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15 Top Influencers to Watch For in 2017

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The rise of the Internet has provided an exceptional opportunity for just about anyone to make it big online. It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, male or female, young or old. This has become especially true with the rising popularity of social media, making it easier than ever to reach an ever growing audience. And you can derive some of your greatest inspiration and glean some of the most powerful lessons from those who’ve already risen to the top.

Presented in no particular order, here are 15 of the biggest online influencers, bloggers and Internet marketing experts you should keep your eyes on.

1. Neil Patel

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Having helped such large corporations as Amazon, NBC and General Motors, Neil Patel has firmly established himself as an expert in Internet marketing and optimizing revenue potential. He is the co-founder of such companies as Crazy Egg, HelloBar, and KISSmetrics, offering customer acquisition webinars and other programs to help you grow your business online.

2. Casey Neistat

casey-neistat

Even though Casey Neistat does have his own website, it is hardly his primary portal or destination on the Internet. People know him best for his YouTube channel where he currently boasts over five million subscribers and over one billion lifetime views. His channel really took off after he started with daily vlogging, marrying a sense of authenticity with incredible cinematography, including his iconic drone footage.

3. John Rampton

john-rampton

Like many of the other individuals on this list, John Rampton can perhaps be best described as a “serial entrepreneur.” That’s what it takes to keep up with and be successful with the rapid changing pace of the Internet. His over-arching goal is to build “amazing products and services that scale.” Forbes calls him a blogging expert and Entrepreneur Magazine says he’s one of the top online influencers in the world today.

4. Sujan Patel

sujan-patel

Describing himself as a “data-driven marketer and entrepreneur,” Sujan Patel co-founded WebProfits US to help companies with content marketing and growth marketing. He’s also a co-founder of ContentMarketer.io, which develops software to help content creators better promote their content, focusing mostly on email. Sujan’s writing has been featured on Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, further demonstrating his expertise in digital marketing. He published the ebook 100 Days of Growth in 2015, outlining actionable growth hacking strategies that have proven effective.

5. Josh Ostrovsky

josh-ostrovsky

The nickname “The Fat Jewish” may not be the most politically correct approach to the Internet, but Josh Ostrovsky has made a huge name for himself online with his unique brand of humor. He creates and republishes a variety of Internet memes, oftentimes with his own funny commentary. He has over 9 million followers on Instagram, showing that you can take existing content, add your own spin, and generate a sizable profit. Collaboration partners with the Fat Jewish include Bud Light, Virgin Mobile and Burger King.

6. David SK Lee

david-sk-lee

If you aspire to make it rich, one of your dreams might be to own a Ferrari. Or, you might want to be like David SK Lee and own nearly two dozen Ferraris. His wealth comes mostly from his Hing Wa Lee Jewelers company, but his online fame is derived from his obsession with the fine Italian supercar brand. When you share your passion online, your followers really do feel it.

7. Zac Johnson

zac-johnson

The name Zac Johnson should probably ring a bell, as he has been an established Internet marketer and professional blogger for a number of years. He’s also the guy behind Blogging Tips, which should probably sound familiar too. Over the years, Zac has helped several companies make millions of dollars online and his expertise in affiliate marketing in particular, is among the best in the business. Perhaps even more impressively, Zac got started and made it big while he was still in high school.

8. Ingrid Nilsen

ingrid-nilsen

Easily one of the most popular and potentially one of the most lucrative verticals on social media is beauty and makeup. And one of the best known names in this space is Ingrid Nilsen. She currently boasts nearly two million followers on Instagram and over four million subscribers on YouTube. She has collaborated with big brands like SKII, Schwarzkopf and Cover Girl, earning a reputation as a top authority in this space.

9. Larry Kim

larry-kim

Founder of WordStream, Larry Kim is one of the most influential figures in the pay-per-click business. The goal of WordStream, which was bootstrapped by Kim in 2007, is to make online advertising easier and more effective for advertisers. Larry shares his many tips and insights through such publications as Search Engine Land, Moz, Search Engine Watch, and Inbound.org.

10. Shama Hyder

shama-hyder

Marketing Zen founder and CEO Shama Hyder is perhaps best known as a web and TV personality. She is a well sought-after keynote speaker and presenter, listed as one of Forbes 30 under 30 in 2015 in the marketing and advertising category. Born in India and later educated in the United States, Hyder definitely knows her way digital marketing and public relations, especially in the realm of social media.

11. Mari Smith

mari-smith

Mari Smith is widely regarded as a top expert in social media marketing with a particular focus on how to grow your audience and reach new customers on Facebook. She’s been lauded by Facebook itself as a “small business and Facebook marketing expert,” as well as by Forbes and Fast Company. She offers training, webinars, brand ambassadorships and keynote speaking services.

12. Ann Smarty

ann-smarty

With a particular focus on search engine marketing, Ann Smarty is a full-time web entrepreneur and the face behind SEO Smarty where she offers content marketing and guest blogging services. She has worked as an online marketing consultant for a decade with her writing appearing on such sites as the New York Times, Mashable, and Entrepreneur. She has also founded several businesses of her own, including MyBlogU and ViralContentBee.

