A number of speakers who made the inaugural Influencer Marketing Days such a success will be coming back to New York – to speak at our conference this year as well. One of them is my good friend from the affiliate marketing world – Zac Johnson, a true influencer in his niche. Zac’s social media reach and site traffic is now over 100,000 strong and, to date, he has referred over $5,000,000 in new business to the brands he promotes. Today, as part of our 2017 pre-conference speaker interview series, I bring my interview with him.

Question: To begin with, could you please tell the IMD’s community about yourself and what you do?

Zac: In short, I’ve been successfully making money online for over two decades now. I’ve always had a passion for business, even from an early age. Fortunately for me, the internet came around at the perfect time. It all started when I was a sophomore in high school and knew there was a way to make money on the internet, I just had to figure it out. Without going into my full story, I found success and have been running my own internet marketing business ever since. In 2007, I launched my personal blog at ZacJohnson.com which allowed me to brand away from being just an affiliate marketer and allowed me to become a brand and authority in the online marketing space. In 2012, I did the same with Blogging.org, launching the site with the goal of being a top influencer in the world of blogging — which is definitely what the sites and myself have become.

Question: Influencer marketing has been around for a few years and has already had its share of ups and downs. What are the biggest challenges that you see it face now?

Zac: The internet has really allowed for anyone to essentially become an “influencer”, however, in most cases it’s the audience that decides who will become an authority and who won’t. At the same time, while it may seem like it’s easy to start a blog, get active on social media and share your expertise, there is also a ton of competition out there as well. For this reason, it’s extremely important to take the role of being an influencer extremely important. With more than a billion active websites and blogs on the internet today, it’s easy to quickly be replaced. Always keep this in mind when creating content and trying to provide value to your audience.

Question: How can aspiring influencers ensure they do get heard amidst all this “noise”?

Zac: Just like in the world of blogging and content creation, many people are approaching it in the wrong way. It’s not about creating the most content and pushing new articles out just for the sake of updating and giving Google something new to index. Instead, it needs to be about the value given to your audience. To become an authority in your space, you need to give to your audience and do better than the competition.

Question: What, in your opinion, is the biggest advantage of (doing) influencer marketing?

Zac: Once you have a well-respected brand and following in place, nothing can take it away from you. As an affiliate marketer, blogger, social media user or anything in between… if those platforms go away or limit your reach, so goes your business and audience. When you are the influencer or brand, you are continually building your following, business, and branding at all times.

Question: When operating on a tight budget, but wanting to hop on the influencer marketing bandwagon, where would you recommend a company to focus their efforts, how, and why?

Zac: This is where the real opportunity of the internet lies. Anyone can start a blog and go live with a brand or business of their own in minutes. Once this is in place, it’s just a matter of coming up with the right approach, content focus and outreach process. If you want to be an influencer, figure out what you are best at, then jump into that niche audience and find where they are. A perfect way to get started with this process is to simply create an expert round up of other influencers on your site. This is something I do all the time and it’s a great way to not only feature experts on your site and provide value to your audience, it’s also a great way to bring attention and traffic back to your site. Best of all, there are no costs involved, it’s just a matter of putting in the time and effort.

Question: On September 25, 2017 you’re speaking at Influencer Marketing Days. Why should marketers want attend your session?

Zac: While speaking at Influencer Marketing Days, I will be providing the audience with actionable tips and methods that helped me get to where I am today. As mentioned, I’ve been doing this for 20+ years now and it’s not often you come across someone that has been able to constantly change with the industry and find continued success in the process. I’ve also been able to take everything that has been self-taught over the years and not only build a personal brand and become an influencer, I’ve also helped my audience and followers earn a lot of money in the process.

Question: If you were to give one influencer marketing advice to brands/advertisers, and one to influencers, what would they be?

Zac: My previous point on the expert round up posts is a pretty good one. While brands may have millions of dollars to spend on branding and advertising, the results that can be seen through real outreach and coming up with a detailed resource article that other influencers and industry experts will share — well, that has some massive value behind it. To see a working example of this, you can click here. It’s a resource with over 80+ different industry experts providing their own expertise on a specific topic. Now imagine the benefit of having each of those influencers, bloggers and entrepreneurs, sharing such content with their own followers and social media!

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