Leverage Your Online Profile and Get Noticed

As a business professional, it’s high time you raised your online profile on LinkedIn to build industry influence, amplify your brand, and drive significant opportunities and business success… because everyone else is, including your competition.

LinkedIn is a critical means of communicating personal and business brands to the world, and a goldmine of opportunities for those who fully use their profile to reveal industry authority and promote executive expertise.

The professional social network is evolving at a rate of knots so it can be tough to keep up with the changes. Plus you’re swamped with work and being a leader can be an unenviable task. But know that one thing hasn’t changed:

Your personal profile is the cornerstone of your efforts on LinkedIn and should be leveraged to communicate your brand and showcase who you really are.

So, whether you’re building a brand, looking for a new career opportunity or simply wanting to stand out and get noticed as a senior executive, follow these four simple steps to better leverage your profile and drive greater online results… fast.

1. Network strategically and selectively

Connecting with people on LinkedIn is important and the most effective way to build your senior executive network to develop high-quality relationships that will deliver opportunities.

However, while it might be tempting to connect with as many people as possible and grow your burgeoning online network to epic proportions, quality always trumps quantity when it comes to LinkedIn.

Build your network over time but try to do it strategically, ensuring your connection requests are targeted and of value, personalising the connection requests as much as possible, and giving something of value to that potential new connection – it’s important to be generous on LinkedIn and offer your help, rather than make demands or give the hard sell upfront!

2. Give your online profile a spring clean

An optimised LinkedIn profile builds trust and makes people want to engage with you. It’s your digital business card and an ideal opportunity to strengthen your personal and professional online presence.

Everything on your profile should contribute towards your overall brand, offering a unique story about who you are and the kind of work you specialise in, where you’ve come from, what your mission is (in work and in life), the pain point your target market is facing and how you can help fix their pain, plus any tangible successes you’ve had and results achieved.

Include multimedia to show your work in action, such as speaking gigs or roundtables, and optimise your profile with relevant keywords, particularly in the headline, to rank at the top of LinkedIn searches and get found by people looking for influencers and authority figures like you.

3. Start blogging and showcase industry expertise

While writing and publishing your own work might sound like a terrifying superhuman feat in terms of time and ability, it’s actually quite easy to do and is a great way to showcase your knowledge and build credibility as a thought leader or the ‘go-to’ person – someone that matters to the online conversation.

By contributing useful, interesting and memorable content to LinkedIn on a regular basis, you can spread your message far and wide, and be recognised for your leadership and subject matter know-how.

What’s more, the blog post sits on your LinkedIn profile for future visitors to see (visitors who could potentially become customers) and is searchable both on LinkedIn and on Google, giving you a boost in search visibility, visitor traffic, and relevant referral traffic when using calls to action to link back to a website, white paper or other entry into your sales funnel.

Leverage your online profile

4. Keep active and engaged

Getting results from LinkedIn isn’t just about establishing a powerful profile. Once your profile is complete and fully-optimised, you need to get active on the platform to get noticed for the right reasons.

Social proof is evidence that you are who you say you are and that you’re a credible, knowledgeable business contact to be associated with. It’s therefore crucial to build that social proof as you go about your business on LinkedIn and grow personal relationships that could turn into business leads.

The general rule of thumb for any CEO or business leader is to remain active on the platform by adopting a regular routine, whether daily or weekly, long or short. Try to regularly share links of interest (latest news, current thinking, and more) to your contacts and others in your industry, join relevant groups and actively engage in group discussions, and of course frequently update your profile with new endeavours and tangible achievements.

Out of sight, out of mind

With LinkedIn, it’s key to stay top of mind with your growing network.

Leverage your executive profile by keeping it up-to-date, by publishing content and networking strategically, and by actively engaging in conversations and groups to position yourself as the acknowledged expert and trusted authority in your field.

