I love to cook. It's one of my favorite ways to relieve stress. Almost every Sunday night I pull down a recipe from a website and try it out for the first time. The risk I take is that the recipe is right. Take for example the marinara sauce I tried out this past weekend.

I bought the very best ingredients and my kitchen smelled like heaven. When it was time to serve it, I decided to have a little taste.

But when I did, I realized it was bland... it tasted like nothing.

I couldn't believe it.

When I looked back over the recipe, I realized it was missing one incredibly important ingredient:

Salt.

What does this cooking tale have to do with influence?

Influence, just like salt for this marinara recipe, is the missing ingredient for many businesses.

You spend so much time creating great ingredients within your company - great products, services, people, apps or technology - but the end result is bland because you completely forget about building influence.

You are a "best kept secret".

One of the most influential people I know is Alex Pirouz, founder of Linkfluencer, a company that teaches you how to master the influence and connection of LinkedIn.

"Some ways in which to build your influence include getting in the media, writing a book, developing your personal profile on Social Media, building partnership with other influencers and speaking in front of large audiences" Said Alex.

Alex shared his best ideas for building influence with me in a recent interview:

1) Create your brand persona

Alex shared that the first step is to develop your brand persona. What do you want be known for?

Think of other influential people in your industry and start researching what they do, how they act and the steps they are taking to build their brand.

What elements of their personalities match yours? Are they funny? Are they driven? Passionate and willing to speak out no matter the result?

Think about your target market, what will resonate with them? What sort of information are they interested in hearing or do they seek?

2) Plan for the right channels

The planning stage is key, because you do not want to fall into the trap of sporadically sharing content that attracts the wrong target market and the wrong people to your business.

Realize that the choices you make won't reach everyone and your persona may alienate some - but you can't be all things to all people.

Once you have a brand persona in mind, you can build up your personal profile the right way, share and connect across the right channels.

3) Identify your top media publications

Once your brand persona is planned, identify the top media publications that you know your target market reads and are in line with your personal brand persona. Create a list of publications that you keep adding to.

Alex shares, "A simple way to find these sites is to search for "news websites in your industry" then check whether they are worth pursuing by using Similar Web for their website traffic numbers."

If there is a lot of volume of web site traffic of your target market it could be a golden resource for you to tap. Don't forget offline media publications. If they are well-known in your industry, they will add credibility if you are featured in them.

4) Search through the selected Publications and find the right journalists

Once you have listed the publications you want to target, it's time to start reading through the articles that you think your target market would also like and take note of the journalists' names. Usually you will find the full name of the editor or journalist who has written a particular story.

Make sure they cover articles and topics that are in line with your objectives.

5) Connect with those journalists on LinkedIn

Final step is to start connecting with these journalists on LinkedIn. 94.2% of journalists are on LinkedIN and are always looking for content ideas. Start to build your network of these people and be armed with content ideas.

Remember, everything is about the approach - with LinkedIn it's easy to fall into the trap of looking like a spammer. Create a great script, test it and you will begin converting media contacts into media exposure. It pays to do your research in the area of script development.

If you think you might be missing the salt in your business life, get on LinkedIn, connect with journalists and start making connections that move you and your business forward.

Want more LinkedIN advice from Alex Pirouz? Check out his training on mastering LinkedIn.

Published on: May 10, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.