Archive | Content for Social Selling

Matrix Section – Educational Content – articles, posts, Status Updates, Blogs, video, infographics etc.

Article Marketing – how to generate leads with articles in LinkedIn

LinkedIn Lead Generation Article Marketing Image Mark Stonham Wurlwind

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Reader time and attention is very limited. We filter out so much content these days. Articles really need to stand-out to grab attention.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

  1. The Topic

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.

Additional LinkedIn Lead Generation Strategies from Wurlwind

This is one of 7 LinkedIn Lead Generation Strategies we’ve designed and developed to progressively help people get more benefit from LinkedIn.

Have a look at other strategies via these links, or download our Pocket Guide below for a handy guide.

And if you’d like an exploratory chat please book a call and add a topic via the following online diary.

Linkedwin LinkedIn Review Masthead Image

Download LinkedIn Lead Generation Pocket Guide

 

Educational Content – the fuel that makes Social Selling effective

Wurlwind Social Selling - Educational Content

The Internet has allowed everyone to become a publisher. But not everyone understands how to link content with sales.

Many claim that Content is King. We add that Distribution is Emperor, and Context is Queen.

While Self-Service via search and Content Marketing is important in low value high volume situations, when it comes to low volume high value touches in Social Selling it’s the role of the sales person to convey the right message to the right person at the right time through the right channel and using the right medium, ideally.

The value of a sales consultant is to provide guidance towards a decision, as an experienced and trusted advisor.

Well crafted content is a way to increase the impact and productivity of sales consultants, so prospects are prepared prior to contact with a consultant and can be sign-posted to relevant content as a follow-through, with a follow-up.

Quick Tips for effective educational content for LinkedIn and Social Selling

It’s all too easy to hand craft every message, or to suffer from writer’s block, so start with these three tasks to give yourself a fast start or a boost in LinkedIn.

  • Identify routine communications on LinkedIn ( eg. making and accepting connection requests) – and create standard phrases, paragraphs and email text to start from
  • Create a series of articles that address the most frequent topics that come up in meetings with prospects – and publish these as articles in LinkedIn
  • Create a set of engaging messages highlighting aspects of the article(s) – and use these in your mix of status updates and in emails.

And don’t overlook your Personal Profile (and those of your colleagues) and Company Page as they also count as Content, with potentially a higher number of views than individual articles.

 

The Power of Trigger Events and Commercial Teaching

Our approach to selling – and especially to social selling and content to support social selling – has been influenced by many things, especially these ideas:

  • identify the trigger events that cause buyers to move from status quo to researching – and write content around those topics
  • find a way to reframe the buyers thinking about what’s important – which is about emotional connection rather than logic
  • where possible relate your message to how they can improve the commercial performance of their business

Think about what content you’ve read, seen, heard or watched recently – what was memorable?

Popular song writers are especially good in all four areas – for example love songs that become associated with life events.

What content do you need for effective Social Selling?

In practice there are some key pieces of content that most sales people will need, and benefit from, including:

  • LinkedIn Personal Profile – the Headline and Summary especially
  • Template to Invite people to connect on LinkedIn
  • Template response when people invite you to connect
  • Status Update Plan / Guidelines, such as the Mix of Six
  • Reliable 3rd party sources of on-topic content
  • Articles on the half-dozen main topics of interest of prospects
  • An Article per social prospecting or lead generation campaign

Further suggestions will be added periodically, based on what’s working for us and our clients.

Download our Pocket Guide to Social Selling

If you haven’t already done so get a copy of our guide, which covers more LinkedIn Tips and introduces the Social Selling Matrix.

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