Using LinkedIn Articles To Grab Your Prospects Attention

In this week’s episode of The Social Selling Show, Daniel and Will discuss how to use LinkedIn articles (no they’re not dead…) to grab the attention of your potential customers.

You'll learn:

Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Co-host - Daniel Disney
The king of social selling

Resources:

Transcript

Will Barron:

Welcome to the Social Selling Show with me, Will Barron, the founder of salesman.org, and the king of social selling, Daniel Disney. Daniel, how’s it going my friend?

 

Daniel Disney:

I’m very well, Will. Excited to be back for another episode. And today’s topic is another exciting one that I’m looking forward to digging into.

 

Will Barron:

Amazing [inaudible 00:00:17]. We’re going to get into LinkedIn articles, but just to follow up from the previous episode, we talked about LinkedIn’s profile… the feed and all the content that we can put in there, we mentioned live content. And so, and that episode that we recorded seven days ago, I applied for LinkedIn Live literally as if they know that we’re recording right now. I’ve just been approved and so Daniel and myself, we’ll do some LinkedIn Live Q&A’s in the not-too-distant future. So just to follow up on the previous episode, I know Daniel, you said it took a couple of attempts for you to get through the approval process. And for me, and it probably just got the [inaudible 00:00:51] together at this point, it took seven days, but just want approval from anyone else who’s interested in getting on Live. And we probably all should be at least applying if we’re not going to jump on it directly, shouldn’t we?

 

Daniel Disney:

Yeah. A hundred percent. And I think a big advantage for you Will, which would be a tip for everyone else, is you have obviously an archive, a library of video content that you were able to showcase, which they do ask for in the application process. So if anyone is applying and maybe struggling to get it approved, it can be worth recording some video content or joining someone else on a Live just so you’ve got something you can reference to show them that you are able to perform or host good live content.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah, that’s cool. Maybe we should have… If anyone who’s listening to this right now has applied 20 times and had no luck with Live, let us know. And if you’re not a complete psychopath, perhaps we can have you on with myself and Daniel to prove to LinkedIn that you can crush the Live and we can use that in your application. So with that we digressed slightly, but let’s get back into LinkedIn articles.

 

How Important are LinkedIn Articles? · [01:55] 

 

Will Barron:

So I’m going to ask you the most crux question of the whole of this conversation, Daniel. Do we need to do LinkedIn articles? Is it enough just to be posting in the feed and connecting with relevant potential customers or do we need to actually do articles on top of all of this?

 

“The ROI on articles is huge. To this date, as we are recording this episode, articles offer one of the best ROIs from a business and sales perspective than any other form of content.” – Daniel Disney · [02:22] 

 

Daniel Disney:

It’s an interesting one, Will. A lot of people claim LinkedIn articles are dead. Everyone’s pushing for video, for lives, for texts posts, et cetera, and articles have been pushed to the side. Now, to answer your question, yes. The ROI on articles is huge, to this date. As we are recording this episode, articles offer one of the best ROIs from a business and sales perspective than any other form of content. They’re not as prolific as they was about five, six years ago. I mean, I don’t know if you can remember. I certainly remember when I started using LinkedIn. You’d log into the Feed and LinkedIn Pulse was that article platform, it’d be on the main page. Linkedin would push you into big communities and they really had articles on a platform whereas now, there’s so many other forms of content in the mix.

 

“Articles allow you to give a significant amount of more value compared to any other form of content. They also give you the only opportunity, in my opinion, to promote you as an individual and the product or service you sell compared to, again, any other form of content.” – Daniel Disney · [02:56] 

 

Daniel Disney:

The key thing for articles, and we’ll dig into this in today’s episode, articles allow you to give a significant amount of more value compared to any other form of content. They also give you the only opportunity, in my opinion, to promote you as an individual and the product or service you sell compared to, again, any other form of content where you just can’t do it. You can’t promote yourself in any other form of content. You’re not giving enough, whereas in an article you can. And because you’re able to then promote yourself, that’s where the ROI tends to be higher. But we will break down how that works.

 

Understanding Dwell Time for LinkedIn Articles on the LinkedIn Feed · [04:11] 

 

Will Barron:

So I’m actually slightly surprised that you know that the ROI is so high on this. So we’ll dive into that in a second. But yeah, going back four, five years ago, I used to see a bump in podcast download numbers when I used to just basically throw the scrum transcript into an article and for the podcast video onto the top of the article itself. I think LinkedIn Pulse whether that’s automated, I don’t know whether there was editors, they’d pick it up quite regularly and I would see a bumping download numbers from that. It’s one of the ways that we grew to show along with a lot of paid advertising and other things as well. So, but I found… I just stopped doing it because eventually that bumper stopped happening. Perhaps LinkedIn Pulse disappeared, I think. Now there’s like a curated box down the side of LinkedIn with links to articles. And I don’t see… Oh, let me ask you this, when I post an article, does it even appear in the feed anymore? Because I can’t remember seeing an article being automatically shared in the LinkedIn feed forever.

 

Daniel Disney:

It does. Again, it will be similar to all other forms of content where it probably only be visible to a certain percentage of your network, and obviously it’s only a small amount of them will see it at first and then it will expand as time goes on. But yeah, it still does pop in the feed. And the key with anything, it’s about quality. So you might be scrolling past articles that just look dull, have dull subject titles, poor images, and you just don’t notice them. They just become part of that white noise. But good articles done right, will stand out. They will capture your attention and they are appearing and they are generating good numbers.

 

The Difference Between a LinkedIn Article and a LinkedIn Post · [04:56] 

 

Will Barron:

So you said the magic was then, grow over time. Is that the difference between our LinkedIn feed posts versus an article in that the feed posts maybe they live for a day, a week, a month, maybe, even though they’re still there, but they get just get tanked in the algorithm. Whereas articles are more searchable, the longer form maybe Google starts to pick them up and treats them as a piece of content in its own right. Is that the difference between a post in the feed versus an article with regards to the longevity of it?

