Writing is something uniquely human, the ultimate form of self expression. So why all the cheesy listicles on LinkedIn? There's a very good reason! What influences the most viral content on LinkedIn to go viral? How can I rapidly construct daily 'hit it for six' B2B content that will be rapidly shared? Which images should I share and where should I source them? How do I come up with the ideal titles? What about writer's block and frequency? Here are 10 simple ways after much trial and error:
1. 60% of the impact is the title. 30% is the image. 10% is the content. 80/20 on LinkedIn works like this: 80% of readers just like it and only 20% read the whole way through. Build a powerful title that would pull YOU to click through first. I actually have a list of thousands of titles that I pull from in Evernote prior to constructing each post.
2. List Posts, Why and How-Tos resonate most. Why? It allows busy executives to 'snack' the content. People are looking for unique, snackable, actionable takeaways. Leverage hyperbole or extremes because a strong opinion connects emotionally to the right hemisphere of the brain. Good content is the enemy of great. Safe is the enemy of bold. Think of it this way: Youtility. Can your reader immediately go apply your posts to their lives and garner results? Hence this exact post you're reading now!
3. Push yourself on ideation over creation. A+ content infrequently performs far worse than B+ content frequently. Google crawls Publisher and to be seen as a publisher, frequency is critical. Publish every day. The crux of ideation is the power of original ideas. I'm not opposed to publishing growth hacks... How can you constantly generate remarkable ideas and prevent writer's block / burnout? See my next point #4.
4. Mashups aka hybrid synergy. Blend the old with the new. Be anachronistic. Take a sport like cycling, a TV show, a story, something comedic, any bizarre topic you understand, could even be stamp collecting and use it as an analogy. Wingsuited base jumping sales maneuvers was a fun post I did. Why Sales Is Like James Bond in Goldfinger! Humor is huge. I had a post called Unicorn Alert!!! To provide value, I've been getting phenomenal traction by building content based on classic strategic selling and advanced social selling. Sharing your own real world experience is uber powerful. Including YouTube videos in your posts is a very strong technique so build out your YouTube channel with authentic selfie videos and plug them into posts. Lampoon the power base and turn the satire up to 11. Create new categories of content and hashtags. #strategicsocialselling is my new pink!5. Leverage Flickr Commons for header images: Pull free images here and provide attribution and link back to the originator's page. It's the right thing to do! Search that link by 'use for commercial purposes.' Especially if you sell a book or consulting services.
6. Nothing is more eye catching and beautiful than the human face so feature it.You'll notice my hidden agenda of female empowerment and equality. My two cents is there should be more women in leadership - the world would be a vastly better place. The human face is capable of 10,000+ expressions. When in doubt, a picture of Richard Branson smiling will always rank well for example. How about a cute baby, kitten or puppy? I'm serious!
7. Push your ideas to the outer poles of the spectrum or break the fourth wall.Taking a contrarian stance is massively effective. Controversy for the sake of controversy backfires whereas paradoxes, sacred cows or upending the prevailing wisdom / status quo is highly intriguing to readers. The fourth wall is the concept of the known unknowns. If you can present a black swan idea and literally turn an industry upside down, this could be via futurism of technology or a contrarian stance on a megalithic system, it can take off. I suggest starting with an 'open letter' to your industry. Dispel myths and chip away at the bureaucracy of it all. Tell the David versus Goliath story as a business parable when a point solution won against the incumbent!
8. Don't be afraid to share long form content. The perfect blog post takes 7 minutes to read and is about 1,700 - 1,900 words. Think of the New Yorker or a phenomenal article in your favorite magazine. Oddly, once you've hooked the reader they'll often be disappointed if you don't put some steak with the sizzle. Link back out to your other posts! - The majority of the links in this article reference specific aspects of my LinkedIn Corpus of 146 posts in under 90 days! Maybe it's a bizarre social experiment or challenge, like that lady that ate every meal at Starbucks for one year. Document it! Blog as you experiment.
