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5 Step LinkedIn Content Marketing Strategy

linkedin content marketing strategy

Are you linked in? Do you have a LinkedIn account? If you publish content of any kind that is important to you or your brand you should. As a matter of fact, if you are a professional of any kind, you should have an account. You can think of it this way: Facebook is your people you know network, Twitter is your be heard network, and LinkedIn is your professional network. If you want the right people to see your content it would be a huge mistake to ignore LinkedIn.

The first step is, if you don’t have a LinkedIn account start one right now. After you have an account, continue reading to learn a simple 5 step LinkedIn Content Marketing Strategy. On to our first step: Join Relevant LinkedIn Groups.

Join Relevant LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn groups are a great place to let your voice be heard, engage with others, and make new connections. Which groups should you join? How many? How active should you be? Let’s answer these questions in order.

Which to Join

Which groups you should join depend on what your goals are. What is your niche? Are you a photographer? A marketer? Are you a local small business? A leadership guru? Whatever your forte, you should join groups relevant to that.

How Many to Join

This one is a very important question. The more groups you join and are active with the more exposure you and your work will have. On the other hand, if you join too many you wont be able to be very active in any of them. I would say a safe approach would be to just join a hand full, say 5 just for an easy round number, and go on from there. If you can handle being active in more then by all means join more.

How Active

This one is the key. You should be as active as you can. Comment on and thumbs up a few posts by others every week (at least). Post your work (be sure to follow the group rules). Get to know some of the members. You may just find that professional connection you are looking for.

How to Find and Join Groups on LinkedIn

  1. Log into your LinkedIn account.
  2. Click “Groups” located at the top menu of the page.
  3. In the search field you are going to type in your niche and run a search.
  4. In the search results click the name of a groups that you are interested in.
  5. If you like it then click the yellow “Join” button.
  6. Follow the above steps again, this time searching for local groups.

Publish Good Content

Right now content is more important than ever. If you have any interest in good SEO, building your influence, and being found on Google, you must publish plenty of good content. Write your content and publish it to your blog or website (and I would highly recommend that you do have a blog).

Post Your Content to LinkedIn

You want your professional connections to see your rock star content. Post it to LinkedIn. Be proud of your work and let yourself be known in your niche by your connections. Look at it this way, even only 20 connections will likely link you to thousands of professionals. If you want to be seen by the right people then LinkedIn is the place to do it.

Post Your Content to LinkedIn Groups

Remember those groups we talked about a minute ago? Post your content there too. Don’t be spammy and be sure to follow the groups rules.

Engage With Others

Now for a key to the whole thing. If you want others to take you seriously and be engaged, then you have to be engaged with them. Read what your connections and groups you belong to post. Comment and thumbs up where you can. Communicate and show them you are interested. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Show them that you are interested in them and you just may find that they become more interested in you.

What have we accomplished?

  • You are now a member of the largest professional network in the world.
  • You have joined groups that are either interested in or part of your niche or are local to you.
  • You are putting out great content.
  • You are sharing your content with other professionals or potential clients.
  • You are engaging with potential clients and members of your niche.
  • You are meeting great professional connections.

You have accomplished a lot so far huh? Put the power of LinkedIn to work for you and make your content known.

What are your thoughts? Do you use LinkedIn as part of your content marketing strategy? Why or why not?

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Equation of a Successful Social Media Post

Equation

There are two types of posts in the realm of social media: those that are engaged with and those that are ignored. How are your posts doing? Are you getting the clicks that you are looking for? Are your posts selling? Ignored posts can be a great source of frustration for content writers. Are your posts being ignored? Perhaps it’s time to learn the successful post equation:

Hook + Useful + Benefit = Success

Lets take a closer look at the parts of the equation of posting success.

The Hook

Hook them in.

The hook is exactly what it sounds like: something to get your readers’ attention. It can be something funny, shocking (yet tasteful), off the wall, or best of all it can be visual like a picture or video. Remember, the visual sells. Why is this an important point? It is important because if you don’t get your readers’ attention in the beginning you will likely lose them before the end.

Some tricks to make developing effective hooks easier:

    • Brainstorm. Make a list of everything that comes to mind. When brainstorming there are no bad ideas. Keep it going till you run out of ideas for a hook. If you have a hard time getting started walk away for 15 or 20 minutes and come back to it.
  • Save what you have brainstormed to use later. Over time you will have a list to fall back on if you need a hook but can’t come up with one.

