A Complete Guide on How to Become a Paid Influencer

Updated on January 1, 2019
Alexis Wainwright profile image

I am a writer and editor. Sharing information with the world through my writing is my passion and dedication.

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A Little Bit About Influencer Marketing

According to advertising folklore, the Queen of England and the Pope were two of the first known influencers of commercial products. But not everything promoted by influential people was exactly good for the public.

In the 19th century, long before Coca-Cola existed, a French chemist named Angelo Marian invented a new wine and health tonic of sorts called Vin Mariani. Marian spent a small fortune on marketing his wine-tonic across the world.

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Mariani claimed it reduced a person's hunger, aided their digestion, cured them of their flu, and the best part of all, his cocaine-laced wine would give them all the energy they needed to get things done. And, for the most part, Mariani was correct about most of it.

One bottle of Vin Mariani contained around six milligrams of cocaine per ounce, which wasn't quite as potent as snorting a line or two of powder cocaine. However, it was enough to give whoever drank it a pleasant buzzing sensation.

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Selling a wine laced with cocaine might explain why it sold so well. Nevertheless, Mariani deserves a lot of credit for the wine's success as well.

Mariani's extensive advertising campaigns included hundreds of thousands of posters, ads in countless newspapers around the world, and sending a case of his wine-tonic to every wealthy and notable person he could.

Among those people were names such as Thomas Edison, Ulysses S. Grant, and, most importantly, Queen Victoria and Pope Leo XIII.

Edison publically endorsed the drink, saying that it gave him the power to stay up long nights and complete his work.

And though some might think Queen Victoria would have been the biggest influencer of them all, it was Pope Leo XIII, who awarded Vin Mariani a medal from the Vatican.

Josiah Wedgwood

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Others Who Have Shaped Influence Marketing Throughout History

Of course, if you take a closer and more in-depth look into the history of influencer marketing, you'll find a long list of people who used their power and influence to endorse products, ideologies, philosophies, religions, politics, and much more.

Here is a brief list of those pioneers.

Josiah Wedgwood

Josiah Wedgwood was an English potter, entrepreneur, and founder of the Wedgwood company.

He is also noted as being the inventor of modern marketing strategies such as money back guarantees, 'buy one get one free," carrying pattern boxes for display, direct mail, illustrated catalogues, free delivery, and self-service.

Wedgwood's pottery was superb, and by 1763 was receiving a lot of notoriety from the highest levels of the British nobility, including Queen Charlotte.

The royal family ordered pottery from Wedgwood on a regular basis.

He eventually convinced the Queen to allow him to name a line of pottery after her.

Thereafter, any piece of pottery Wedgwood made especially for the Queen was displayed to the public before it was to be delivered.

Lillie Langtry

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Lillie Langtry

Lillie Langtry her ivory skin complexion, beauty, charm, charisma, and high public profile to promote commercial products during the early to mid-20th century.

She was the first woman to endorse commercial products, the first being Pears Soap.

Langtry has also been referenced or featured in several films, plays, and literary pieces throughout the 20th century.

In addition to that, several places in the United Kingdom and the United States are connected to or have been named for Lillie Langtry.

The world knew her as “Aunt Jemima”, but this former slave’s real name was Nancy Green and she made history as being one of the first African American models employed by an American company to promote a product.
The world knew her as “Aunt Jemima”, but this former slave’s real name was Nancy Green and she made history as being one of the first African American models employed by an American company to promote a product. | Source

Nancy Green

The R.T. Davis Milling Company hired a former slave named Nancy Green to be the face for their "Aunt Jemima" pancake mix in 1890.

Green was the first African American woman to have modelled for an American company, influencing a generation of consumers.

Green represented a fictional character named "Aunt Jemima" in a minstrel show. Over the years, she has been awarded certificates and medals for her role in the marketing world.

This makes Nancy Green one of the most important pioneers in the history of influencer marketing.

Choosing the correct platform to showcase your work is very important. It's crucial to choose a platform that fits your personality and skill level as well. For example, if you're great at making and editing videos, try YouTube. .
Choosing the correct platform to showcase your work is very important. It's crucial to choose a platform that fits your personality and skill level as well. For example, if you're great at making and editing videos, try YouTube. . | Source

Choosing the Right Platform

There are various platforms that one can use as an influencer.

Blogging

Before there was the social media we know of today, many people who wanted to express themselves online did so via blogs. Called a "weblog," the term was coined in the late 90s after a college student named Justin Hall created Links.net.

This makes blogging the oldest form of social-media style content on the Internet.

In 1999, programmer Peter Merholz shortened "weblog" to simply "blog." During this period there were only 23 blogs on the Internet according to a list made by Jesse James Garrett.

Five years later, Merriam-Webster declared the word "blog" the word of the year.

As the 2000s rolled around, more and more people began to blog, with nearly 50 million blogs on the Internet by 2006. This sudden growth in blogging was thanks to microblogs and tumblelogs.

