Last Updated on July 2, 2020

What I’ve written over the past several months is what I hope you’ll find to be a detailed guide on how to become what you might consider a top tier influencer and is meant to be a companion piece with the Ultimate Guide to Using Influencer Marketing. The process is designed to start with understanding visibility, picking a focus on where you have the most capacity to influence, learning how to expand on that capacity, learning a variety of tactics and concepts for audience growth, and along the way, perhaps transforming your life in a positive manner.

Before you embark on what I hope is a whirlwind of success becoming the next big thing in…whatever it is that interests you, I want to provide some advice that transcends the rest of the series.

  1. Disclose — proper disclosure is very important and can keep you out of trouble. According to our research, adding #ad as a minimal disclosure on Tweets, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Instagram posts doesn’t even impact the bottom line. However, it can keep you from being targeted with fines for not following the rules. When in doubt, disclose.
  2. Honesty — if you’re offered money and asked to review a product or service in a way that isn’t in line with reality, turn it down. This goes along with proper disclosure, because you are attaching your name to the review — there are still ways to provide an honest review without slamming a product or service by focusing on attributes that you do like, but don’t lie. Think about how you’d feel if you bought the product based on someone else’s review only to find out it wasn’t any good, and then keep that feeling in mind as you review.
  3. Have fun — this is an opportunity to be paid for playing around in an area that interests you, so don’t forget to let yourself enjoy the experience. If by the end of the process you say “I actually get paid to do this”, then I’ll have done my job.

Are you ready? I won’t use the cliché of “kid, I’m going to make you a star” but I would be very happy if that was the outcome.

Becoming a Top Tier Influencer: Get Visible

Exec Summary

Get an understanding on the importance of visibility as it pertains to the influencer’s journey, which includes a primer on how visibility works on Amazon, blogs, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube. Finally, a teaser on engagement and the importance of interlinking social profiles.

Build in the Wrong Place and They Won’t Come

Always Be Broadcasting

Obvious and Non-Obvious Places to Build Visibility



Reference: Tiffany Sun





Reference: Ramya Menon




Reference: Lee Odden

Interlink to Rule Them All

Becoming a Top Tier Influencer: Focus and Authenticity

Exec Summary

After visibility is understood, the most critical step is to select a focus and remain committed to that focus. Learn how to cultivate your persona and utilize various tools to source content which can help you to get started in that niche. The goal is to work towards expertise.

Reference: Nic Haralambous

Be Selective

Reference: Adelyn Zhou

Reference: Oleksiy Kuryliak

Follow Your Dreams: Build a Persona

How Do I Focus on My Focus?

Reference: Sean Ogle

Nothing More Authentic Than an Expert

Reference: Mike Koenigs

Put Into Practice

Optimize Your Influence

Exec Summary

Grasp the importance of optimizing for one’s niche and how it pertains to content marketing and SEO. Then, explore an in-depth look at how to specifically source and utilize trends and content discovery on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube for the purposes of crafting an optimization strategy for your persona. Example persona chosen for this primer is that of a cosmetics blogger.

Why Optimize?

Reference: Catalin Zorzini

How-to Optimize, by Network

Reference: Austin Iuliano


Reference: Anne DiVitto


Reference: Larry Kim


Reference: Scott Kleinberg


Reference: Instagram Engineering


Reference: Tony Yeung


Influencers Should Negotiate Too

Exec Summary

Should you accept every pitch? Should you negotiate? Why, when, and what for? Learn the importance on negotiating for fit as it pertains to niche optimization and when the lure of money should override that fit using the Take It? (TI) calculation; the assumptive examples for the calculations come from the skincare industry.

Negotiate for Fit

Reference: Boostinsider

When Should You Negotiate for Money?

Reference: Tandem

Take It? (TI) Calculation



Market Rate

Reference: Buffer

Respond to All Pitches

The Importance of Influencer Resilience

Exec Summary

Becoming an authoritative influencer from scratch is not an easy process. Learn how to mentally handle the inevitable dips that occur, get inspired by how others have dominated social influence before you came onto the scene, and understand that while it may take 10,000 hours of consistent effort before you’re an expert, it’ll only take 400 hours before you are not half bad.

Trigger Warning: Motivational Post

Reference: Andy Drish

Get Inspired

10,000 Hours?

Reference: Jon Collins

My Own Journey

Reference: Steve Campbell

Top Tier Influencers: Quality Over Quantity

Exec Summary

Quality is a term too-often used without providing explanation; understand how we define quality to mean depth of material using the humor niche as an example on YouTube with lip reading dubs and crank calls, and then with children’s book parodies on Twitter.

What Does Quality Even Mean?

YouTube Quality vs Quantity

Lip Reading Dub Case Studies

Crank Call Case Studies

Twitter Quality vs Quantity

What about Blogs?

Reference: John-Henry Scherck

So Quality or Quantity?

Hey Influencers, Listen To Your Audience!

Exec Summary

Feedback is critical for any influencer looking to improve. Learn first how to solicit internal feedback, how to listen to unsolicited feedback, and how to engage with your audience for feedback purposes.

Get Some Internal Feedback

Are your posts too frequent?

Reference: Buffer

Reference: Dan Wilkerson

Are your posts fragmented by industry, showing a lack of focus or authenticity?

Are your posts counter to the ideals of your audience (i.e. political, geocentric, etc)?

