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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

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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

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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

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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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Dvora is a freelance writer residing in Tel Aviv, Israel with 5 years of internet marketing experience. She frequently writes about SEO, Social media and all things blogging.

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Blogging

Blogging Is Not What You Are Doing But What You Are Being

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Phew!

Think this one through.

Blogging is what you are being. Not doing.

Blogging is not mindlessly doing stuff. Oh shoot. You realized something, didn’t you? Blogging is not building an email list. Email lists do not give you success. Nope. Clear, confident, detached bloggers who have fun building email lists and who trust in the blogging process grow big, responsive, profitable lists….over time. What does this mean?

“Over time” means you do not panic, flip out or bail on blogging, if you calmly build a list and have fun doing it, for a long time, and see the appearances of little or no growth. This is BEING a successful blogger; having fun, trusting, being patient, taking the simple, easy route, even if it feels uncomfortable after blogging and list building for a bit and seeing the illusion of scant results.

Most Bloggers Fail Because They Screw It Up

Most bloggers buy into a lie; doing specific things makes you successful. Nope. If this were the case, everybody who builds a list would be billionaires. Because they built a list, lists breed success, right? Nope. Even if you follow steps robotic-like, your energy, your emotions, your feelings, all make up your BEING. The 6 and 7 and 8 figure earners who happily take this journey are being the 6, 7 and 8 figure earners energetically, calm and confident, after having fun creating content and connecting, and seeing $4 in blogging profits after 6 months of being the person. Every other blogger panics after 1 day, 1 week or 1 month, stop being the millionaire success, do dumb stuff, begin being a broke person, and see struggle and failure until they decide to be the successful blogger again.

The Core Elements of Being a Success

Blog mainly:

  • for fun
  • taking the easy but uncomfortable path; do what feels natural to you, even when you slam into fear of wasting your time, fear of being criticized, fear of mental blocks, etc
  • with a complete trust in yourself
  • with a complete trust in the blogging process
  • with a complete trust in sound, proven advice from successful bloggers

Very few bloggers be these energies persistently. Very few bloggers happily earn a pretty penny over time. Few bloggers be success. Most bloggers try to do their way to success but since they act without giving any thought to their intent, their driver, their energy, almost all of these bloggers are being broke, poor, struggling and failing.

Blogging is not robotic. If blogging was robotic, every blogger who did specific things in a certain way would succeed. But this is not true. Blogging is energy. Top bloggers use all types of different approaches to reach the top. This indicates blogging is primarily energy, your energy coloring your actions and results.

Imagine if you feel like a failure. I advise you to write a guest post for me. You tell me you are lazy, have no ideas, cannot do it, need to take a few months off, etc. I offer you an opportunity to promote your success but since you are BEING a failure and feeling like a failure you are blind to the DOINGs (generous guest posting) of a successful blogger. See what I mean? Plus, if you seize the guest posting opportunity while feeling like a complete failure, either the post quality stinks or you write a masterpiece by the odd chance, that nobody reads. Nobody read it because you are feeling/being a failure, so, you see failure results.

100% of the time, blogging is energy. Being a success means blogging your fun, doing what feels easy and natural to you, trusting in self and the process, and feeling uncomfortable along the way.

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Blogging

Why Does Blogging Seem Hard?

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Aha!

The question of blogging questions.

Why does blogging seem hard?

Blogging in and of itself is not hard. Blogging is a concept. A blog is an inanimate object. It is neutral. It is not hard, tough or easy.

Human beings label their feelings with emotions. THIS is why blogging seems hard.

Why?

Doing the neutral activity of blogging feels scary, meaning you unearth and either resist or feel fears. Feeling the fears feels highly unpleasant. Especially if said fears feel deep, strong, and terrifying, depressing or anger-inducing.

But if you resist these deep fears, and refuse to feel them, and blog mainly from a dominant vibe of fear, you fully experience the feeling of blogging being super hard. Blogging is actually neutral but you refuse to feel deep fears that blogging has unearthed. You resisting fear leads to prolonged blogging failure, aka, not seeing much money and traffic, aka, blogging being really hard.

Real World Example

A few moments ago, I scanned one of my daily blogging income streams. I made a little less than I had been making for 1 of a billion reasons. 1 such reason may have been the internet crashing here last night. We experienced a few big, powerful thunderstorms.

Anyway, I noted the dollar amount being lower and felt fear arise in my body. Rather than resist the fear, I felt the anxiety, and my mind hurriedly racing ahead to next month’s paycheck, and then, after breathing deeply for a few moments and fully embracing the fear, I released it. I did not resist it. I felt it. The fear disappeared. I then blog from an abundant, relaxed, detached, generous energy, which helps me become more and more successful.