13. Aaron Orendorff

aaron_orendorff_-_articles__businesses_and_biography

Aaron Orendorff is another name that you should add to your must follow list, as he’s not only the brains behind iconiContent, but also a contributor on many sites like Entrepreneur and others. The majority of Aaron’s content focus on iconiContent is surrounded by the ever changing world of content strategy, marketing and copywriting — all three are methods that bloggers, entrepreneurs, and brands of all sizes are looking to improve upon.

14. Dennis Pang

dennis-pang

Dennis Pang is well known in his home territory of Metro Vancouver in Canada, not only for the “food porn” he consistently posts on Instagram, but also as the principal behind Popcorn, a social media marketing and PR agency that boasts all “the right moves” with a “measure of success.” Popcorn has worked with everyone from Rogers to Coast Hotels, Haribo to Tourism Vancouver.

15. Ann Handley

ann-handley

MarketingProfs chief content officer and ClickZ co-founder Ann Handley is one to watch in 2017, though she’s hardly new to the business. An established pioneer in the world of digital marketing, Ann offers keynote speaking services, writes about marketing on Entrepreneur.com, and is the author of Everybody Writes, a best-selling book on “creating ridiculously good content.”

Be Sure to Follow Each of the Influencers through their Site and on Social Media

If you enjoyed this list of influencers to keep an eye on, be sure to view the recent expert blog post on “How to Start a Successful Blog“, with over 82 different bloggers, entrepreneurs and experts around the world contributing their own thoughts, opinions, and working examples.

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1 of My Secrets to Being Kinda Prolific

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I have written hundreds of guest posts for this blog.

I have written about 1000 on Blogging From Paradise between posts and travel pages.

A few moments ago I checked my DA for a sponsored post opportunity. The business owner wanted to know blog domain authority before deciding to place a sponsored post on the blog.

Blogging From Paradise has a DA of 48 and 22,457 external links in.

Not super shabby.

I am kinda prolific.

If you want to publish helpful content frequently, just run with my most basic of tips.

Do not wait around for folks to read your content, comment on your content and share your content before writing your next blog post or guest post.

Do not wait to create.

Do Not Wait to Create

The old me – and most bloggers – became highly attached to any single piece of content I created because I feared the content would not register enough shares, comments, page views and sales. Fear drove me to share this piece of content in many places to boost my stats. All well and good but because fear drove me, I resisted my prolific nature, allowing worry and lack to goad me to do stuff that led to me being the farthest thing from prolific.

Eventually, I observed how bloggers who seemed to be in 10,000,000 places at once simply prolifically created a high volume of helpful blog posts, guest posts and videos. Success found these folks because they did not wait around for readers to check out their blog posts. Said bloggers moved on to writing and publishing their next blog post.

Acting abundantly – not allowing their fears to eat into their prolific nature – promoted these blogger’s success as they created generously, publishing a high volume of content across multiple platforms.

I finally learned of this secret and used it effectively when I chose NOT to wait to create.

Now I publish 3 posts daily on Blogging From Paradise. I also publish the odd guest post from time to time. My success accelerated and my online presence expanded when I decided not to get attached much at all to any one blog post, because the next blog post called me.

No sense waiting around for folks to read my stuff because they simply will read at their own leisure. My job is to keep creating helpful content to help readers build successful blogs. As I move in this direction, everything keeps expanding for me.

All because I chose not to wait to create.

Being Prolific Impacts Folks

Peep this tweet from my friend Corey Hinde of The Good Oil Marketing:

I am humbled by such kind words from an established, super successful internet marketer. This is pretty much what happens when you are prolific; you impact folks in a positive way, and you also expand your reach and help more folks, all because you refuse to hold back.

Tips to Be Prolific

  • Blog mainly for the fun of blogging
  • Nudge yourself out of your comfort zone daily
  • Surround yourself with prolific bloggers to feast on their creative energy
  • Do not wait to create
  • Beware getting attached to any one piece of content; promote posts freely across a wide range of channels but look toward the next blog post, guest post or video to create, in order to become incredibly prolific.

Guys; this journey gets a little uncomfortable at times but if you love fun and freedom more than you fear doing some uncomfortable things you will become a highly prolific blogger.

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Blogging

How to Get Your Blogging Mojo Going if You Feel Hopelessly Stuck

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I lose blogging momentum sometimes.

You may be in the same boat, being human and all.

But if you regularly find yourself saying “I need to get serious about building my blog” over the course of years it is time to own this fact: you need to get your blogging mojo going before you become permanently stuck in a blogging rut.

I was rut-stuck here and there for many years, on and off. Maybe I didn’t quit blogging totally but I’d start blogging, then stop, and continue this process for weeks on end. Not good.

You can find your blogging mojo and get unstuck by following these blogging tips.

1: Pick a Dream that Makes You Feel Alive

I am led by my dreams, not pushed by problems, because I picked a big old dream a while back. I wanted to circle the globe. Bingo!

Since I wanted to travel the world more than I feared doing uncomfortable, blogging-building things, I built a rocking blog and kept on moving, keeping my blogging mojo going.

