Which do you prefer? Influence or a degree from a prestigious university?


How influential are you? Can your influence be charted, tracked and systematically improved?

How about this question to get to the heart of the matter:  Would you rather be influential online or have a degree from a prestigious university?

On a scale of 1-100 a higher klout score leads to free offers, better opportunities, increased credibility, and more loyal followers.

Influence online CAN be tracked.

The great thing about Klout.com is that you can’t “fool” it or manipulate it (as far as I can tell). Those with high klout scores are those that have high levels of influence online. A low score typically is accurate as well.

There’s also no doubt in my mind that I’d rather be influential online than have a university degree to enhance my resume. Resumes can be “creatively enhanced”, cheaters can get through college with good grades, and even a legitimately high grade point average is meaningless in determining how useful you’ll be as an entrepreneur or even an employee for that matter…

…but INFLUENCE as measured by a klout.com score is a metric I can sink my teeth into. It’s not just me either – the online world is starting to take note of it.

Influence used to belong to a handful of the most “powerful” and rich among us. Today however there are exponentially greater numbers of niche topics, hobbies, groups and causes that all NEED leaders of influence to help guide them.

Increase your Influence by:

  • providing high quality content
  • interacting frequently with your online audience
  • making those with high levels of influence look good (so they will return the favor)
  • making those with lower levels of influence look good (so they will return the favor)

Earn the respect and right to work with influential people by:

  • publicly making them look good
  • providing them solid content that their audience wants and needs
  • partnering with them in “win/win/win” ways
  • volunteering to fill gaps in their products or offers

    The links in the above paragraph will show you how to add a klout score to every name in your twitter feed. This way you can instatnly know who the true influencers are in your online social circles.

If you’d like to be able to see the “Klout” scores of all of the people in your circle of influence try adding the free Klout tracking tool to your browser using these links: Klout tracking for Firefox or Klout tracking for Chrome I’m not sure if it’s available for other browsers or not.

To further illustrate my point I’ve just recorded some recent examples and a story about how a colleague of mine used “influence” and “leverage” to create a HUGE success story with OfflineBizCards.com.  It’s a short audio – after you listen to it leave me some feedback. It’s all about building your online influence and ultimately getting more results in whatever pursuits you are setting your hand to.

If the below play button doesn’t work you can download the same mp3 file from this link:


UPDATE My latest video on Klout and why it matters no matter what your score is:

  • http://www.drewgriffin.co drewmgriffin

    Interesting Post Jim. I should probably do a better job at sharing more of others work. I do so via Google Reader. Maybe by taking another step and posting on Twitter as well would help. As usual, great stuff. I should probably also pay more attention to my online influence!

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.emmet Joe Emmet

    This will be an area of contention for years to come Jim.  However, I think in the long run we’ll see that those who immerse themselves in effectively learning to utilize the Internet to create a career track, reputation, recognition and influence will, for the most part, win out over those who pursue the college track (of course there are exception, especially if we’re talking about engineering, medical, legal and accounting degrees). 

    Love the tool you’ve given us.  Thanks a lot and very much looking forward to the webinar you are doing tomorrow (6-16-11) on the opportunity that exists in the Mobile marketing. 

    • http://www.seointelligencenetwork.com Diane

      Hi Californian! I was born and raised in Los Angeles, but am now in OH. As you can see by my post above, we think the same.  I believe this is where it is at.  

  • Tracyahanes

    Awesome post.  This is a game changer.  I run Influence reports for business owners and they are shocked.  And of course they naturally want to find out how to improve it.  As you say this is where it is heading.  Those that get on track early will win Web 2.0 or Web 3.0? 

  • Anonymous

    Wow, that is really cool.  I am going to dive into that site and check it out.  Where the “hey” do you come up with all these sites?

  • Jordan Malik

    Jim – The irony!

    I wrote about the ‘education vs real-world’ topic, 2 days ago, on my blog here: http://honestonlineselling.blogspot.com/2011/06/free-education-amazon-gave-me.html

    -Jordan ‘J.B.’ Malik, Founderhttp://www.FBAFinds.comhttp://www.HonestOnlineSelling.com”I don’t go by the rule book? I lead from the heart, not the head.”– Princess of Wales Diana

    • http://www.seointelligencenetwork.com Diane

      I read your article and couldn’t agree more. I have been an Amazon affiliate for a short while and did experience a few sales through one site. I am certain there are blueprints, or plans on how to step up the business with Amazon, but, going this alone, it is taking me some time to figure it all out. But, from what I see, it is just one of so many wonderful opportunities online and I love when I read success stories like yours.  Good going! 

    • http://www.JimCockrum.com/ Jim Cockrum


      This is a reminder that on June 19, Jim Cockrum sent you an invitation to become part of his or her professional network at LinkedIn.

      Follow this link to accept Jim Cockrum’s invitation.


      Signing up is free and takes less than a minute.

  • http://www.seointelligencenetwork.com Diane

    I got caught up in the world of internet marketing via my awareness and interest in SEO about 3 years ago. I pursued and found a workshop on SEO in CA that I attended, and since then have been introduced to the many opportunities online.

    From what I have seen, learned and experienced myself, I am a firm believer that jobs of the future will be more internet-geared, more colleges and universities will be offering internet marketing courses – all geared toward working online – which jobs online are ultimately are eco-friendly, saving gas and fumes in the atmosphere, etc.!  After seeing some of my own children struggling to get jobs, regardless of their college degree, I tend to feel the same way as you do.  Family illness in my immediate family as well as my family in CA during those last 3 years, and working more than one job at times to keep afloat have kept me from being able to fully pursue my dream of being an internet marketer. Thankfully, things are simmering down and falling into place and I am continuing to pursue meeting that goal. 

  • http://scottufford.com Scott Ufford

    Comes down to the question of school learnin’ or life experience. Without college studies many people wouldn’t have the basis of broad understanding needed to get started on the road to leadership in many fields; without online influence they might not get the means to lead where they do have expertise.

    Any feedback on this?: “Klout may access my data anytime I’m not using it.” Sounded good but that’s a deal breaker for me on the FB sign up, plus their privacy policy says they can market anything (unrelated to Klout) to you, in effect, and keep track via your IP address of all the web sites you visit.

    It’d be great to have more specifics Jim, on how “klout” actually helps by conferring their degree of approval on anybody…thanks!


  • http://petebruckshaw.com Pete Bruckshaw

    A degree is always in the past – mine included – but your online influence and reputation are right up to the minute. Klout looks like an excellent resource I’ll make a point of visiting in the future. Thanks Jim.

  • http://www.katherinekay.com Katherine

    This is a question I often ask myself too.  It’s a balance. Not everyone finds the online niche right away. I’m going the Internet way though. I also have a a tool called SEOQuake where it instantly gives a ranking for everyone’s website. Shows how popular, liked, and visited people’s websites are.  I too work w/ Amazon Jordan. Lot’s of opportunity there — and I talk a lot about it on my blog http://www.katherinekay.com

  • http://www.bestswimmingpoolpumps.org Tntneal4

    Influence trumps education
     in my opinion as does experience. A degree usually just indicates that you were willing to pay to sit somewhere for many hours a day that you most likely did not want to be.