To blog or not to blog: do’s and don’ts when business blogging

March 16, 2011

In our training courses the topic of blogging comes up every time when we talk about raising visibility and being more referrable. So I thought it was time to share a few experiences and suggestions.

There are many articles and blog posts written about blogging (and please check them out as well) so I will limit myself to business blogging from a networking/referrals point of view.

My most important advice is to share tips and experiences. Don’t make it a platform to sell your stuff (or other’s). Good content is the basis.

The pros of blogging for your business are:

  • It raises your Know, Like and Trust factor:
    • Know factor: readers get more insight who you are as an individual or as (a representative of) an organization.
    • Like factor: since you share tips without wanting anything in return people start to like you more.
    • Trust factor: if you write about your professional expertise it shows people you are the expert you claim to be.
  • It makes you more referrable: it is easier for other people to talk about you and refer people to you: “Jan Vermeiren is an expert about networking, LinkedIn and referrals, but you don’t have to believe me, just check out his blog and you will find out yourself.”
  • It might help you get higher in Google and other search engines (Google loves content and prefers it over “normal” websites).
  • It reinforces the other things you do. What happens a lot with us is that someone hears about me from someone else or reads an interview with me, they read the blog, they sign up for the free networking e-course or the free light version of “Let’s Connect!” or “How to REALLY use LinkedIn”, check my LinkedIn Profile and then call us to do a presentation or give a workshop.

In other words: a blog is part of a mix that reinforces your brand and supports your business in an indirect way.

When NOT to start blogging:

  • If you are not in there for the long run.
  • If the theme or purpose of the blog is not clear. This is not so much for the readers, but for yourself. The clearer this is, the easier it is to find the inspiration. As a consequence the theme can’t be too big or too small.
  • If you want short term results. It takes time to build a following.
  • If you only want to take or sell something and not want to give or share first.
  • If it takes you too much time to write. However, there are solutions: do a podcast (= you talk instead of write) or record your tips and have someone else make a transcription.

If you don’t take this into account, it is better not to start blogging. It might backfire on you: when people see that the last blog post is of 2003 or that you “gave up” after posting a few tips they might wonder whether you are still in business or not.

But if you do it the right way, it will help you to be more referrable and attract more business.

To your success !

Jan

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The Person I Want to Connect With on LinkedIn Only Has A Few Connections. Now What?

March 10, 2011

One of the (many) misunderstandings about a professional networking website like LinkedIn (or Xing, Ecademy, Viadeo and others) is that it doesn’t work when the people you are looking for are not active on them.

The major benefit of LinkedIn is that it shows us who is connected to whom.

Or in other words: who can introduce us to the customer, partner, employer, employee, investor, expert or other person who we want to meet.

So it doesn’t matter that much whether they are active or not.

To get in contact with the people you want to meet, always think of these three steps:
1) Use a professional networking website as a research database to see who is connected to whom.
2) Pick up the telephone and call the person you both know.
3) Ask to be introduced via a regular email (in the book “How to REALLY use LinkedIn” I call it the Magic Mail; if you want to know what that is, you are welcome to join a free LinkedIn Fundamentals webinar in English or Dutch, or if you can’t wait, just buy the book :-))

To your success !

Jan

PS: get your free light version and free updates (50 pages in the meanwhile!) of the book How to REALLY use LinkedIn (or in Dutch: het boek Hoe LinkedIn nu ECHT gebruiken)


How CEO’s can have a LinkedIn Profile without being stalked by Sales Reps and Other People

March 3, 2011

Last week I shared that it is important for CEO’s to have an attractive LinkedIn Profile for marketing, PR and recruiting purposes.

Some organisations recognize the value in these tips, but still many CEO’s don’t have a Profile on LinkedIn. The main reason (next to fear of the unknown and not understanding the value of LinkedIn since nobody ever explained it to them)?

They don’t want to be stalked by sales people (or at least the annoying ones :-)).

The good news is that LinkedIn has many ways to protect privacy and to limit the number of invitation requests, messages and emails.

You can find them in “settings” (click on the small arrow next to your name and it will pop up).

For CEO’s it might come in handy to use these settings (under Email Notifications):
– Contact Settings -> I’ll only accept Introductions.
– Invitation Filtering -> Only invitations from people who appear in my “Imported Contacts” list.

In this way no pesky sales person can stalk you while enjoying the marketing and PR benefits of having a LinkedIn Profile.

