On 26th July 2019 I posted my first article on Linkedin and became intentional about my efforts to build a presence on Linkedin.
The last 20-weeks have demanded a lot of time, energy and effort although it has amassed to the accolade of becoming the #3 Linkedin Top Voice for Sales 2019.
What is a Linkedin Top Voice? According to Linkedin, they have created this list to:
Highlight professionals in a variety of industries and regions who are building communities and starting thoughtful conversations on LinkedIn through their articles, posts, videos and comments.
Below, I share the 10 step approach I took to becoming a Linkedin Top Voice in under 5-months:
1. Have A Goal
Before embarking on a content creation journey, you need to set yourself a broader goal along with milestones for how you’re going to get there.
For me, my objective at the offset was to reach 10,000 followers on Linkedin within a 12-month period. This objective remains the same and allows me to measure and track my progression against this number.
It is not enough to have a goal that states ‘I want to reach as many people as possible’ - Be specific, make it measurable and align the goal to a timescale.
Equally, you need to have a clear ‘why’ for wanting to do this. Are you seeking to have a broader reach to help others or simply aiming to grow your personal brand? Ensure you’re clear around your rationale for kickstarting this journey to help shape your content over time.
2. Create A Plan
Once you know what you’re chasing, you need to create a plan for how you’re going to get there.
As referenced above, I stated my goal is to reach 10,000 followers within 12-months, my plan then dictates how I am going to get there. Your plan should include:
Your content creation strategy, what type of content you’re going to produce and how often?
What is going to be unique about your approach, what difference are you going to make to Linkedin and the community you’re serving?
What milestones are you going to put in place to validate your success incrementally throughout the year?
Without a plan, nothing happens, so be specific, write it down and hold yourself accountable.
3. Define your Target Market
Linkedin has over 600 million members globally, your potential reach is enormous. You need to spend time thinking through whom you want to target and why you want to target them.
When I started, I was producing a wide range of content attempting to appeal to the masses. I didn’t have a defined target persona that I was seeking to appeal to, which ultimately lead to a ‘spray and pray’ approach.
When you know your ideal target profile, it allows you to deliver content that truly moves the needle for them. This all contributes to you becoming a thought-leader within a particular segment as opposed to simply someone who produces generalised content.
For me, I seek to appeal to 2 core demographics:
1: Existing and aspirational sales professionals
2: Entrepreneurs seeking to scale their sales efforts
By being intentional around whom I am targeting, it has allowed me to produce content that is tailored and resonates with a core audience.
4. Create Great Content
In some senses, it goes without saying but you need to produce great content in order to build a following. You need to deliver value so that people crave to read more from you on a daily basis.
The quality vs quantity debate is rife with various content creators having varying views on whether you should spend more time on the frequency of content delivery or the actual content itself.
My view is that if you want to start this journey, you need to find a way to balance both. If you start compromising the quality and level of thought that goes into your content in order to produce content en mass, you’re likely doing yourself a disservice.
Equally, over time, your audience becomes reliant on you to show up, consistently, meaning you need to commit yourself to a cadence of content that means you continue to be visible.
With all of this being said, avoid analysis paralysis or in other words, spending so much time planning that you don’t actually take action.
You’re better placed to kickstart the journey by delivering some content from which you can receive feedback to refine and improve, as opposed to not putting anything out at all.
5. Be Consistent
As with most things in life, consistency is key when it comes to delivering content on Linkedin and building a following.
If you spend time studying ‘how to create a viral post’ in order to strike lucky, you’re playing a short term game that will have short-lived results.
Before walking down this path, have an honest conversation with yourself around how much time you can invest and commit to it.
I often write articles on the train into London and on my way home along with dedicating time on evenings and weekends. For many, this is time they would much rather spend watching Netflix or having downtime.
Be clear around your time commitments to ensure you can deliver consistently, in a manner that your audience will come to expect from you.
I task myself with posting a piece of content every working day of the week with a blend of posts, articles and videos.
6. Fire on ALL Cylinders
Linkedin has several different content types that you can leverage, including posts, articles, videos, documents and voice notes.
As much as videos aren’t necessarily the dominant channel of choice on Linkedin, I have seen success from utilising both images and videos to allow my audience to connect with me as opposed to a perceived persona.
Ultimately, the point here is to leverage all of the tools you have at your disposal as opposed to one.
Create an approach that means you deliver different types of content on various days over a spread of channels. That way, it allows your followers to engage with you in an omnichannel manner and get to understand more about your approach through different lenses.
7. Share Your Journey
Earlier in the year, I shared a post about a job I didn’t get. It was one of the more successful posts I have done this year in terms of engagement although I was extremely close to not posting it in the first place.
Prior to this post, the majority of my content was based around career successes I had, all of which appeared to resonate well with my audience. That being said, I couldn’t help but feel I wasn’t showcasing the reality of all of my world which consists of many highs but also a quota of lows.
By being open, honest and transparent, it creates a relatability which helps people to empathise.
Share your journey, experiences and lessons learned. For as long as you’re learning something new and embracing experiences, you will always have content.
8. Refine Your Approach
As you produce more content and share your experiences, you will begin to receive feedback.
Feedback is gold dust which you should be open and receptive to. Over time, it will shape your approach to assist in more tailored content creation which delivers value to your audience.
Embrace the need to change and make adjustments. Building a following on Linkedin is a constant process of evolution and you will need to learn what works and what doesn’t.
Many talk about the Linkedin algorithm and how to make the most of it. I personally don't spend much time thinking about this, instead, I focus on how I can continue to refine my approach to deliver more compelling content.
The more time you spend focussing on how to move the needle for others, the better opportunity you have to build a progressive and loyal following.
9. Engage With Your Audience
Every single person that follows you is a part of your journey and each one brings you slightly closer to your goal.
Treat them as such by engaging, responding to messages and making time to serve your community.
A brand isn’t built alone and the people that support and form a part of your journey are invaluable.
Have a point of view, spark conversation and continue to engage in the dialogue. Beyond this, become a part of your wider ecosystem by posting on other people’s content to make a broader contribution to the Linkedin platform.
10. Help Others
As much as my content creation journey is in part, driving a personal agenda including brand building, to me, I equally view my platform through the lens of serving others.
When that becomes a point of focus, it helps to cultivate a community that is inclusive and unified in many ways.
I spend a lot of my time thinking through how I can help others reach their potential and lean on my platform to help expedite this objective.
By helping others get closer to achieving their goals, you will inherently get closer to your own as a by-product.
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Disclaimer: All views expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions or views of my current employer or any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. This post is for informational purposes only and any advice should be followed at the reader's own discretion.
©2019 by Alex Alleyne