 

Daniel Disney:

It’s a definite advantage. They’re very similar in terms of how they appear on the feed and that initial engagement. You can’t really differentiate them, but they do last longer. I had someone, actually, this is funny, I had someone like a blog I wrote in 2017. So what’s that? Four years ago, last week. I don’t know how they found it. I don’t know how, because I mean, I must have written about 400 articles in a significant amount of those over the last few years. How they found it, I don’t know. But it goes to show, and I do see that engagement does trickle and continue over longer period of time compared to posts. Posts do die out after a few weeks, as we discussed last week. Articles quite clearly can live for years.

 

What You Need to Know About Writing LinkedIn articles · [06:15] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay. So we’re going to get into the structure, headlines, images, where we should storytell, where we should quote people, get into all of that in a second. Before we get into that, Daniel, is there anything we need to know about articles from like an algorithmic standpoint or is there any massive do’s and don’ts before we get into the very practical elements of step one, step two, step three, to create them?

 

Daniel Disney:

I guess the first thing I’d probably put down as a bit of a warning. Articles take time. They are compared to all other forms of content, the most time heavy requirement. And the benefit again, when you do it right, is the good ROI that comes from it. But you’re looking at probably 30 to 60 minutes to put together a good article, assuming you are passionate and knowledgeable about the subject. Shouldn’t take you a lot longer to write a decent LinkedIn article. But that’s a big time commitment, considering it will take two to three minutes to record a video, five minutes, maybe to write a text post, one minute to take a photo, it’s a big time commitment. So it takes time.

 

Daniel Disney:

And again, you need to be confident in what you’re writing about. I’ve tried writing articles for other people in subject areas that I’m not knowledgeable or passionate about. And that might take me three, four hours. That’d be a very stressful experience, whereas if it’s something that I’m passionate or I’m telling my own story, I might be able to pump that out in 20, 30 minutes. So it takes time, you need to know what you’re talking about. But once you understand how to do it, similar to content, there’s opportunities all around you. And it’s kind of just opening your eyes to seeing actually there’s a story I could tell. Something that happened to me today or yesterday or last week, maybe in my last job, there’s a story, actually, that would make a good article. And once you start to see it, you’ll see there’s ideas all around you.

 

Formatting Tips For Writing Captivating LinkedIn Articles · [07:53]

 

Will Barron:

Perfect. Before we get into, again just the nuts and bolts of the structure, headline, image, all this, are there styles of articles that we should be looking at? For example, we have blog posts, we have listicles. And so anyone who’s not familiar with that term, it’s the Buzzfeed article of “10 ways to dump your girlfriend” or “15 ways to X, Y, Z,” “Train your dog to stand on its head and spin round.” And so there’s listicles, there’s long form, just editorial content, there’s is the content where you’re asking questions and calling people out. Is there a specific style of LinkedIn article that works better than others?

 

Daniel Disney:

No. Is the short answer, and we will go through the whole structure. The structure has to follow a certain pattern, but that could be done in a list form, it could be done in a story form, it could be done in an informative form or an interview form. So it doesn’t necessarily matter what the content is, but what does matter is how it’s formatted. If you just regurgitate blocks of paragraphs or one long bit of text, you’re probably going to struggle to get engagement, you do need to structure it the right way. But yeah, in terms of I’ve tried and tested and continued to try and test all different forms, they all work when you do it right.

 

Why Quality and Timing are Everything When Creating LinkedIn Articles · [08:51]  

 

Will Barron:

Sure. And final on this, just out of my personal just now, because I know you follow the numbers on this, I know you look at the data, which is important. Do you find that all your articles get, I know, like 10,000 views or do you have a massive discrepancies between some will get a 100,000 and some will get 50 views? Is it quite level or is it massively dependent on the content and the time that it goes out and all these different elements that are somewhat difficult to control. Or does LinkedIn over time level the playing field [inaudible 00:09:24] if we assume that most of the content is a similar quality?

 

Daniel Disney:

Again, we’re very similar to content in general, it is varied depending on the quality of the content. So you’re right. There’ll be the average engagement. You see this on posts, you might get a 100 likes, you might get 10,000 views. But then do it right, get that right topic, right timing, good content, you can see articles do hundreds of thousands of views plus. So yeah, it really does vary on the quality of the content and the timing of which you write it. So tapping into making sure you’re writing content that’s relevant today to the audience, to what people want to hear and read is going to help you drive better engagement.

 

Will Barron:

Cool. How’d you say that? We should probably, I know you’re an expert in this, but we should probably have someone who focuses just on this. We should have a PR expert on it at some point. That’d be an interesting three-way conversation to look at how to spin the news who wake up in the morning, what’s happening right here and now and I think there’s an element of [inaudible 00:10:21] leadership of disseminating daily news or weekly news or business news in a format that people like to consume because they want to consume it from you as opposed to from the BBC, Sky News or someone else. So that might be an interesting show to do in the future. But let’s get down to it because we’ve kind of teased it a little bit. Let’s get out to the nuts and bolts here.

 

How to Write a Crazy Effective LinkedIn Headlines · [10:42]

 

Will Barron:

I guess the first place we should probably start is with the headline, because everything else is going to be based on that. Do you have any structure, any techniques, any tips for building a headline that gets clicks? Because if nobody clicks on it, there’s no point writing the rest of it.

