How to Be a Professional Influencer

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Many years ago, I wrote for a women’s lifestyle magazine a few times a year. The editor would reach out with a specific assignment, saying that if I happened to be available for such-and-such project, I was her first choice. Flattered, I eventually asked her what about my work got her to keep hiring me over and over.

Hoping it was something like my sparkling prose or my pithy observations on the assigned topics, I was floored when I got the real answer. “You turn your work in on time,” she said.

Now, this is a woman who hired me for years to turn around sizable assignments at a decent rate. I was happy to continue freelancing for her, of course, but I was shocked to find out that the key differentiation between my work and the work of other freelancers in her stable was… meeting the assigned deadlines.

Now that I’ve worked for several publications, including the BlogPaws blog, I realize that meeting deadlines is rarer than I could have imagined.

Turning your work in on time should be a cornerstone of professionalism. But, what else? What separates professional influencers from the rest? How can influencers elevate their level of professionalism to ensure that brands–like my editor–come back for paid projects over and over again?

I asked the experts on the BlogPaws team and have their insights to share. Then, we’d love to hear from you in the comments: How do you, a digital influencer, approach your work with professionalism?

How to Be a Professional Influencer

How to Be a Professional Influencer

Felissa Elfenbein, Director of Influencer Marketing, and Lisa Mercurio, Director of Sales and Operations, spend their days working with brands that hire influencers for campaigns. Lisa kicks off brand relationships on the sales side, while Felissa sees the brands through their campaigns.

Between the two of them, they spend a lot of time in the influencer space and have seen it all! Today, they’re sharing the what-to-dos and the what-not-to-dos of being a professional influencer.

“Show up to the campaign ready to work,” Felissa said. “Don’t run on autopilot as each brand and each campaign are different.”

Lisa said, “It’s critical for people who represent a brand to remain authentic and not get behind products that they can not provide a truly passionate voice. Ultimately, influencers are chosen for their authenticity and in this day and age when someone’s inauthentic it rings that way.”

Remember, brands and influencer networks don’t have to hire you! Sure, you have a URL with an engaged audience, but that doesn’t mean you’re entitled to getting work. If you want to get hired, you have to work smart and you have to work hard!

Learn more from Felissa: What is your role in influencer campaigns?

Separate Yourself from the Herd

Be consistent.

According to Lisa, one of the consistent struggles among influencers is inconsistency. “I think that the building of a blogging business or influencing business where you have a consistent voice is the critical component. Influencers who suddenly drop out of sight because of writer’s block, or lack of inspiration, or life gets in the way, hurt themselves and the brands they ultimately hope to service,” she said. “That is certainly one trend that I would say anyone getting involved in a career that involves writing has to be real and honest about themselves.”

Be respectful.

Influencers have wide reach on social media, so it’s critical to be respectful toward colleagues and brands–and that doesn’t just mean the brands you work with directly. If you have an issue with a campaign you’re working on, the professional step is to contact your campaign manager or brand rep… not blast them on social media. Unfortunately, some influencers take the social route. Other brands see that and often choose not to work with that person because they don’t want to risk being badmouthed. BTW, this doesn’t mean you have to write shiny, happy posts all the time… Stay authentic, of course, but focus on being respectful.

Learn more about your online reputation: What is social proof?

Be reliable.

Meet (or exceed!) expectations set forth for the campaign. Turn your work in on time. Make sure it’s free from grammar and style errors. Test links. Complete all the requirements well and on time. Felissa said, “Before your post goes live at 9 AM eastern on the day that it is due, review, proofread, and ensure the links are in working order! And promote the heck out of your post. You should have great images and great content; mix them together and share on all of your social channels, engage with your audience by asking questions, and monitor the post.”

At the end of the day, being a professional influencer is as simple as Lisa’s three key points: “Meet deadlines. Be there. Show up.”

Learn more:

How do you ensure you’re putting your most professional foot forward? What do you do to elevate your work to higher standards? 

Maggie Marton serves as the BlogPaws senior editor. When not hiking with her two pit mixes, Emmett and Cooper, or playing with Newt the Cat, Maggie writes about them (and the pet industry) at ohmydogblog.com and maggiemarton.com.

Image: WAYHOME studio/Shutterstock.com