As a C-Suite Leader, next time you think twice about leveraging your online profile or can’t seem to find the time to do it, remember these six takeaways:

  • LinkedIn is the preferred social network for CEOs, with eight in ten CEOs engaged online and via social media.[1]
  • LinkedIn usage is highest among those with an annual income greater than $75,000.[2]
  • 93% of companies use LinkedIn to fill positions, including at the CEO-level.[3]
  • 50% of B2B buyers use LinkedIn when making purchasing decisions.[4]
  • Seven out of 10 professionals consider LinkedIn a trusted source of professional content, making it important that your message reaches the right people.[5]
  • Having a professional LinkedIn photo makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed.[6]

2018 is upon us and it’s high time you got out there and raised your digital profile to build industry influence, amplify your personal and business brand, and drive opportunities and success as a C-Suite Executive.

About the Author

Sarah Ward is the Training Director at The International Writer, a content writing and training company creating powerful online content and providing customized LinkedIn and business writing training to boost a personal or business brand, build authority, and drive influence.

Footnotes

[1] Socializing Your CEO III: From Marginal to Mainstream – Weber Shandwick, 2015 (http://www.webershandwick.com/uploads/news/files/socializing-your-ceo-iii-exec-summary.pdf)

[2] Social Media Update 2016 – Pew Research Center, 2016 (http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/11/social-media-update-2016/)

[3] Professional’s Guide – LinkedIn University, 2017 (https://university.linkedin.com/content/dam/university/global/en_US/site/img/banners/LinkedIn-Higher-Ed-eBook-040816-(1).pdf)

[4] Getting Started with Social Selling on LinkedIn – LinkedIn Sales Solutions, 2017 (https://business.linkedin.com/sales-solutions/social-selling/getting-started-with-social-selling-on-linkedIn-ebook#)

[5] LinkedIn Sponsored Content – LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, 2017 (https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/business/en-us/marketing-solutions/products/pdfs/LISponsoredContentDatasheet5-2-16.pdf)

[6] Celebrating Leadership & LinkedIn Power Profiles – LinkedIn Official Blog, 2015 (https://blog.linkedin.com/2015/08/13/celebrating-leadership-linkedin-power-profiles-2015-in-india)

Update LinkedIn Headline

Why You Need to Change Your LinkedIn Headline… Right Now

Your headline is wrong.

If I could offer you one piece of advice when it comes to LinkedIn, one thing that you should fix up immediately, an action to take care of right now, it’s to change your LinkedIn headline.

There are over 475 million professionals on LinkedIn so it pays to stand out and get noticed. Your profile headline is your golden ticket to showing up higher in LinkedIn search results, attracting greater numbers of profile views, and showcasing your personal brand.

So why is your headline still so bad?

Part of the problem is LinkedIn. It automatically lists your current job title and employer as the default. And you continue to stick with this tried and tested, safe and sound option.

I’m yawning just thinking about it

As an interesting individual with an entirely unique story to tell, why do you still seem content to describe what you do, who you help, how you help them, your social proof, your worth, by referring to yourself by your job and the company you work for alone?

Why don’t you want to make full use of LinkedIn’s 120-character headline to give yourself a powerful headline statement about your true value to a business or employment prospect?

Maybe you don’t know how to. Or perhaps you just don’t realise how essential your headline actually is.

Change LinkedIn Headline

Your headline is the first thing someone sees when you pop up in their search results – no lengthy summary, no great detail about your recent experience, mainly just you and your headline.

In a world of distraction and increasing online noise, one search-optimised sentence is all it takes to grab people’s attention on LinkedIn and stand out from the crowd. If you truly want to generate leads, attract new customers, and grow sales, you need to change your LinkedIn headline… right now.

Here’s how to tread the path to headline greatness.

1. Brainstorm industry-specific keywords to change LinkedIn headline

Nobody really cares that you’re the ‘Marketing Director at John Smith Supplies’. What they do care about is how you’ll help them fix their problems or business issues.

You have 120 characters, including spaces, to grab their attention, show them what you provide, and how best you can serve them so sit down and brainstorm some of the most compelling keywords to reveal your expertise, focus, the target audience your serve, the benefit to your customers in using you.

