How do you get paid to blog? Multiple income streams and a positive business mindset is the answer.
Laura and I (Gemma) are fresh off the plane from Ostrava in the Czech Republic where we hosted our first ever SEO Bootcamp and presented to, yet again, the most popular session at the world’s biggest travel conference, TBEX. This time we did not share our SEO strategy, we showed people how to make money from it.
However, we are the first to admit that we are always learning and there is one technique that we’ve missed a beat on – LinkedIn. We had the pleasure of taking part in Andrew Chow’s impromptu LinkedIn lunch workshop. If you ever get the chance to see Andrew talk, do it. He is hilarious and humble.
What is LinkedIn Used For?
Andrew says, “Your paying clients are not on your Instagram, they are on LinkedIn.” LinkedIn is a platform for businesses. You will see every profession from travel bloggers to teachers sharing their content. Not only this, but all levels of hierarchy from CEOs to assistants. Just like other social media channels, there are rules, etiquette, preferred image sizes, hashtags, posting and engagement. LinkedIn is also a search engine, so keywords (not measured like organic traffic) and brand signals are also important.
Why Use LinkedIn
Think of LinkedIn as an opportunity to sell your brand. It is a modern-day CV that can be accessed through the desktop version or the app. Andrew advises setting up your profile via the desktop version initially for more functionality. Both the app and desktop site are free to use. There is a premium service but everything you need to be effective is available at no cost.
LinkedIn likes profiles that are complete and it will push those accounts up in the engagement stakes, so it is worth setting aside three-five hours to finish the following process. Andrew recommends checking out this LinkedIn page to audit what you have completed so far. The orange line is your progression score. LinkedIn also advises you, via your private dashboard, what level of completion you are at from ‘beginner’ to ‘all-star’. Andrew noted that the SSI updates weekly so you won’t see an automatic change.
Setting Up Your LinkedIn Profile
The LinkedIn dashboard is not the most aesthetically pleasing or user-friendly. Your first step is to add your personal details. This includes:
- Your Name
- Headline (see below)
- Current position(s)
- Contact Information*
- Summary (see below)
- Media (a link to your website – edit the title and summary)
*Ensure that you use an active email address. This will give potential clients the option to contact you outside of LinkedIn. You can change your URL name here too.
1. Adding Profile Images to LinkedIn
There are two spaces for images – the profile image and the cover image. You want the profile image to look professional so choose a high-quality picture. Laura and I recently paid for professional photos (£225) and it was worth every penny. Looking into the camera with a clean or bold background makes you stand out the best. No image? Expect fewer views.
The current 2018 LinkedIn cover image size is 1584 wide by 396 high (4:1 proportion). You want to choose an image that represents what you do. So if you are a fitness blogger, go for something athletic. Here’s an example of an excellent profile created by Virginia Bautista, LinkedIn coach.
Another attractive profile that caught my eye was Ryanair’s business account (interesting how many businesses have poor quality images).
2. LinkedIn Headline
The 120-character headline section is where you describe your job title(s). The consensus from the advice I’ve watched on YouTube is to keep your LinkedIn headline honest, sensible and industry focused.
I’m going to be blunt, I dislike the term ‘travel blogger’ and prefer digital content creator but I have settled with blogger because when potential clients are searching for campaign projects it is that term I assume they will be typing in the search bar (as mentioned above LinkedIn uses keywords).
If you are not sure what to write, use the search bar to have a look at what other people in your niche are doing. It has been suggested you can add your more lighthearted ‘marketing ninja’ style title at the end (I won’t be bothering).
The headline is important because it is what others see when you are commenting on posts in LinkedIn, thanks to Kerwin McKenzie for this tip. It cuts off the 120 characters so play about with it before you commit.
My first attempt was:
Travel Blogger | SEO Specialist | Public Speaker
Kerwin suggested changing this to include what I actually do:
I Use SEO To Bring Traffic To Your Website | Speaker | Travel Blogger
I liked this because I hate the term specialist but I think (this might change) that I want travel blogger to be the dominant role here. It’s a work in progress and that is an important point – it can change over time. Any tips for replacing the word specialist?
3. Writing a Good Summary
Don’t skip the summary! This is where you identify who you are, who you help and how you help them. Andrew also suggests identifying what you want to do. Write out your homepage or relevant title in full. I struggled to find some websites links on profiles when I was looking to connect with users. Avoid this, make it clear.
Links to posts such as your homepage can be added to this section, the last post you add will be the first in the list so make it a good one. However, when the user clicks on your article image it doesn’t directly click to the page hence my recommendation of adding your URL to the text.
I was having issues with LinkedIn saying it could not update the links but when I came out of the summary edit section, the links were there. I do find the desktop version stickier than the app.
4. Work Experience
In this section, you want to use keywords and statistics to describe current and previous roles. Focus on work achievements not just work experience (thanks Andrew!) You can upload examples of your work in this section too. I will eventually add PowerPoint examples of work to this section.
5. Skills Section
This is where you choose the skills that best fit your current role, previous work and soft skills. The key is getting others to endorse you (this will be one of our challenges). Andrew’s challenge is to get 99 endorsements on the top skill by the time the year is out.
How? Endorse others and join our thread in Make Traffic Happen. Endorse the people you know (don’t feel obligated to endorse those you don’t know – we want it to be authentic).
6. How to Get More Followers on LinkedIn
There are two terms we need to separate here, followers and connections. Connections are people you connect with, which means you can message them. However, you can also follow someone’s LinkedIn activity without connecting. In a bizarre world of one-upmanship the more connections, the better and once you get over 500, the profile displays 500+. As social media marketers, we are very aware that a large following does not mean an engaged audience.