The Useful

Offer something useful in your post.

So you have hooked them in with a rock star level hook. Yes you are that good. Now what? Now that you have their attention it’s time to give them something they can use. If you get someone’s attention but have nothing to offer them you will lose that attention and have a hard time getting it back again. What is useful? Something that your reader can relate to and apply in some way. It can be something they can use in their business, to enhance their life, to find pleasure in, or even to share with others that need the information. Have something useful to offer them and you will keep their attention.

The Benefit

Offer them a benefit.

At this point you have hooked your readers in and provided them something they can use. Is that enough? Nope. If they can’t actually reap a benefit from what you have to say then they have no reason to use the information you have provided or to even continue reading your posts. A perceived benefit is a key to successful sales. Some examples of a good benefit?

  • Something they can be entertainment by and laughter. People like to be entertained. They like things that amuse them.
  • Show how what you are posting can improve their lives.
  • Explain in a few words how the information can be beneficial to their business or career.
  • Let them know whats in it for them.

A Successful Post

Success

Look at what you have done. You got your readers’ attention, offered them something they can use, and showed them how the information you are selling will help them. What do you have? An epic post that just may lead to engagement and conversion.

Hook + Useful + Benefit = Success

Here are a couple examples:

“Want to save some money? Come to our big sale this Saturday and save save save! Save money and get quality merchandise.”
is better than
“Come to our big sale this Saturday and save save save.”

Or,

“Lose the old clunker and cruise in style! Visit us today for great deals on used cars. Upgrade your ride while giving your wallet a break.”
is better than,
“Great deals on used cars. Visit us today.”

Apply this simple formula to all of your posts and let me know if you have seen a difference in the responsiveness of your readers.

Share your comments. What tips can you offer on writing great social media posts?

How to Start a Blog On the Free

Blog

This one is for those of you that want a blog but don’t want to spend money to have one. Blogging is bigger than ever and is very favored by Google. On top of that it can be fun. Without further delay, here is how to start your own blog completely on the free.

Choose your topic

This is one you should put some thought into. This will be what you are going to share with the world. What is your passion? What are you into? Need some tips to figure it out?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you do professionally?
  • How do you spend your free time?
  • What do you have an obsession with?
  • What is your hobby?

Now take these steps:

  1. Write a list of at least 20 blog post topics for each of the answers you just gave.
  2. Discard any you can’t come up with at least 20 posts for.
  3. Out of the survivors, which one inspires the most passion in you?

I am not promising that this process will give you the golden blog topic for you. I do promise that it will very likely make the choosing easier.

Choose your platform

blogging platforms

Here are the top free contenders:

  • WordPress.com
  • Blogger
  • Tumblr

Yes there are many others to choose from. At this point these are the three popular top dogs. Lets take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of each:

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the free hosted version of WordPress. When it comes to features it has its limitations in comparison to Blogger and Tumblr. Though it does have its virtues as well. In the overall spectrum I believe it can provide you a better overall user experience and a larger community.

The Good

  • It’s free.
  • You can follow other blogs. Following others can be a great way to get followed back.
  • You can re-blog, share, and re-post.
  • Easy mobile management.
  • SEO optimized.
  • You can use Google Webmaster Tools.
  • You can manage more than one blog from a single account.
  • Free themes provided.
  • Nice User Interface.
  • Built-in tracking of stats.
  • Huge community.
  • Powerful tools available.

The Bad

  • There is a charge for using a custom domain name.
  • You can’t run your own advertising.
  • There is a cost for using a custom theme.
  • You can’t use Google Analytics.

Blogger

Blogger is free, easy to use, and you will be able to publish your first post in no time at all. That said, the interface isn’t as pleasing as WordPress.com or Tumblr. Also it lacks the powerful tools available in WordPress.

The Good

  • It’s free.
  • You can run your own advertising.
  • You can use Google AdSense.
  • You can follow other blogs.
  • You can re-blog, share, and re-post.
  • You can use your own custom theme.
  • Easy mobile management.
  • Google Analytics are allowed.
  • SEO optimized.
  • You can use Google Webmaster Tools.
  • You can manage more than one blog from a single account.
  • Free themes provided.

The Bad

  • There is a charge for a custom domain name.
  • Dated looking User Interface.
  • Sub-par tagging/category system.
  • Labels have spaces in the URL which is not good for SEO.

