using your social networking skills well, blogging content that matters—that people want to read and share, and by publishig a book, you soon will find people paying attention to you in different way. Even if you never become the type of influencer with huge clout, you can achieve a great deal of authority in you own respective field or circle—online and off. Your blog and a blogged book will help you accomplish that quickly.