According to John Marty (YouTube), the quality of connections matters. He gives this example – if you contact someone senior on Google via LinkedIn and you had several other Google connections, the senior member would see this as a positive brand signal so there is more chance on you making that connection a success.
Andrew’s tip: Look at old business cards and start connecting.
Make Traffic Happen’s tip: Start attending conferences to not only get business cards but also to make friends and connections with fellow bloggers and new brands. This is just one reason we recommend investing in conferences.
Andrew also showed us how to turn on the ‘near me now’ function via the LinkedIn app. At a conference or event, click ‘My Network’ icon at the bottom of the app then switch on ‘find nearby’ at the top. This process works on Bluetooth. This may take a few minutes but it should bring up LinkedIn connections in the area.
The LinkedIn platform itself recommends other people to connect with too and it might be worth going through old email contacts and adding.
You can also follow company pages (to switch off job alerts, deselect the option in the drop-down).
I woke up to lots of connection requests this morning. I responded to the ones I wanted to connect with by accepting and messaging them an insightful comment. This has resulted in a discussion with a digital marketing analyst about exact match internal anchors, a chat about my latest trip to Belfast with the Director of International Travel & Tourism Management at the University of Ulster (we exchanged articles) and a phone call with a potential business lead. I had to come off the app to get other work done!
7. LinkedIn Recommendations
Recommendations are an attractive section of your LinkedIn profile. This is where previous clients state why working with you was a positive experience. This, in turn, will work in your favour when potential clients look at your profile.
Everything I watched on YouTube regarding how to access the recommendations tool on LinkedIn is out of date. To request a recommendation you have to go to person’s profile, scroll to their recommendations and request one via the button. Andrew suggests sending over four simple questions such as:
1. How do you know me?
2. What did I do for you?
3. How do you feel about my performance?
4. What three work ethics do you like that I exhibit?
I’ve now reached out to three contacts – one DMO, one PR and one conference leader in the hope that they will endorse me. I gave them a quick private email before hitting the recommendation button on LinkedIn, I thought it best to send a warm-up contact first.
8. LinkedIn Tips Overview
1. Complete the profile fully
2. Update professional images
3. Connect, endorse and create recommendations
My Callout Responses
- The headline must reflect your unique selling point (USP). – Andrew Chow @ideasandrew
- Be clear with your goals for creating a #LinkedIn profile. Is it for personal branding, lead generation, recruitment, social selling, job search, etc.? Without clarity on the goal, we can’t get the kind of results that we expect. Most people give up after a week or two and say LinkedIn isn’t working for them, but the truth is, they just have no idea – Virginia Bautista
- Don’t just write what your tasks were, but what you accomplished in previous positions. Add a professional photo. – Jessica Cutrufello, A Wanderlust For Life (and MTH member)
- Ask yourself what will you use LinkedIn for and what do you want to share to with other professionals? Froilan Aloro
- Personalise your connection requests. Now that LinkedIn’s default message says they would like to join your network, I always ask myself: why? Minal Patel
- Find that group photo has the more engagement when everyone is tagged. Ask a question in the end to get more participation – Andrew Chow – @ideasandrew
- Use it as a professional platform and not like Facebook – keeping posts relevant for a business platform – Jessica Cutrufello, A Wanderlust For Life (and MTH member)
- Use a short captioned video if you can. And Be insightful in your posts. Ask questions of your readers that they can relate to – Kerwin McKenzie
- Use hashtags when posting content! (and yes, publish content) – Ed Giansante, e-Dublin
9. How to post on LinkedIn
So now we’ve got past the profile set up, let’s talk posting and engaging.
Just like you do on Facebook and Twitter you can share your content as well as comment and like on other people’s posts. Kerwin advises you to add any links in the comments and write something along the lines of ‘see link in the comments’ to avoid killing engagement. You can tag people using the @ sign and hashtags too. From my very limited experience posting, some questions have flopped, some posts have flopped. The questions in the screenshot has had the best engagement. Use the #YEStoBIZ #MakeTrafficHappen and engage with each other.
Your connection posts will show in your newsfeed, this is where you can comment and engagement with brands and fellow content creators.
From my brief experience, my article on going plastic-free was not received as well as my question asking for tips on using LinkedIn. I tagged both Andrew and Kerwin on this callout but forgot to hashtag LinkedIn. I realised this when a member responded and used the hashtag themselves.
You can review your posts by clicking your picture at the top of the page on desktop mode and selecting posts from the drop-down.
Try Posting Video On LinkedIn
LinkedIn likes videos too which isn’t surprising to hear!
10. Schedule LinkedIn Posts
You can schedule posts on LinkedIn through Buffer (free) which is great for consistency. The only downside is that tags don’t appear to work and you would have to include the article link in the post unless you were checking LinkedIn as soon as you posted.
After spending a full day working on my LinkedIn profile, I am signing off happy. I just took part in three private conservations – one with a reader, another with a blogger and a third with a brand. That certainly would not happen on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. The platform is still a minefield and their interface is the most challenging out of all the social media channels but I think it is going to be worth effort to get those brand signals flowing and my business name out there. All in all, a very productive day.
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So Where Is My Homework?
Over the next four days, we are going to break this beast down into four manageable tasks. Are you ready? Keep your eyes peeled in Make Traffic Happen’s Facebook group for your first job.
Over to you, we’re social!
Tell us your tips below.