“A good conversationalist is not one who remembers what was said, but says what someone wants to remember.” – John Mason Brown, Born Jul. 3, 1900.
To become influential, it's a good idea to create material for people to copy from you and claim for themselves.
That might seem counter-intuitive. After all, isn't it important to make sure you get proper credit and attribution so you can build your (gods forbid) “personal brand”?
Sure – when you publish stuff yourself, get a big old byline and slap your watermarks and logos all up on it.
But you should seek to give people material: stories, metaphors, formulas, factoids, jokes, etc. Stuff that makes them feel smarter to learn it, but is also easy to share. Why?
So they can sound smart to OTHERS. Give them permission to do this. Ask them to report back on results.
And when they do and it works, you will own a portion of their brain. You have your own little cubby in there, stocked with clever bits from you they consider their own.
And they will continuously return to the source for more. You become a shortcut for them. A way to “borrow” ideas and information to boost their own status and perceived value.
Then over time, they inevitably get in over their head, and come to NEED you to supply them. Just to keep up the stream of kudos and respect and laughs they've been getting.
You don't have to be the creator here, either. You can be a curator. You collect all the stuff that is awesome and repeatable that YOU can find, and share THAT. Become a memetic filter. You sift through and deliver a stream of only good, worthwhile stuff.
You pass it on. But by combining sources, you create a collection that is unique. Put your own spin on it for your brand and all.
Sometimes your name gets passed on, too. Sometimes people find you on their own based on something of yours repeated elsewhere, and they too discover the source.
In not much time at all, you can put an idea out there and it gets picked up, repeated, and shared by others to THEIR audiences that THEY curate for.
Influence. Pass it on.