It’s like actors who only live for the Academy Awards, athletes who are obsessed with winning the gold medal, politicians who lust after the highest office.
Others want the perfect mate, the dream house, the Big Payday, and now thanks to the Fast Company Influence Project (Sorry, I’m not going to link to it) to be 2010’s Most Influential Person Online.
Individuals who have participated in this project seem to believe that if they obtain this title something magical will happen that will completely transform their lives. Once this “Big Moment” happens they’ll be better off. They’ll be influential.
Influence is not achieved this way.
Cultivating influence is a slow process. It takes time. Sure, you can make quick decisions, see fast results, optimize, and change things on the fly. However, real influence just takes time. You can’t start a blog and gain influence right away. It takes time to create content, find your voice, develop a community, and earn respect and trust.
You create influence by inspiring and enriching the lives of others. Influence comes from teaching others. By having meaningful conversations that educate based on the content you create online (text, audio, video, images). People then consume your content, comment on it, Digg it, share it, and encourage others to take part.
But more importantly, they’re better off (not you).
Instead of asking people to “click on your influence link” (courtesy of Fast Company), create something useful. Anything. Write a blog post, record one more podcast, produce a video. Visit someone’s web site / blog and tell them you appreciate their insights.
In other words, do what influential people do.
Create something great. Put in the time and commitment to providing your target audience with a unique experience. Listen to online conversations. Hang back and just listen to the flow of conversations. Then, when you’re ready, start adding value and push the conversation forward.
Influence isn’t a “project”. It’s not achieved in some magical “Big Moment”. Influence is created on a daily basis and lies in the smallest of moments, events, activities, interactions, and situations.
About the Author:
Mitch Fanning recently became VP of Strategy & Business Development for Fruition Interactive. He’s spent 10+ years (and put in his 10,000 hours) working with businesses of all sizes, from global brand (NBC.com, Nestle) to Canada’s fastest growing Internet companies ranked in the PROFIT 100, creating, selling, implementing both traditional and digital marketing opt-in strategies.
Photo credit: Fod Tzellos