But the old me – and most bloggers – see a lesser dollar amount for daily earnings, feel an intense fear arise, panic, bury the fear versus feeling it, and run around like mad men and mad women with that DEEP FEAR DRIVING THEM, desperate and greedy, resisting the fear, being driven by fear, and of course, they do stupid stuff with a dominant fear energy guaranteeing their blogging failure. Then, these humans who refuse to face, embrace and feel fears, proclaim blogging to be hard. This is a lie. Blogging is neutral. But you refuse to face, embrace and release your fears, so blogging *feels* hard.

Solution

Feel fears when fears arise. Cry it out. Shout it out. Feel depressed or deflated.  Do not resist fear. Then, after feeling fears, you will feel good, detached, relaxed and trusting. Feeling these dominant abundant energies, you will create, connect, trust, persist and blog from a relaxed, chill energy. Blogging from this calm, trusting, generous energy makes blogging easier and easier and easier. Money flows in easy. Traffic flows in easy.

Blogging went from hard to easy because you faced fears, felt fears, and progressively blogged from an abundant, generous, calm, detached vibe.

Tip for Feeling Fear

Engage in some energy management ritual that expands your awareness. I do deep yin yoga and power walk daily. Prayer and/or meditation may help. Breathing deeply helps. Do anything that expands your awareness so you can observe and feel fear versus resisting this destructive energy.

Some humans bury fear with busy-ness and jobs they hate. Other people turn to drugs or alcohol to bury fears. All of these folks are unhappy and depressed because you cannot feel good, abundant, relaxed and successful with oodles of fear buried deep inside of you.

Be with your fears. Be gentle with yourself. The blogger who feels and releases fear soon learns blogging gets easier and easier.

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Blogging

Do You Need to Respond to ALL Comments?

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No.

One mistake holds back many bloggers who fail to scale. These folks obsess over responding to every single comment, every email, every message. Why? Pride. Obsession. Attachment to people. Fear of missing out on an opportunity. Fear of missing out on friendships.

Unfortunately, if you spend 14 hours daily responding to every single social request and chat and email and blog comment and message – even if it feels fun – you lose opportunities to scale through blog posts, guest posts, podcasts and doing interviews.

Please; if responding to virtually everything feels fun, do it. But 99% of bloggers BS themselves on this because they respond to EVERYONE from an energy of fear, pain, lack, resistance, force and hustle. Bad idea guys. Force negates. But, power attracts. Meaning if you are willing to use power, and love, and fun, to inject into your work, you quickly see: the cornerstone of massive scaling and persistent growth and freeing blogging success is writing, publishing and placing blog posts and guest posts.

Example

Today, how do I have most fun growing my business, reaching more people, helping more people, and leveraging my blogging presence? Do I achieve these feats by spending 3 hours responding individually to every retweet, Like, blog comment, and so on, and so on? Nope. I spend those 3 hours effectively and efficiently by writing and publishing 3-6 blog posts and guest posts. Blog posts and guest posts scale. Blog posts and guest posts help me reach hundreds to thousands of targeted folks through each blog post and guest post.

Blog posts and guest posts never seem to be written by people who complain about having no time to blog post, and, guest post. Meanwhile, a hefty chunk of these humans spend 1, 2 or 3 hours responding to every Like on Facebook, from a strained, forced energy, fearing they miss out on traffic and bonds, not having fun doing it. But the wise move would be spending 10 minutes responding to comments on Facebook and maybe a few Likes, then, devoting 2-3 hours to writing and publishing blog posts and guest posts.

Think Scale Not Small Time

WAY too many bloggers play small, giving most of their attention and energy to building 1 to 1 bonds. Making friends is important but meeting new friends is even more important.

One lesson I learned from millionaire bloggers: scaling through blog posts and guest posts is the quickest way to reach more people, make more money and increase your blog traffic. Building 1 to 1 bonds by engaging commentors plays a role in succeeding online, but the top bloggers on earth are not running around, spending endless hours responding to Likes on Facebook.

Titans scale.

Titans also build one to one bonds through engagement, but if you are not getting 1000 page views a day, something is wrong in the scaling department. Namely, you are playing it small, not thinking about scaling. Scale. Guest post. Post to your blog. Make this the focus of your day. Then, feel free to engage folks 1 to 1 in a limited time frame.

You need to let go responding to every single person all day long to genuinely scale, to reach an increasing number of folks and to do what matters most to your business.

People will buy your stuff without you engaging them. Guaranteed. Folks will find your blog, love your content and buy your course or eBooks. This is a simple, organic process that you muck up every time you believe you need to respond to and engage every single person who reaches out via all online channels.

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