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How to Drive People to Your LinkedIn Profile

The main focus of my content writing business is moving towards LinkedIn profile writing. And the reason why?

More and more people are realising the power of LinkedIn to boost their online profile, be seen as an industry expert, increase leads, drive traffic to websites AND improve search engine ranking.

Where once LinkedIn was a place to host your CV and make a few interesting connections, it has fast become an essential personal branding tool and a place to network, job seek and discover exciting new business opportunities.

It has therefore never been more important to build and maintain a POWERFUL LinkedIn profile.

Most of my business leads now come through my LinkedIn profile so isn’t it about time you gave your profile a much-needed makeover and kicked up a storm about the new YOU?

Here are FOUR STEPS you need to take.

Upload a new photo

Keep it simple, engaging and professional. Nobody wants to see you out drinking with your buddies or dressed up for a night out with your other half.

If possible, have a professional photo taken. Ensure you smile, have your face fill the image dimensions, wear business attire or smart casual, and opt for a plain background so the focus is on you, not the building behind you. A rookie error is not using a profile picture at all, which gives the perception that you’re hiding from something OR someone.

Optimise your headline

Gone are the days of simply posting your job title and the company you work for. LinkedIn has moved on and your headline should too. A BOLD HEADLINE is vital to attracting attention to your profile and it’s the first thing people will see when they find you. It’s a shortened, 120-character version of your overall profile and it needs to rank well in searches on LinkedIn and beyond.

Fill your headline with KEYWORDS. Optimise your profile with the main words that describe your work and what you want to be known for – a headline like this will ensure people find you and connect. Consider using adjectives to describe your position, add bullets or lines to separate the words, include additional activities, accomplishments and experience. Look at my own profile at au.linkedin.com/in/russellvjward for an example of a keyword-packed headline.

Another option is the statement headline where you talk about your value proposition, target audience and unique selling point. For example, Brands and Businesses Turn To This Experienced Creative Producer to Manage Events That Deliver.

Write a powerful summary

Alongside your headline, the summary is one of the MOST IMPORTANT elements of your LinkedIn profile and gives your viewers an outline of who you are. You can either use it as a chance to engage and sell to your target audience or provide summary information about what you do.

The trick to writing a killer summary is to make it visually appealing by breaking the content up into easily scannable chunks, using bullets and capitalised text to draw attention to certain points, and including links and a CALL TO ACTION (contact me, email me, visit my website) at the end.

One way to write your summary is to tell a story so start with a brief background (who you are and what you do) and your mission or purpose in work, then talk about your target audience and their potential pain points. Once the problem is out there, reveal how you will fix this (what you can do for them) and give a quick example to demonstrate credibility (key achievements; high-profile successes). Finally, make sure you give your business website address, email and even a phone number – and watch those leads come rolling in.

Build in some multimedia

LinkedIn now gives you the ability to add photos, presentations, videos, PDFs, links and more immediately beneath your summary and in your experience sections. It’s your chance to BOOST your online presence by including a visual element, rather than rely on plain text.

Simple and effective, consider uploading anything that showcases the work you’ve done, the business you operate and the successes you’ve had to create a visual profile that shows off the creative side to you.

So there you have it!

There are other ways to optimise your LinkedIn profile and increase notifications, connections and messages – I’ll share more on these later.

For now, follow these basic steps and you’ll be well on your way to creating a STUNNING LinkedIn profile that gets you NOTICED, drives more people to you, and even gets you that dream job or lucrative business opportunity.

Have any questions or want to learn more about how we can create a brand new LinkedIn profile for you? Visit our website at http://theinternationalwriter.com/linkedin-profile-makeover-packages/ or get in touch at [email protected]

I would love the opportunity to answer your questions and work with you to drive people to your own POWERFUL LinkedIn profile.

Image credit: Large crowd | Shutterstock

The Secret to Blogging Success

The Secret to Intentional Blogging Success (Hint: It’s Not A Quick Fix)

Much is written about the art of blogging and the ways to achieve blogging success.

From the application of leading SEO techniques to the structure of paragraphs, using dot points and throwing in a couple of links, we’ve all read about those quick tips for becoming an overnight blogging sensation.

But there’s something you need to know.

Because it’s not just about structure, layout and headline. It’s about something more instinctive and naturally grown over the longer-term.

While it’s true that a blog’s readership can be improved by back links, opt-ins to newsletters and exposure on popular sites, tactics and techniques aren’t the be-all and end-all to creating a blog that matters.

The world’s top bloggers don’t reach millions of readers by employing enough white space, a few top ten lists and a daily stream of 400-word posts. The world’s top bloggers create success through time, patience, hard work and inspirational writing. The world’s top bloggers write from the heart with passion and emotion – and this is what is driving loyal readers to their sites over years, not months.

