According to an Oktopost study, LinkedIn is the best social network for generating B2B leads. Over 80% of B2B social leads come from LinkedIn, compared with 12.73% on Twitter, and 6.73% on Facebook.
I recently decided to give LinkedIn Publisher a try to see if it would help me get more leads. After two months of building readership and tweaking my strategy, my post on How to Plan Your 2015 Content Calendar took off and appeared on LinkedIn Pulse. It has received about 3,900 views and more than 200 subscribers to my website, which is amazing considering I had only about 1,000 people in my LinkedIn network when I published the piece. These results show how well LinkedIn Publisher can get your content in front of a much wider audience.
While my post shows how I used this strategy to support my consultancy, the approach can be used for any content marketer who is trying to drive subscriptions to their personal brand or support their organization’s content marketing efforts.
Here are five tips that helped me achieve these results:
1. Obsess over LinkedIn Publisher titles
A few months ago, Paul Shapiro of Search Wilderness published the results of a survey in which he analyzed the 3,000 most successful LinkedIn Pulse posts. He found that titles with between 40 and 49 characters received the greatest number of views. I find that keeping your entire title visible below the post’s teaser image is essential even if the number of characters doesn’t neatly fit between 40 and 49. In the following image, you can see how posts with visible full titles earned more views than the post with the truncated title:
Note: After publication, I tweaked the middle post’s truncated title. While readership increased, it was nowhere near the two posts with the original shorter titles.
Since you only have a tiny space for an optimized title, cut the fluff. That means no meaningless adjectives or jargon. Plain language works the best. However, try to include a benefit or reason why people should read your post.
One great motivator is urgency. I published my high-converting post in November when my target readers were thinking about next year’s content. I used “2015” to convey a sense of urgency.
I also tend to write how-to or list posts, as they are popular with blog readers. Shapiro’s study confirmed that how-to titles perform the best on LinkedIn while titles containing questions perform poorly.
2. Provide in-depth, valuable content
I think the content stakes are higher on LinkedIn, as it’s a professionally oriented platform. Professionals use the site to network, update their profiles, and learn things that will help them excel in their careers. The last thing they want is bad content cluttering their streams. To engage this audience, publish content that is relevant to their needs and will make them look like superstars at work.
It’s hard to provide value in a short blog post. A few years ago, many people could get away with 300 words that just touched on a topic. However, the trend now is longer thought-leadership pieces – think feature articles. My high-converting post was around 900 words.
At the same time, don’t get hung up on word count. You don’t want to fill your article with fluff just to hit a word target. Use as many words as you need to tell a valuable story – no more and no less.
It’s also important not to repost old content from your blog. I did this once, but then learned that Google indexes all LinkedIn posts, which could create issues if duplicate content exists. If you want to reuse something from your blog, give it an overhaul – making it better and more relevant for today’s LinkedIn readers.
3. Create custom opt-in offers
I drove opt-ins through LinkedIn by creating a custom offer to accompany my post. Since the article was about planning your 2015 content calendar, I modified my own editorial calendar into a downloadable template for readers.
This offer worked well because it related directly to the LinkedIn post – readers were interested in planning their content calendar and many of them wanted the template.
4. Use LeadPages to drive opt-ins
I didn’t want to direct readers to a complicated landing page for the offer because some might be lost along the way. So I used a LeadPages tool called LeadBox. When readers clicked the link for the editorial calendar template, they saw this:
The form’s image is the same as the image featured in the post, creating visual consistency between the article and the offer.
After entering their information, they could instantly download the resource. The LeadBox had a 60% conversion rate and brought me 206 (and counting) new subscribers.
5. Insert next steps at the end of the post
My CMO, Jaime Almond, came up with a great way to boost engagement on my blog and LinkedIn. We include “3 Ways to Apply This Information Now” boxes at the end of all blog and LinkedIn Publisher posts.
In this case, readers could apply the information by downloading the editorial calendar template, sharing the post on LinkedIn, or joining the conversation in the comment section. I like Almond’s suggestion for “Share this article on LinkedIn” as a call-to-action. It taps into the motivation behind why people share content – to increase their own visibility so they can enhance their reputations and connect with business prospects.
One way to get more comments is to ask for them. This post received 18 comments and led to some interesting conversations and a follow-up piece on How to Create Your 2015 Content Promotional Calendar.
As you can see, LinkedIn Publisher can be an excellent tool for getting your content in front of a wider audience, starting conversations, and even attracting more subscribers. However, as more people jump on the publishing platform, competition for your audience’s attention will increase. That’s why it’s important to publish thoughtful content and refer to your analytics to see what resonates with your LinkedIn audience.
What do you think of LinkedIn Publisher? Let’s start a conversation in the comments.
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Cover image by Ian L, Publicdomainpictures.net, via pixabay