Content is King, but distribution is Queen.
And LinkedIn can become a fantastic content distribution channel for your business, but you can’t treat it like Twitter. The trick is to leverage the network’s features and to respect its culture instead of going hog-wild on sales pitches.
This is how you create a quality LinkedIn content marketing strategy.
Research, Optimize, and Publish
There’s a time and a place for original thought leadership, but you should also be methodical about it. Figure out what people are searching for in general and provide insights into those topics.
Accomplish that with this methodology.
Reverse-Engineer LinkedIn Hashtag Topics
You’ll need to build your own website content on keyword research from established, trustworthy keyword research tools, but that data doesn’t necessarily apply to social networks.
But don’t fret—you can still see what’s trending in people’s news feeds.
Specifically, you can follow a certain number of topics tied to specific hashtags on LinkedIn. These aren’t like hashtags on Twitter or Instagram. Not exactly.
They’re different because they’re more deliberate. Whereas success on Instagram generally involves using 30 hashtags to see what sticks (no, seriously), LinkedIn’s hashtags act as broader ongoing conversations.
And you can follow those conversations to see what’s working in your niche.
A quick word to the wise: don’t write generic content that only adds to the white noise. Read up on what people in your niche are covering and think about what’s not being said. You can even write open letters to those other prolific individuals out there
For example, I wrote this piece because I know that some people are searching for it in Canada, but you can bet it’s going to be a relevant post on LinkedIn too. Relevance is crucial.
Post Website Content in the Newsfeed
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to get started. Post your regularly scheduled website content on LinkedIn so that your leads can see it.
This is the simple bread-and-butter foundation of any LinkedIn content marketing strategy, and for good reason:
- Your audience already knows you
- You gain digital real estate in your connections’ newsfeeds
- You’ll build steady referral traffic to your website
No tricks. It’s just a good practice that forces you as a small business owner to make time for regular posting—and it’s not a big commitment because you’re just directing leads toward your existing marketing funnel.
It’s a good first step.
Create Some Original Content for the Channel
This is where you can set yourself apart from 80% of the crowd. Posting links to your content is a good start, but you can also write content that lives right on LinkedIn itself.
You can see some basic analytics for this kind of content, giving you an idea of what works and what doesn’t. You can copy and paste your website blogs here with a “source” link, but I wouldn’t recommend this as a long-term strategy.
Test out some early content with reposts, but try to evolve this tactic into a collection of original content, for several reasons:
- You can see content analytics right inside LinkedIn
- These native evergreen posts can be re-shared over time
- You’ll avoid duplicate content penalties from hitting your website
- Native posts stay attached to your profile and activity for everyone to see
You can optimize these posts with keywords if you want (some LinkedIn posts have been known to rank in Google’s search results once in a while), but you don’t need to optimize these to drive people to them.
That’s what your network is for.
Instead, you have the chance to create a branding campaign based on community involvement, stories about great customer service moments, and some genuine thought leadership. This content won’t operate on its own, of course, but it’s a natural next step up from just posting links back to your website.
Build an Audience While You’re There
With your bread-and-butter content in production, it’s time to amplify and distribute it. You can do that with a few basic tactics that build your brand in select corners of the social network.
Yes, Optimize Your Profile(s)
You’re not really going to optimize your profile or company page for search engines to notice them, but rather so that LinkedIn’s simpler search parameters correlate them to your most relevant keywords within the social network itself.
If you haven’t made a company page yet, go do that now.
Make sure you tick these boxes while setting it up:
- Follow the 3 most relevant hashtags for your business
- Include your address, service area, and phone number
- Set your website to the HTTPS version, not just the HTTP one
- Include the logo. For the love of Ogilvey, include the logo.
Back? Good stuff.
Add that company page to your profile and the profiles of everyone who works at your company to give it legitimacy. Then follow this checklist to optimize your LinkedIn profile:
- Tagline (include 1-2 keywords)
- Business/position description needs keywords too
- Include relevant industry certifications
- Show off your industry presence at expos and trade shows
- Volunteer experience, especially if it’s local
The idea is to gear your personal and company profiles to appear in searches and to layer on a sense of experience and community involvement. The goal is to become prominent in your target customers’ communities, whether that’s defined geographically or by interest.
