If you want to be an influencer, and who doesn’t, there are steps you can take in both your business and your personal life to help make your influencer status a reality. From writing killer headlines and filling blog posts with information that your readers and that brands want to read, to sharing across your social media platforms, there are myriad ways to boost both your influence and your productivity.
Influencers don’t say “yes” unless they really want to.
Do any of these scenarios describe you?
- You’re scattered in your blogging efforts.
- You get to the end of the day and you have more day than you have projects completed.
- You say “yes” but are angry at yourself for having said that.
Saying “yes” might make you the “good guy” in the eyes of the asker, but it makes you stressed and falling behind in tasks that forward the mission of your blog because you said it. There are ways to say “no” that will not alienate colleagues and that will help you sleep at night. Here are effective ways to say “no”:
- “No, thank you.” Short and sweet.
- “I don’t have time right now.” You could add “but perhaps I might at the end of the month” if you want to.
- “Do I have to give you an answer right now?” Buy yourself some time because you may truly want to do what you’re being asked, but you need to check your schedule first.
The influencers who you follow are those who focus their efforts on the tasks that forward their professional goals. You need to be “selfish” and put your work first.
Influencers look at the glass as half full.
As Mark Twain wrote, “To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” What this means to me is that you could look at every issue that pops up as an issue that needs to be hammered, or you could look at an issue as a problem to be solved. Don’t seek out problems. Look for solutions. We all have the ability to focus our mental energies on the good or the bad in our lives and on our blogs. If you focus on problems, you are creating and prolonging negative emotions, and you’re pushing yourself into a state of negative emotions. Take a breath and focus on circumstances that bring you positive results and improve your performance.
For example, you are reading Blogger Susie’s latest Facebook update in which she says, “I just signed a HUGE contract with XYZ pet company. I can quit my job and blog full time.” If working with XYZ pet company has been your goal, it’s easy to get sidelined by negative emotions because Blogger Susie is “succeeding” and you’re not. Give yourself permission to feel dismayed, but congratulate Blogger Susie, then take a step back and see what you can do to get your influencer ranking up high enough that XYZ pet company will come to you next.
Take some time to look at what Blogger Susie is doing on her blog that you’re not doing. Can you see glaring differences between her site and yours? Is she doing more on social media than you are? Can you amp up your game? Focus on the solution, not the problem.
Influencers know they aren’t perfect.
I hear the gasps! I, too, believe that I am pretty much perfect! (Whoohoo, just ask my family!) But there are times I will find a typo on my website or in a blog post. Gack! Know what I do? I thank the person who pointed it out, then jump in and fix it. Whoops! Striving for perfection is great, but let’s face it: It’s likely a goal that will give you more stress than comfort. If you’re looking to launch a product, don’t wait until it’s perfect. Launch it today. Tweak it later. Of course you don’t want to release crap, but you don’t want to agonize over it for so long that one of your “competitors” launches his or her product first. NOTE: I put “competitors” in quotations because truth is, in the BlogPaws Community we all work together to help each other achieve the heights of success. But if your circle of friends is all blogging about poodles, bottom line, they are your competition. You need to set yourself apart.
Influencers try not to utter “what if.”
I am horrid at making decisions. “What do you want for dinner?” I don’t know. “Where do you want to go for the movie?’ Hhhmmm, where do YOU want to go? Oh yes, these are the conversations I have with my husband regularly. He is typically frustrated because I can’t make a decision. I “what if” those decisions. “What if” we have burgers tonight, and I wanted spaghetti with meatballs tomorrow? “What if” we go to Tinseltown for the movie, but we might not make it to Greece to shop before the mall closes BUT Tinseltown is never sold out.” What if. What if. What if. Gack!
The one place I don’t “what if” is in my professional life. When I am writing a blog post, I don’t what if it. During the update to my new website, I didn’t what if the design or the logo. I looked at my options and made a decision. I don’t what if blog posts because I work from my editorial calendar and this means I don’t have to put too much brainpower into the post itself because I have already chosen its publication date, the keywords, the title and the images. Done. Done. And done.
Influencers take care of themselves.
As a breast cancer survivor, I am in tune with my physical and emotional well-being in a way I never was before. I used to work 16 hour days, and I worked six or seven days a week. No more. I work an eight-hour day most days. I eat breakfast. I get away from the computer for lunch. I take the dogs for walks after I eat lunch. I stop working around 5 pm and have dinner with the family. I don’t work after 6 pm unless I’ve planned to do so. If I am working later at night, I will start work later in the morning and shift my day around to get in a walk before breakfast because I know I’ll be sitting on my butt longer at night.
I eat fruits and vegetables. I don’t stare at the computer while I am eating. I stand up every hour and stretch. I walk one mile on the treadmill after every meal (sure it’s not much of a workout, but, hey, it’s something) because my diabetic counselor said walking right after a meal will help lower blood sugar. Before that, I would eat a meal, then sit on my butt, and that wreaked havoc on my health.
