For years, I’ve been advocating the use of an Expert Tracker mind map to keep track of the influencers you follow on a regular basis. Mind maps make it easy to have one-page access to all of theinfluencers you follow and—in many cases—hope to establish relationships.
Original Expert Tracker Benefits
My original Expert Tracker mind map allowed you to display and link to over 100 influencers. It offered the following benefits:
- Alphabetically organized, you could go straight to your influencer’s latest blog post. You now have one-click access to the influencers you feel are most important.
- The Notes feature allowed you to enter additional information relevant to each influencer. You could add the URLs for the Influencer’s other social media.
As you approach your book’s publication date, having easy access to your Influencers’ contact information made it easy to contact them about the possibility of providing pre-publication testimonials, for your book.
Limitations of Early Expert Trackers
My original Expert Tracker utility, however, was hampered by a few problems:
- Prioritizing. Although my Expert Tracker helped you access individual influencers. But, it required you to remember the influencer’s first and last names. There was no easy way to guage the importance of individual influencers. You couldn’t easily separate your most important A-list iinfluencers from your B-list and C-list influencers. (You could, of course, use key words, graphics, and filters to search for your most important influencers, but this reduced the Expert Tracker’s ease of use and efficiency).
- Categorization. Likewise, at a glance, I couldn’t identify and locate influencers according to their approaches, interests or strengths. Some content marketiing experts focused on copywriting techniques, others on effective graphic design or market Still others specialized in email and lead generation.
The biggest problem of all, however, was the reduced importance of my Expert Tracker as it grew. As the number of Influencers increased, it’s limitations soon became obvious.
Needed: A Consistent Guide to Productivity
My biggest frustration with the original Expert Tracker was that it didn’t guide my everyday (or every-other-day) expert tracking.
I did not have an efficient answer to the basic question: Which influencer’s blog or podcast should I check-out today? As a result, there was no consistency to my efforts. I either spent too much time with a small group of influencers, or I failed to spend enough time with other influencers. As a result, here was no consistency to my influencers research activities. I simply wasn’t learning as much as I wanted, and I wasn’t commenting on my key influencer’s blog posts or social media.
Tags & Filters Saved the Day!
I started by selecting and adding tags to identify the relevance and strengths of my key influencers. Notice that I didn’t say “all of my influencers,” but emphasized “key influencers.”
Selectivity is important. Granted, all of your influencers are important. But only a few are more important than others. These are the ones to focus most of your attention on!
When adding tags to an existing Expert Tracker, first identify your 10 to 25 most important influencers. These are the influencers you plan to visit on a consistent basis each week.
Then, identify the topic most relevant to your particular needs. I encourage you to limit your categories to a few broad categories. A few broad categories, i.e., marketing, copywriting, design, etc., will be more useful than too many specialized categories. In the beginning, I suggest keeping the key categories to a half-dozen, or less.
At a glance, you could now identify the influencer’s specialty or relevance.
Expert Tracker Session Planner
The final step is to realistically schedule your tasks for daily, every-other-day, or weekly tasks. This is the most important step in putting your Updated Expert Tracker to work. This involves filtering influencers by both category and day of the week.
The idea is very simple. Choose a handful—perhaps 4 or 5—influencers to check out on different days of the week. This will make it easy for you to follow the recent blog posts of your most important influencers in different categories on different days of the week. Here’s how to accomplish the final step in your sustainable Expert Tracking program.
- Identify the day, or days, of the week when you want to check-in with the blogs or podcasts of your most important influencers in different categories. Start by choosing two or three days of each week when you want to invest a half-hour or 45 minutes reviewing the recent posts of your key influencers. Start by examining your weekly schedule, and commit to a realistic influencer tracking schedule. I suggest starting with two days a week. Later, you can add an additional day (or more) to each week’s schedule.
- Add tags to indicate the influencers you want to check during each session. To keep things interesting, I suggest you choose influencers from among two or three of the categories you have created. Note: there’s nothing permanent about these decisions. You are always able to add or substitute influencers.
- Use the Filter feature to select just the influencers you have tagged to explore during each session. Suddenly, instead of viewing a mind map with, perhaps, hundreds of experts you are interested in, you now have an itinerary of four, five, or six relevant experts you can comfortably explore during each working session.
You now have a system you can use to organize your key influencers and focus on the topics of greatest interest to you. In place of a virtually impossible number of influencers to follow, you can now concentrate your attention on fewer, but more relevant, influencers. At the beginning of each influencer check-in, you are prompted with the names and URLs of fewer influencers that you check-in with, before addressing other tasks.
Yet, if you have need—plus time–to explore other influencers in their curated categories, you can turn off the filters, and view all of your influencers by name or by category!
Note: If you would like to learn more, and view more graphics associated with my revised Expert Tracker, just go to http://www.tinyurl.com/AuthorTracker where you can download an enhanced version of this article with more details and additional step-by-step graphics. And, be sure to let me know how this idea works for you!
Roger C. Parker, an “Ask a Pro” participant in this year’s Nonfiction Writers Conference November 12 and 13, is an enthusiastic proponent of mind mapping for authors. Mind mapping helped him write more than 40 books and prepare hundreds of blog posts and author interviews. Mind mapping also help his book coaching authors publish their first books. Ask him your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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