Tumblr

Tumblr is a good choice in and of itself. On the downside though, it doesn’t have as big of a community or the professional reputation that WordPress does.

The Good

  • It’s free.
  • Free custom domain name.
  • You can run your own advertising.
  • You can follow other blogs.
  • You can re-blog, share, and re-post.
  • You can use your own custom theme.
  • Easy mobile management.
  • Google Analytics are allowed.
  • SEO optimized.
  • You can use Google Webmaster Tools.
  • You can manage more than one blog from a single account.
  • Free themes provided.
  • Nice User Interface.
  • Full HTML customization.

The Bad

  • Lacking content-highlight techniques such as featured posts and related posts.

Learn the Features of Your Platform

Take the time to go through the tutorials available in your chosen blogging platform. Look through all the  available settings and tools. This way you will know what you are doing, as well as what you can and can’t do when publishing your free blog.

Make it personal

Think colors, images, and even videos. The visual really sells. Set it up with your personal look and feel. Pick a theme that you like. People like and trust the genuine. Make it you.

Get a content based start

I know it has been said before countless times but it still holds true that content is king. You can’t have good SEO without quality content. Your readers are there for content. Without content why should they read your blog. Give them what they are looking for. They deserve good content and you deserve to be heard.

Promote your new blog

Want some simple tips to promote your new blog? Here they are:

Social Media: Announce your blog in all your social networking accounts. Post your blog updates. Let groups you belong to know about your blogging.

Stumble: Check out StumbleUpon. It is nothing less than cool. It is a free social surfing service in which you pick the topics you are interested and click the Stumble button. You are then taken to the sites that match your interest. One very cool feature is you can thumbs up sites that you like. If you thumbs up your site it will be added to StumbleUpon’s database of sites. The great part is that it is completely free.

Reddit: Reddit calls itself the front page of the Internet. That is not far from the truth. It is a social news site. It is also a great place to list, for free, your blog and blog posts.

Digg: Digg is another social news site. Both Digg and Reddit have huge followings. The nicest thing is they are both free.

Email: Put a link to your blog in your email signature. That was whenever you send out an email you are also promoting your blog. Another trick is to include an email button on your blog that your readers can use to get updates.

Friends and Family: Let all of your friends and family know about your blog. It will cost you nothing and could help lead to some initial followers and networking.

Yes there can be much more involved with a promotional campaign but these are some good basics to start with. The point is: Get your blog out there and keep it out there.

Do you blog? If so, what do you blog about?

Design Your Own Facebook Page Step by Step

Facebook, Like, Page

The world has gone social. This is true whether you are talking about the Web, how you interact with companies, or how you find information. Marketing your business is no different. People crave the social, they seek connection. All of this boils down to one word: relationship. Right now, and no doubt for the foreseeable future, Facebook is at the center of this social universe.

Facebook is without a doubt where the overwhelming majority of your target market is. They share, play games, and post things that are meaningful to them or that make them laugh. If this is where your market is spending its time, then this is also where you should be spending your time. Be where the market is.

I am going to walk you through how to put up a Facebook Page and offer some tips to make it work for your brand.

Set Up Your Facebook Page

  1. Go to Facebook Pages.
  2. Sign in.
  3. Click the Create a Page button.
  4. Click the box most relevant to you.
  5. Fill out the short form.
  6. Put a check next to “I agree”.
  7. Click the Get Started button.
  8. Put up a picture. I would recommend your logo. Other choices could be a picture of you and your team or good head shot.
  9. Click Next.
  10. Add a good description of your product or service.
  11. Add other social media sites and your Website.
  12. Add what type of place this is.
  13. Answer what the page represents.
  14. On Enable Ads click Skip. The reason is ads will cost you money and we are just setting up your page at the moment. You can make your decision on Facebook Ads later.

You now have a basic and very empty Facebook Page of your own. Now let’s make it your own.

Make Your Facebook Page Your Own

  1. Click Like. If you don’t like your Page why would you expect anyone else to?
  2. Upload a cover image for your page. Take your time on this one. People like the visual and you want it to look good.
  3. Click About and make sure all information is filled out.
  4. At the top of the page click Edit Page and then Update Info.
  5. Fill out all the information.
  6. Click Save Changes.
  7. Click View Page.

