What is influence? Like branding or engagement, it is a critical part of marketing. To have influence means that you are an expert in your field or industry, people follow your lead, and people will change their way of thinking or doing something based on what you say.
Tom Webster wrote a fabulous article on his blog, BrandSavant, in which he discussed influence and what elements are required to be influential. While many people measure their influence based on their scores from Klout, Kred and PeerIndex, Webster said that is shortsighted: “Influence is swaying someone else to produce a change in state, and there is no demonstrable evidence that a higher Klout score gives you that magical power.”
Because Webster is a researcher, he decided to look at the “how” and the “why” of influence. “Aristotle posited that there were three specific appeals that a writer or speaker could make in order to sway their audience,” Webster writes, and they are:
- Ethos, the argument from the author’s credibility
- Pathos, an appeal to the emotions of the audience
- Logos, an appeal to the audience’s sense of logic and reason
If you can bring Ethos, Pathos and Logos together, you can influence others. Klout et.al. measure Ethos, or your credibility. By demonstrating how your expertise has helped clients, you can build credibility.
As Webster points out, Pathos and Logos are harder to achieve. Here’s how:
Pathos: Your messaging must engage the audience and make them want to react or interact with it. This could be done with a short video in which you share what your company does – in song.
Logos: Write messaging that you not only want an influencer to share but is also specific, relevant, and logical to that influencer. For example, if you have tips for people in your industry on how they can save time and money doing X, share them.
Apple and Oprah Winfrey, to name just two, embody these three elements of influence beautifully. They are both without a doubt game changers. What other companies or people do you view as influencers?
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