I started writing In Search of a Life Less Ordinary six years ago. After a slow start, the site picked up pace becoming one of Australia’s most popular expat sites and drawing in thousands of readers to its pages every single day. Earlier this month, I wrote a piece for The Huffington Post based on the experiences I share on my blog. The post reached hundreds of thousands of people, with up to 80,000 likes and 13,000 shares on Facebook alone.

And none of this success was achieved through an SEO quick fix or fast trick.

Create a niche

The best blogs have their own distinct, unique identity that comes from an authenticity that cannot be created overnight. The best bloggers do so with a sense of purpose that is obvious the moment you read their blog. They have a clear approach springing from a unique philosophy that they want to communicate. So what will yours be?

What will make your blog different? What experiences and projects make you unique? What authentic purpose can you bring to the table to grow long-term influence?

Stand out

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of competition but there are literally hundreds of thousands of blogs out there. It can be discouraging when nothing you do seems to work. The only way to survive is to focus on creating your own unique, high quality content.

Be the best you can be and the rest will follow. Write with passion and inspire others to share. Be creative, write from the heart, show the world that you really care.

Stick with it

Blogging requires perseverance and long-term dedication. You won’t create overnight success unless you have a radically different idea. And success built over the longer-term will bring a greater respect to your brand. It will also create a stronger blog that comes from posting consistently good content highlighting your voice and authenticity.

Businesses often struggle with the notion of blogging because it requires time and patience to build an audience and drive people to a site. But, as with any decent business, the path to success doesn’t always bring instant recognition or reward. All successful businesses are built one good decision at a time and the same is true of any good blog.

Think long-term

Create a blog for the long haul flight, not the quick domestic option. Don’t burn the blog too early on because it isn’t giving you a fast enough result. Think outside the box and consider the different directions and avenues the blog can take.

Take small steps to achieve bigger goals. By starting small, you’ll make inroads without becoming disheartened by the lack of traction you might see. Invest in your blog to achieve those future dreams. Remove distraction and think about bringing others on board who have a track record of blogging and know how to engage through their writing.

Above all else, remember the secret to blogging success isn’t a quick SEO keyword or a post’s structural fix. The key to creating something exceptional is patience and perseverance… plus a knack for incredible writing.

What are your secrets to blogging success? What have been your experiences in writing a blog?

Image credit: Secrets | Shutterstock

Vary-Your-Content

Variety is the Spice of Life! Are You Varying Your Content Enough?

At The International Writer, we’re fortunate to work on any number of diverse and interesting things that come across our desks each week.

It might be a press release or a website page, a social media post or an online article for a leading retailer.

Our latest job was to write a news story for Edelman and General Electric here on wind turbines and the development of a wind farm at Boco Rock in eastern Australia. It’s fascinating stuff being a content writer and no day is ever the same.

We’re creating an incredible mix of content for our clients which tells us one key thing: it’s more important than ever for a business to vary what it puts out – and where it puts it – in order to satisfy an increasingly content-hungry audience.

So what can you do about it?

Use all of the avenues at your disposal

The great thing about the Internet today is that you can be as creative as you like in getting your message out there via a number of recognised (and often free) ways.

First, figure out what works best for you.

Facebook is king for mainstream content sharing but is it the most appropriate venue for highlighting your latest specialised product or service? A LinkedIn company page might be better or consider the ability to reach mass audiences through Google+ and Twitter. And what about using a blog or news page on your website?

Then, once you decide on the methods for varying your content and getting your message across (and try to aim for at least three or four to ensure good variation), start to consistently use them on a regular basis.

Know what your customer likes and wants

Next, look at the type of information you’re sharing (or want to share) and make sure it has enough variety and relevance to ensure your reader remains interested and engaged.

Instead of posting weekly pieces on how to do this or why to do that, share news about your company or industry, let us know where you’ve been and what you’re working on.

Tell us a bit about your people and why they do what they do. Show and tell – we want to see pictures and graphics, not just text and a wooden tone. Incorporate infographics, audio and video, and include longer, more in-depth posts that your reader (and Google) will prefer.

But don’t just rely on the blog post because there are lots of other ways you can connect and engage with people. Think Google hangouts, Twitter chats, Instagram meet-ups and more.

Keep it fresh and original

Whatever platforms you use and the types of content you share, make sure you keep it all fresh, original and compelling.

You’ll need to revisit existing content regularly and update where you can – tidy up web pages and reinvigorate a blog that appears stagnant. Put out a new press release or review your post scheduling calendar.

And if you’re struggling for ideas or motivation, come back next week where we’ll show you how to fill up your writing well of inspiration.

But keep writing, creating, publishing and sharing. Focus on quality and variation, not quantity and low cost.

Follow some of these rules and you’ll be putting some varied content spice back into your business’s life.

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The Truth About Online Writing (and Why Quality AND Quantity Matters)

The age of the online piece stuffed with SEO keywords is dead, long live the genuinely well-written article.

For too long, SEO experts the length and breadth of the planet have been filling online content with keywords and phrases to ensure a particular blog post, web page or online story ranks highly on a Google search.