To your success !

Jan

PS: get your free light version and free updates (50 pages in the meanwhile!) of the book How to REALLY use LinkedIn (or in Dutch: het boek Hoe LinkedIn nu ECHT gebruiken)


Why having an Attractive LinkedIn Profile is important for people at C-level?

February 24, 2011

Let me give you the answer straight away: for marketing and PR reasons!

Nowadays when CEO’s, General Managers and other chief executives and board members are mentioned in the press, many times a link to their LinkedIn Profile is used.

If people click on that link and they see an incomplete, boring Profile they might assume that the organisation they represent is also boring and inattractive.

Next to that many recruiting and lead generation opportunities are missed that way.

A few weeks ago I already shared that it is important for managers to have an attractive LinkedIn Profile for recruiting matters and I also gave some advice about what to do.

What can CEO’s add to that from a marketing or PR point of view? A few quick tips:

1) A SlideShare presentation with tips showing their organisation’s expertise.
2) The books they are reading via the Amazon Reading List (this gives a personal flavour to the Profile).
3) A SlideShare presentation with their personal point of view or strategy (or at least that part that can be shared with the outside world).
4) Box.net files application: share their notes, articles or interviews.
5) A movie clip with tips, insights, an empowering message or interview.

What is important is to not focus too much on saying how great your own organisation is, but sharing stuff that can help other people. Remember that it is about building Know, Like and Trust.

To your success !

Jan

PS: get your free light version and free updates (50 pages in the meanwhile!) of the book How to REALLY use LinkedIn (or in Dutch: het boek Hoe LinkedIn nu ECHT gebruiken)


Use SlideShare in your LinkedIn Profile When You Are Looking for a New Job

February 17, 2011

I have already shared many tips in the past about an attractive LinkedIn Profile (see for example the post about new features for your LinkedIn Profile) and the use of Applications in your LinkedIn Profile (for example how to use video in your LinkedIn Profile).

Last week I had a call with Laurence Bret, the new marketing director EMEA at LinkedIn.

Of course I prepared for the meeting (as you should do, whether you are looking for a new job or not, see also my blog post why an attractive LinkedIn Profile is needed for Hiring Managers) and I was impressed with the SlideShare presentation Laurence put on her LinkedIn Profile to present herself, titled “Meet Laurence”.

I advice everybody to have a good look at it and learn from it.

Yes, it is more work, but you will also stand out from the crowd.

Remember the saying “there is no traffic jam on the extra mile”. So go ahead, go the extra mile and update your LinkedIn Profile with a stunning SlideShare presentation !

To your success !

Jan

PS: get your free light version and free updates (50 pages in the meanwhile!) of the book How to REALLY use LinkedIn (or in Dutch: het boek Hoe LinkedIn nu ECHT gebruiken)


Who Can Edit a LinkedIn Company Page?

January 13, 2011

Especially when we give training courses to multinationals or when we do strategic sessions with the top management of a company, this question pops up: who can edit our LinkedIn Company page?

This is how it works by default:

1) Someone creates the first version of a LinkedIn Company Page.
2) Everybody else with the same email address after the @ sign can edit the page. So if john.smith@company-abc.com has created the LinkedIn Company page then everybody with the @company-abc.com email address can change the page.

As a consequence my advice to you is: if you don’t have a LinkedIn Company page yet, make one right now before someone with another email address creates it without you being able to change it!

As you can imagine the fact that anybody with the same email address can change the Company page, makes some people very nervous. In my opinion you don’t have to be too dramatic about it since you can always see who changed the Company page and you can change it again.

But now LinkedIn also has the option to choose who is allowed to change the Company page.

How to do this?

1) Go to your Company Profile.
2) Click Edit.
3) Under “Company Page Admins” choose “Designated Users Only”.
4) Choose which colleagues are allowed to change the page (of course they must have a LinkedIn Profile and you must be connected to them)

To your success !

Jan

PS: get your free light version and free updates of the book How to REALLY use LinkedIn (or in Dutch: het boek Hoe LinkedIn nu ECHT gebruiken)


Best of the Blog 2010

January 6, 2011

In the beginning of this new year I would like to look back at 2010 by sharing the top blog posts of the past year. For your convenience I have divided them in four categories.

Category Networking Insights

Category Networking at Events

Category LinkedIn

Category Networking Tools

Enjoy !

Jan


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