This article is written for professional services firms (adding on to last week’s blog post on tips for refreshing your website). While we all want to use our blog to establish “thought leadership”, it is definitely tougher and tougher for the smaller firm to cut through the digital clutter. It is now about two years since LinkedIn introduced its Pulse platform where your content can be pushed out to existing and new professional contacts.
When employing this tactic, try to avoid blindly spamming your LinkedIn list with a barrage of content. It is better to concentrate on a select and thoughtful approach:
1. Control the who: Pulse posts are shared with first degree connections and followers. But there are some followers (competitors for example) that you may not want to let in on your content strategy. You can click “Hide” if you do NOT want a connection to see your feed. After you post, all “Likes” build up your first degree connections so you should look at this each time.
2. Generate ideas and a calendar of super posts: Conversion success with LinkedIn Pulse (as with much of social media) is definitely spotty. Think about what questions a buyer may really be interested in as they move through their buying cycle. You may just hit a buyer at the right research moment.
3. Take extra care with the title: Titles with specific numbers and "how to" – like my “10 steps” title above. Be provocative; express your opinion, so others will chime in.
4. Add great visuals: LinkedIn Pulse allows up to 8 images.
5. Create longer form (but digestible) posts: Pulse loves content more than 3 paragraphs. But use writing-for-web best practices of lists, visuals, call out of key “aha” facts”.
6. Set up links to drive interested readers to your website for more.
7. Tag with the keywords: You want to dominate: the more specific, the better.
8. Add your own by-line: At the end of each post.
9. Test post timing: Post on Sunday or Thursday to start – and then experiment to see what works better for you.
10. Respond to all comments: Immediately to take advantage of the engagement.
A few thoughts on SEO…
There is an active debate on whether it is better to post all content on your own website without handing over the SEO juice to LinkedIn. If you post identical content in multiple places, conventional wisdom is that Google will penalize your site.
I reached out to Terri Holley who has several successful blogs and does digital marketing consulting. Here are her thoughts after much research:
“I've read different things about this topic, and I've decided to err on the safe side. I tend to get the best advice from folks that do nothing all day but SEO - literally live and breath it. Here's another post that brings up some very good points (especially #3).
If you decide to publish across platforms, just to be safe, I would change the title and meta descriptions. You could also publish then wait and see, but if you are hit with penalties, it might take a while to reverse them, and many businesses can't afford even a few weeks of a SEP shift. Even dropping a position or two can put people into panic mode.”
You have a few options. Test them!
- Post on your own blog first and promote via your business Twitter, LinkedIn and other sites where your prospects are likely to look for information. A few days later change the title and meta description and publish on Pulse.
- Post older content that is evergreen on LinkedIn rather than your new content.
- Post a reworked article for LinkedIn that has a catchy title and points to your website for the longer detail. Of course this is the most work, but may result in the highest conversion.
Here is a great beginner guide from Hubspot - they are the masters of content marketing.