Klout: What’s Your Influence Report Card?

12 Ways to Expand Offline Influence

Like PeerIndex and Twitlyzer, Klout is one of the new online metrics sites that tries to provide an influence report card. With Klout, as with any single metric, the challenge is that determining true influence requires measuring a variety of online and offline factors. While Klout gets kudos for getting out and engaging the public on the topic of influence, like it’s online peers, Klout’s report card overlooks the impact of offline activities on an individual’s grades. While it helps to share your knowledge online and build a social media tribe, you can’t overlook the importance of engaging in real life.

12 Types of people who have offline clout

Offline, people gain clout in a variety of ways, many of which don’t translate to online influence or Klout scores. Here are some types of people who have clout that doesn’t translate to online influence as measured by Klout.

  1. Elected officials. Elected leaders from President Obama down have a wide range of influence and power. As head of one of the most powerful countries in the world, President Obama has a mere 88 Klout. By contrast, Justin Bieber has a 100 Klout. Think there’s an issue here?
  2. Appointed officials. Consider Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It’s obvious that she’s got international clout but her Klout score of 37 says otherwise.
  3. Celebrities including television personalities. Sprinkled with Hollywood glitter, these movie stars, television personalities and entertainers get our attention without even trying. (Check out what Snooki can teach marketers.)
  4. CEOs, particularly of Fortune 500 companies. These individuals have built their careers and climbed the corporate ladder. Many of them have influence over thousands of employees and customers yet they’re invisible online.
  5. Uniformed officials like police and firemen. With a mixture of fear, compliance and awe, we regard uniform officials in whom we put our trust. Since they’ve pledged to keep us safe, we listen to them.
  6. Medical professionals. Who doesn’t listen to their doctor?
  7. Professors. They’ve got a university’s seal of approval that includes a lot of vetting and a regular schedule of publishing.
  8. Religious leaders. Religious leaders guide our thinking. For some communities, these leaders have a lots of sway and even financial clout.
  9. Heroes. These individuals were called upon in difficult circumstances and met the challenge. Think of Sully Sullenberger who safely landed his USAir plane in the Hudson River.
  10. Editors. They curate and guide an offline or online media entity. As a result, these individuals have influence on what readers think.
  11. Columnists. Like an editor, columnists supply on-going insights on a topic. In the process, they build an established following supported by the media entity. While the entity may get attention, the writer keeps readers coming back. (Disclaimer: I’ve been a ClickZ columnist for about 7 years. When most readers tweet my columns, ClickZ is recognized, not me.)
  12. Wives. Don’t forget that they wield a lot of sway even though it’s off the radar. (Note: We’re not trying to be sexist. Any spouse or partner can have a lot of influence.)

12 Ways to expand your offline influence

Are you looking to expand your offline influence? Here are twelve ways to increase your clout. At their core, these recommendations are about showing up and participating in your community.  Bear in mind, they may not translate to online Klout.

  1. Participate in tradeshows and conferences. The goal is to get out and meet people. Tradeshows and conferences are great for interacting with like-minded people.
  2. Get involved in various alumni groups (school and/or jobs). Old-fashioned networking based on a shared experience.
  3. Join business associations. Connect with other people who have similar business interests. It can be based on your business category or some other shared attribute, women in technology, for example. Also, don’t overlook local options like the traditional Rotary Club or your local chamber of commerce.
  4. Volunteer for NFP (aka Not-for-profit). Give to others. You can be a volunteer or help get others to donate. In the process, you meet people and build busness-related skills. Also, you can help NFPs through your business.
  5. Support local causes. How can you help improve your local community? Where do they need help?
  6. Share your knowledge with students. Either teach or mentor students at a local school or university to help them expand their skills. In addition to a very rewarding experience, you build a reputation.
  7. Be active in religious organizations. By their nature, religious organizations encourage members to build relationships. With a wide range of activities, some members gain visibility and leadership roles.
  8. Give public talks. Where do you want to build your influence? It can be the local library or an important conference. (Here’s more information on conference panels.)
  9. Get press in local media. Be interviewed or contribute a regular column.  Want help connecting with media outlets? You can get a PR representative or use HARO to find journalists looking for area experts.
  10. Organize meetings. Think beyond just business and school connections. Consider using Meetup.com, a form of social media, to organize and publicize gatherings. (Here’s more information on using social media and meetings.)
  11. Attract offline media attention, namely television. Who would pass up the opportunity to chat with Oprah? It’s every PR person’s dream. Don’t overlook the strength of other television outlets. For example, want to reach young males, try a pow-wow with Jon Stewart. Often, this requires help from a PR professional.
  12. Write a book. This is old media at its best. Bring your hardcover tome into a prospective client meeting and drop it on the table. It’s a sure bet that you’ve got their attention. Of course, there’s the online version called an e-book.

