LinkedIn long form publishing offers all LinkedIn users a tremendous opportunity to attract their target audience to them and then to convert them into customers and then into raving fans that help spread the word. Let’s look at how you do this, shall we?
The LinkedIn Trap
When you start to publish articles on LinkedIn you have to decide if your goal is to generate leads, new connects and ultimately sales or is your aim to generate as many articles views as possible? The LinkedIn trap as I call it, is to go after the later and to chase article page views by writing articles that appeal to the masses and are generally based on real-time events in some way.
From a content marketing perspective your aim should be to write articles that attract your target customers to you, that engage these people, build your authority and generate leads and ultimately sales. This means you have to forget chasing article views because they might appeal to your ego but they aren’t going to help you achieve your goals.
Content marketing is a long term strategy, it often takes four, six or more months to make any sort of impact with a blog. With LinkedIn my experience is that you can get traction before this, but the magic really starts to happen in the long term. Your short term goal needs to reflect this. When setting goals you also need to ensure they are realistic and obtainable. If you raise the bar too high, you are never going to achieve them. And you will give in, before the race is run because you are not achieving anything.
When starting to publish on LinkedIn, it’s extremely beneficial to study the content you already have, how does it help you to achieve your goals? Do you know? Can you measure it? By auditing your existing content on your website, on your blog or any print material you have. You get the chance to check that all pieces of content have an appropriate call to action and if they don’t, you need to note and correct this because content needs a purpose for existing.
Who is your Best Customer?
I’m trying to change from using “buyer personas” as I find “best customer” resonates better with my audience, however it doesn’t matter what you call it you need to work out who exactly your message is aimed at. Who are the twenty percent of customers that generates the eighty percent of revenue for you? Once you have determine who these people are, get answers to the following questions.
- Problems: What are three or more problems or issues that your best customer dedicates time, budget and energy to solving?
- What does success look like: What does success look like in the clients’ eyes, this could be revenue growth, or personal development such as a promotion?
- Road Blocks: What could prompt your best customer to question whether you can help them achieve their success goals? This is where you begin to uncover the hidden objections such as office politics, prior experience with a company likes your, a lack of trust, etc.
- Purchasing Cycle: What process does your best customer follow in exploring, evaluating and selecting a solution that can overcome their perceived road blocks and achieve their success goals?
- Decision Making: What will your best customer think about the products offered by your competitors? What aspects will they like, find useful, decide are better than yours, worse than your own. If you really push the boat out you should aim to find this information out from those that purchase from a competitor and those that decide that no solution is right for them.
Your Sales Funnel
Once you have some understanding of who your best customer is, you need to consider your sales funnel. At the very least you are going to have something like this simplified funnel.
Once you have your sales funnel, your task then is to match the “best customer personas” to each stage of the sales funnel. The same persona might appear in more than one section or different personas might appear in each stage, it’s your task to work out which of you customer personas fit were.
Understand Your Purpose
Once you understand your sales funnel and the different personas associated with each stage of it your task is simple it’s to work out the purpose of each piece of content you will create. Will you create a piece of content to meet the needs of the personas in the attraction phase of the sale funnel with the purpose being to get these people to follow you, to share your content or to connect with you. You need to work out the types of content you need to fit all stages of your sales funnel and each piece of content needs to have a purpose for existing.
Pro Tip – For each phase of your sales funnels you should have a goal, this is what you want each piece of content to achieve. When each goal of the entire sale funnel is added together this achieves your main goal. As each main goal is added together in the end you will achieve your twelve month, twenty four month and sixty month goals.
The content creation process is pretty straight forward, the following tips should help.
- Remember the purpose of your content
- Use the answers to the questions you asked in your best customer persona area, to work out subjects for your articles.
- Ensure each article has some form of call to action.
- The Title is extremely important, so work on your title, write your article and then refine your title.
- Images are the key to clicks, the main image on a LinkedIn article needs to look good as this and the title often determine if someone clicks through to your article.
- The composition of your article should be in short easy to scan paragraphs with headers if they fit within your writing style. People don’t read large blocks of text, so adapt your writing so that people can easily scan it, they will stop and read when they find items of interest.
- At the bottom of the LinkedIn long form publishing area is the tag area, here you can write and specify up to three tags, the best advice here is to write your article to appear to one tag group (i.e. content marketing channel, marketing channel, etc) by doing so you maximize the chance of LinkedIn pulse picking it up and showcasing it to others.
LinkedIn Long Form Article Promotion
Once you have finished your article, hit the publish button and relax you’re almost done. Now click the share icons and share your new article on all of your social media channels and especially Twitter, as this will also inform LinkedIn of your articles existence. More often than not, I will also hit the like button at this time.
The percentage of people that comment are small, however it does happen and when it does try to thank people for their comments and if appropriate ask a leading question to encourage further discussion. If you are unlucky enough to encounter negative comments, don’t whatever you do raise to the bait, simply thank them for their comment and their opinion and move on. Your audience is smart enough to know what is happening.
That’s it, it’s not hard you just have to keep creating content for the different stages of your sales funnel and hitting the publish button. I like to take the blog posts from blog and repurpose them here, you can do this if you like … the secret however is to keep hitting that publish button.