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Influence, Chris Brogan and Street Musicians

Street musician

Street musician (Photo credit: Another side of yukita)

I am a big fan of Chris Brogan as many of you may know. Today I can’t help but respond to his recent blog on influence. Following is an excerpt I have taken from his blog that I think is exceptional:

Who are the influencers? Is it me? Sometimes. Is it you? Often. It’s fluid. For instance, anything Dave Thomas likes in music on Spotify, I’m bound to check out and eventually purchase. Likewise, if Steve Garfield or C.C. Chapman blog about some new photography product a company’s given them to try, I’m going to give it consideration.

I’m asked all the time why I don’t much like Klout. It’s because I think the platform is flawed in how they determine influence. They measure chatter. If I tweet a link about some product in a category, and a lot of people retweet it or the like, it counts as influence. (This is the least accurate portrayal of Klout ever. Read Return On Influence (amazon affiliate link) by Mark Schaefer for a much better one). Click here to read the full blog post. You don’t want to miss this.

Influence in My Book

I share often during my talks that everyone has influence. Many people don’t think of themselves as holding influence. They think influence is held by someone higher up on the corporate ladder or someone who has a bestselling book or someone who has ten times their annual income or someone who is on TV or someone who has won an oscar or someone who has won a Nobel prize (my eye is on this one) or someone who runs a country . . . get my point?

But as Chris points out, we all have influence. Here are the fears I hear people  and companies sharing around influence:

  • Won’t the never-ending “push” for recognition, coupled with the ever-increasing noise of the web make getting attention that creates influence harder and harder.
  • How will we grow market share when now there are much lower barriers to entry?
  • If we aren’t at the top of a Google search how will that affect our success?
I remember when I heard Chris talking at a bloggers conference that he made enough money off of his affiliate links on his blog (this was awhile ago) that it helped pay for his monthly mortgage. He did not say, as many get-rich-quick marketers today say, “I made a fortune on affiliate marketing.”

I’ve been in business two decades and hearing Chris share that something he did had enough influence to pay for his mortgage was a life-changing experience for me. It wasn’t about him making a fortune and living in a castle by the sea. Instead, it was about a basic need that we all have–to pay for a roof over our heads. Since that day I have been selling my 13 (soon to be 14) books to do the same thing–pay for our house mortgage. I think that is a great more realistic and, for me, practical goal and a good place to start. I haven’t gotten their yet, but every year I get closer. I have  also shared this idea with my clients as I help them write books. “Imagine,” I offer. “One day your books could cover your mortgage payments! Wouldn’t that be great?”

It’s like being a street musician. There are some, over time, who get enough attention they become famous. There are also those who make very little, just surviving. But there are also those who make enough to pay for a roof over their heads.

So what’s the bottomline? Influence is powerful. You already have some. You can get more. The trick? Start by giving to others with such passion and authenticity they can’t help but want to help you. From what I can see Chris has a much more real and therefore, useful method to get, keep and grow one’s influence.

Melissa G Wilson

Melissa has been a leader in the book writing, publishing and marketing arena for the past two decades. To date, she has helped more than 100 thought leaders write, publish and market their books. Her clients include executives such as Dan Weinfurter a seven-time Inc 500 winner and Orlando Ashford, President of Holland Cruise Lines.

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