Want to expand your offline influence (aka: clout)? Bear in mind that it takes work. Offline clout takes longer than its online cousin because the channels of communication don’t provide the same speed or the equivalent reach. Therefore, remember to incorporate a longer lead time to attract the same relative level of influence.

Are there other factors that you’d include on this list? If so, what are they? Please comment.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Here are some related articles on the topic:

Here a tip of my hat to #UsBlogs for inspiring this post. This post is part of this week’s blog commentary on @Klout.

Note: This is an example for the We ♥ Bloggers Contest with a chance to win Chris Brogan and Julian Smith’s Trust Agents.  Just write a blog post using one of these 125 Free Blog Titles. Also, give your favorite blogger some recognition on Twitter using #BloggerLove.

Photo credit: WKHarmon via Flickr


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  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevenpofcher Steven Pofcher

    Heidi – Great advice. Because people are so caught up in Social Media Marketing, they tend to forget about the other ways to build influence and develop relationships. On-line and off-line participation vehicles go hand in hand.

  • http://www.thepanamericans.net Mark

    What a compendious compendium!

    To comment on offline #10: “behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes” (J Carrey)

    I’ve been an understudy of Heidi Cohen, Gaby O’Rourke, Margie Clayman, et al, because they’ve got the pulse of this thing. They may not have Bieber’s klout score (thank God), but they women know how to communicate…well.

    I’d add “listening” (in general) to your list. There are so many people talking, and so few listening. I’m not a natural, so I’ve been learning this gift. It doesn’t get quick laughs or immediate attention, but it is the soul “good clout.”

    I’m also going to listen to my wife.

    • http://riversidemarketingstrategies.com/ Heidi Cohen

      Mark– Thank you! You’re right listening is important to expanding your Clout, if not your Klout. Happy marketing, Heidi

  • socialsea

    I recently monitored several people who chat on Twitter often, well mostly all day. They do not take part outside Twitter in either of the 12 types or areas mentioned above. They do not have a web site or blog, do not work in social media, marketing, PR, TV, radio, IT, politics, etc. They happen to have a day job with time to chat. They chat with a few recognizable influencers on Twitter. These high frequency Twitter chatters have an extremely high Klout score. That being said, the Klout score is bogus because it cannot measure true “Clout” with a high frequency metric/logic algorithm. Forget your Klout score. Your post targets the importance off-line influence combined with what you do on-line. True clout is respected and promoted by your tribe. It isn’t tallied like it’s the final score at a sporting event. Thanks for sharing. Great reminder.

    • http://riversidemarketingstrategies.com/ Heidi Cohen

      Socialsea–Good point. You can’t spend your entire day on Twitter to the exclusion of real life engagement. Sometimes we get so caught up that we overlook that we’re human and need to engage with people in real life. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • http://kramerERIC.com @erkramer

    Great post Heidi…

    Any thoughts on when we’ll be able to fuse our offline clout with the many emerging online klouts and actually be able to identify influencers in context?

    • http://riversidemarketingstrategies.com/ Heidi Cohen

      ER Kramer — Since it’s taken a while for Klout to get to its current state. I would assume that it will take time to progress to integrating online and offline. This will be more of a challenge since there’s no current methodology to assess offline influence. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • Gabriella O’Rourke

    Love your linking the Klout topic to one of the 125 fun blogger love topics. What great synergy! Yes, Klout is nothing more or less than a simplified report card, focusing only on some very specific things, which may or may not truly matter in the grand scheme. Any measurement system will at some point be ‘gamed’ so we have to be really clear what behaviours are valued and what we want people to do in order to secure favour in the form of our admiration and respect. I think your suggestions for building offline influence are bang on!

    p.s. When I read the really lovely comment from Mark about him being our understudy for communications, I blushed! Such a sweet thing to say. He is equally eloquent and I am now heading off to tell him so!