 

“It’s (the headline) the bait on the fishing hook. If it’s not good bait, the fish aren’t going to bite it, and it’s the same with your headline. I have seen and read some amazing articles that had the worst headlines and so it didn’t get good engagement. The article itself was amazing, but they didn’t have an engaging headlines so no one was clicking on it and reading it.” – Daniel Disney · [10:54] 

 

Daniel Disney:

Exactly that. It’s the bait on the fishing hook, Will. If it’s not good bait, the fish aren’t going to bite it, and it’s the same with your headline. I have seen and read some amazing articles that had the worst headlines and so it didn’t get good engagement. The article itself was amazing, but they didn’t have an engaging headlines so no one was clicking on it and reading it.

 

Daniel Disney:

So, yeah, that’s exactly where I start. My process tends to be come up with an idea and then write, okay, first thing I’m going to do is think of a good headline because not only is that an important part, but it’s also going to help me when I write the rest of the article so to keep on track. So yeah, coming up with a good headline, it needs to be short, sweet, snappy, and attention grabbing. Word of warning, that doesn’t mean make it clickbait. We don’t want clickbait stuff. We’re going to lure people in and then it has nothing to do with your title because you’ll just annoy people and it’s going to backfire. So a good catchy title that’s relevant to what you’re posting.

 

Daniel Disney:

I try and stick to one line. So obviously you can go into two lines. Two lines can be just as successful, but one line obviously packs a better punch. And again, just try and make it look good. I’m a capital person, so I like that… It’s a title. So I think every word should start with a capital letter. Again, it doesn’t mean you can’t be successful with non-capitals, just depends on the tone of your brand and the tone of the article. But yeah. Think of your idea and then just try and simplify it in as an engaging as possible title that you think is going to grab people’s attention.

 

Will’s Framework For Writing LinkedIn Article Headlines · [12:17]

 

Will Barron:

Sure. One thing I like to do, I know it works. It’s worked well for me on LinkedIn and it works especially well on the Salesman Podcast. So now, anyone who’s consuming this content in the Salesman Podcast or the salesman.org feed will now see this in almost every show I do. I will say something that’s relevant and useful how to create better LinkedIn articles. They’re very often in brackets. I’ll put why this is really important. So it’s this is what you should… You should be doing this and people are like, “Oh, LinkedIn articles.” Then in brackets, do this because X, Y, Z. Data shows X, Y, Z, or if you’re not doing this, this is happening. Or X equals Y, these kind of formulaic sentences in the brackets. After the fact, I find that increases clicks. Could literally be about 2, 3, 4, 5 times, because we all know that we should be improving. I’ll do it in this episode as well when this goes out.

 

Will Barron:

We all know we should be working on it in articles and different things, but at the next post, in your podcast feed or on YouTube or wherever you consume this content is I’d know, Logan Paul is boxing Floyd “Money” Mayweather. It’s clearly his tempting to go to that video than this one, even though there’s the actual educational value in this. So I always like to, again, not clickbait, it’s true what I’m saying, but give you what you… I guess it’s give you what you need and then give you what you want in the bracket afterwards. I find that that structure works well.

 

Daniel Disney:

Yeah, that’s really clever, Will, I really liked that. I see a lot of articles do the same thing, bracketing the key points. The goal is you want to not only capture their attention, but as you say, lure them to click on it and you need to. And sometimes being honest or sometimes putting everything right up there is what you need to do to bring them in. So have that mindset. Always think about, okay, if I’m scrolling through my feed, what’s going to make me click on this article and choose to read it.

 

Will Barron:

Sure. I don’t know if you know this for a fact, we kind of get into the weeds with the algorithm side of things now. So obviously LinkedIn doesn’t share what it’s doing and what isn’t. But tell me if I’m wrong, there’s probably likely an element of dwell time when you click on an article, if you bounce straight back out to LinkedIn probably goes, it’s probably not the best article in the world because there’s low of value in it because you jump back out. And know Google does this as well. When you click on a link in Google, if you go through that site and go to multiple sites, multiple pages on the website afterwards, and hopefully buy something, Google will bump that up the search rankings. So if you are trying to clickbait people, you might end up with more views on the post, but they are 15 second views as opposed to someone consuming the content and really getting into it over the course of four or five minutes. So, and [inaudible 00:14:44] a word of warning with the clickbait side of things.

 

The LinkedIn Header Image and Why It’s Important · [14:47] 

 

Will Barron:

Cool. All right, then so we’ve got the… So I’m visualising this as go through it. We’ve got the headline and above this headline, we’ve got the opportunity for images, and within the post as well. We’ll go on to the media and the post. But wherever it’s above the headline, wherever it’s just below the headline depends on mobile and the changes that LinkedIn will make to their own UI user interface over time. We’ll call it the headline image. What should be in that image? 

 

Daniel Disney:

So very similar to the headline that needs to be something engaging. You want to lure people in, and those images make a big impact. Now I’ll use a platform called Canva, C-A-N-V-A.com. I think we talked about this when we went through LinkedIn profiles. Free to use by the way. And I don’t work there even though it always sounds like I do. But they have the right sizing images that you can then add text, add images, add logos, move things around. I create 99.9% of my article images on that platform. And again, you’re just trying to create imagery that’s going to lure people in relevant to your headline.

 

“I see a lot of people use images that aren’t actually connected to the title, and again, people will just scroll past that.” – Daniel Disney · [16:33] 

 

Daniel Disney:

What I will say, what came out, I think I started doing this about summer last year. You’re also now able to have a GIF or a JIF, depending on how you pronounce it, as your article image, headline image. So you’ve got this two, three second looping video, which again, stands out so much more in the LinkedIn feed which you can have as your article headline image as well. So it’s trying to create something relevant and obviously, Will, I’m all for good means and stuff like that. Things that are going to grab people’s attention, provide a bit of entertainment, but lure them into want to read your article. And if you’re doing a top 10 list, then you want to just a nice, strong top 10 style image. But if you’re writing more of a story post, then find a good image. Whether it’s humorous, whether it’s relevant, it could be a photo of you, but something that is connected to the title. I see a lot of people use images that aren’t actually connected to the title, and again, people will just scroll past that.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. I’m going to say, just again, going slightly off topic for a second. I hate seeing GIF on platforms like Facebook and on LinkedIn. And this is, I guess, sharing how effective they are. I find them so distracting. So I really don’t want LinkedIn to turn into, I think we’re similar age Daniel, so you’ll probably appreciate this, turning it to Myspace.

