Organizations you head: How to become an influencer in your city
Being an influencer doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a global influencer; it can also mean you’re an influencer in your city. If you want to be the top local service provider, this method will prove you well.
The power of fancy titles
I once had a former employer who went from a nobody to a leading influencer in my city within just a few years. How did he do it?
He became one of the Directors for the most popular chamber of commerce. He wasn’t paid for the position, but the publicity and authority he received from this role was well worth his time investment. It eventually led him to become a digital marketing authority and gave him enough exposure to help grow his company from 4 to 20 employees in a little over a year.
To give you a concrete example of how my boss’s position influenced people, let me share a quick story. Whenever he went to networking events, he would often strike up a conversation with a stranger. Sometimes that stranger’s eyes would glaze over, until my boss dropped the influencer bombshell: “I’m the Director of Communications for this chamber.” All of a sudden there was a dramatic transformation in the listener. The Director of Communications title suddenly lit up the stranger’s eyes, and my boss won their complete attention.
This kind of impressive positioning is not a one-off occurrence. It’s happened in my own life on many occasions. When I was living in Illinois, I used to hit the wine bar scene regularly with my parents. Mingling at the bars, people would ask me about myself, and the fact that I worked in TV usually came up. I’d always tell people I was a Producer on the pilot of the Emmy-nominated Hoarders. Just like when my former boss mentioned his Communications Director title, my TV experience dramatically transformed the way people looked at me. Suddenly I had their complete attention. Little did they know, my life actually was in a bit of a rough patch at this time, living with my parents (but not in the basement!) trying to get my career back on track. But it didn’t matter. The title attracted authority and attention.
The point of these stories is that you can leverage important titles or experience to gain influencer status in your local area. While I was not using my title to gain authority, my old employer was. And he leveraged the position to gain influence in the city, which eventually led to speaking gigs and event sponsorships.
How to become a local influencer
Look for ways in your community where you can position yourself as an authority. While you’ve already learned about the influential benefits of becoming a board member of your local chamber, there are other opportunities to gain influence locally, too. Public speaking appearances at local events or conferences, heading popular local organizations (like a Toastmasters or BNI) or even appearing on local TV.
Yes, really, TV. Landing an appearance isn’t as hard as you think. I know of a fellow author who literally just browsed her local news channel’s website, emailed them and scored the interview from that alone. If this doesn’t work, then what?
Another author I know of landed a TV appearance by forming a relationship with the local show’s host beforehand. You can do the same, and you don’t have to only focus on the host. Other influential gatekeepers to consider are the show producers and the station’s reporters. To learn how to form a relationship with an influencer, reread the section on forming relationships with influencers in the Endorsements Chapter.
How to leverage local influence on your website
Once you gain some exposure from the above tactics, mention this on your website. Just like the As Seen On section, you can add the logo to your homepage. If you spoke at an event or appeared on TV, publish the videos of these appearances on your website.