Grow Your Network Through Offline Meetings
Full stop: adding LinkedIn connections you’ve never met is a bad idea.
People who do it try to normalize it by calling themselves “LIONS” (linkedin open networkers), but it just fills up space with people who will never help your business. Here’s why:
- They have zero interest in your business
- They have zero interest in your value proposition
- They have zero interest (or trust) in you as a professional
Not super valuable as connections go, obviously.
That’s why you need to grow your network outside of LinkedIn itself. Sure, feel free to add some connections you meet in online groups (we’ll get to that later), but don’t make it your go-to strategy.
Instead you should meet your connections the good, old-fashioned way:
- Network events
- Customer referrals
- Organic search
- Volunteer work
Leads you meet one of those ways are worth so, so much more than some faceless profile across the internet. Natural connections are interested in your business and you as a professional, making them 10 times more qualified to buy from you.
You want to distribute your LinkedIn content to those people, so build your network with care—even if it happens slowly.
Join a Select Few Useful Groups
You can start acquiring LinkedIn leads from groups after you’ve built a foundation of offline connections.
First, ask permission to join groups that you think are relevant to your niche, but don’t go overboard. As a digital marketer, I’d join groups about SEO, content strategy, and even website creation. But I wouldn’t join groups about technology or real estate—the members actually there for discussion won’t appreciate marketing and salespeople buzzing around their ears.
And that’s part of the larger approach you should take here. Don’t sell to people in these groups!
Just help out. Providing tips and answers gets you much farther than pushing people to try out a retainer when they’re not feeling quite sure about it.
And make sure you clean out the groups you’re not interested in anymore. I’d completely forgotten that I had joined over a dozen groups related to other fields I had a tangential interest in joining back when I was still in college, and I’m sure it threw LinkedIn’s algorithms for a loop.
Curate your LinkedIn group presence. Building it brick by brick makes it stronger than just spamming groups that everyone has joined already.
Ditch the Pitch. Help Instead.
Have you ever proposed to someone on a first date?
Of course not. You’re not delusional.
Some people lose sight of that, unfortunately. They’ll introduce themselves and their business all in the same virtual breath, as if you’re supposed to care. You have a project to complete, errands to run, and maybe even kids and a side hustle juggle. You don’t have the time of day to answer 20 questions for someone who’s just looking to make a sale and move on.
So why would you ever try that on someone else?
Save the elevator pitch for Dragon’s Den. Just help leads get where they need to go instead. It’s not just about accruing good will, either—it’s about earning leads’ respect and trust as a useful contact who doesn’t try to sell them anything.
That’s what it means to be a trusted advisor, and there’s no better cap to wear when it’s actually time to sell something.
And you’ll only earn trust that way. There aren’t any short cuts, either—not long-term. Just help people and make them aware of your services. When people feel the business pain and trust you enough, they will inquire about doing business with you in some form.
How it Creates Your LinkedIn Content Marketing Strategy
So you’re posting content, writing some new stuff, following groups, and setting aside even more time to be genuinely helpful.
What does it get you?
You get a lot more digital real estate, to start. LinkedIn’s newsfeed moves slower than Facebook, so a few thoughtful posts and comments will stay afloat for your connections to see even longer.
Now, consider how you’ll appear to potential leads:
- You’re posting helpful content, and you’re clearly on top of the conversation
- You’re accessible in groups where they’ve been reading up.
- Your activity demonstrates that you find answers for other group members
- You even have your own thoughts on the industry and some of its challenges
All of that contributes to your image as a trusted advisor, and for good reason—there isn’t a way to fake it over the long haul. Those qualified leads will know that they can come to you without wondering if every second word is a sales pitch or not.
That’s the customer you want. And with this strategy you can carve out your own LinkedIn content marketing strategy to create a beacon for them.