When I first took my young sons fishing a few years back, they would just drop a hook in the water and expect the fish to bite.
In their excitement to catch some fish, my sons didn’t realize they were missing a critical component of the entire process: Bait!
In today’s online marketplace (and in particular on LinkedIn) the same mistake is being made by far too many professionals looking to reel in new business.
In digital terms, your “bait” is Content – blog posts, podcasts, videos, webinars, eBooks and similar.
And, just like my sons at the lake, you are not going to hook any hot prospects without some tasty bait.
Fishing for Prospects on LinkedIn
To take the analogy a step further, LinkedIn recently released an Infographic showing how to strategize your content marketing on the platform. And it comes down to three key “Ws.”
When you understand “Who” LinkedIn members are looking to for content on LinkedIn, “What” motivates LinkedIn members to engage with that content, and finally “Why” engagement around your content can win you business on the platform – you have a recipe for success.
WHO: Your Content Demonstrates Your Value
In a recent study of 9,000 site suers, LinkedIn measured content from four different sources: peers, colleagues, brands, and influencers, demonstrating the value for all those groups to have their metaphorical fishing line in the pond.
According to the study, 79 percent of LinkedIn users reported that they read or “engaged” (meaning they clicked, liked, shared or commented) with content on the platform at least once a week. Even more, 1 in 3 respondents said they did so daily.
Whether you’re representing an established brand with a reputation to uphold, or building a new business of your own, you must earn the time and attention of prospects by demonstrating your knowledge and expertise via the content you create and share online.
Creating great content is critical to conveying to a potential customer that your “bait” is something they’re going to want to keep nibbling on until they get hooked, i.e. wanting to learn more about your paid products and services.
Put another way, content marketing gives you a golden opportunity by helping you demonstrate your authority and expertise.
Remember: Anyone can claim he or she is an expert, but if you can prove you are by offering valuable and actionable tips, or a compelling case study, you’ll have a much better chance of proving your worth and earning trust from potential customers online.
WHAT: Different Fish Like Different Bait
Also, when you go fishing, you use certain types of bait to catch certain types of fish. The same is true with Content Marketing – certain types of content appeals to certain types of audiences.
Best of all, creating killer content has become easier than ever. With today’s tools and technology, you can quickly create online training videos, turn a slide deck into a compelling webinar or even write a blog post without typing a single word.
And by using hashtags (LinkedIn’s version of keywords) with every piece of content you publish on LinkedIn, you’ll ensure your posts get indexed and sorted properly on LinkedIn.
Because it has nearly 500 million users in 200+ countries, LinkedIn is one of the world’s largest search engines. Every single day, hundreds of millions of professionals worldwide are using LinkedIn’s powerful internal search features to find content, tips and resources related to their businesses and industries.
For example, as a LinkedIn Trainer, I create and post a variety of content types, from free video trainings on creating a killer profile, as well as personal stories and inspirational posts, to in-depth webinars on how to find new clients and generate sales leads using LinkedIn.
Whenever you create and post content on LinkedIn, remember to include a Call To Action (CTA), be it inviting someone to a free webinar, embedding a video that introduces readers to you or your company, inviting comments on your post or whatever else moves followers further into your sales funnel.
WHY: Content the Cost of Admission
Now more than ever, your content is what earns you the time and attention of potential prospects on LinkedIn.
As a result, it’s critical that your content generates discussion (Likes, Comments and Shares), because that signals LinkedIn to push your post higher up in the newsfeed and rank it higher on related searches since it’s generating so much engagement.
Your content is also an excuse to engage with your prospects. You can interact with new, warmed up sales leads by responding to the Comments, Likes and Shares related to your posts. You should also use your content as a valid reason to message your key prospects 1-on-1.
Nobody ever complains about you sending a 1-on-1 LinkedIn message that features valuable tips, strategies or advice around a key professional problem or pain point that the person is looking for help with.
Engaging in a 1-on-1 approach where you’re demonstrating value and expertise and helping someone solve his or her biggest challenges for free is a great way to win the long-term trust and business of people online.
Again, your content is not meant to be an overt sales pitch.
Instead, it should be insightful, helpful and actionable, and it should appeal to a niche, target audience and address a key pain point they have in today’s marketplace.
If you take that approach, and tie in the content you create as a natural extension of a product or service you offer, it becomes a win-win situation for everyone involved.
There’s a reason LinkedIn is pushing content marketing for members all across the platform – it flat out works.