Now, I know I am going to get a lot of negative feedback – especially since how-to, top mistakes and list posts are the most popular blog articles. There are even studies completed by OkDork and others that show the best performing posts are how to and list articles as shown below:
Here are some things you need to know about these studies:
- They look at the most successful posts that received on average of 138,841 views, 42,505 likes and 567 comments so they’re looking at people who already have a large following. We’re finding that because too many CEOs and sales and marketing leaders are simply putting up “reminders” inside their how-to etc. posts, that these posts are getting ignored and not showing any performance for those that do not have a really well-established network.
- These studies focused on reach only – not engagement. Sorry, likes and comments are not true engagement metrics. They are not tied to revenue objectives. Reach without engagement is nothing.
You want your LinkedIn posts to differentiate you from your competition, get prospects to think twice about their current approach, change perceptions, drive demand and entice further action that can be tied to revenue objectives. We have found that how-to posts, top mistakes and list type posts do not do achieve these goals.
So despite the backlash that I am expecting, I’m telling you that how-to, top tips and list posts do have a place in a marketing strategy but no place on the LinkedIn content platform. The posts that I encourage clients to publish challenges prospects, shares trends or changes in an industry, provide assessments on the state of an industry or topic and are based on research studies.
Below, I share how these posts lead to engagement (beyond views, likes and comments) and increased revenue opportunities.
1) Sales Coaching Firm Uses Study Based Thought Leadership Content to Gain Interest, More Group Members and Sales Calls
Tanja Parsley, President of Partners in Performance ( intentional sales coaching and persuasive presentations training firm in Canada that has clients like BlackBerry and Mackenzie Investments), recently posted an article titled: 82% of Sales Professionals Are Out of Sync with B2B Buyers As They Are Focused on Pitching Product
Tanja piggybacked on a recent Salesforce.com study that showed that sales professionals are out of sync with their buyers. But, she added her thought leadership and provided a reasoning for why they are out of sync something Salesforce.com did not do with their study.
She showed how sales professionals (even the most experienced sales executives) are not starting off with enough strategic questions that helps them get underneath their prospects’ concerns and trying to understand the impact of their problems. She explains how this blocking them from turning a vision into a clear path to value (something that 70% of B2B buyers look for as reported by Forrester.)
As you can see in the image below, this post on the LinkedIn’s content platform received more than 1400 views, 100+ likes and 20 comments:
This is a lot for her because Tanja did not already have a strong following on LinkedIn. She was used to getting 100 to 200 views (and it was basically just her connections). But even more importantly than the additional reach (as reach is nothing without engagement) Tanja gained 40+ group members in two days. These new group members included the VP of Sales and Marketing at Connex International, the Sales Director at HCL Technologies and the Group VP of Business Development at Oracle.
So the article drove additional action which now enables Tanja to engage with these prospects through the discussions inside her LinkedIn community as well as personalized 1-on-1 messages that lead them down the funnel. She even has several sales conversations scheduled (including one with the VP of Sales & Marketing at ChannelAssist) as a result of the article and the additional nurturing. Tanja may not have received 100,000+ views but this article is leading to revenue.
2) Digital Advertising Technology Company Gains Real Interest and Engagement By Discussing Changes in the Industry.
I recently ran across this post on the LinkedIn Content Platform: “Everything You Know about Digital Advertising Is About to Change”. As you can see from the image below, this post generated over 3,000 views, 185 likes and 12 comments in just a couple of days.
This was the VP’s first post on the LinkedIn publishing platform and he did not have a strong presence on LinkedIn as the company was just getting started with a LinkedIn strategy. In this post, he talks about the fall of 3rd party cookies (what most digital advertisers are using), the rise of first party cookie technologies, new best practices and approaches, higher demands and standards for digital campaigns and the future of digital advertising.
Since the article discusses a major shift that will start to happen in the industry in the near future – and since organizations spend a great deal of money on digital advertising (with 71% of organizations reporting that they will spend more in the next 12 months than in previous years) – the article quickly gained momentum. Digital advertisers wanted to learn about the changes and how they can maximize their digital spend.
Now, I’ve heard that they not only used this article to gain maximum exposure on LinkedIn – but they used it as a reason for decision makers to accept their connection as they discussed the post in the invite to connect. They used the post as part of the lead nurturing program. In their messages to digital advertising decision makers they made mention of the changes that are happening in the industry and how it would affect their organization. They linked to the article so they can learn more. And, they invited the decision makers to a phone conversation where they can network and discuss ways to adjust and take advantage of the forthcoming changes.