Today, some of the most popular bloggers-influencers cover things such as style, tech, home decor, automotive, and more. If you want to learn how to create a blog, there are many tutorials out there that can give you an idea.

Vlogging

Vlogging is a smaller segment of the blogosphere and is referred to as the "vlogosphere."

Though bloggers have been including video as a part of their content for years, advances in video technology have allowed vlogging to become more popular as of recent.

Vlogging is a good choice for someone who has a great on-camera personality and isn't too much into writing content. Today, vlogging has transformed into people live-streaming their daily lives while receiving donations from their viewers.

If you're looking to create a vlog somewhere else other than YouTube, here are three of the best video sharing site alternatives:

  • Dailymotion
  • Vimeo
  • ZippCast

Instagram

Instagram is probably one of the most popular platforms for influencers. According to Wikipedia, "the word Instagram is a portmanteau of instant camera and telegram."

This social networking site is the brainchild of Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom, who began working on the project in San Francisco. In the beginning, Instagram was launched exclusively on iOS in October 2010.

Being that Instagram is designed primarily for photo and video, it is a perfect tool for influencers who are all about visual effects and being the centre of attention. Many influencers have found their way via Instagram.

Not everyone is made to be in the limelight. If you want to be a successful marketing influencer, you have to have the characteristics to make it happen.
Not everyone is made to be in the limelight. If you want to be a successful marketing influencer, you have to have the characteristics to make it happen. | Source

Characteristics That Make a Good Influencer

Influencer marketing continues to grow exponentially. However, don't mistake the rate of growth as a sign that entering and succeeding as an influencer is easy.

On the contrary, the influence industry is saturated, making it more difficult to get noticed or taken seriously.

While some successful influencers found their spot in the limelight by chance, others have worked hard to get where they are.

Sometimes it happened for them overnight, while it took years for others.

Then there are the many people who have tried to become influencers but never get noticed.

The first thing you must understand and accept from the beginning is that you may not have the goods needed to make it as an influencer.

The influencer industry is similar to the entertainment industry - you're essentially an entertainer who's sole purpose is to attract a following in order to influence your followers to buy into a brand.

If you want to give influence marketing a shot, here are a few characteristics you should possess.

The number one characteristic one should have to be a successful influencer is likability.
The number one characteristic one should have to be a successful influencer is likability. | Source

Likable Personality

Obviously, an influencer must have a personable demeanour. Good looks don't automatically qualify someone to be an influencer.

Personability also means building a positive and trustworthy reputation both online and in the real world.

Portraying yourself online as being a great person while behaving like a jerk in real life will eventually catch up with you.

Additionally, you don't want to follow those influencers who act arrogantly and condescendingly towards your audience.

The whole idea is to get followed and liked by as many people as possible, from all walks of life and demographics. It's a bad move to alienate segments of your audience for political, cultural, ideological, or any other "-cal" reason.

Remember Nancy Green? She became an iconic symbol for the syrup industry, not only the Aunt Jemima brand.

And this was during a time when racism was a very serious issue.


"Communication is the greatest vehicle for influencing others. To develop the passion for influence you must learn to communicate effectively; study Neuro Linguistic Programming."
"Communication is the greatest vehicle for influencing others. To develop the passion for influence you must learn to communicate effectively; study Neuro Linguistic Programming." | Source

Actively Engaging

The whole point of hiring an influencer is so that they can promote a brand while engaging with their followers.

In all likelihood, if you haven't gotten much involved with people on social media as of yet, you won't find it easy to do now.

One thing that separates a good influencer from a failed one is how well they engage with their audience.

Your audience doesn't have to be massive either.

Companies look for influencers who are very active, maintain consistent publishing schedules, take time to answer relevant comments, are always sharing things, and receive a steady flow of likes.

In order to talk about a brand with authority and relevance, you have to stay connected to the people first and foremost.

"The average individual on social media has a reach of about 600 people."
"The average individual on social media has a reach of about 600 people." | Source

Maintain Visibility

For influencers with a bigger audience, it's important to stay visible. They have a knack of pulling in new followers who enjoy hearing what they have to say.

When it comes to social media, they're masters of their domain. For example, they know the best times to publish specific content to get more responses.

When making content as an influencer, remember to follow Google's rules. Authority comes in more than one form when producing content on the web.
When making content as an influencer, remember to follow Google's rules. Authority comes in more than one form when producing content on the web. | Source

Show You Have Authority

Having authority in an industry is almost more important than any other quality on this list.

Having a great personality is enough - without authority, no one is going to listen to you.

An influencer who is an authority in a given field or has well-grounded knowledge at the very least is worth giving an ear.

This means people will more likely follow them to learn the facts. It also means you become the authority provider for your clients.

However, industry knowledge and expertise aren't the only things people look for in an authoritative influencer.

By taking a look at your website and social media they instantly tell whether or not you're the real deal or not. Is your site well-formatted or difficult to navigate?