How to Listen / Handle External Feedback?

Reference: Gary Vaynerchuk

Reference: Nicole Williams

How to Interact With Your Audience for Feedback Purposes

Be in the Know, Be First, or Be Best

Exec Summary

Breaking news isn’t always the best strategy for influencers. Learn, using a lesson from content marketing, the differences and advantages/disadvantages to being the fastest, the most accurate, or simply the best influencer for a niche.

Reference: Josh Stearns

Segue to Content Marketing

Reference: Tyler Hakes

Social/viral content

Evergreen content

Link-earning content

Becoming the Fastest / Breaking Influencer

Reference: Brand24

Reference: Cision NA

Reference: Slack

Becoming the Most Accurate Influencer

Reference: First Draft

Becoming the Best Influencer

Community & Collaboration

Exec Summary

Using travel industry influencers as an example, explore how to involve your broader niche community into your overall practice, trading leads in order to remain focused, collaborating to improve quality, and simply looking out for each other.

What is this community you speak of?

Isn’t community another word for competitor?

Reference: steve blank

Reference: Dan Brown

Reference: Evan Carmichael

How can you help your community?

Lead Flow

Community protection

Reference: John Clark ►


Where are these mythical communities?

Influencer Outreach, For Influencers

Exec Summary

Outreach is not an activity that should be left only to brands and their agencies. Learn how to apply a series of tactics designed to help you stand out from your influencer peers, why you need to be ever-present, and when you might want to consider getting trained.

First, Get Noticed

Reference: Brendan McCaughey

Work harder

Be different

Make eye contact

Keep learning

How Can I Get Noticed?

Reference: Paul Kemp


Reference: John Rampton

Reference: Jeff Bullas

Be Everywhere

Reference: Roberto Blake

Get Trained

Want Hyper Growth? Adopt Early

Exec Summary

Some amount of audience growth potential boils down to being in the right place at the right time. By using a helpful heuristic, learn how to determine if it is too early when adopting new social networks as part of your routine or if a network has entered the Goldilocks zone for your niche.

Why adopt early?

How about an example?

Reference: Steve Bowbrick

Reference: Rebekah Radice

How early is too early?

Reference: Jason M. Lemkin

Reference: Michael Dempsey

A helpful heuristic

Tie your accounts

Go Offline to Win Online

Exec Summary

There’s more to networking than DMs and e-mails. Using online marketers as an example influencer niche get a better understanding on why you should make yourself known in person and what type of events might make the most sense for you. Use the Should I Attend heuristic to quickly filter opportunities from distractions.

Go Offline

Reference: Alex Soojung-Kim Pang PhD



Should I Attend Heuristic

  1. Audience Worth

Reference: GetApp

2. Value of Attending

3. Cost to Attend

4. Opportunity Cost

Joe’s Conferences

Become an Authoritative Writer

Exec Summary

One of the fastest ways to be viewed in your community as an expert is to become a published author; it’s one of the reasons this guide even exists. Learn how to get yourself motivated, organized, and on track to publish your first book, as well as the importance of promoting the book.

Getting Started

Reference: Mike Troiano

Reference: Jeff Goins

Tools to Keep You Moving

Reference: CloudPeeps

Reference: Chris Danilo

Publish that Book

Reference: Yann Girard

Reference: Poornima Vijayashanker

Reference: Paul Jarvis

Or Podcast?

Reference: PositivePhil Podcast

SPA Day — Syndicate. Promote. Amplify.

Exec Summary

Your work cannot exist in a vacuum. Learn the basics of syndication, promotion, and amplification and how they can help you to improve the size of your audience.

Reference: Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré

Simple Syndication

Reference: Justin Jackson

Complex Syndication


Reference: Jay

Reference: James Carbary


Reference: Warren Knight

Build That Email List

Exec Summary

One of the most resilient forms of marketing and income generation is still email; learn why you need to be maintaining an email list, how to build the list, and what type of value your audience expects in exchange for giving you their email.

Why should you build an email list?

Reference: Michael K. Spencer

Reference: Ryan Hoover

Reference: Poornima Vijayashanker

How do you build an email list?

  1. Blogs

Reference: James Carbary

Reference: Roger Dooley

2. Instagram

Reference: Sleeknote

3. Facebook

Reference: Julia Jornsay-Silverberg

4. LinkedIn

Reference: Chris Spurvey

5. Twitter

6. Pinterest

Why would your audience want to join the list?

There you have it. I’ve provided a set of tools that, when used correctly, can help a person fresh to a social network grow to respectable size and income using influencer marketing. I’ve armed you as best I can and now the rest is up to you. Peer level influencer marketing works, and you can be a part of it. When I started my two guides for how to use influencer marketing and this, on becoming a top tier influencer, we at Intellifluence didn’t have a very large reach.

And now? As of writing this, the numbers are already outdated due to a constant flow influencer signups, but stew on this: in aggregate our reach is now bigger than Kim Kardashian…just by connecting with ordinary individuals every day for 9 months.

Know what is crazier? By the time this material is published in a book, assuming it is by the close of 2017, our reach will be 3x-10x+ current reach. Agencies and brands cannot ignore the power of peers and what they bring, nor the risk mitigation provided. This is good for you, it is good for me, and it is good for them. Expect a wild ride in the next couple of years because influencer marketing isn’t going away; I hope you end up riding along with us.