What I'm about to post may be deemed as controversial but these are truths I hold to be self evident, empirically true after over 150 posts on LinkedIn Publisher in a 90 day period. Even the executives at LinkedIn may dispute some of these but I utilize them over and over again and they hold true. Leveraging them, I've been able to outperform most writers I see on LinkedIn. Granted, that does not include LinkedIn Influencers. Acceptance to that group was closed way before Publishing capability was extended to mere mortals like me. I do notice they keep letting celebrities, captains and Kings in there but that's neither here or there. On the chess board I play on, here's how to actually out-compete and quantum leap your content strategy to get noticed. Let this very post prove it!
- The optimal length of a LinkedIn Publisher post is 1,900 words (a 7 minute read).
- Write daily and if you're ambitious about 10Xing your inbound marketing twice per day. If you're ultra ambitious take the 90-day LinkedIn Challenge and write 1,900 word posts twice per day.
- Result: Insane levels of pull marketing - I'm generating over 30 inbound LinkedIn invites per day now. I went from 1,600 to 6,600 followers in 90 days and garnered 346,000 unique page views.
- Many of my posts crescendo over 1,000 reads with 50 Likes, 25 comments and hundreds of shares tagged to channels like Marketing, Sale Strategies, LinkedIn Tips and Leadership & Management. I'm going to release a full case study but I rank in the top 1%, my SSI shot up to 87 (without being on Sales Navigator) and I've outranked some authors that honestly have been at this for ten years so in humility I won't mention their names.
- Pictures of human faces outrank everything else. (Just like this free Flickr Commons one)
- Growth hacks ranks well as do list posts, how-tos and hyperbole.
- 60% of success is determined by the picture, 30% by the title and 10% by the content. Make the photo count, make the title over the top, make the content a snackable list so crazy-busy executives (like you reading this!) can skim it and still derive great value.
- Of the 80% who like it, only 20% will read the entire post (yep, even this one!)
- Likes are the biggest determinant (leading indicator) of LinkedIn Publisher success. Comments are rare so treat them as precious and potential leads.
- Profile views generated by LinkedIn Publisher posts within 72 hours are also leads. Followers are leads. (Engage meaningfully with all these folks with a personalized invite and find out what made them engage.)
- I'm not encouraging you to be LION but if you write daily, embed a business email address where you can be reached in this format, encouraging your base to contact you with ideas, feedback and to ask for business advice: tony at rsvpselling dot com (can't be scraped by spammers).
- My book sales have gone through the roof thanks to LinkedIn Publisher activity. I embed links to download the eBook and Audible book rarely. In fact to prove it, I won't even tell you the name of my book or where to get it. (Oddly, a few people will probably go buy it after reading this paragraph. I find buyers in my comment threads daily now who reference it - super grateful!)
- The best way to generate new business sales, grow existing business and fill your funnel chock-full of the perfect leads? Write high quality specialized subject matter expert content every day on LinkedIn Publisher. The engagement levels are commensurate to a traditional blog with 200,000 followers. Do the math - 5% open rate with a 2% read rate on 200K followers is 4,000 uniques. I frequently do 10,000 uniques in one week. It's no joke, this medium is crazy powerful due to Metcalfe's law = the power of network effects.
- I literally stopped blogging at my traditional website and am on pace to exceed speaking engagements, consulting and book revenue in just the first quarter of 2015. (Let me train your team on how to do this and still crush quota - I have 30 years of complex B2B selling management and individual quota bearing experience in the field. Don't worry - phones are still a huge part!)
- Leverage Twitter as an amplification system to boost traffic to each Publisher post. Just to test how viral Twitter is, I often only hit the share to twitter button one time. With just that one Tweet 'heard round the world,' I'll often garner two or three dozen retweets which send hundreds of new and existing viewers in. Result? More inbound invites, likes, comments, shares, inbound emails, book sales, requests for consulting, coaching and speaking engagements and the One Key Metric (OKM) I base my success off of, which is a new metric on the internet: LINKEDIN PUBLISHER FOLLOWERS.
- Humor! Traditional B2B content is a walking brochure, insanely dry. Go back and look at some of my posts. It's a mix of Monty Python's flying circus meets Wayne's World, Fawlty Towers and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. I have way way way too much fun. Why? Because people love it and it actually gets read. I exercise my poetic license to thrill!
- Everything David Meerman Scott writes about in his two bestsellers is the absolute blueprint for dominating in here. New Rules of Marketing and PR, plus Sales & Service contain everything you need to know so buy those two books and then go into massive 10X action writing your heart out on here and building a dynamic audience on the subjects you're most passionate about that matter. If it moves YOU it will move your base. Your base is desperately seeking your content. Right now? Will you hit publish? I dare you not to!
