Last week I participated in a panel to talk about the use of social media for your business. Specifically, we addressed the needs and questions of entrepreneurs, solo-preneurs, and small business owners. This demographic tends to be in much closer contact with their customers than your average person inside a large organization. By closer contact, I mean they would be in touch with what their customers want and needs. That would allow them to be able to provide content that is useful and valuable to those customers.
You may be in tune with your readers on a consistent basis and have plenty of content ideas. Yet, every blue moon, we all hit a dry spell. What do you do then to find ideas for posts? More importantly, how do you know that those ideas are valuable to the readership you are working on attracting?
The answer may lie in the questions – and can find plenty of them about a wide range of topics on LinkedIn. If you already have a professional profile on LinkedIn, you can go in and look under “answers” in the main navigation bar and select “answer questions”. Then scroll down the questions and find one or two that speak to your knowledge and experience. Pick one question and develop an answer-post.
Once you’re done with writing, select the payoff from your post – the place in it where you actually give the answer – and post it as a reply to that question. Then link your published post at the bottom of it for those readers who want to know more about your thought process, and how you got to the answer. Let’s look at two examples.
Craig Peters inquires about Conversational Marketing:
I believe this will be THE buzzphrase of 2008, but like other buzzwords — “viral” in particular — it’s open to gross misinterpretation and misuse.
So: What do you believe “conversational marketing” to be? Is behavioral targeting (which was a huge component of a conversational marketing discussion here at ad:tech yesterday) part of conversational marketing? (I would argue no.) How do other tactics you’re using fit in to “conversational marketing” as you see it?
The Cluetrain Manifesto said it a decade ago in a pithy way: “markets are conversations.” Mainstream agencies and marketers are starting to awaken to this notion.
What, in your view, constitutes “conversational marketing”?
And now look at the answer from Eric Holter with a couple of links to his newsletter, where he has covered the topic in more depth. Let’s say you blog about conversational marketing – helping flesh out an answer would start getting you noticed by people who seek that kind of expertise – on LinkedIn and at your blog.
Another good question from Chris Kieff on How Your Choose an Internet Marketing Consultant:
How do you choose an Internet Marketing consultant?
What are the 3 top factors you would use in hiring an outside Internet Marketing consultant?
Referral from a trusted source.
Examples of work.
Worked with before.
Referral from LinkedIn or other network.
Like their haircut.
You can see how the question is already good fodder for a list post. Ian Lurie responds with a pretty good set of questions, in turn. Eugene Rembor numbers qualities.
This technique may help you especially when you new to blogging and are looking to have a number of solid posts right off the gate. LinkedIn may be just what you need to get content ideas and a general flavor for the type of discussion that would ensue. Would you link to someone’s LinkedIn profile in your post? I would, and I have. Although they might not be able to find the link as we do with blog entries via Technorati, they may have set up Google alerts for their name or the name of their business. In that case they would find your post and may choose to join the conversation there.
New media is about linking and increasingly we are interlinking among different tools. To reach out to the business community, make LinkedIn part of your content strategy.