Anyone with any ambition will need to know how to become an influencer in his or her industry.

You could have the greatest product, the greatest ideas, and the most cutting-edge research studies, but without influence, no one will hear about them.

This recipe for influencer success will keep you on top of your industry so that people turn to you for advice.

1. Build Respect and Rapport

Your industry and your circles consist of your target audience, your peers in business, and your competitors. The first step towards influencing them is building respect and rapport.

Here’s how:

  • Be personable and likeable. People trust those they like and vice versa. Cultivate positive relationships with everyone in your industry, from co-workers to industry partners.
  • Get involved and prove yourself socially. The more people you can build relationships with, the better. There is safety in numbers and the bigger your following, online and off, the more people will trust you and respect you.
  • Stay true to your word. Transparency, honesty, and consistency are key. Sticking with commitments shows people that you are reliable, which conveys solidity and trustworthiness.

2. Create Content

Influencers make themselves heard and the best way to do that online is with content. But there are countless others trying to do the same, so you need to do it right in order to stand out.

Here’s how:

  • Blog. Yes, blogging is critical, but 9 out of 10 people stop there. Frequent blogging is fundamental to your success, but it’s just the beginning.
  • Guest blog. The next step to influencing with content is to guest blog. By blogging on others’ sites, you can gain access to their audience and increase your reach.
  • Distribute on social. Social media is the biggest online time sink, taking up more time than email. Stay present and engaged, since that’s where your audience is. Pick the right networks for your audience, create an editorial calendar, and stay consistent.

The content that you do create should be focused, quality content that meets the informational needs of your target audience. With substantial ideas and valuable research to fuel your content, you’ll earn the authority you need to become an influencer.

3. Engage Your Following

Spend time finding and focusing on the needs of your target audience. Ask yourself what they want from influencers in your field, then find out the answers to that question by performing market research.

First, use keyword research tools and content research tools to discover what people are searching for and what they are talking about. This will help you create the right content that helps to solve your audience’s problems, which is the first step towards engaging them.

Second, make your content interesting. Tell stories and write in a style that’s informative, personal, and engaging. Go beyond blog articles and test other media formats, such as infographics, video, and slideshows.

Third, interact with people online. Use social networks, professional networks, and forums to grow and engage your base of followers.

It’s important to remember that influencers depend on those they influence. Without an audience of followers, you will have no one to influence, so it’s vital to grow an audience who will listen to you. Over time, they will cement your authority and your influence.

4. Become an Expert

It’s very difficult to become an influencer if you aren’t an expert. To stay ahead of competitors and become an intellectual authority, you need to cultivate expertise in your field.

Here are a few ways to stay on top of your game:

  • Keep up with your field. Stay up to date with news, blogs, and the latest developments that will affect you. Today’s world moves fast, so if you become outdated you’ll lose clout.
  • Stay educated. Don’t just read industry blogs, attend seminars, workshops, and obtain certifications if applicable. The more educated you are, the more people will trust the knowledge you dispense.
  • Target your expertise. If your field changes constantly, as many tech industries do, then you should change with it. Look at how it will develop in the future, then tailor your education to meet the needs of tomorrow’s industry.

5. Teach Others

With an engaged following and expert knowledge under your belt, it’s time to offer your insight to others. This is the “influence” part of “influencer,” where you establish yourself as an expert by educating people.

Through webinars, seminars, speaking engagements, classes, online courses, informational products, and other educational outlets, you can begin to build your power as an influencer.

Naturally, you will need to promote your presentations or products. Effective use of PR can help you in this regard. From podcasts to interviews to written press releases, you should spread the word as much as you can.

When you’re successful, educating others can be one of the best ways to build your authority. You can add any engagements, products, or presentations to your portfolio. And, as these add up, you’ll become widely known as an expert and an influencer.