Content Marketing on LinkedIn

Because boring your audience isn't good enough.

Have you ever seen the LinkedIn video of the middle aged guy, in his pants, in a bathtub? If you haven’t, that’s a shame because it’s a valuable lesson in how NOT to approach content on LinkedIn. 

Once it had done the rounds it probably had 200 likes or maybe even more. Likes aren’t necessarily a good indicator of success. There are people receiving thousands of them and hundreds of comments on the regular but then, only a few posts later, they’re upset at having no work in and asking if anyone has any going. 

It’s important to consider the following about any audience: why are they liking your post? 

They could just fancy you and like all of your posts to get attention. Maybe you know them or they’re genuinely interested in working with you? Your content could resonate with them, validate their emotions but is any of it leading to more sales? If it’s not then you’re wasting time.

This is an honest insight and by the end of it, you’ll have a basic understanding of what it takes to get worthwhile results. Follow me down the rabbit hole, once again…

All is not what it seems

There are groups of people who like posts from their clique but no others. If you don’t like their nonsense, they won’t be liking your content, regardless of how fantastic and engaging it is. 

There are also groups that exclude and bully people on LinkedIn and fraudulently recommend each other for services. These are called ‘pods.’ They tend to be made up of individuals who can’t create decent content or want to try to play the system.

Think about that. They’re paying or taking part in a group, dependent on them for success yet closing the wall on outsiders. It could work short term but it’s not likely to work for the longer term as they have no integrity.

There are other reasons for high levels of engagement that don’t result in enquiries. You can tell because they’ll get thousands of likes and comments from adoring males yet complain of being short for work. If that’s the case then they’re wasting a lot of time on LinkedIn and not getting a decent result. Some of them post multiple times a day, each post getting 100s of likes and comments.

What you’ll often see that they start recommending services that they’re paid to recommend. If it’s easier to hire yourself out as an advertising board than it is to sell your own services, then you can’t be getting many enquiries.

I can’t think of many legal activities more damaging for your brand…If only they could get LinkedIn to work for themselves?

Content Structures

On my home planet, we value this thing called ‘communication.’ Written word is an immensely valuable piece of the puzzle and it features across most marketing channels. 

We can all bash our fists on a keyboard, and draw on the wall with crayons but can we all type a sentence that could sell a product or craft a post that generates leads? No. In the same way we can’t all expertly manage our taxes (I pay my accountant for this) we can’t all be elite copy-artists. It’s a given, so let go of your ego and either learn to do it a bit at a time, hire someone that can or play to your strengths and find a better way.

In the most basic form, you’re looking to have a beginning, a middle and an end and how you use these depends on your goal. The beginning could be asking a question about a problem, highlighting a struggle or simply leading into the middle in a provocative way. 

The middle can be used to joke about the issue, to highlight the consequences or to add depth to the question. 

The end. This is where we conclude. We can suggest a better way, use a call to action or point to something valuable, ‘Take control today: LINK.’

In the beginning there was the word

This is the start of your post and I cannot underestimate its importance. You need to capture eyes and make them want to move forward. There’s a ‘see more’ line on LinkedIn and you can use this to great effect. Here are 3 possibilities: 

Screenshot of a linkedin post about braggy timelines

Notice that this starts with a question and expands on it with the following lines? We only get half way through the point until the ‘…see more’ line blocks the text. There is humour, sarcasm, it’s a criticism, it’s provocative and it represents how a lot of people feel. There’s a lot to relate to.

screenshot of a LinkedIn post demonstrating how to use the opening lines of a post.

Notice how this ends half way through a sentence?  You know there’s going to be more and chances are it’s something you agree with. So long as you agree with what you’re saying, there’s nothing wrong with this approach to content writing. It can help attract like-minded people to your content and business.

This example ends with a pause. Because of the lead in, the pause is almost too much to take and you really need to know what’s coming as it could go anywhere.

In the middle of the post of your dreams

I favour polarisation because it gets people triggered and my audience is big enough to risk taking a hit. In fact, more people love the humour involved in  this approach, the only people that kick off are undesirable as both leads and pals. 

A screen shot of a LinkedIn post to explain how to use the middle body of text

This example features prods at ridiculous characters but you know that most people will have encountered them. You don’t have to ridicule the people who are unaware of the issue or refuse to accept it, you could simply explain what happens if they choose to ignore it. 

If you’re writing a sales post, the middle could be the disaster that they’re likely to face when their business gets robbed by a tribe of angry hamsters. 

And in the Eeeeend

A screenshot of a LinkedIn post demonstrating how to conclude

This is quite a long ending for me but it demonstrates the point and makes a prod at an imaginary character, with a common name. Think of how many relatable points feature in the post? I deliberately take it to the extreme but that’s who I am and so far, it’s lead to a lot of business.

A note about templates

Don’t use them. That’s it. they encourage lazy behaviour, instead think about structures as these can be altered for many purposes. We have an entire course on copywriting structures and driving engagement, membership is around £65 per month: The Marketing Academy

Once you've posted...

  1. Delete any abusive comments(after screenshotting their abuse) and block any trolls
  2. Respond to as many people as you can.
  3. Add people who have engaged as connections.
  4. Make sure your next post is different in format, whether that’s a post with longer or shorter text, a video or image based etc. Vary them as you go.

Measuring Success

A lot of fellow marketers have a pop about ‘engagement’ focused approaches. I’d say there are two reasons they’d do this:

  1. They’re envious as they can’t consistently replicate it.
  2. They don’t understand that there’s a way to leverage engagement to drive more business, probably because they’ve never had it themselves or have but never got the results.

Engagement alone is meaningless, which is one of the problems with influencer marketing. If you’re getting a huge amount of engagement then wondering where the work is, there’s an extremely high chance you’re not engaging people for the right reasons.

This is what my results look like over the past 14 months:

A bar chart showing the relationship between engagement and opportunity.

There is a grey line in this chart that runs through the bars. I call this the line of truth because it tells you if you’re wasting your time. It shows the relationship between engagement and the yellow bar. This bar represents the monthly subscription value of leads by month.

If we closed 100% of them we’d be turning over around 30k per month from LinkedIn, alone. These are the leads we have delivered proposals for, most don’t fit our criteria. 

Using these types of copy structures, we’ve had the same success from images, videos, text based posts and ones that point to external links. The most effective method of driving engagement to anything is with copy – we communicate in words after all. 

This is where you start a new journey

You’ve read the article from someone that knows so by the laws of osmosis, you’re now the greatest content writer on planet earth ready to unleash your inner Kimmy K and should expect results within an hour of posting, right?

Nope. It takes time and a lot of practice. There are so many factors from the size of your network to how well they know you and how gifted of a writer you are. My results are over 14 months. The months before I was mostly messing around and trying to understand the platform but I’ve always had an ability with words, since I was very young.

The point is, you can achieve inbound leads by creating content. It’s possible for anyone and these ideas should help you start the journey there but be realistic with your expectations and don’t neglect other marketing channels by spending all week on LinkedIn. Marketing on LinkedIn is great but I’d always recommend a multi-channel approach, all eggs in one basket and all that.

If this all sounds too much for you, which I totally understand, get in touch about our LinkedIn Management Services and we’ll do it for you.

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