 

Will Barron:

Myspace started off as a nice clean platform. There was a bug that then got exploited by every single user where people will change their backgrounds. There’d be [inaudible 00:17:13] rainbows following the mouse cursor as it goes across the page. There’d be background music. You go and you make a profile it’d be like, back then it’d be blasting like Limp Bizkit or someone your face. Hopefully LinkedIn, doesn’t go down that route because there’s clearly a user… There’s a benefit of being a nice, clean, easy to consume content site. And that just shows how effective GIF are and I probably will click on them, but I hate seeing them because they’re so distracting to me.

 

The Benefits of Adding Videos, Images, and GIFs to LinkedIn Articles · [17:43] 

 

Will Barron:

So with all that said then, let’s touch on this within because we’re talking about images, let’s touch on media within the article itself. Should we be… Is there a benefit to including video, images, pictures, or should we just keep the main body of the post itself in text?

 

“You want people to read it (LinkedIn article) because you want them to get value from it. You want them to get to the end so they can learn about you and more importantly, hopefully you want to get conversions. You want people to then become leads, become sales opportunities, become prospects and customers. So you want people to go through that entire process. Now what’s important to get them to the end is to make it engaging to read. Images, videos, quotes, links, all these things that you can insert will make it flow so much better than just blocks and blocks of text.” – Daniel Disney · [18:08] 

 

Daniel Disney:

Text needs to consume the majority of your LinkedIn article. Obviously it’s an article. Articles are written. But again, we’ve got to remember what you kind of mentioned it earlier, not just for the total dwell time algorithm perspective. You want people to read it because you want them to get value from it. You want them to get to the end so they can learn about you and more importantly, hopefully you want to get conversions. You want people to then become leads, become sales opportunities, become prospects and customers. So you want people to go through that entire process. Now what’s important to get them to the end is to make it engaging to read in images, videos, quotes, links, all these things that you can insert will make it flow so much better than just blocks and blocks of text.

 

Daniel Disney:

Again, it has to be relevant. Don’t just do it for the sake of it, but have things that make it flow nicely. It’s like you take people on a journey. And we’ll go through these sections in a minute, but you want to open it up with a nice starter, really capture their attention. Yes, I want to read more. Then take them through the story, take them through the middle and then have a nice, inspiring or educational motivating end that makes them feel satisfied with what they’ve read and then you get to talk about yourself at the end, and they’re going to be all thinking about you in a positive way and then hopefully come through the end, wanting to either get to know you better or potentially inquire as to how you might be to help them.

 

Will Barron:

Sure. Well, let’s do a… Come on, book it is? Is it now seven habits of highly effective people? Let’s start with the end in mind here, and then we’ll go to the structure itself because I might be able to add more to that part of the conversation here and then what I can add to the technical sides of it.

 

How to Use LinkedIn Articles to Drive Sales · [19:30] 

 

Will Barron:

Start with the end in mind. What is the point in creating article. Somewhat of a rhetorical question because we’ve touched on it already. It’s to educate, inform, and get in front of a potential buyer. But how do we know if what we’ve done has worked? Do we need to include links to our products that we can track within the article itself? How do we start with the end in mind here of making sure that we all create content that drives conversions as opposed to just drives attention and eyeballs or run to people who don’t really care about our product or service?

 

Daniel Disney:

Well, that’s a good point Will, just going back to what you were talking about clickbait articles. Yes. They might get you some engagement, some extra views, some extra likes, but they are highly, highly unlikely to convert anything into business. So it becomes vanity which ultimately is insanity. So yes, the goal is to generate business.

 

Daniel Disney:

Now at the end of the article, there’s two things you can do to help with that. The first one is a CTA, a call to action, because you want to drive engagement. Now with LinkedIn, you can’t see the views. So if I have a 100,000 people read my article, that’s great, but I can’t see who they are. So there’s no outbound opportunity for me to contact them, communicate with them. However, as soon as they click like, as soon as they write a comment or as soon as they share that article, I can see them. If I can see them, I can send them a message and I can a conversation. There’s a lot of opportunity that way. So you want to drive the engagement, that’s your call to action the first bit. The second bit is the about the author section. And this is where you want to then tell people about you. Let them know who you are, what company you work for, what you do, how you help people, and then how they can get in touch with you.

 

“The second bit is the about the author section. And this is where you want to then tell people about you. Let them know who you are, what company you work for, what you do, how you help people, and then how they can get in touch with you. And this is the inbound lead generation tool, because they’ve got the value from the article, they might go and look at your profile. And this is where you can absolutely have trackable links to the website, to do any sort of page or funnel platform.” – Daniel Disney · [20:53] 

 

Daniel Disney:

And this is the inbound lead generation tool, because they’ve got the value from the article, they might go and look at your profile. And this is where you can absolutely have trackable links to the website, to do any sort of page or funnel platform. And then one of two things will happen, they’ll convert through that or they’ll come through LinkedIn and they’ll send you a LinkedIn message. “Dan, Will, love your article. Really great insights. We’d love to talk about you coming and speaking training,” whatever it may be. And then great, you can assign that directly to coming from the article because they reference it. And if they don’t, you can ask at some point. But yeah, best ways to then track and convert. And that’s how you close a good article.

