The Internet has allowed everyone to become a publisher, including on LinkedIn, but it needs some smart article marketing techniques to stand out, get read, and convert readers into leads.
LinkedIn Article Marketing Challenges
There are many challenges when it comes to achieving a reasonable return when publishing articles in LinkedIn, including:
- Not all of our connections will see the article. There is a double whammy here. Firstly your connections who LinkedIn notifies may not be active on LinkedIn when the article is published. And secondly, LinkedIn doesn’t present every article to all of our connections.
- Reader time and attention is very limited. We filter out so much content these days. Articles really need to stand-out to grab attention.
- Relationships matter – LinkedIn detects who we have a ‘relationship’ with and presents our content (or not) accordingly. So, we need to have good relationships with people in LinkedIn, as this affects the distribution, and also the inclination of people to read.
- Getting people to engage and comment and Like an article is difficult. It is doubly so if the piece is heavily sales or lead generation oriented – a so-called click-bait article. People will be reluctant to comment if they are seen to be sharing very sales oriented content.
For individuals and smaller businesses it is hard to compete against large companies, agencies and people like celebrities with large followings. However there are ways to improve results.
Six Article Marketing fundamentals
Success comes from careful planning, as well as thorough execution.
Give this very careful thought. Research what your reader / prospect will be interested in. Especially think about the business issue(s) that are giving them some concern. By picking an ‘evergreen’ topic the article should have long-term value, and be a sales asset that you can still signpost people to and promote 1, 2, 3 years from now. Beware of self-promotional topics, and those that are trending topics or hyper topical, as they are likely to date very quickly.
2. The Reader Journey
I’m a big fan of The Challenger Sale, and one of their premises is to “Lead prospects TO your solution”, rather than to “Lead with your solution”. The Six Step Sales Choreography of Warmer, Reframe, Rational Drowning, Emotional Impact, The New Way and Your Solution, can be applied to articles just as much as to presentations. It’s a gentle but effective way to lead readers TO the next step, typically going to your website.
3. The pay-off
Again, from Challenger Sale, they refer to Educational Marketing. Provide the reader with some value that will help them to do their job better. Accept that very few people will click through, and make sure that even those who don’t click feel that there was a good return for the 2-5 minutes they invested to read your article. Even better, provide value so that they are prepared to share it with others.
4. The Article
You’ll need a headline with impact, a powerful header image, an engaging first paragraph, additional images, quotes etc. Use of Sub-headings, lists etc. make it easier to scan. There are probably a dozen styles to choose from – insight, case study, listicle, compilation, how-to, and so-on. A good friend of mine – Tony Coll – has coined the CHORTLE pneumonic to build emotional impact into articles.
5. The Promotion
Having invested time in writing the article it then deserves to be promoted. Unfortunately relying on organic traffic and viewers in LinkedIn is unlikely to achieve much. In a similar way that books on Amazon need to be promoted so too do Articles in LinkedIn. So, view this as a positive activity, as you send requests to advocates and colleagues to comment, you email your list to highlight the new article, schedule several status updates on various social media, and so on.
6. The Follow-through
Hopefully people will be commenting, in which case reply to each comment in LinkedIn. A few more people will be Liking, so look at what they’ve published and like in return. And if the topic has been well chosen it should enable you to strike up conversations either with suspects and prospects, or to approach people to see if they know people who would benefit from reading the piece, as a potential referral or introduction. And keep an eye on People who Viewed you Profile, and there may be several people worth approaching there.
What’s the return on Article Marketing?
That may sound like a huge amount of work. And to do it thoroughly is does take time.
Article Marketing is where there are advantages to having a lot of connections, especially ones you have strong relationships with in LinkedIn. A good article will reinforce your market position, move readers along their buying journey, or prompt them to provide a referral or an introduction.
However, it all depends on how many leads and new customers you’re actually looking for. And only you know what the maths looks like, and how much time you have.
So, maybe you want to scale back for your first few pieces. Maybe focus on ones that will be REALLY useful if/when you email a link to prospects who are currently in your sales pipeline. You are directly helping current sales campaigns and increasing your chance of closing those deals.
Publishing FOUR articles is (currently) a good idea as LinkedIn will list the other 3 you’ve published at the bottom of whichever the reader is reading. So, maybe one a month for 4 months is a good target?
If you’re the Managing Director or a public face for your business you can greatly assist your team by writing articles that will help them with their lead generation, sales campaigns and client relationships.
If you’re a solopreneur, a business owner, independent consultant or similar or going through a career change, then article marketing is a powerful way to position yourself and open doors and gain referrals.
I hope this has encouraged you to plan and write your first, or another, article in LinkedIn.
If you’d like to talk this through, and be guided through the process why not schedule a call with me, Mark Stonham, and I will help you to save time and improve your results.