Take me, for example. I’m a ‘Writer’. I work with ‘Finance’ clients. My offerings are generally ‘LinkedIn’-focused. And I have ‘International’ experience. As you can see, I’m starting to build my base keywords but I need to do much more.

A quick LinkedIn search reveals some example LinkedIn headlines that only include job title and company.

2. Add your specialty – use adjectives and get creative!

Keywords alone aren’t great without some focus and a bit of wordsmithing. Being a ‘Writer’ doesn’t give you a reason to hire me so I need to spice it up and look at my specialty. Instead of ‘Writer’, I could say that I’m a ‘Professional Business Writer Specialising in Personal Finance’. I might say that I have ‘Proven International Expertise’ or that I’m the ‘#1 Ranked LinkedIn Profile Writer in Australia’ (as long as I can prove that, which thankfully I can!).

Consider also adding adjectives to give more ‘wow’ to the headline – words like ‘Energetic’, ‘Gifted’, ‘Inspirational’ or ’Dynamic’ can really make a job title pop. Also try using creative suffixes to describe your work such as ‘Advisor’, ‘Champion’, ‘Specialist’, ‘Innovator’ or ‘Advocate’.

3. Give more detail about what you do

Rather than leave your headline with job and specialty, go a bit deeper and use short phrases to talk about what you’re responsible for or try to expand on how you help your target market. Consider phrases like ‘Driving Customer Excellence as Operations Manager’ or ‘Connecting Employers and Employees Through Effective Engagement Strategies’.

As a Writer, I might look at my own profile and include ‘Boosting Personal Brands Through Powerful Writing’ or ‘Creates Compelling Content to Drive Leads and Opportunities’. Obviously, you don’t have a lot of word count to play around with but you should be able to squeeze something in.

4. Incorporate your passions

Don’t try to outline your bucket list but you can talk to future desires or personal passions that would lead a potential employer to look deeper – some of my clients even opt for activities they pursue away from the workplace, such as sports or even non-profit roles, to give their headline greater personality.

Taking my headline as an example again, I might say that I am an ‘Online Content Enthusiast’ or, if I was working in Retail, I could say that I’m a ‘Champion of Retail Excellence’. It’s about giving more insight into you as a person and what you stand for and believe in – in other words, what your mission is at work and in life.

Change LinkedIn Headline

5. Describe your accomplishments

You only have 120 characters but you can still find space to talk to your achievements and accolades, if you feel comfortable doing so. As a sales professional, use keywords to convey some of your results. If you’re in the field of education, how many years have you been teaching and at what levels?

With my own headline, I might say something like ‘5-Year Huffington Post Blogger’ or ‘Regularly Featured in The Telegraph’. It’s not about being overly salesy but, instead, building social proof and showcasing your true value.

6. Icons give impact

You’ve no doubt seen the keyword-driven headline with the bright and bold icons – stars, ticks, diamonds, even crowns or coloured bullets. I’m a big fan of the icon because I feel that it really does make the headline stand out and catches the reader’s eye if done well and in moderation.

A simple Google search will reveal potential LinkedIn icons to use or look at LinkedIn profile headlines that you like, then copy and paste the icon from the individual’s headline onto your own (and also onto your Experience headlines lower down in the profile). For the more conservative user, consider simpler punctuation marks – the vertical line character or ‘|’ is a popular choice. And feel free to regularly change the headline to keep people engaged. Here’s how mine currently looks – it’s by no means perfect but it does ensure that I rank for the right keywords and search terms.

7. Avoid cheesy, overused keywords and statements

Are you really a superstar or guru? Can you honestly lay claim to being a marketing legend? Don’t oversell by incorporating cheesy keywords that cannot be backed by hard evidence. And try to avoid the overused cliches such as Strategic, Creative, Innovative and Entrepreneur. I hate the use of Entrepreneur. Everybody is a bloody Entrepreneur. Believe me, you’re probably not an Entrepreneur and, if you are, try to find another way of describing yourself and your abilities. Please.