 

Will Barron:

I love it. So I never thought about like this before, but that was a really smart way of going about it, of if you can… This almost gives you some structure and ideas of articles to write. So if you’re writing, I don’t know, let’s say I’m selling hot tubs randomly. If I’m selling… Maybe I want a hot tub… Maybe that was a Freudian slip right there, as it’s snowing outside here in beautiful leads and the roads are all a mess, which is why I’m still in the home office as we record this. So maybe I’m selling hot tubs. If I write an article sharing a specific problem that people who are looking to buy hot tub have, and then the bottom of the article, I kind of have a call to action, a CTA of, “Hey, leave a comment below.” If you’re facing this issue, they’re going to leave a comment. And then I’ve got the perfect potential prospect. They’ve come to an article about buying hot tubs. They’ve put their hand up to say, I need help. They’ve read an article and took action to say, I can’t solve this problem myself. Hopefully I’m acknowledging the fact that I have this issue subconsciously the same, kind of put my hand up, help me please.

 

Will Barron:

You reach out to those individuals, you can obviously send them a message, get them on a quick call. There they are hot prospects, right? They are prospects that will at least jump on a call with you. If not, convert at much higher rates than any outbound prospect that you could potentially do. Now with that said, obviously there’s going to be a limited amount of those individuals versus what you could perhaps do outbound. But that was really smart. I really enjoyed that, Daniel.

 

Is There a Way to Track New Inbound Comments Without Relying on LinkedIn’s Notification System? · [23:10]

 

Will Barron:

Okay. Is there a way just on this point here, because I feel like this is perhaps a literal strategy that people could implement today. Is there a way to track these comments that are coming in, in a way that’s easier than having your $400 [inaudible 00:23:27] and refreshing them every morning and looking who’s posted what when? Is there a way to track a new inbound comments without relying on LinkedIn’s notification system, which I do find once you get over a set of threshold of comments and notifications and likes and stuff, it becomes a bit of a mess?

 

Daniel Disney:

As it stands, I haven’t seen any software or platform that’s able to do that. As I’m sure, Will, LinkedIn are very closed off with their data, so they don’t connect well to other platforms. I’m hoping those doors open and we get more social enablement tools over the coming months and years. But yeah, I guess the way to look at it is that if you write an article today, you’ve probably got a week of high engagement, really a few days, but a week of that sort of continuous engagement. And then it’s going to sort of go off in the distance and you won’t really get much from it from then. So it’s not like you need to be constantly going through all of your articles. You’ve only got a short period of time where you need to be monitoring it on an active basis. So yeah, it’s not like I don’t need to go through all 400 articles every day and check for new comments. But at the moment, as far as I’m aware, their notifications is your best bet.

 

Will Barron:

Sure. That seems like a part of LinkedIn sales navigator or we talked about it before, I’m convinced LinkedIn’s going to become a CRM of its own right at some point. It seems like that is even could be doing company-wide of you, maybe individuals own their own profiles, but then they can link it to a team account and then inbound leads like that can be shared to perhaps STI if you’re an account manager or whoever to manage them. Okay. So we’ll look forward to that in the future.

 

How to Write the Introduction Section on Your LinkedIn Article · [25:10] 

 

Will Barron:

So let’s get down to a… I was going to say brass tacks now. Let’s get down to the nuts and bolts, the most important thing here, because we’ve not [inaudible 00:25:05] around on the edges, but I think we’ve built a good platform to talk about the content itself now. So we’ve got an hero image, we’ve got a tail, what comes next in this post? And I guess how long should it be as well just to set expectations here?

 

Daniel Disney:

Yeah. So your first part of [inaudible 00:25:20] is your introduction, your opening few lines. And this could be two, three lines, maybe a couple of small paragraphs, but it’s the first things they’re going to read. And again, you have a short amount of time to win their attention, the right for them to then read on. So it needs to open up nice and strong. Now, hopefully you’ve obviously caught their attention with your headline and your image, so you’ve got a good subject, you then just want to set the scene. You want to lay the land, get everything ready for the story that is about to follow.

 

Daniel Disney:

So people write in different ways. I write as I speak. So I think if you go back onto, and you can go into my profile, look through my articles, you’ll see. I do two, three lines, very short sentences, essentially like I’m telling a story. And I will write it as if I was speaking it. It’s not about writing. I don’t write an article the same way. I’d write a book, but it’s just to try and lure people in, get them interested, but you need to make sure you get to the point quite quickly and tell them exactly what they’re going to achieve by reading that article. So what benefit are they going to get by continuing to read what’s at the end of this article, what value are they going to get so that you get them to buy in and want to read it from start to finish? You need to be upfront with that. So yeah, make it engaging, make it nice and simple, but give them a reason to read on.

 

Will Barron:

For sure. I like to frame things up and I do this less only in articles because I don’t write very many of them, but more on YouTube videos and longer form content and the train products that we have. I will give people the why the top of you do this and you’re going to get this, this, that’s why you should be interested and then I moved into the house. So I engage people emotionally at the top and then we go into the actual content and the training at the bomb.

 

Will Barron:

Now, just to give more context for the audience here, each of these interviews or conversations, I guess that me and Daniel have. I write down in a Google Doc, have it up on the screen with me and I’ve done it here. So we’re in this obviously video podcast, we’re talking about LinkedIn articles, but the first thing I wanted to talk about was why do, literally I’m reading verbatim now quoting, do we even need to bother with LinkedIn articles? That was the first part of this conversation, just to make it real for the audience of what we’re doing here. That then tees up the rest of it because clearly it’s a rhetorical question. We know that there is a need to do this otherwise we wouldn’t be recording this episode, or it would have been the shortest episode of all time of Daniel turning around and going nope, and then we go and, “That was the Social Selling Show. Thanks for tuning in.” I do now outro. But that rhetorical question then enables the reader, the viewer, whoever’s consuming the contents to go, “Oh, okay. Emotionally, I need to buy into this. Now, how do I practically do it?” So that’s how I like to set up the intros of all our content as well.

