Coming up with content is not rocket science

I get this a lot. “I don’t know how to write. We have nothing to write about.” 

Hogwash. 

Just ask yourself, “What are my customers having problems with?” 

Then write content that will help them understand the problem, solve the problem, or see that they are not alone with this problem.

I was speaking with a client that makes prototypes. They had no clue what to write about, “It’s impossible.” So I asked them a couple questions. Typically one of their customers sends them the drawings and technical info required for my customer to build the prototypes. 

Now, I found this genuinely interesting so I asked, “Do you ever have problems with the info they send?” I actually had visions of napkins with products drawn on them. But the reality wasn’t that far off. My client and his engineers started rattling off all the things that their clients did incorrectly, left out or didn’t understand. 

After listening to this for a few minutes I said, “There’s your first 12 blogs posts. One a week for the next 12 weeks. This is info your customers should have. They will design better and get their products more quickly with less back and forth. This is information they can use that will help them.” 

Then I asked him about the time they saved their customer, because everyone has at least one story like that. When he finished telling me about the time they dropped everything, and worked through the weekend for a customer that was in a pinch, I told him, “Great story. Now write it down. There’s another post for your list, or maybe even a case study.”  

That great story was always there, it just took me to remind him of it. 

The only reason coming up with content is hard is because you think it is hard. 

Why the first three lines of a LinkedIn post are critical to its success on LinkedIn

Simple but important message today

You see this on your homepage for posts – perhaps a heading, then some text, and then a “see more” at the end of one of the first sentences.  

When you publish a post you get three lines before the “see more” shows up (if you don’t use an image, you get five lines). 

Blank lines count towards the three lines. If you purposefully leave a line blank, that counts as one of your three. 

Okay, so how does this help or hurt us in our posting? 

Those first lines of a post are effectively a teaser for the rest of the post. If people do not become intrigued by those first few lines, you lose them.  They don’t bother clicking “see more”. They don’t read the rest of your post and of course they will not like, comment on or share it. 

So use those three lines wisely. Treat them like you would the subject line in an email. 

This post was originally published a couple months ago in one of my “using LinkedIn more effectively for sales and marketing” newsletters. You can sign up to receive them here: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/

How I Generated Hundreds Of Sales Leads Using Content On LinkedIn

 

This works, but it takes a lot of work. If you are looking for something easy, this isn’t the place. 

It starts with engagement on LinkedIn. Commenting on other people’s posts will work, as will sharing other people’s and company’s posts, but publishing your own content works best. 

In my case, I published articles and posts almost every week on LinkedIn for several years. I would send messages thanking people who shared or commented on my articles. Almost invariably, an online conversation ensued. After a few months of this it dawned on me that the percentage of people who responded to my outreach was very high. 

The key seemed to be that the other person had expressed an interest in something I had written. So I wondered if I could systemize this idea and methodically reach out to possible prospects that liked, shared or commented on my articles. I had a Sales Navigator account, so I could send them InMails (I will talk about free LinkedIn accounts in a bit). Whenever I found someone I was interested in, I sent them an InMail and started tracking my results. And I also started sending messages to possible prospects who had viewed my profile or had started following me. 

 

 

A year later, 268 of these people had responded to my 444 outreach messages. A response rate of 60%. 

Here’s the breakdown by category:

  1. Outreach messages to “Likes” – 55% response rate
  2. Outreach messages to Comments – 84% response rate
  3. Outreach messages to people who shared my content – 77% response rate
  4. Outreach messages to people who Followed me – 54% response rate
  5. Outreach messages to people who viewed my profile – 64% response rate

I sent more messages to followers than the other four categories put together, which is why the blended average response rate was 60%. It is worth noting that the 54% response rate from my followers would be an outstanding response rate for just about any means of outreach. 

 

I figured there were a couple factors behind this response rate: 

  • The person I was reaching out to was aware of me before I reached out to them. I think it is a fair assumption that this made them much more receptive to reading and responding to my message. 
  • When one of these five trigger events occurred, I was the only one responding to it. I was  not competing with everyone else. For example, I was not one of dozens of people congratulating them on their new job. 
  • I did not pitch them. They may fit the demographic of people I work with, but I don’t know anything about them or if they have problems I can help them with. People are a lot more receptive when, you know, you don’t bludgeon them over the head with a sales pitch.

If there is a downside, it’s this: it is time consuming. I don’t do boilerplate. Boilerplate is death. I hyper personalize everything. I make an effort. This approach eats minutes. While I have a framework for what I include in my messages, it can take me fifteen minutes to write a message I am happy with. 

 

And if you don’t use Sales Navigator? Send connection invites. I tried it and it works, though not as well. The acceptance rate is excellent, but I have found that adding that connection step makes it harder than just responding to their first interest in me. So I think connecting works, but I still prefer InMail. 

I am not advocating you take the four or five hours a week I did to write and publish content, parse through the people who engage with you and reach out to them. You can do this on a small scale, even just to people who view your profile. Just be consistent, and keep at it. 

I suppose if there is a lesson in here it is: Build it and they will come, but you had better have a plan for going after them when they do.

This post was originally published a couple months ago in one of my “using LinkedIn more effectively for sales and marketing” newsletters. You can sign up to receive them here: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/