So there you have it. Now it’s time to change your LinkedIn headline.

Think of your 120-character headline as a snapshot of your broader LinkedIn profile and give a great first impression that encourages the visitor to want to learn more.

Use descriptive keywords and catchy phrases to demonstrate your offerings and the target market you serve.

Show people that you understand their industry, you can help them, and that you’ve had success.

Create one powerful keyword-rich sentence to grab the reader’s attention and make it easy for them to understand who you are, what your work is, and the value you bring.

Over to you.

How does your headline stack up? Still got work to do or well on your way?

**IMPORTANT UPDATE** We’ve just released a series of training webinars to help you maximise your time on LinkedIn. Instead of wasting time trying to figure out how to use LinkedIn effectively, learn from the professionals with our one-hour LinkedIn training webinars and get the leads and opportunities that matter most.

Register here –> theinternationalwriter.com/training-webinars/

LinkedIn Training Webinars

About the Author

Russell Ward is the Founder and Lead Content Writer at The International Writer, a content writing and training agency creating powerful online content and providing customised LinkedIn training to boost a personal or business brand, build authority and drive influence.

LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes

LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes: 5 Blunders You Should Never Make

We’ve all done it. Shared the update we immediately regretted. Put up a profile photo that wasn’t quite right. Invited someone to connect without tailoring the invite and got an abrupt “Who are you and why are you trying to connect with me?” response. Classic LinkedIn etiquette mistakes.

While some of these faux pas may not seem all that bad, others can be damaging to your online reputation and career aspirations if you continue to make the same mistakes over and over.

LinkedIn continues to evolve at a rate of knots and it can be tough to keep up with the many updates and modifications. But one thing remains consistent: the basic, common sense principles of old-fashioned etiquette will always apply. LinkedIn is a professional social platform that you should interact on as you would in a real-world, face-to-face setting.

So whether you’re building a personal or business brand, looking for a new job or simply wanting to nurture a burgeoning online network, try to avoid these five etiquette fails that could make you look unprofessional and out of touch.

1. Don’t invite every single person to connect

While it’s tempting to sit on your smartphone and invite everyone on your ‘People You May Know’ list to connect, it will come across as spammy and verging on the socially weird. Of course, reach out and connect with a wide range of people to build your network over time, but do it skillfully, have a reason for doing so, and with something valid to offer that potential connection.

LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes

It might be that you saw something they wrote and you wanted to connect to take the discussion further. Maybe you work with somebody who recommended a mutual connection. Perhaps you share a past career experience or cherished client.

There’s nothing wrong about connecting with strangers, but try to make sure your requests are targeted and of value – and personalise them as much as possible to make the recipient feel more open to the invitation.

2. Don’t update your entire network with every move you make

When you update your profile, a notification is sent out to your network advising them that a change was made if you leave your network notification setting turned on. This can be a great way of informing people that you’ve changed role or that something significant has happened to your business or career – and it can lead to increased profile views, which is no bad thing.

Where the updates fall apart are when you don’t turn the setting off and start to fill your network’s feed with constant notifications of new positions, new schools, new headlines, new everything.

LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes

But these things aren’t often new – you might have simply changed a word or phrase here and there, but your network is being bamboozled with the updates. You’ll start receiving endless “Congrats!” from people about some minor change and you could be informing employers of potentially damaging career updates.

3. Don’t be a persistent social media pest

As with any social setting, nobody likes to be pestered. What’s more, nobody likes to be pestered when they have only just met you. To be admired and respected, you need to be authentic in your approach to your network and the actions you take on a regular basis. For a start, don’t ask people to endorse your skills and never tell them that you’ve endorsed their skills so they should now endorse your own. It’s just plain creepy.

When it comes to your network, don’t make connections just to get hold of an email address so you can then bombard them with marketing messages. It’s called permission marketing for a reason and a LinkedIn connection doesn’t equal permission to send marketing emails, ever.