Standing desks are being used by several influencers I know. The simple act of standing can help improve your health.
Talk with a friend. Treat yourself to an afternoon out of the office for a lunch or coffee date. Take a break and just cuddle your pets.
If you’re a solopreneur, you are the only one who is going to write your blog posts, or write your social media updates, or bring in new clients, right? Because you’re a one man, or one woman, show you need to take care of your health.
In addition to eating well and getting some exercise, make certain you’re getting some good shut-eye. A well-rested blogger is a happier and more productive blogger.
Okay, I’m off my soapbox.
Influencers don’t multi-task.
Focus on one task at a time and your productivity will soar. I truly believe that. I used to be the queen of multi-taskers, but once I started researching and learning more about time management, I discovered that multi-tasking simply meant “more opportunities to screw up more projects.” Actually, when you multi-task you’re asking your brain to switch gears quickly, sometimes with no warning. It’s like shifting the gears of your vehicle from third gear to first gear with no warning. You’ll chug along. Chances are you will stall.
Focusing your energies on one task at a time will not only help you accomplish more of that task, but it will help assure your efforts are laser-focused. Even if you have one thousand items on your to-do list, choose one at a time, set aside a block of time to work on it, then move onto the next task. Take a jumping-jack break between projects; this is a great way to help your mind “shift gears.”
Focus on the minutes, not the hours, of your day. What do I mean by this? Rather than telling yourself I have eight hours to get these projects done, tell yourself, “I am going to work on project A for 30 minutes, then project B for 45 minutes, project C for 30 minutes, and so on.” Time blocking for your projects will help with your productivity. I could say, “I’m going to write four blog posts today.” Well, those four posts could take me eight hours if I haven’t planned my day OR I could say, “I’m going to block two hours with the goal of getting four blog posts done.” This helps me focus and helps assure the day doesn’t slip away from me because I can let these four posts linger the entire day. At the end of the day, would I have accomplished a major task? Yep! But, did it really need to take me an entire eight hour day? Probably not.
Influencers don’t continually check email, nor do they have social media alerts chiming all day.
This goes along with not multi-tasking. If you’re continually waiting for an email chirp or a social media alert, you are not focusing on the task at hand. Turn off alerts. Set aside time several times a day to check and respond to emails. Make email and social media interactions part of your time-blocked day. Believe me, I know the siren song of the social media alert. “Oohhhh, someone responded to a conversation I’m following? I’d better attend to it.” This puts you into the mode of Doug from the movie “UP” where you’re continually seeing SQUIRREL when you should be focusing on something else.
Influencers carry a notebook and take notes.
Okay, it could just be my aging brain, but items filter in and out like a sieve. I write everything down. Conversations with a client? In my notebook. Thoughts for a new blog post? In the notebook, then transferred to the editorial calendar. Brilliant thoughts for a new product or project? Notebook. Items I need from the grocery store? Notebook.
Why a notebook? And “notebook” can mean a physical notebook or it can be a document on your computer or in an app on your phone.
Writing things down frees your mind for creative thinking. Your mind doesn’t have to be a holding tank for everything, nor should it be; set it free by writing items in a notebook.
Influencers tackle the difficult tasks.
Procrastinating leads to “decision fatigue.” To combat decision fatigue, jump into those tasks you’ve been dreading. Procrastinating a task that you HAVE to do won’t make it go away; it will just give it a life of its own in your head and your procrastination continues to feed it. Putting off the task will drain your mental energy.
I have tasks that I simply dread, and I know I dread them. What do I do? I set aside a block of time in my calendar to chip away at them. I figure I can face any task for at least 15-minutes, right? I mean how horrifying can opening that spreadsheet and adding my income and expenses to it be? For a non-numbers person like me, it is HUGELY horrifying–hence the reason I put it off. Now I put it in my calendar and work on it for 15 minutes. I can suffer through it for that length of time just to eventually get it off my plate.
I don’t do tasks that I dread when I am at my most productive and when my mental energy is at its highest. For me, that is first thing in the morning. I do my best work before 9 am. Tasks I dread, like bookkeeping, I do at the end of the day when I am already drained.
Influencers have a community.
The wisest among the pet bloggers I interact with are members of the BlogPaws Community. Those pet bloggers participate in BlogPaws Chats on Twitter, they share, and get shared in the Community Boost Group, and they get involved in conversations in the BlogPaws Community.
Building a tribe of ones own is important for the pet influencer who wants to grow his or her reach as well as expand his or her circle of friends. In good times and bad, the friends you make online will be there for you. If you’re a work-at-home pet blogger, building a community of like-minded individuals helps keep isolation at bay and is a great resource for brainstorming, sharing good news and asking for help!
What steps can you take today to grow your blog influence? What steps have you taken on the path toward becoming a influencer?
Robbi Hess is an award-winning author, full-time writer, newspaper columnist, writing coach and time-management guru. She works with bloggers and solopreneurs and blogs at All Words Matter.