 

Daniel Reveals Why Your LinkedIn Articles Should Always Be Focused on Providing Value for the Reader · [28:00] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay. So we’ve got the intro. The person is now hopefully hooked because they’ve clicked the link with the headline. They’ve seen the image, even if its kind of in the background, but it’s caught their attention. They’ve got that initial hook. What comes next after that? 

 

Daniel Disney:

So then you get to tell the story, Will. Then you need to go through everything. So let’s say, we’re going to do the top and maybe we’ll do this, Will, after this episode. The top 10 social selling tips shared on the Social Selling Show. I’ll find a better title, that’s quite a long title. We open it up and we lay the land of recording these episodes and all the tips we’ve covered and the messages we get from people that it’s impacting, then we’re going to go. So then the middle part is the 10 tips. So then we’re going to go tip one, tip two, tip three, et cetera, and take people through all those tips. Now, again, we’re going to break some of them up.

 

“The middle part of your article is the value giver. So you’re just giving value.” – Daniel Disney · [29:04] 

 

Daniel Disney:

So after some of the tips, there might be an image. Maybe it’s a quote that wrapped around that specific tip. Maybe it’s a meme that’s going to make it a bit more entertaining. Maybe we’re going to link another article or an episode directly that goes into more detail with the tip. But either way, those 10 tips are going to be written in an engaging way that flow nicely, that give the value. The middle part of your article is the value giver. So you’re just giving value. And they’re going to want to keep reading because each bit they’re reading is going to give more and more value. So that’s your middle bit, the value given. You’ve caught their attention, you’ve hooked them in, now you’re going to give the value, that’s your middle path.

 

Will Barron:

You’ve said something really interesting here. I call this the rabbit hole effect. So I like to do this with all our content of the read one bit and they go, well, that’s interesting and the open a new tab with the next article and the current read, and then they go, oh, I’ll just take out his profile and they click on that. And then you go back to the article you just linked to, which is now a podcast. They go okay, get me up. I’ll download that podcast.

 

Will Barron:

And now they’re in your ecosystem. And now they’re going to see content in the feed. Hopefully they’ve added you as a contact on LinkedIn. They’re going to not get into the podcast. And so these multiple threads, marketers called it some pretentious term, I can’t remember, but essentially you’re multithreading the marketing that’s coming out of them. So they’re seeing it from all different angles.

 

Will Barron:

So that’s what I really like to do about content. Whether it be video or audio, small pieces on social media, the LinkedIn content, there’s definitely comment… We talked to this on a few episodes ago that Daniel is going to coach me through a little bit of LinkedIn training and we’re going to measure the performance after of either my own profile or maybe salesman.org profile has even less traffic, has zero traffic, essentially. So that might be a better case study of improving that as a corporate profile. But that’s all coming.

 

Will Barron:

So the story elements of this now, and you give me your thoughts on this Daniel, but I like to think of this as the classic, the hero’s journey. So every Disney film of all time, dead simple, someone or something is kind of [inaudible 00:30:41]. They’re plotting along. We’ll use Lord of the Rings, right? Frodo is happy as heck living in his little Hobbit hole and then something comes and shakes up everything. Now with Frodo it’s the ring, it’s changes, it’s Gandalf, it’s its forces beyond his control. He has to then go and grow and change and develop and improve to then go back to… most of the time to go back to their old life and they say, “Hey, this probably wasn’t what I wanted originally. And now I’m a bad person for this and I can move on and I’ve progressed in my life.”

 

Will Barron:

Now in the Lord of the Rings films, and let me ask you, do you enjoy Lord of the Rings before I go too far into this [inaudible 00:31:19]?

 

Daniel Disney:

I’m all for Lord of the Rings, Will. Carry on, I’m loving it.

 

Will Barron:

Okay. So I’ve not read the books, but I know one of the criticisms about the films is that at the end of the books, it’s called The Scouring of the Shire and the Shire has been decimated, whereas in the films, they all go back and it’s all happy and friendly. So the point of the Scouring of the Shire was that the hobbits now need to, again, develop, change and grow and the cycle doesn’t just stop with a nice, happy ending. It continues forward. I think it’s because Tolkien the author was a kind of outspoken about war and all these kinds of things. So the book was supposed to be a metaphor about war never being good and being bad. And I think Tolkien, not Tolkien, George R.R. Martin wants to double down on that with Game of Thrones. And that’s if you’ve seen the TV show or [inaudible 00:32:07] was just reading the books that has a similar kind of effect of he wants to paint a picture of the old war is bad.

 

Make Your LinkedIn Articles More Engaging Using the Hero’s Journey Format · [32:37] 

 

Will Barron:

So with that being said, these different stages of if you’re describing a case study of an individual within a post, or even if you’re doing a listicle, it could be the fact that this, this, and this is kind of standard, what you should be doing but if shit hits the fan, this is what you need to be doing. And then the last few points could be at the end of doing all this, you’ll have these benefits as well. So that’s how I like to structure all our content with this. You’d think you’d get boring over time, almost every single film, piece of content, anything that’s decent media wise uses the hero’s journey structure, but clearly we’re wired as humans to really absorb these lessons, because that’s how we would have learned around the campfire, I guess, thousands of years ago. So is there anything to add that Daniel? Do you use any of the structures or is the hero journey I could a [inaudible 00:32:59] to approach this?