Set Up Your Page Management

  1. Click Edit Page and then Manage Permissions.
  2. Make any changes you want if any.
  3. Click Save Changes.
  4. Click View Page.
  5. Click Edit Page and then Admin Roles.
  6. Add other admins if you wish and clock Save.
  7. Click View Page.
  8. Click Edit Page and then Manage Notifications.
  9. Make your Selections and click Save Changes.
  10. Click view page.

Now you have your very own Facebook Page that is set up and ready to use. Now what? I will close this post with some tips and a very important question.

Tips

  • Add content. You should post to your page at least once a day, Don’t become a spammer but be sure to post consistently.
  • Along with text and links also post images and videos. Always remember, people love the visual.
  • Add Milestones.
  • Keep your posts to no more than 100 characters.
  • Use the Question feature to ask questions.
  • Share your Page on your Timeline.
  • Under Build an Audience send a request to your friends to like your Page.
  • Email an invite to your Page to your contacts.
  • Announce your Page on your other social media accounts.
  • Announce your Page on your business cards and newsletter.
  • Have fun and be fun with it. People like fun and interesting. If you are neither they will not be interested.

This has been a very basic intro and list of tips. It is definitely enough to get you started. Here’s to your success and getting social.

Now for the very important question:

What is the URL of your Facebook Page?

6 Ways to Find Content to Post

Content is king

Why should they listen to you? That may be one of the most important questions you have ever been asked in your marketing life. Like the saying goes: Content is king. If you don’t have content your target market will not hear you. People aren’t looking for yet another advertisement. They aren’t looking for empty space. What they are looking for is content. They want something that will benefit them. They want to be entertained. They want to be educated. They want something that will capture their interest. If you can’t capture their interest you will be lost in the noise of the Web.

Drawing a blank

This brings a very important question to mind: Where do I find the good content that I should be posting to my website, blog, and other social media sites? I know you have been there. We all have. Staring at your computer screen with willing fingers ready to wow your subscribers and followers, but having no idea what to say. Stay with me and I will give you some tips on where you can find that elusive content.

Blogs

In this day and age most if not all of you know what a blog is. The word blog is a shortened form of web log. That is exactly what a blog is: a log on the Web of someones thoughts. You are reading one right now. Blogs can be great places to get ideas for content. In saying this I am in no way encouraging you to copy the work of others. That would be unethical and would eventually bite you in the end. What I am encouraging you to do is read blogs for the information and for ideas. Then use the ideas you gain to inspire you to write your own work. Here are some pointers:

  • Use Google Reader. With Google Reader all of the blogs you follow will be contained on one page. This will save you time and effort.
  • Follow blogs that are relevant to your work.
  • Follow blogs that are relevant to your passion.
  • Follow blogs that inspire you.

What Followers and Friends Post

Pay close attention to what your friends and followers are posting on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. What can you learn from their posts?

  • What is important to them.
  • Questions they may have.
  • Their interests.
  • What they find entertaining.

This information hand delivers to you topics that they will find engaging.

The News

Yes the news that the media usually chooses to report is bad. Yes they can come off both ratings hungry and boring all at the same time. While all of this is true, the news also shows you what is going on in your world and in your community. It gives you a glimpse into what may very well be on the mind of your readers. News stories can inspire you to solve a problem, hint at solutions, try to ease concerns, or inspire you to go on the defense or the attack.

At the very least keep up with:

  • The local paper
  • A local news cast
  • A local news site (an example from my area is Lewis County Sirens)
  • A trade newsletter or paper

Think Target Market

Your target market are the most important people in the world of your business. Without them there would be no business. Ask yourself some questions. What is important to them? What concerns do they have? What questions do they have? What do they find interesting? If you can answer these questions you will have fantastic and relevant content.

Take Notes

Yes I just went old school on you. I am talking about keeping an actual notepad (not the Microsoft kind) and pen in your pocket. That way when that brilliant idea or observation strikes you, you will be prepared. You never know when inspiration will come.

Past Posts

I am not telling you to just repost the same thing time and again. That would be the opposite of interesting. What I am saying is that a post from the past might very well contain the seed of inspiration for a post in the present. A review of what you already published can provide new ideas or twists. Perhaps a new way of looking at the same thing or an opportunity to give a topic a much needed update.

The point is that there is great value in keeping an eye out for new content everywhere. You will find that inspiration is all around you.

How do you find ideas for content in your blog and social media posts?

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