Finally, never, ever, ever send messages confessing your passionate interest or undying love for a new connection. It happens. It horrifies me. It isn’t Tinder. Please stop.

4. Don’t send spammy, generic messages

As LinkedIn grows, so do our inboxes. Sometimes you’ll receive a message that adds value to your life, but often it will be a random series of paragraphs that make little or no sense to your work or life. What’s worse is when you thank someone for connecting with you and they immediately hit you up with a sales spiel right out of the local car dealer sales handbook. It feels plain wrong.

If your goal is to target sales professionals in the textiles industry and you want to reach out to 50+ people in your network then, of course, you’re going to create a message template that you can use for each message. And we get that. But try to personalise each message you send to the extent possible.

LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes

Study the person’s profile and look for the ways in which you can authentically start a dialogue with them. Include a shared reference, something that brought you to this person, even a comment on an article they may have recently published. Whatever you send, make sure it is tailored, relevant and of value. And never send group sales-focused messages – you’ll enjoy a string of angry responses if you do.

5. Don’t over-share and post little of value

With so much content out there to share, it can be tempting to publish everything and anything. LinkedIn is a social network and we are supposed to be sociable on the platform, but it is a professional network where the etiquette rules are quite different to the likes of Twitter or Facebook – in other words, keep the overly-personal shares out of this space. You also need to watch the frequency of your posts or you’ll run the risk of being seen as a nuisance.

Whether it’s a blog post or news feed update, you should always have a strategy in the back of your mind for posting and a schedule that doesn’t overwhelm or infuriate your audience.

Try to avoid posting more than one newsfeed update per day and carefully consider the kinds of updates being shared – are they relevant, interesting, unique and shareable? Tick these boxes and you’ll be well on your way to influencer status.

Ways to avoid LinkedIn etiquette mistakes

It’s not all bad and there’s hope for us all. LinkedIn doesn’t have a firm set of rules when it comes to good etiquette and much of what I’ve mentioned is common sense.

Rather than run the risk of infuriating your network, connect with people you know, or you can offer value to and build a healthy relationship with.

Ruffle feathers no more by updating your profile on a regular basis, but by selectively switching the notifications on and off as appropriate.

Placate any pet peeves by behaving in a non-pesty kind of way – endorse those you know and respect, never bombard with emails, and look elsewhere for love.

Beat the angry responses by tailoring your messages and connection invitations in a personal yet professional way.

Instead of frustrating, excite and appeal with high-quality content that is shared once per day and is relevant, of interest and doesn’t waste your readers’ time.

LinkedIn is an incredible networking resource so make proper use of it without upsetting your network and hurting your brand.

What have I missed? What other etiquette rules are there or what behavioural annoyances would you include on this list?

Boost Your Online Brand

There’s Still Time to Boost Your Online Brand!

It’s hard to believe the end of the year is already fast approaching. Are you close to achieving your career goals? Are you hitting your numbers and enjoying better business results?

If not, there’s still time to market yourself on LinkedIn and enhance both personal and business brand with a professional LinkedIn makeover.

Wherever you are in the world – whether it’s time for a Spring clean or an Autumn clean-up – The International Writer is offering a 10% discount on our best-selling LinkedIn Profile PREMIUM Package until October 31*.

Just use the promo code – 10percentoff – when you order the LinkedIn Profile PREMIUM package here to take advantage of this offer and work with me, one-on-one, to stand out and drive opportunity.

*includes complete LinkedIn profile rewrite, brand questionnaire, phone interview, one-hour online Review & Strategy session, plus 30 days of email support.

LinkedIn Profile Writing

Why should you care about business content anyway?

Without business content, you’re an organisation with nothing but a name.

Nobody knows what you do, why you do it and who you’ve done it for. Without business content, you’re a ship lost at sea – the words you put out anchor you to your customers, current and potential.

Content is communication. Whether it be a website, a blog post, newsletter or press release, I believe that content is the mouthpiece for your business message and it’s the key thing that brings people to your doors.