 

“You want to get them from start to finish and the only way you’re going to do that is to write something engaging.” – Daniel Disney · [33:11] 

 

Daniel Disney:

No, I think you’re right, Will. The hero journey is a tried, tested, proven method that will work for many years to come. Again it’s about taking them on a journey, it’s about giving them value, and it’s about making it as engaging as possible. You want to get them from start to finish and the only way you’re going to do that is to write something engaging. Why we’ll say we’re talking about this in quite an in-depth way that could be quite scary to people. If you’ve never written an article before, if you’re not writer, you might be thinking, listening to this and thinking, oh my God, I can’t do this, I’m not a writer Will. I didn’t study literature. I say I’m not a writer. I’ve got two books, I guess, so yeah [inaudible 00:33:34] But I’m not a trained writer. I have very little confidence in writing. What I will say is that choose subjects and topics that you’re passionate about and knowledgeable about, because you’ll find it a lot easier or your own stories to tell and then just practise.

 

“Choose subjects and topics that you’re passionate about and knowledgeable about, or your own stories to tell because you’ll find it a lot easier and then just practise.” – Daniel Disney · [33:42] 

 

Daniel Disney:

I had before I wrote my first article, which I think I wrote in 2015, no experience in writing. I just wrote something. And I think my first one was a listicle one. It was a couple of sales quotes that inspired me, but that got me started. And so start in a nice, simple, easy way. Anyone can write trust me. Like I say, no writing background, lots of articles now, anyone can write. Don’t be intimidated. Everyone has the power and potential. And salespeople especially, a lot of salespeople have good writing skills. They craft good emails. They crafted proposals. It’s just turning a slight creativity switch and looking at it in a different way to sort of telling stories. So yeah, for anyone who’s a bit nervous about writing articles, most of you will probably have some ability to do it. It’s just about practising , trying and getting better.

 

Will Barron:

You took the words right in my mouth then. And as salespeople have to become thought leaders in their industries to stay relevant, as we move forward, as social selling becomes more and more prevalent, you have to learn to write. That’s not true. You could also be incredible at video perhaps, and just double down on that. But even with the video stuff we do over at salesman.org, it’s all scripted. And to be fair, I write it then it goes off and gets edited and then we have a learning designer who goes through and makes… doubles down on the principles of learning and teaching that I’m not an expert in to make it more consumable.

 

Will Barron:

But I write it all. We’ve written now over a million words of content in our training product. Now, the Bible is about 700,000 words. We have more trading content than the Bible. And one of the most important things that we do right now is calling it back. So taking out some of the extra words, essentially, that don’t need to be there to get the message across. And one, if anyone’s listening to this, you do want to learn how to become a better writer, which then translates into video, content, emails, and everything else. A book [inaudible 00:35:42] recommend is called On Writing Well. And that really taught me in a really non-snotty stuck up educational way, which I found a lot of training on language tends to be very academic. This book is written for people who want to… Basically people who are not trained authors who didn’t go… I don’t know about your education Daniel, but I went to uni to do chemistry. Definitely not to do with language or writing. And so that book I thought it was really interesting, really well well-put and it taught me a bunch of stuff.

 

Will Barron:

One thing I see, and I have to create it myself all the time is I’ll have one sentence that talks about something then in the next sentence or the next paragraph, I’ll just write it or they or that and I won’t reference what I talked about in the first paragraph. Now, this sounds like a little thing, but just changing that and change that it’s that, this what to the individual or the object that you’re talking about, again, made a massive difference to my writing and my YouTube clicks views went up because my content was easiest to consume. That was one of the things I took away from that book. So highly recommended it. I’ll put it in the show notes of this episode as well.

 

Daniel’s Recommendations on How to Start and Become Better at Writing LinkedIn Articles · [36:52] 

 

Will Barron:

And on that, Daniel, you wrote two books, which is incredible. Do you have any resources or recommendations for someone who does. Perhaps the [inaudible 00:36:55] more introverted, perhaps they’re happy to sit and write long articles cause they know that it’ll drive traffic and they’d rather do that call [inaudible 00:37:03] or personality-wise, they’re best suited to social selling and creating content. Do you have anything you’d recommend other than your own books, obviously, to help people become better at that content creation process.

 

Daniel Disney:

Do you know what, Will, in all honesty, I haven’t read books on writing. I read books on sales and that inspires me in a lot of the content that I create. I think a lot of the learning I do is from listening to podcast episodes like this, watching YouTube videos, just listening to people or networking with other authors that I can learn from them. So I’m very lucky to know a lot of the sales authors now around the world. But that’s really helped me in my journey, talking to them, listening to them, listening to how they write, obviously reading their books and consuming that journey. That was helpful for me.

 

Daniel Disney:

What I will say, Will, I know at the end of this episode, hopefully if we’ve got a question we’re going to give away a copy of my book, what I’ll happily add into that is I’ll get a copy of the book you just recommended. So however who’s got some questions coming in, let’s give them a copy of that book as well so they get the writing book and then my book and hopefully tonnes of value.

 

How Long Should a LinkedIn Article Be? · [38:15]

 

Will Barron:

Perfect. And you can ask your questions or comments on the show over at socialsellingshow.com. Okay. So final one on this before we get to the audience question from Ashley, I hope I’m pronouncing that right. Final one, and because I don’t think we’ve clarified this, how many words should a LinkedIn article be? Now, of course, the answer is how long is a piece of string. But what is the most effective number that we should… Before we start experimenting, what should we aim towards?

 

Daniel Disney:

So I’ve, again from writing 400 articles, I would say the optimum number is around a 1000 words. Give or take a couple of 100 on either side. Anything much shorter than that, you’re not giving enough value to really justify it. It’s probably better as a long form text. Any more than that, and you’re going to struggle to get people to read the entire thing. So yeah, around a 1000 is your optimum number from experience.

 

Will Barron:

And do you know, I put you on the spot slightly, but do you know of the top of your head the word count limit for a LinkedIn post, a feed post?