There should be no errors in grammar, and the content should be clear to understand. A beautifully manicured website with little to no mistakes in grammar are signs that you are an authority in your space.

Additionally, you should avoid plagiarism at all costs. Content piracy is one way to kill your authority with Google as well.

"Authenticity is the quality that makes our brand relevant and real to our followers, the quality that connects us and speaks to our clients on a deeper level."
"Authenticity is the quality that makes our brand relevant and real to our followers, the quality that connects us and speaks to our clients on a deeper level." | Source

Showing Authenticity

While we're on the topic of authority, we should cover the issue of inauthenticity. True lovers of vertical markets (consumer niches) can spot fakes from a mile away.

Being viewed as a fake or fraud is not something you want at all. Building trust with your followers by being authentic is the way to attract clients.

If you're genuine, your followers will listen to what you have to say, and your clients will love you for that.

Being passionate about excellence is what drive every successful brand. As an influencer, you should show the same in the content you create.
Being passionate about excellence is what drive every successful brand. As an influencer, you should show the same in the content you create. | Source

Be Passionate

All great influencers are passionate about their vertical.

Passion includes wanting to learn more about the topics you cover; it means staying in the know about things.

They're the type of people who know what has happened, is happening, and could happen in the industry.

All of their articles and posts are up-to-date and on point concerning the latest trends, including when those trends will end.

Being a passionate influencer means you're capable of talking endlessly about every aspect of your vertical and do so with complete confidence and conviction.

Brands trust influencers who are passionate and takes the time to learn about their consumers and their product.

They want to be sure their partnership with them works and that it aligns with their audience.

Who Are the Influencers in the Digital Age? Jared Molko at TEDxSoweto

A Persona That Fits Your Clients’ Brand

Smart brands know that having a talented influencer that fits their brand's persona is the best way to get their product noticed - it shows the consumers who they are.

As an influencer, you should have similar values and goals as the brands you serve. In this way, your audience sees the connection.

Let’s Talk About How to Make Money as an Influencer

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Ways to Get Paid Working as an Influencer

There are more than enough ways to make money in the influencer market. This allows you to find a platform that best suits your skill sets (video production, writing, audio production, et cetera).

1. Podcasting

"A podcast or generically netcast, is an episodic series of digital audio or video files which a user can download in order to listen to." -Wikipedia
"A podcast or generically netcast, is an episodic series of digital audio or video files which a user can download in order to listen to." -Wikipedia | Source

Podcasting usually accompanies another platform, such as social media or a website. It is a relatively low-cost way to cover lengthy topics, conduct interviews, among other things.

The only thing you'll have to consider is how much you're willing to spend on a setup, which includes equipment similar to what an internet disc jockey would use.

If you would like to make live video productions of your podcasts, you should have a nice studio-like setup.

Some podcasters choose to charge a small fee for subscribers to download and listen to their podcasts. You can use a site such as Patreon to monetise your work.

2. Digital Products

Creating digital products is an easy way to make an income as an influencer.
Creating digital products is an easy way to make an income as an influencer. | Source

E-products have become increasingly popular among influencers as of recent. In addition to that, they are relatively affordable and simple to produce, as well as possess rapid scalability with seamless distribution online.

E-products range from anything from ebooks, workout programs, downloadable guides, to single-page meal plans or organisational templates.

As an influencer, digital products allow you the opportunity to create real content that is sold for a fair price.

Along with getting paid to represent various brands, you will be able to earn extra income on the side from sharing your knowledge, expertise, and influence.

For example, Kayla Itsines is a fitness guru who is also an influencer with an empire built on digital products, such as her workout program "Bikini Body Guide" and her mobile application "Sweat With Kayla."

3. Brand Ambassadors

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Another way for you to get paid as an influencer is to become a brand ambassador. Most influencers use social media to do this.

Today, marketers boast brand ambassadorship as being the most effective type of influencer marketing due to their structural nature.

Brands higher such ambassadors for long-term campaigns and pay them via a retainer.

As a brand ambassador, it's your responsibility to become the ultimate expert on the brand and its product.

Furthermore, the company will also expect you to broadcast your partnership with it on all of your available social media channels.

© 2018 Alexis Wainwright

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    • Alexis Wainwright profile imageAUTHOR

      Alexis Wainwright 

      4 weeks ago from Bozeman, Montana

      I'm glad you pointed that out. I do plan to add some more if not a lot more in the near future. I really appreciate you taking the time to critique my article, so I will be sure to return the favor by adding those things you are interested in knowing.

      If you're not already following me, go ahead so you'll be notified when I update the article (if it works that way). And, actually, just in case it doesn't, I'll do my best to let you know when I add some more details to this article.

    • Ken Burgess profile image

      Ken Burgess 

      4 weeks ago from Florida

      A good read, and I learned a couple of interesting things.

      But from the title "A complete guide on how to become a paid influencer" I was hoping that there would be little more information, or 'how to' on how to get paid to influence, by writing or blogging, etc. on the sites you noted.

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