- Here are the top subjects you all love to read most that I write - it varies for everyone: Social Selling, LinkedIn Growth Hacks, Leadership, CRM Issues and Hiring and Firing of Sales People. (Again, this is empirical based on recurring themes.) Did I miss any?
- Newsjacking, Mashups, Analogies and Metaphors work devastatingly well on here. Mash up your favorite sport with anologies and insights into business. How 'bout a current event mixed with humor and prose? The Tao (way) of Anything, lists of any kind that are wildly creative and hyperbolic e.g. 32 Ways James Bond Would Close an Enterprise Deal, 12 Reasons Beyonce Is A PR Genius. Don't dismiss this as meaningless listicle content! If you're wildly creative, LinkedIn Audiences will reward you. You should be checking Google Trends, Twitter Trending Topics and LinkedIn Pulse Top 25 everyday.
- Controversy and negativity won't help you. This isn't CNN. What does work is finding a highly contested post like the CEO who will never hire a salesperson and then unpacking it paragraph by paragraph in a formal response or take down. I even saw an author ad hominem attack someone in the headline on here. So much pressure was applied by the greater community, he later reneged on the post and took it down after several formal apologies - realizing he'd shredded his brand reputation taking on an august speaker in Canada. LinkedIn polices itself but freedom of speech is very much alive and well, even applauded. Take positive risks with your true opinions!
- Build your own Lists of Thought Leaders and announce them on LinkedIn Publisher. I built a Top 100 Strategic Social Seller List and to dogfood these outrageous purple cow Godin content ideas in this article, dubbed them 100 Unicorns. It went viral. I tweeted it out over 30 times to notify them. Most retweeted. Then some of my followers went and requested them all. Over 50% added back. Was this based on advanced analytics and listening algorithms or Klout score like mechanism? Not in the slightest.
- I manually read 200 thought leader blogs from a list in Twitter I named Web 3.0 Champions (notifying all of them how awesome they are!) and after 90 days of observation felt I had a pretty good grip on who was applying old school and new school methods. Hence #strategicsocialselling, a spanking new hashtag I started and hopefully a new twist on advanced B2B complex strategic selling in social I've coined. I can't claim to invent it because those aforementioned unicorns live it. Thought leaders like Mike Weinberg and Jill Konrath embody a super strategic approach to social media that will drive concrete revenue results for your organization. Jill Rowley and Timothy Hughes are teaching enterprises how to adopt these platforms at scale to exceed quota.
- Paradoxic of our Ages = Professionals are starving for great content. There are 1,000 channels and nothing's on. This is why pay for play premium content like HBO Go does sensationally well. We're starving for quality and a better story. Audible and Kindle sales are through the roof. Real world knowledge that works, that we can execute on for true success results is a diamond in the digital rough, a glint in a cloud of chaos! Short posts only sizzle - give them the steak, I say! Executives need utility content which becomes YOUTILITY. Serve the community and allow for a User Generated Feedback Loop and Virtuous Cycle. Your dream customers need posts like this so that they can stay intrigued and than punch above their weight in immediate real world application that is NOW. If you can write things that get your customers results, it's game over. You'll win on LinkedIn Publisher.
- Some of the highest ranking posts in here have had one super striking photo. Others I share, have dozens of hilarious photos. I typically source from Creative Commons with attribution in the field above.
- Chip away at myths, call out what everyone's thinking about LinkedIn. Satirizing and lampooning the cottage industry you're in which in any market niche is a bit like 'Best In Show', is a great way to go to source great content. I've likened a daily publisher campaign that succeeds wildly on LinkedIn to serialized writing for Seinfeld. I've even identified an amorphous muse I call 'The Writers.' Is this a Joseph Campbellesque modern mythology? Probably. What inspires me the most? People like Elon Musk who do bizarre backflips with technology.
- Take one simple idea like salespeople being 'face sucking aliens' and turn it into 1,900 words. Think macro and micro - do both at the same time. Explore the bleeding edges and the paradox. Explore with world is flat beliefs. Risks being Galileo - I promise you your crowd will thank you rather than lock you in the tower! Build one amusing mashup after another and blast it out. Why David HasselHoff Would By A Sales Manager's Worst Nightmare. Funny, punchy, extreme and humorous. It's edutainment! The right brain remembers stories. She who tells the best story wins on LinkedIn Publisher. Ideation trumps creation. Creation trumps curation. If you can come up with unique ideas it doesn't matter if your prose are like Malcolm Gladwell - you'll do just fine - you'll be read and celebrated. This is science laced with art. B2B needs a shot in the arm of disruption and creative ideas.