9. Share your personal stories: Yes, I know it's daunting to spill your guts on LinkedIn. I shared my story of a plane crash I survived as an ultralight pilot and related it to leadership. Great mashup, true story and highly relatable. Opening up the intimate details of my journey helps me to be more relatable to an audience looking for truth in real world experience. Take my 90-Day LinkedIn Publisher Challengeand build a case study out of it. Don't be afraid to get political or express your opinion. I stood with Apple in the rap battle for the ages against Microsoft. I even referenced The Quest for the Holy Grail of Sales Enablement. Teach people how they can make more money in business or become more successful.10. Optimism, futurism and positivity: LinkedIn is remarkable in that shock content doesn't work. Negative media style shock and awe goes thud. Thank goodness. Wildly utopian, innovative, futuristic, inspirational, bold and 'punchy' content gives readers hope and stimulates the imagination. Apparently, I am often offensively positive! Is that possible? Don't be afraid to dream. 'Imagination is more important than knowledge.' To quote Jack Canfield, "Feel the fear and do it anyway"
11.Bonuses: LinkedIn is about open source: give your intellectual property away freely. If your readers garner actionable insight daily, they'll seek out and buy your book, products or services. Fact. Remember to leverage the power of Newsjacking, time your posting topics to current events, Google and Twitter trending topics. Build Twitter lists and write posts in response to other top trending posts or debate other posts. Give other authors love! Write your own mini manifesto like I did on Australia Day in support of 18MM salespeople everywhere! Share your Syllabus because you're a specialist! Think in terms of moonshots and 10X.
Make no mistake - I'm encouraging you to take positive risks and step outside your comfort zone. Also realize if you set a goal to blog daily, you need to hold yourself accountable. Parkinson's Law states that 'work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion' so you may lose a bit of sleep at first but you'll eventually fall into a rhythm of posting.
Here's a phenomenal analysis of David Kerpen's most successful LinkedIn posts.
He's a content genius and was first to market. I also found this anatomy of a perfect blog post incredibly insightful. Lastly, here's an analysis of 3,000 of the top LinkedIn Publisher posts. My suggestion would be to take a data driven approach and A/B test.
Ultimately, not all your posts will get tagged into the channels. Posts on leadership tend to get wide engagement as that channel has over 9MM followers. The key metric is likes but posts that take off tend to garner hundreds of shares. Dry B2B white paper content does not work on LinkedIn to build your engagement funnel. At least, that's been my experience. The overarching rule of success in LinkedIn publisher is: push the envelope. Fortune favors the bold so think differently and express who you truly are. Say out loud what everyone's thinking and you'll have a hit record on your hands in no time...
Where is this all going? Engagement, warm qualified leads, speaking engagements, guest blogging, new consulting clients, super-networking or even your dream job? Your content is your calling card and the clarion call into a new realm of possibility. You'll have to trust me on this one so I'll see you at the end of the rainbow.
In closing, the biggest secret I can share with you on posting the most remarkable paradigm shifting, curve-jumping, innovative content on the interwebs Kawasaki? Find a willing and able millennial and let them train you! They are ninjas in social media and will school you. Write about it! Be open to a reverse mentorship.
Now it's your turn: What do you think makes the perfect LinkedIn Publisher post? How do you see this medium as different than traditional blogging off world?
Tony Hughes is ranked as the #1 influencer on professional selling in Asia-Pacific and is a keynote speaker and best selling author. This article was originally published in LinkedIn where you can also follow Tony's award winning blog. Also visit Tony's keynote speaker website at www.TonyHughes.com.au or his sales methodology website at http://www.rsvpselling.com/.
Main image photo by Flickr: Lili Vieira de Carvalho
Please Share: If you valued this article, please share via your Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook social media platforms. We encourage you to join the conversation or ask questions. So feel free to add a comment on this post below.
Your Invitation: We invite you to subscribe to this blog. Subscription is free and it allows you to get access to all our subscriber only content and our periodic newsletter.