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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)

How to avoid failing at content writing

How to Avoid These 5 Crappy Content Writing Fails

Powerful content can be an incredible tool for your business but it’s not always easy to create. Mastering the technique of content writing requires skill and expertise, often gained through many years of writing for varied audiences and mixed platforms.

The risk of getting it wrong, of drafting copy that is unappealing and ill-conceived, can mean wasted time and effort on something that won’t produce the desired result.

Instead of engaging hundreds of readers, if not thousands, you’ll end up creating a website of unread pages or a stream of blog posts that have little purpose or relevancy, lack consistency and offer no return on your investment.

Your content must be well-written, it must address your target audience and it must serve a purpose by answering the ‘so what’ before inviting the reader to take action and learn more about you.

This might seem over-the-top but it ensures your written words will be read and people will notice you. Done badly and your content transforms from a good idea to a crappy reality. Here are five crappy content writing fails and what you can do to avoid them.

1. A lack of writing skill

It’s one of the most common fails. Everyone thinks they can write, which means everyone is a skilled and qualified writer. Wrong. Entering your most passionate ideas into a blog template won’t get you the results you’re looking for. If the piece isn’t well-written and doesn’t provide meaningful value to the reader, it won’t get an online reaction, search engines won’t recognise it as being of high quality and you’ll wonder why nobody ever reacts or leaves a comment.

It wastes your time and theirs so spend the money and invest in a quality writer who can add value to your team. Play to your strengths and quit pretending you’re a capable online wordsmith.

2. Not enough time allocated

It takes time and effort to create a single piece of content. Think 2-3 hours to write a post from idea generation to review stage, then up to an hour for edits, then another hour for image sourcing, publishing, social shares and responses. And I’m estimating on the low side.

To reap the results of an effective longer-term content strategy, you need a longer-term content creation plan. A great online reaction won’t happen overnight and thought leadership, influence and authority take time to build. To create success, you need to adopt a consistent approach to writing, develop a content plan or calendar for the way ahead, and allocate time to deliver the work.

3. You forgot your audience

It’s a rookie writing error but we’ve all done it before. You have a fantastic idea for a post and you start writing away. Before you know it, you have the makings of a masterpiece and you hit the ‘publish’ button. Then nothing. Viewer numbers fail to materialise, comments never appear and any hope of significant traffic dies a sad and lonely death. So what went wrong?

The answer is you forgot to consider who you were writing for. Did you think about the reader and what they wanted to learn from you? Did you adapt your writing for the platform’s readership? Did you address the burning issues of your organisation’s demographic? If you ignore your target audience, your content won’t resonate, it will fall flat and nobody will take action. Think about your readers’ pain points, how you intend to fix them and the value your written work will bring.

4. Content was not shared

The best part about creating powerful content is that it can be shared far and wide, and generally for free. People won’t suddenly start reading your work and visiting your site without there being a promotion strategy in place. The worst mistake is to spend hours writing something great and then you simply publish it on your site or LinkedIn profile. You have to do more than that.

On LinkedIn, promote it to your groups, schedule interesting status updates with links to the content, include it on your company page and share it with your colleagues. Publicise it across social media – on your Facebook page, Twitter and Google+ accounts. And come back to it in the future. If the post did well, bring it out of the blogging archives and share it again at a later date or rework it into a new piece with a slightly different angle. The possibilities are almost endless.

5. There never was a purpose

Every piece of content you create must have a clear purpose behind it. Are you trying to fix a client’s problem or address a particular need? Do you want to drive traffic to a new campaign or is there a special offer that you need to draw attention to?

Ask why you’re writing the content or risk creating something that is doomed from the start. Ensure the content fits to a part of your business strategy. Take some time to think about why someone would read this piece of work. Create a plan for matching your content to platforms or publications based on the answers to these questions.

Avoid these content writing fails by understanding why you’re creating content and what you want to achieve in the first place. By thinking about each of the points above, you’ll ensure you add value to the content writing process and place a focus on content that is high quality not crappy.

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.

the_international_writer_blog_launch_international_writer

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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