- Remember: until you get haters, you haven't turned it up loud enough. If your friends and family are not writing in warning you about how frequently you're posting and how over the top it all is, you haven't pushed this medium far enough. I did, and now I'm training enterprises on how to implement this intra-organizationallly, extrinsically and with respect to managers as editors, corporate governance and social media policy compliance.
- Net net, SMBs, enterprises, entrepreneurs and thought leaders of all stripes are facing one great fundamental challenge on the modern internet as it quantum leaps to 3.0: Relevance - being the signal in the noise. Pulling dream customers to them with sticky content! MOVE FROM PUSH TO PULL < marinate on that concept alone. Be the garden that attracts the butterflies not build bigger, better and faster nets burning money in the fireplace.
- Tell remarkable, true stories and write B2B fiction and nonfiction as an Aesop's fable to illustrate the point. Soliloquy and Allegory make sensational bedfellows. Pull the top 10 points from the best 5 books you've read in a series of posts. Parse the best content and quotes. Pull a series of things that annoy you about Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Take screenshots of the most remarkable things you've seen in content. Share your Syllabi.
- Pump out YouTube selfie video content and percolate your posts with it.
- Interview other thought leaders, authors and stakeholders in your own company and turn those into LinkedIn Publisher posts. Konrath is an ace at this!
- Request 3 paragraphs from anyone you're connected to and book-end it with your thoughts to generate posts.
- Take on the establishment and the sacred cows. We know CRM is broken. We know too many bad salespeople are still on the payroll. We know effective and efficient social selling is possible and nobody has seemed to effectively teach the advanced methods. Poor customer experience makes your head explode. We know politics is 'corruption at its finest.' Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. 'When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace," professed Jimi Hendrix and I'm not afraid to write about it in the context of leadership. The leader is the culture!
- We know enterprise sales is full of snake oil. We know we still have to pick up the telephone. We know leadership gaps are destroying civil societies. We know there's no quick fix, hack job, push button solution to a real problem. We know women are smarter than men and there should be gobs more in the C-Suite... ad infinitum. Have the courage to express what everyone else is thinking to themselves in their heart of hearts.
- If you experiment enough in this medium you can develop 35+ mystical magic bullets of your own and an equally outrageous title to boot! Empirically, I'm convinced I've developed specialized knowledge of LinkedIn Publisher that is esoteric. Writers like Jeff Haden, Dave Kerpen and Bruce Kasanoff get it. Even the establishment at LinkedIn might disagree but paradoxically have asked me to blog for them. Length: Limited to 600 words. I'm honored and privileged to be on here and welcome your thoughts, dissent and reactions to this big reveal. What's working amazingly well for you? Are you willing to go ballistic on here for 90 days, rant, worldwide rave and drive a boatload of the right kind of organic traffic to everything you stand for?
- Your turn __________________ !
Remember the paradox of all phenomenal content one might ever publish on the web: It's a great big universe of readers so every time you post, someone is discovering you for the first time. That's why it's critical to think of content strategy in terms of recurring themes, humanization: aka the babies and puppies factor, humor like a cavalcade of 'guys in suits' and where am I driving mainly to check if you're still reading?
Content is either evergreen to be used over and over again and remain valid like any syndicated hit TV show or super recent, pulled out of trending topics, breaking news or trending hashtags. If you are 100% your authentic self, those that disagree with you will just stop following you or delete you. Once you crank up your publishing approach to 11, you'll gain 100 followers for every one that deletes you. Guy Kawasaki proved this many times. Personally, I'm not a fan of ever duplicating anything because of the ramifications on SEO juice. I try to switch up every Tweet and share. I use Feed.ly to monitor hundreds of blogs. I often pull four or five quotes out of an article and blast that out to TweetDeck for a lark. But mainly I allow my subscribers and followers to handle the heavy lifting of amplification for me.
I've often written and asked LinkedIn executives and many connections on here concerning what really works in Publisher. It's clearly an algorithm and it's also possible to get an Editor's Pick. The resounding response? There's no rhyme or reason to the algorithm. But then when I apply the above crazy set of best practices I've developed to a post like this, I can often simply engineer in a viral successful outcome. So I'll leave this Easter Egg to close: Inside my corpus of 150 blogs I reference 3 specific data driven studies of what ranks best on the greater blogosphere as well as an analysis of 3,000 of the top ranking LinkedIn Publisher posts. To prove my last point, I won't even share it here. I'm confident you'll find those diamonds in the haystack and leverage them to your greatest strategic competitive advantage.
Thanks for listening and for all the support, and for being a part of this bizarre thought experiment and cutting me a whole bunch of slack so that I can entertain, inspire and hopefully help you drive more business - every day!
All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renewed shall be blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king. - J.R.R Tolkien
TJH (in 2,975 words).
P.S. Here is an enhanced version of the Tolkien poem in my very last LinkedIn post!
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: Johanna Krauel
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