What’s more, content mills have reigned supreme, churning out generic and often average writing with the sole purpose of stuffing a business website with the kind of junk that search engines traditionally feed off. And often at a ridiculously low price that businesses can’t help but be drawn to.

The focus has been on keyword-driven content – and lots of it – with the result being often just what a business is looking for – an appearance near the top of a search query and the loose guarantee of plenty more work.

But those days of keywords and quantity, unimaginative prose and mass-produced content have started to ease with recent changes to Google’s search result algorithms. These algorithms are the critical things which decide how well a business places on a search results list.

The new world is a different beast altogether with Google putting much more emphasis on quality writing in preference to keyword-laden content.

While it will still reward quantity of content, the emphasis will be on quality. Lots of well-written pages will equal lots of reward from Google.

There will no doubt still be a need for the content mill and SEO expert, but Google won’t appreciate it if they stick to past behaviour, so they – and the rest of the world – will need to change.

Quality and quantity will define the new online writing world. And that should be a welcome scenario for any credible business and its talented content writers.

Do you agree that quality should come before quantity? Or should there be exceptions to this rule? Let us know in the comments below.

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5 Ways to Ensure Your Content is Great

What exactly makes epic, compelling written content? How can you tell if what you have on the page is exceptional or just plain average?

For a start, your content has to be well-written. It has to be written professionally with a focus on engagement and interaction.

In other words, it should consist of sentences that are carefully constructed with a view to informing and educating the reader, encouraging their reaction to the piece and, in simple terms, stimulating a conversation, be it by their commenting and sharing of the post.

Links and social sharing (like Tweets and Facebook shares) are both activities that Google calls “signals” of high-quality content. In other words, content that will sit at the top of their search pages.

And content that gets shared often is content that is:

  1. useful (solving the reader’s problem)
  2. interesting (relevant and catches their attention)
  3. audience-friendly (readable and well-constructed)
  4. sticky (the reader wants to settle in, learn more, take the relationship further)
  5. unique (a time poor reader wants to discover new material, not re-runs).

It all sounds relatively straightforward but, for too long, business content writers have been writing for search engines instead of people – in effect, they’re writing spam rather than meaningful words that benefit your business.

It’s wasting their time, your time and generally annoying the people you do manage to get your message in front of.

At the end of the day, high quality content will naturally bring more traffic and greater popularity to your site. Search engines intuitively prefer sites with quality content. For example, a website with content on one page that informs while, on the next page, content that engages.

Simply having a great website design or posting frequently on your blog is no longer enough.

The online content you put out as a business is one of the most important tools for providing information to showcase and sell your services and products.

So when it comes to writing for your business, if you can’t do it yourself, then hire someone to write epic, can’t-put-down-able content, which will drive customers to your site and persuade them to do business with you.

Have we missed anything in the list above? What else do you think makes great content? Share with us below.

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Introducing The International Writer: Business Writing that Puts Words to Work

It’s official.

The International Writer has launched and we’re proud to reveal our brand spanking new website, tell you more about who we are and reveal exactly what we do.

On this website and across our social media platforms, you’ll see us talk a lot about content – exceptional, engaging, authentic, inspiring, high quality and meaningful content.

Content is everything you and your business put out for the world to see. It can be online only and include website content, blog post content, industry news content, social media post content, and even an eBook or three. But content can also be more traditional – reports, submissions, press releases and policy documents.

Think of content as every written word you use to market, sell or inform others about your business and brand, whatever medium you might use to get the message across.

And this is where we come in. We help you get your message across. We write your business content.

But we don’t just write any old content. We rely on our background in business, government and the online world to write exciting, engaging words that deliver your message, strike a chord with your readers and bring them back for more.

Our founder is Russell Ward, one of Australia’s most exciting lifestyle and travel bloggers, responsible for the successful website, In Search of a Life Less Ordinary.

For the past three years, he’s been writing online for thousands of readers, steadily growing his following across social media, and learning the value of high quality, engaging and inspirational content. He’s also an experienced business writer and has a history with professional services firms and government.

The International Writer is a culmination of his blogging experiences, former careers in communications and policy, and passion for content writing aimed at the international and travel and tourism fields.

We mainly work with small and medium enterprises. It’s rewarding to see the results of our efforts when we help a small company with its writing needs – we might write their website copy or draft a series of online articles for their blog subscribers, lead a Twitter chat or article write for their magazine. Whatever it is, we write to ensure that particular organisation meets its business goals.

Our specialty is international trade. With a background in online and careers spread across different continents, the international arena is where we want to be. We’ve worked with small business, medium enterprises, international brands, start-ups, government and not for profits in Australia, Germany, the UK, US, and even Romania.

In 2014, our focus will be on the emerging economies of South America – primarily Brazil and Colombia. It’s a region we’re passionate about and two countries where we want to do more.

We’re excited about the future, keen to get to know you better, and looking forward to sharing news, commentary and thoughts here on this blog.

Talk to us today.

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