 

Daniel Disney:

Feed posts, I don’t know the word limit, but it’s 1300 characters. So that can [inaudible 00:39:04] amount of wording, but 1300 characters is your limit in that which I guess equates to maybe three or four chunky paragraphs usually.

 

Will Barron:

So they are purposefully redirecting longer form content to an article are then, aren’t they?

 

Daniel Disney:

Basically. If you were writing a long form post and it’s getting to be too juicy, then you can just go into an article and actually do it properly. But if you’re writing an article and you’ve not got enough to write about, maybe it’s better suited as a text post.

 

Audience Questions · [39:33] 

 

Will Barron:

Amazing stuff. Okay. So let’s wrap up the show with an audience question. If you want a signed copy of Daniel Disney’s bestselling book, The Million-Pound LinkedIn… I’m really sorry. Million-Pound… You usually hold it up. You usually tee me up, Daniel.

 

Daniel Disney:

Sorry. A signed copy of the-

 

Will Barron:

Message.

 

Daniel Disney:

… Million-Pound LinkedIn Message.

 

Will Barron:

Million-Pound LinkedIn Message. Then drop us a message over at Social Selling Show with a question or a comment on the show and we’ll read it out. Today’s question I guess comes from Ashley [Helma 00:39:59]. She asks, “My sales manager is asking me to regularly share boring marketing material on my profile. How can I explain to her, the manager, that they don’t own my LinkedIn account, I own it?” How can we deal with this?

 

Daniel Disney:

That is one of the best questions we’ll I think we’ve ever had on the show today. I absolutely love that. There’s two things you could do actually. Number one, is show them the minimal engagement that those posts get. So the proof is already there. I bet if you go through the company feed and any times you have shared it, just show them. Say, “Look, they get no views, they get no comments, their generating is no business. Why would I keep doing this?” And then go and, and I can give you examples if you wanna message me after this Ashley, but go and find companies and salespeople that are sharing better content and then in contrast, show them the results they’re generating, because it will be significant.

 

Daniel Disney:

And sometimes that’s the best way to get sales manager on board. Obviously show them results, show them numbers and have conversations with people. Go and find a sales person who sharing good content and say, “Look, this is the results they’re getting outside of the views and comments. These are the opportunities they’re generating the sales and deals that they’ve won. So yes, if you want me to share this blog, that’s fine, but I’m not going to… It’s a waste of time. Why not spend a little bit more time and create better content.” Results will always do better, but she’s right to say, it’s your LinkedIn profile. The company doesn’t own it. I think the best way to communicate that is not to make it sound like it’s yours, you want to do what you want with it, but make sure they understand you want to do stuff that’s going generate business that will benefit you and the wider business as well.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah, for sure. And just to double down on this, I am assuming it’s against the terms of service of LinkedIn to create profiles via a company. It should be done by an individual. It should be owned. It should go to an individual’s email address as opposed to a company [inaudible 00:41:54] company’s account. So for them to ask you to do things like this, it’s probably against LinkedIn’s own terms of service. And if you’ve got enough leverage, if you’re perhaps more tenured in your sales role, if you have a big in audience, take in your employments of contract and ask them to add a [inaudible 00:42:08] to the bottom of it for essentially a licencing fee or a marketing deal to add, the number might not be irrelevant and it might be more of just a conversational kind of points to make to push the issue here. Ask them to, you’d say add three grand a year on your salary, and you’re going to charge them a 1000 quid a post that they do.

 

Will Barron:

I know you do… I think I’m right in saying, especially on the day of sales, you do sponsored content that goes out on there. Whether it be webinars or whatever it is when we work with new sponsors, I post about that sponsor and announce it, but we get paid to do that. Clearly we want to sell the product or service of the organisation that we work for, but we’re not obligated in any way to do that on a LinkedIn profile. And if in your employment contract, which may come in the future, they are trying to obligate you, you can go back to the fact that it’s probably against LinkedIn’s terms of service to do that because they don’t want the organisation just getting LinkedIn’s content page getting spammed by Microsoft who has a thousand million employees who can just promote something overnights and really push it out and abused the algorithm.

 

Parting Thoughts · [43:18]

 

Will Barron:

Cool. Any affairs we need to cover with regards to LinkedIn articles, Daniel, are we wrapping up here?

 

Daniel Disney:

I think we should wrap up. I think we’ve covered everything. Lots of great content. Again listen to what we’ve covered in this, good headline, good image, take them through a journey, make them engaging, brighten up same principle to texts, have your spaces between the texts, make sure it flows nicely, have media within it, and then wrap it up nicely at the end with a call to action and about you do that.

 

Daniel Disney:

One thing we didn’t cover that I’ll add as the final point, I would recommend writing maybe one to two articles a month. It’s not something that you need to be doing multiple times a week. Once a week could be quite a lot of time commitment for people, so once or twice a month is that is a healthy amount to keep that rhythm going. So this isn’t something you need to do lots of but just on a semi frequent basis. But do it. There’s a lot of potential in it. Write good articles. And if you’ve written one, share it. Send it to me, send it to Will. We’d love to see it and hopefully see you guys taking what you learn and writing some good content from it.

 

Will Barron:

Amazing [inaudible 00:44:18]. I guess that’s one thing. We’ll just touch on it for 30 seconds now. We should be promoting these articles, right? We should get an article, we should write a mini version of it and have that in the feed as a separate post. We should be promoting them over and over until I guess that first week or so, or even the first month, if you do them once a month. That’s fair to say, isn’t it?

 

Daniel Disney:

Definitely.

 

Will Barron:

Cool. All right then. Well, that was Daniel Disney, the king of social selling. My name is Will Barron. I’m the founder of salesman.org. And we will speak to you again on next week’s the Social Selling Show.

 

Daniel Disney:

See you next time.

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