Focus on Content for Real Influence

I have literally been sitting on this post all week. I’ve gone back and forth on how to frame the topic, refine the topic, wrangled with it some more, only to finally get it out of my head and onto the blog today.

Why the fuss?

I was getting too hung up on whether or not it was perfect, fresh, and answering the right questions for my customers.  Turns out, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it is fresh in that it will be my view on this discussion, and it answers the questions for many a small business owner of what type of content should go on their site.  Content that INFLUENCES.

Klout, Influence and its Relative Importance

Mark Schaefer, Jay Baer, and the countless others who left comments on their posts this week, covered Klout and their reasons for or against its use as a measure of influence.

Klout is not perfect. It measures a type of influence; it can be used as a starting point for discovering leaders or specialists in your topic of choice, but not the sole value indicator for someone’s worth or sphere of influence.

Content and Influence

Let’s drill down a bit. When I shared the link to Jay’s post, I asked the question of when and how quality content get factored in.  Take a look at the response.


He suggested that it wouldn’t be long before Klout brought in Google Analytics.  Bingo!  If that does happen, and I hope it does, I want to make sure that the content I’m producing is influential.

I want to make sure that I’m creating content that actually gets people to DO something…now that’s INFLUENCE.

Make Your Content Influential

It’s not enough to make content. The content should be of such importance, relevance and interest that it actually becomes Influential.  How do we do that?  Is it simply by writing a killer blog post or shooting a video that moves you to tears?

How is it measured? Is it when you see a blog post with hordes of comments; blog posts that get people to take action?  Here are a few items I think make for influential content, and how ways you might measure them.

  1. Make it interesting and relevant.  When I make the topic relevant to what’s in the newspop culture, or what interests my readers (these are not always customers, by the way), I have more retweets and shares on posts.
  2. Offer a solution or answer a question. For me, this is a big one and it’s one that is easier to do the more you study your customer, listen to their questions and see what brings people to your site and where they go when they get there.  I have client issues in real life for which I provide solutions. I write them up and provide a solution in a blog post.  I know it worked when I see the goal conversions in my Google analytics, when I get an email about it or associated comments.
  3. Curate “spot on” content. When you share content from other sources, whether it’s an article from the Wall Street Journal, a blog post from your colleague, or a crazy story that sparks a debate, you’re delivering on a certain expectation. When that content is shared throughout multiple networks, I know it’s working. 
  4. Ask people to do something.  Don’t forget this one! What do you want people to do when they read your content or watch your videos? Share it? Call you? Comment? Whatever it is, ask them.  When they do it, you know it worked!
  5. Share willingly. Forget the competition and holding back information. Spill it.  Just because you share your best practices for driving traffic to your blog or for getting more customers to your store, doesn’t mean your competition will do it or that they can do it.  When your content is shared again, a contact form is submitted, or you get searched more for that topic as a result, you know it worked.
  6. Build and maintain authentic relationships.  This one is my most important one.  Go for quality over quantity here. The more authentic and genuine your relationships, there’s more of an inclination to read your content and share it.
Measuring items like these can be tough. But think about it. We do that already. Whether we check on a Klout score or Peer Index, look at the comment count, number of visits to a blog, how often it was shared, or how certain actions impacted our analytics, we have our own way of measuring and evaluating.   That won’t go away.  We may as well make sure the content we produce is influential.

Tell me what you think. What would you add to my list? What content has influenced you the most this week?  How do you measure it?

Image found on Flickr via Sean MacEntee

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