The Power of LinkedIn for Thought Leadership & Content Marketing

Based on my recent experience plowing articles into the LinkedIn platform, these guys have raised the bar for people who find value in publishing thought leadership for content marketing. There is great power in using LinkedIn to publish your thought leadership.

What is thought leadership and how does it relate to content marketing? It's taking your best thinking and sharing it with the world. Your thoughts lead people to read what you write. If they really like, they engage with you. If not, they mostly just leave us alone. Ideally, your target market is where you want to post and share your thought leadership. So why LinkedIn?

LinkedIn makes it much easier to reach people with high-value articles you can post directly on your profile. It's also one of the world's largest social networks and it's geared to professionals. Having a profile is one thing. Building yourself into a thought leader is another. Getting people engaged and connected to you is the goal. This is how you will have a shot at building meaningful relationships and perhaps doing business. You must write great content that engages your market. Take a long-view to make this work. It's not about getting business overnight with a hard sell.

Here are three, simple steps for learning to publishing your thought leadership articles. Always approach writing with the intention to make it your best content marketing effort, written straight from your heart. It's also a habit that must be developed over time.

1. Take a stand. Know what you want to say. Ideally, it's about your purpose or mission in your business and life. Be authentic. I wrote about being authentic in this article. Get real with everyone and write it like it is because it's in your genetic fiber to be passionate about the issue. If I put 100 of your best prospects or customers into a room, what would you deliver as the most powerful message you can muster and deliver it in 45-minutes or less? Now, what is that one point you really want to make to the audience? That's your, "Stand." Be passionate. Take a bold stand.

2. Write. Stephen King, the prolific writer, shares two important insights for writers who want to be good; write a lot and read a lot. Writing is hard work. But if you can find the discipline to write and it becomes a habit, you can become a great thought leader and leverage content marketing by yourself. If not, you need to hire professionals and this means more than someone who can write. This is a process that requires more than one person to help you, in most cases. Even if you can outline the articles or content, you help your team take over to write, edit and distribute your thought leadership content throughout the proper channels for you and your business. I love the way LinkedIn has made it so easy to publish. If you can't get the work done then hire the best content marketing talent your money can buy. Write.

3. Engage. The purpose of thought leadership publishing is to create engagement. We want people to comment, like, and share our content. We need to do the same thing. It's a two-way street. Watch closely what happens when you start to publish your content. Leave comments. Thank people for leaving comments. It's a conversation you're having with real people out there.

Take a look at the image below and notice the difference in levels of engagement. One post got almost 3,000 views, 10 times the next most viewed. What made the biggest difference? The subject? The length of the article? How about the image for each article? I believe it was the subject and the content of the article; the message. We learn by measuring and watching what happens. We get different results and over longer periods of time we adapt our content marketing to optimize results using the best titles and subjects to nurture and engage people. LinkedIn gives us great insights and data.

Content Marketing LinkedIn

Here's exactly what happened because of my publishing 12 articles so far directly on LinkedIn and not my blog.

1. My LinkedIn rank among peers went from the top 27% to the top 11% in two weeks. I've been on LinkedIn for a decade or so. It's the single biggest leap yet.

2. My traffic went up on the website by about 40% on the top days because of the articles.

3. Several people reached out to me to say thank you and connect to talk about business. Huge! We'll see where these new relationships go. That is the power of any social network. We build new relationships.

4. My email list grew as did my LinkedIn network to almost 10,000 direct connections. Not bad for an introvert like me. (Yes, I am an introvert. Trust me.)

Many people ask, "Shouldn't we publish our content on our own blog, then share it?" Yes is the short answer, you should be doing that, also. LinkedIn is one of many social networks to publish and distribute deep, thought leadership content marketing. Facebook is more for personal use to me, although you will find tons of people using it for business. Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and other social networks all have their place. Decide which are best for your goals and target market.

The most important lessons I've learned with my content marketing experiment on LinkedIn is that people don't want cheap content that was written just to get clicks and leads. I see this as being almost universally true for your blog, social media, and anything else people will read about you or your organization.

People want writers to be real and tell it like it is. I learned that the more authentic I am with my thought leadership views, the more people related. But that's only part of the conversion marketing equation when it comes to content. There are lots of variables to consider far beyond the reach of this post.

Here's something you never want to do based on my professional opinion. Don't get in people's faces and start selling your wares. Nobody will appreciate getting clobbered over the head with your offer for, "Fast, Small Business Loan Approval." Anyone who writes with the purpose of selling like this, versus sharing their thought leadership insights, will fail. These people fail because they don't make a connection with people who sell like this. We run from people like this.

LinkedIn is a phenomenal platform to publish our thought leadership. Content marketing is about being real. You must create and deploy consistently great content to stand out. LinkedIn is all about enabling connections and building relationships. And thank goodness for companies like LinkedIn. We used to have to go to Chamber of Commerce meetings to build all our relationships! I was never good at those events unless I could be the speaker. At least that's the story I had in my head.

Today, LinkedIn and other platforms for publishing our thought leadership make it much easier to attract, engage and convert more customers in the long run. And we get to do this from the comfort of our home, office or mobile device.

What holds you back from writing better content marketing that engages your market?

Thanks for sharing your comments and questions.

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