The majority of B2B marketers know the power of LinkedIn. They understand that this single platform is where their customers are spending time, connecting — and reading content. This is likely why 94 percent of B2B marketers are using LinkedIn, with it being their primary choice among all social networks. But many wonder, “Are we doing LinkedIn right?”
The publishing feature on LinkedIn has become an influential tool, allowing marketers to reach and forge relationships with prospects who would have otherwise been difficult to reach. Publishing the content, however, is only half the battle, because you also must understand how to create posts that hook readers and drive them to action. Not sure where to start? Check out our podcast episode “The Essential Organic B2B Marketing Strategies for LinkedIn in 2018” to learn more! In the meantime, check out these five tips to inspire your efforts.
Create headlines optimized for LinkedIn.
Advertising legend David Ogilvy said that “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.”
Creating a high-performing headline for LinkedIn is made easier with a research-based approach. BuzzSumo analyzed 10,000 of the most shared posts published on LinkedIn and found a few interesting insights. For example, the following keywords can instantly fuel greater performance from your headline:
Use the word “habits.” Headlines with this word received an average of 1,196 shares.
The word “mistakes” drives shares. Content using this word in the headline generated an average of 556 shares.
Integrate the word “successful.” The word “successful” fueled, on average, 416 shares.
Use “leader” or “leaders” in your headline. Content that uses this word fueled an average of 483 shares.
When drafting your LinkedIn headline also pay attention to the length of the text. The highest-performing headlines have, on average, 40 to 49 characters. You can also check out influencers in your niche and study the content they publish and the headlines they use. Take note of the format and which headlines perform best, and then test these strategies in your own content.
Lower the reading level — a counterintuitive move.
The most powerful LinkedIn content is also content that is straightforward and easy to read. But how can you be sure that the content you write is also simple for your viewers to read? The answer is simple: Use the Flesch-Kincaid score.
This tool scores content on a scale of 1 to 100, with a higher score indicating greater reading ease. Here is a quick breakdown:
Score of 90 to 100: Easily understood by an average 11-year-old.
Score of 60 to 70: Understood by the average 13-to-15-year-old.
Score of 0 to 30: Best understood by those who have graduated from a university.
For a B2B audience, it’s likely that your buyers are educated, read frequently, and can understand complex content — but that doesn’t mean that’s what they prefer to read.
One study of 3,000 posts found that, despite conventional wisdom about writing for an educated audience, content with an “easy” Flesch-Kincaid readability score (80-89) attracted the most views.
This scoring model uses a formula that accounts for the total words, total sentences, and total syllables, but you don’t really need to understand the details of the formula to figure it out. There is a simple tool that is already built into Microsoft Word that you can use.
Type any text into a Word document and spell-check the text. Once finished, the tool will display “readability statistics.” At the bottom of this box under the “readability” subheading, it will include a Flesch-Kincaid reading ease score and the grade level. The higher the reading ease score, the simpler the content is for your LinkedIn readers to understand.
Create a length that is optimal for the platform.
Creating an amazing LinkedIn post also involves understanding how much content your audience wants to read. In the past, marketers believed that shorter was better, but today experts find this is not always true. If you write amazing content that is truly valuable, not only will the audience read it, they will read it even if it’s very long.
An article published by the Content Marketing Institute found that short content, with word counts of 1,000 or less, dominate LinkedIn. But surprisingly, this is not the content that readers want most. Posts with 1,000 to 3,000 words get the most shares. Check this out:
Up to 1,000 words: Average shares of 6,439.
Medium content of 1,000 to 2,000 words: Average shares of 7,771.
Long content of 2,000 to 3,000 words: Average shares of 8,702.
The bottom line? If you want to hook LinkedIn readers, you must publish long-form, high-quality content to capture their attention and inspire them to share it with their peers.
Deepen the relationship with a strong CTA.
Creating great content that draws readers in and delivers the information they crave is just the beginning. Once they read the material and say, “Wow, that was really amazing,” readers want more. Sadly, many great LinkedIn articles stop short of asking readers to take that next big step: the call to action.
Creating an effective CTA starts with a goal. After reading your content, what do you want readers to do next? Maybe your goal is to entice them into viewing more content, in which case you might include links to related content on your blog, where you can continue building that relationship.
Or perhaps your goal is to capture the prospects’ email addresses so you can launch a nurturing campaign, in which you might encourage them to download a road map or guide to solving whatever pain point the content addresses. For example, you might say, “To get our free white paper on the three most common mistakes people make when doing X and how to solve them, click here.”
Every piece of content that you publish on LinkedIn should be part of an overarching strategy, and the CTA should be carefully designed to support and meet those goals.
Keep readers engaged with the perfect visual count.
Here’s a well-kept secret about creating content on LinkedIn: It’s not all about the words. How? Research shows that visuals are very important with all content, but especially on LinkedIn. One large study of LinkedIn posts found that LinkedIn content with images received a greater number of shares, likes, comments and views.
On average, a LinkedIn post with zero images receives about 6,413 views. However, when eight images are included, this number jumps up to 57,575 views — a sizable increase! As a result, creating content isn’t only about the writing itself but also about the visuals that support the content. Visuals break up long-form content into smaller chunks and keep people moving through the article at a comfortable rate that drives interest.
A few last words about LinkedIn Content Marketing
Every product starts with a pain point, something that a prospect is truly struggling with and needs fixed now. There are many people on LinkedIn struggling with the exact pain point that your product solves. Wouldn’t it be nice to reach these prospects? In reality, that is the true job of a marketer.
LinkedIn is providing the vehicle for doing just that: getting in front of the right customers at the right time. But once you capture their attention, you want to keep it. By using these strategies you can engage with more prospects through authentic interaction that encourages them to get to know and trust your brand.