What is your dream? Figure it out. Hold it tight.

If you need inspiration watch my video from New Zealand. I filmed this one at Mount Cook a few months ago.

2: Feel Fears Fueling Your Struggles

Some folks believe they lack motivation to blog. Others feel they are lazy. But at the end of the day, if you are not acting, you are afraid of something or someone.

Laziness is fear manifest. So find your fears, by shutting a door and sitting in a quiet room, and if you feel the deep fears you purge the energies and proceed from an inspired, loving, persistent, energized space.

I kept putting off writing an eBook for many years. Turns out I was not lazy; I just feared nobody would buy the eBook because I saw myself as a loser who knew little. I also feared people would criticize me. But I went forward and wrote my first eBook to get out of my fear-rut and to keep on moving.

Some of my eBooks do not sell as much as others and people sometimes post negative reviews of my eBooks but since I do not fear these outcomes, neither have any power over me. I just keep expanding my success, helping folks and befriending blogging pros because I move forward, unburdened by many blogging fears I faced, embraced and released.

3: Study Persistently Energized Bloggers

I am no Tony Robbins but blog persistently from an energized space.

Each day I:

  • do 1 hour of deep yin yoga
  • exercise for 1 hour
  • usually take an icy cold shower
  • focus on having fun with my blog versus attaching to money or traffic outcomes

I have written thousands of guest posts, over 10,000 blog posts (old and new blogs combined) and I have also written over 100 eBooks. Toss in the thousands of videos I created over many YouTube channels (since closed) and you see I am a pretty prolific dude. An energized, prolific dude at that.

You’d be wise to see how I go about my energy ritual daily to take a few pointers. Consider deep yin yoga to open up your body, to open your mind and to form the habit of being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Maybe meditating daily opens your awareness. Exercise is definitely a must, every single day.

Circulating your energy freely moves you from being fear-based, lazy and sluggish to being love-based, energized and prolific. I was once pretty dang lazy before I dove deep into energy work.

Wrapping it Up

Keep at it guys. I know this blogging journey feels scary sometimes but if you grab the right blogging resources and follow the above tips you will avoid common blogging ruts that appear to cripple most bloggers.

 

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1 Clever Way to Find Blogs for Reading and Commenting

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Have you missed me?

I dove full bore into promoting my eBook through blog commenting a number of months back. Toss in a prolific blogging campaign over at Blogging From Paradise and some serious video creation and you see I am a busy bee.

A few days ago I uncovered an incredibly neat and pretty clever way to drive traffic to your blog through blog commenting, via a neat method of finding new blogs for your collection.

The Problem

Do you feel stagnant, blog-reading-wise?

I did. For a minute.

Turns out I dug deep into my blogging comfort zone for too many years, reading and commenting on the same blogs week after week, month after month.

If you know anything about successful blogging you likely know that all blogging growth occurs well outside of your comfort zone. So I had to venture out of the familiar by finding new blogs in both the blogging and travel blogging niches because my readers gravitate to both.

Enter a cool method for identifying new blogs for reading and commenting.

Google Image Search

The other day a neat little idea knocked on my mind’s door; why not use a Google image search to find blogs in my niches?

5 minutes later I literally had an unlimited number of blogs for enjoying, commenting and for connecting with fellow bloggers.

The method is simple. Google a competitive keyword in your niche. Example; I Googled “blogging” to start my search.

I then clicked on the “image” link by the top of the page. A series of images popped up related to that keyword.

Some images link to business sites but for the “blogging” keyword, most images linked to well-read, reputable blogs. Perfect.

Blog by blog, I slowly worked through each image, clinking on the blog post URL related to each picture. After reading each post I published a personalized comment and retweeted every blog post, adding the #blogging hashtag for increased targeting on Twitter.

Why this Strategy Is So Powerful

I – like you – have run into stagnant blogging circles on social media and through forums. Even if new bloggers join sites like Facebook and G Plus daily you cannot access and unlimited number of new blogs on a daily basis through either channel once you become an established blogger.

This is not the case with a Google Image search because the sheer volume of new blogs – for competitive keywords – yielded through such a search boggles the mind. Even better? Ranking high for an image search usually indicates a high quality blog for reading, for commenting and for building friendships with top shelf bloggers.

Downsides

Some of these blogs linked to images are low quality offerings. Resist the urge to grab and scarf down rotten blogging low hanging fruit. Stick to quality blogs.

Some images point to business sites. I found this to be especially true when Googling major cities and islands around the world to find new travel bloggers. A high volume of images found during a search linked to tour operator sites. Sifting through tour sites or local chamber of commerce sites to find legit travel blogs requires a significant amount of time and energy.

Spending the time and energy to find new blogs is worth the effort but if you find some keyword image searches seem dominated by business sites – not blogs – feel free to try another keyword that may be linked to predominantly blogs for an image search on Google.

The Verdict

I only dove into this traffic driving strategy a few weeks ago but I noted new bloggers finding me daily through this approach.

If you are stagnating in familiar blogging circles commit 100% to this Google image search method. Reach out to new bloggers, build brand awareness and drive traffic through an easy to follow tactic.

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