Whether it’s online or in traditional print, here’s why I think it matters most:

  1. Content builds and grows customer relationships. Business content is a means to connect with your current clients and reach out to those waiting in the wings. By reading your website or subscribing to your blog, the customer gets to know your product, learn more about you and hopefully come back for more.
  2. You become the trusted advisor. Well-written articles that inform, engage and inspire create a deeper connection with the reader and position you as an expert and advisor. As long as the messaging is authentic and relevant, not full of sales talk and propaganda, you will be known as the trusted, believable source of industry information.
  3. Content drives traffic to websites and blogs. If you write great content, they will follow. And by linking across social media, you’ll drive bigger numbers to your site, which may result in new leads and more sales. Don’t be fixated on numbers but do be sure to write well, share often, and interact with your readers. Often what they like is noticed by others and you should soon see the numbers start to grow.
  4. Your business will appear higher when people search online. Writing regularly and keeping a fresh stream of content flowing on your website and blog is key to beating your competitors in the search engine results page. Include keywords that represent your business and write original, high quality pieces every time.

Business content is arguably one of the most important facets of your business.

Regularly creating and updating the written words on your website and blog are crucial to communicating with your customers and helping you reach new clients and opportunities in the process.

Drafting and developing exciting email newsletters, brochure copy and social media posts tells the world that you’re a professional, committed, informative, interesting service provider.

Whoever said content is king wasn’t messing about. Creating content-based conversation is even better.

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.

Compelling Business Content by Shutterstock

How To Create Business Content That People Will Share: Lessons From Upworthy

Ever dreamed of writing a blog post that strikes a chord with hundreds, if not thousands, of people?

It’s the kind of content that’s instantly shared across social media, snowballing as traffic is driven to your website in even greater numbers, while generating incredible new leads.

I’ve written hundreds of posts – some do well, others less so – and nothing beats seeing the social sharing icons tick over as your audience immediately connects with the topic – and passes the post on.

So what’s the secret to social sharing success?

I recently met Sara Critchfield, Editorial Director of Upworthy, at her Vivid Sydney talk, entitled On Media, Marketing and Making People Care. Upworthy is the world’s fastest growing media company and one that challenges the rules of traditional media to put out content shared by millions of people every week.

Upworthy posts videos only, no text, and focuses on sharing content that “most people” will like.

And it works.

The organisation’s website currently pulls in 50 million unique visitors per month from publishing an average of seven pieces of content per week.

It’s all fascinating stuff but what can your business really learn from Upworthy’s success at putting out business content that people want to share?

Appeal to your audience

Make sure your business content – blog posts, articles, news stories, web pages – is compelling and grabs the reader’s attention.

Sara says this is the only kind of content that Upworthy distributes. Nothing is published that is dry or boring. Upworthy’s aim is to curate content that is meaningful, engaging, inspiring, gripping – and is subsequently shared by millions.

Focus on the packaging

Your online content needs to be packaged the right way. If it isn’t, then it doesn’t matter how good or well-written it is, it simply won’t be shared.

Upworthy places a major emphasis on headlines and images, spending hours tweaking and refining the key things you’ll first see when you jump onto social media. And, once you click it, they’ve got you.

Share on the right networks

Which social networks are the best ones for your business? Is Twitter the right place to announce a new service or should you focus on Instagram as the launchpad for your latest product?

Upworthy optimises everything it does for Facebook, says Sara. If you want to be where most of the people are, this is where it’s at. And, while Facebook isn’t for everyone, she believes that you have to figure out what works best for you.

The final point to take away: remember that if you do want your work to go truly viral, you need to write the kind of content that not only your clients or friends will share, but that their friends – and friends of friends – will also share.

If you’re interesting in learning more about how best to optimise your business content to get it in front of as many people as you can, send me a note via the contact page and let’s talk.

Have you found success in sharing online? What tricks or tips did you employ?

the_international_writer_blog_online_content_writing_truth

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.

the_international_writer_blog_great_content_writing

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.