I did a podcast interview earlier this week. I love doing podcast interviews (and listening to them) because there’s so much magic in the unscripted conversation. As I was doing the interview, though, it occurred to me that a conversation like the one I had with the host can be overwhelming for listeners.
It was the kind of conversation I wouldn’t have been able to listen to without a pen and paper (call me old school if you want) and even then, I’d be rewinding and relistening. There’s nothing wrong with this. Deep conversations with subject matter experts are pure gold and exactly what my community craves. Still, deep conversations are only so useful without some anchor points so listeners know where and how to start applying the incredible information they receive.
I was also reminded of this lesson during a call I had with Allison Davis about my sales process. What I loved about my conversation with Allison was that she gave me a lot of great information and she packaged it so that I could put it to use right away. In fact, I just landed a new client using her suggestions.
All of this is to say, I aspire to give my community in-depth information that they don’t have to work extra hard to put into use. As I focus on packaging the information I share so that it’s more easily digestible, this blog article is a practice piece for me. So if you’re reading this, you’re a bit of a guinea pig (sorry, not sorry). I see it as a win-win, though. I get to practice and you get to read something that aims to be optimally usable.
Content Marketing isn’t Rocket Science
When it comes to content marketing, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Everyone will tell you to start by gathering as much data as possible. A straightforward question like, “who is my ideal audience?” turns into 50 questions about everything from what keeps them up at night to what they had for breakfast this morning. It gets overwhelming because you don’t always have answers to all of those questions.
The good news is that you don’t need as much data as you think to get started with content marketing. If the ideal audience questions leave you feeling stumped (I know they often leave me feeling that way), then forget about them and instead focus on what you want to talk about.
Ask yourself a few simple questions:
- What do I talk about that lights me up?
- What do I talk about that lights up others?
- What do I not hear others in my industry talking about?
- What annoys me about what others in my industry are talking about?
These questions are designed to get you thinking along the lines of deep information you want to share. Once you’ve answered them, start brainstorming content ideas. And don’t spend too much time refining your answers. Let the specifics and refinement unfold as you create more content.
The next thing to consider after you have some idea of the content you want to share is distribution. This is another place where it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I say, choose one social media channel for distribution. If your goal is to become a thought leader and build your personal brand, then LinkedIn is your sandbox.
Now to keep you from getting overwhelmed when it comes to using LinkedIn, I want you to focus on three anchor points.
3 LinkedIn Anchor Points
There are three main components of LinkedIn. If you focus on these three areas consistently for three months, you will see positive results.
1. Your Profile
What do people see when they first come to your LinkedIn profile? What is their first impression? These questions have to do both with the written content and with the visuals on your LinkedIn profile.
Here’s the crucial question to ask: Is it at-a-glance clear what you do from your headline and About section?
Engagement is perhaps the most important factor to making LinkedIn work for you. You may have heard me say that LinkedIn is a networking platform. That means the algorithm rewards you for networking behavior. Engaging or commenting on others’ posts is one thing you can do to boost your visibility on LinkedIn. Even if you aren’t sharing your own posts, engaging with others is good for your personal brand.
If you are posting your own stuff, here’s my favorite tip when it comes to engagement: Spend at least 10 minutes commenting on others’ posts BEFORE publishing your own post.
3. Post Content Creation
Finally, you need to create unique content that speaks to your audience. I know I told you earlier to set aside the questions about your ideal audience and I stand by that suggestion. If you’re creating content that lights you up and regularly sharing it, you can trust that your people will find you. To speed up that process, you can spend more time testing out content ideas.
By far, the crucial factor to consider here is consistency and that likely means planning your content in advance. I like to generate monthly themes once per year, then post topic ideas once per month, then write a week’s worth of posts one week in advance.
Where are you in flow and where does it feel hard?
So my next question for you a la Allison Davis is where do you feel in flow with these three areas and where does it feel hard?
If you feel stuck with your profile because you’re not sure how to optimize or where to start, then the LinkedIn Roadmap can put your mind at ease.
If you’re having trouble with engagement, it might be because you haven’t prioritized the time you need to engage and do the networking behavior that the algorithm rewards. Aim to spend 20 minutes per day, Monday through Friday, engaging with others’ posts. Get into a consistent groove with this before you even think about creating your own content.
And if content creation feels hard, then consider whether it’s because you’re lacking in ideas or because you’re lacking in the time or inclination to write your own content. A brainstorming session with a great marketing strategist (or even a friend) can help with idea generation.
Finally, if writing is not your jam, Investing in a great team of ghostwriters can ensure that you have content to post on a consistent basis with a consistent message. The Pocket PhD can certainly help with this. We offer two content marketing services that both include 12 LinkedIn posts per month, which we create after one 30-minute content strategy session with you.
Here’s my challenge to you: Do an audit of your LinkedIn usage and figure out which of the three anchor points above are getting in the way of you realizing your thought leadership potential. Then, let’s talk and get you on the right track.
Photo credit: https://www.123rf.com/profile_fizkes