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“We’re in the business of growing a person’s influence naturally and organically, not by cheating the system.”

Ryan O’Connell is the Vice President at Influence & Co., a company that helps experts build their businesses through thought leadership and content marketing by producing high-quality content for reputable publications. You can reach out to Ryan on Twitter @Oconnellryan or on Google+.

MO: Please tell us about Influence & Co. How was it started, and what does Influence & Co. do?

Ryan: Influence & Co. was started out of a need and understanding that there was no real solution or service out there that was able to help individuals and companies gain influence and credibility within their industries. As entrepreneurs, we knew a lot of people in the entrepreneurial community who either didn’t have the time or the knowledge to go out and leverage their expertise to grow their influence.

Influence & Co. helps individuals and companies gain influence by helping them get consistent content, with their bylines, in reputable publications and helping them win awards. By getting regular content published, along with earning industry awards and spots on Top Ten lists, we’re able to naturally create a pull strategy back to our clients’ brands and businesses that allows them a much larger platform to influence from.

MO: Who needs Influence & Co., and how can you help them?

Ryan: Really, any individual who is an expert in his or her industry (i.e. an entrepreneur, consultant, CEO, author, speaker, professor, doctor, etc.), or any company that is looking to get consistent content out to its respective target audiences from its leaders, is a great candidate for our services.

We help these individuals and brands by establishing processes and deadlines that take the burden of writing content, editing, talking with publications, and promoting content off their shoulders. More often that not, leaders of organizations, no matter the size, just don’t have the time to share their expertise and grow their platforms to help their companies, so we simplify the process for them.

MO: Why is content creation important for developing your brand?

Ryan: The statement “Content is king” certainly has become a cliché, but it still couldn’t be truer. But where most organizations get it wrong is by having a content team or director of marketing release content for their organizations. Brands and individuals of all sizes need to realize that their leaders are the people with the most experience and the most to offer in terms of expertise.

By sharing this knowledge with niche, reputable publications, you allow yourself many more opportunities to grow your brand, network, and platform. If you have your content team only get content out on behalf of the company, you are missing opportunities to engage with more people, offer more value, and, most importantly, develop trust and credibility with your audience.

MO: What are you personally working on right now with Influence & Co.?

Ryan: I am currently working on developing strategic partnerships that help Influence & Co. identify and qualify individuals and companies that line up with our mission to continue to be one of the largest quality content distributors online. Because we only work with experts and people who want to have a positive influence on our world, we spend a large amount of time qualifying the clients who would be best to work with and would be helped the most by our services.

MO: What are you most excited about for the future of Influence & Co.?

Ryan: I’m most excited that publications are really starting to see the value in CEOs, entrepreneurs, and individuals contributing to their publications because they offer so much value to their communities, as well as their individual markets and industries. I wake up every day more excited to find the next expert or company to build platforms and influence for.

MO: What has been the key to Influence & Co.’s quick growth?

Ryan: Trust and transparency have been essential. We’re upfront with every single client that we take on about our strategy and goals. We’re in the business of growing these individuals naturally and organically, not by cheating the system.

The clients who truly understand this see so much more value because natural growth leads to so many other opportunities — speaking engagements, outside press, organizational participation, new business, etc. We’ve also been able to gain trust from over 1,000 online publications because they know we are only sending over the highest-quality expert content. We don’t spend time pitching our clients all over the place; instead, we create strategy roadmaps to ensure that we’re not only raising their credibility and influence, but also reaching their target markets through niche publications.

MO: Do you have tips for readers looking to increase their influence online?

Ryan: Spend time investing in your online visibility, credibility, and influence. Whether it’s by getting consistent content published in niche publications, applying for industry awards, or speaking at industry-related conferences, it’s so important that you can’t afford to not spend time on it. Other leaders are just as busy, if not busier, than you, so invest time in growing your influence.

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