Make no mistake, building an influencer profile is hard work – and it can take years for you to grow your network to the point that it becomes revenue producing. But no matter whether you are starting out, building on an existing network or already successfully monetizing your approach, the following five tips will help keep you at the top of your game.

Own your message

When you work with a brand, as an influencer you’ll be asking for their key messages, calls to action and strong product or service imagery. The same applies to your own profile. As a foundation you need “own your own message” which means being able to succinctly pitch and position who you are, what you do and why in less than 20 words.

Focus on what you are known for, not just what you know

We often think that we are swayed by statistics and numbers, by data and our own intelligence. But really, emotions win every time. Think about your favourite boss. No doubt you respected their ability, knowledge and expertise. But what was their super power? What could they do that no other boss could do?

Often, when we talk to influencers, they tell us of an important boss or teacher – someone who provided a new way of looking at the world.

One Active Influencer that we interviewed recently worked for years in an engineering company. Her boss encouraged her to “take a risk” and “follow her dream”. As we talked through this situation – and talked more about her boss, it became clear that her boss’ super power had nothing to do with 30 years of industry expertise. It had nothing to do with an uncanny ability to read blueprints and design solutions. It was entirely an ability to build confidence in others.

As you build your influencer profile and portfolio, speak to your domain knowledge and expertise, but never forget why people listen to you and what they need to hear.

Consistency, consistency, consistency

You’ll have heard this many times … but building an audience is an act of inspiration and trust. Sure, you want to inspire your readers, fans and connections, but this means you need to be known for something. And if you are going to be known for anything – be known for “showing up”.

Start by choosing a day and post regularly on that day. As your audience grows, they will come to expect you to publish regularly. Make your publishing pattern a consistent part of your day.

Tell a story

Scrolling through Instagram, it’s easy for your eye to catch an image and to be drawn into the detail. But how many times have you clicked to simply be barraged by a sea of hashtags?

Respect your audience and take the time to tell a story. Don’t just rely on a few simple messages strung together. Use this intimate moment with your audience to share a little something of your insight and passion. Go beyond the simple and find some poetry. You’ll be surprised how powerfully this works.

Show an interest in your audience

Ever wondered how some influencers generate thousands of comments and shares?

It’s an art. And an effort. Generally, you’ll find that the influencers who show an interest in their audience, work to build a community and put in the effort to create emotional connections will generate loyalty and high levels of engagement. This is partly why we are seeing the rise of nano and micro influencers – they work with smaller audiences, cultivate and engage with the community and foster deep conversation threads that go beyond the glib “Great pic!”.