You see, a path to revenue was created and it started with this post. This company didn’t just post and push out any blog content. There’s a strategy behind the content they’re using on LinkedIn.
3) Professional Service Firms Are Using “Challenger” Content to Change Their Prospects’ Thoughts and Actions
Instead of trying to teach something new to prospects and talking about future business or what my prospect’s future business can be – we like to un-teach prospects something they already know or believe about the way their business currently operates.
For example, in a recent post on the LinkedIn content platform, Kristina Jaramillo show sales and marketing leaders that despite their belief, they are taking a strategic approach to LinkedIn and that they are just completing a list of tasks that are not aligned with revenue objectives. In another post, she challenges common thinking that even a Forrester analyst had which is that LinkedIn should primarily be used for brand awareness since brand engagement is lackluster. She shows in the post, that B2B buyers are not on LinkedIn to engage with brands – they are there to engage and build relationships with trusted experts in the industry. And, she shows that if done right, sales and marketing leaders can drive demand, generate leads and develop customer relationships.
Lisa Shepherd from The Mezzanine Group also recently published a “challenger” article on the LinkedIn publishing platform. She showed her prospects that a lack of sales hunters is not their problem even though that it’s a very common complaint that she hears from mid-market B2B organization. She shows that it’s as a symptom of a Buyers Revolution that is upending the buying and selling process.
So, she’s un-teaching her audience the sales approach that they’re used to and explaining why it’s not generating sales. She’s challenging organizations on why they are not changing their selling approach when buying has changed.
Lisa’s post as shown below, gained more than 1,000 views, 64 likes and 19 comments – and this was her first post.
Again, Lisa did not have much of a presence on LinkedIn before – and now’s she’s creating real influence. She’s getting organizations to rethink their budget allocation between sales and marketing. Lisa’s content is providing a mental disruption that is reliably resetting the customer’s choice of purchase criteria decisively in her favor. Instead of focusing on more sales training to try to turn their sales execs into sales hunters, they are putting their budgets into marketing.
4) B2B Technology Messaging and Positioning Firm Opens Tech Marketers’ Eyes with State of the Industry Reports
State of…reports is an approach that Joe Pulizzi (a LinkedIn Influencer and CEO of Content Marketing Institute) uses a lot with posts like: “State of Content Marketing: We’re Witnessing a Market Correction” which has 20,000+ views.
Lawson Abinanti from Messages That Matter took a similar approach when he looked hard at the state of the Corporate Performance Management (CPM) or Business Performance Management (BPM) market and their positioning. On the LinkedIn publishing platform, he provided an in your face assessment of the big players in the industry and how most of them were struggling with their positioning.
In his post, he showed how SAP made the best progress of all the CPM vendors as they went from no position b to making a compelling claim. He also shows while SAP is doing a well-done job in positioning, IBM is not with their CPM solutions. IBM is using “transform” – one of the most overused tech buzzwords – in their positioning and they basically duplicated a competitor’s positioning. He’s also showing how Infor, SAS and Oracle and many others are also falling into the “me too” positioning trap.
Now as you can see below, Lawson’s article gained nearly 600 views of this post.
At the end of his post, Lawson invited tech marketers to download his ebook – “Positioning: How to Communicate So the Market Listens.” He gained more than 3 dozen high quality technology marketing leaders opt-in for the ebook. Including the CEO, CMO and other marketing decision makers at one of the companies he assessed. Lawson is also using this article to target those in the BPM/CPM industry and inviting them to connect so they can see his assessment. Plus, he’s using the assessment to open his prospect’s eyes and get them to want a sales conversation.
As you can see below, Lawson is generating demand
His assessment posts has his prospects’ attention and it’s starting them on the path to value and in turn to revenue for Lawson.
Now take a look at the content you’re posting on the LinkedIn publishing platform?
What type of content are you creating? What results are you achieving? When you think about your results, think beyond views, likes and comments. That’s only the start of engagement. Really take a look at your content and how it’s tied to your revenue goals (and if it’s helping you accomplish those goals). If not, then maybe it’s time you change the content you’re posting. We can help you get started with a free social content strategy session.