5 Myths About Professional Athletes and How to Leverage Them

There are a number of myths out there regarding professional athletes, most of which fuel bar talk among fans. These myths are irritating to professional athletes and many who work in the industry, myself included.

But, as a professional athlete, it’s important to recognize the advantage that can be had by defying these stereotypes publicly. Notice I said publicly. The majority of athletes defy them privately, but that doesn’t pose much of an advantage.

It’s when these actions are promoted within the media that an athlete can benefit through his or her business or foundation.

Let’s take a look at some of the myths.

The Myths

“All professional athletes are rich.”

This one is frustrating. There’s nothing like being treated like scum due to the perception of making millions. Hell, if I’m going to be treated like crap for making millions, it would be nice to actually be making them.

Considering only the marquee players receive mammoth contracts and the life span of an average pro sports career is between three and six years, money is rarely there and — even when it is — it doesn’t go far.

“Professional athletes have the easiest job in the world.”

I’ve seen players limping out of a locker room the day after a game, covered in ice packs, only to suit up the following Sunday. Sports are grueling, and the ones at a national level are punishing beyond compare.

When there are throngs of fans expecting a player to suit up and contention is on the line, there is little room for choice from the player’s side.

Then — to add insult to injury (literally) — fans call players weak when they sit the bench with a broken bone, bad sprain, or other injury that could provide life-altering setbacks if aggravated.

“All professional athletes are self-centered.”

Let’s be honest: athletes are caricatures to the average person. Pawns in a game of entertainment that is far more than entertainment to most. Many fans hold their quality of life in the hands of sports and don’t care that the men or women playing the game are, in fact, human beings.

I truly believe the idea of all athletes being self-centered is a way to subconsciously justify the horrible things fans say about them, but I digress.

“Professional athletes have no idea what it’s like to be me.”

Could this be the most frustrating of all? Yes, there are the celebrity-status athletes who live life differently than most, but most professional athletes couldn’t be picked out of a crowd when wearing street clothes.

“Most professional athletes are immoral.”

Not even close. There are plenty who give all a bad name, however, primarily because the media pounces on the negative stories. We live in a day and age where sensationalism is the way to be. It’s tough to turn our eyes from a train wreck, let’s be honest.

Making the Myths Work

Why bring all of this up? Because professional athletes can use it to their advantage. As painful as it is to look the other way when a drunken fan is hurling insults their way, actively defying these myths or stereotypes can result in great things.

How do they do this?

Here is a step-by-step guide:

1. Have a plan.

Athletes shouldn’t throw money at products or services without an end result in mind. When building a foundation, have a specific timeline laid out before getting started. Recognize what will be accomplished, how funds will be raised, and a plan for growth.

When building a business, athletes must recognize the products or services being provided, who they will be provided to, and how money will be made.

2. Hire a public relations rep.

Whether an athlete played three years or three days, there is an advantage, and it’s important to hire someone who knows how to work it.

Here are some guidelines:

  • They must know how to frame a story. This is critical to getting it picked up. Hosting a holiday toy drive is nice, but it isn’t a news story. Talking about a father of four, recently laid off, who will be able to provide Christmas to his kids because of your toy drive is absolutely a story.
  • They must have a great network. Between media contacts and people of influence, make sure your PR rep has relationships to leverage.
  • They must have basic communication skills. The last thing you want is a piece of content — press release, flier, etc. — published on your behalf looking like a child put it together. Your PR rep is your rep.

Make sure he or she knows how to speak and write. Design experience is a plus, but good taste (and a willingness to defer to someone with design experience) will do.

3. Work your network.

Whether it’s online or in person, athletes must be visible. They can leverage social media (which doesn’t have to be Facebook and Twitter … it could be LinkedIn!) and take advantage of these myths by being open about how they defy them.

They should allow a PR rep to pitch stories (so they don’t appear to be boasting), promote via social, and then follow suit with the right actions.

Fans will eat it up when presented the right way.

How to Get Responses on Sales Navigator

Have you invested in Sales Navigator but can’t seem to generate any results?

If so, ask yourself this question: Am I just going through the motions?

Sales Navigator is an awesome tool for any business or entrepreneur looking to generate leads, but it’s important to put in the time and effort it takes to produce results.

Here are five steps you can take to start generating results:

1. Articulate Your Purpose

I’d wager many of us skip this step without even realizing it. You have a business with a clear focus and, therefore, can just dive into searching for potential leads … right?

Wrong.

Make sure you get organized before you set up your searches by asking yourself questions to narrow down your target:

  • Am I targeting businesses or individuals?
  • If I am targeting businesses, who are the decision-makers within those businesses relevant to my services?
  • What is my ultimate goal in connecting with my target? (e.g. schedule a demo, schedule a discovery call, sign up for a service)
  • What are the key fields within search that will produce ideal results? Do I work best with businesses of a certain size or within a certain industry?
  • Am I looking for cold traffic (non-connections) or warm traffic (1st- or 2nd-Degree connections)?

2. Fill Your Funnel

Once you’ve narrowed down who you’re looking for, it’s time to conduct searches to fill your funnel. Use Lead Builder to put together one or two searches for your ideal clients. You may be someone who prefers to focus on one core group at a time (e.g. 2nd level connections within your target) or you may enjoy the rapid fire approach of filling your funnel using 3-4 different searches.

Here are two examples of searches for my business, which focuses on working with athletes, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs:

  • My search around athletes is simple: I input the keywords “NFL” (I have a decade’s worth of experience within that industry) and “Athlete.” Then I specify the Health, Wellness, & Fitness industry. Since most professional athletes are on LinkedIn because they have a foundation or business, those filters get me the results I need.
  • My search around entrepreneurs is slightly more complex. My niche is working with passionate entrepreneurs, ideally within the Health, Wellness, & Fitness industry. I have found that leveraging the search term, “Public Speaker” pulls in the type of entrepreneur I’m looking for: someone with a growing business who is also within the public eye. In addition to those two filters, I use the “Entrepreneurship” function and the business size of “1-10.”

Once you have your searches in place, you can start filling your funnel with leads, but beware! This is where it’s easy to veer off course.

3. Study Potential Leads

This is a critical step. It isn’t enough to just hoard potential leads within Sales Navigator and “like” their posts every day. You need to take a look at what these individuals or businesses stand for before adding them and then read what they post. This will give you an idea of who your leads are and whether they will be a good fit to work with you.

Why is this such a big deal? If you take the time to get to know your potential leads and uncover the mutual benefit of working together, it will show when you reach out. Suddenly, you aren’t just looking for business for you … you are looking for a relationship between you and this business or individual.

That genuine approach makes all the difference in the world.

4. Reach Out … Without A Catch

Don’t reach out to a potential lead with an immediate ask for business. Yes, there are certain situations that warrant this (i.e. invitations to an event), but — for the most part — it’s critical to reach out without asking for a purchase or contract.

Let me illustrate why this is important.

I am an entrepreneur with a service-based business. I receive direct reach-outs from business coaches asking me to become a client. This floors me every single time. A business coach/entrepreneur relationship is personal and isn’t something I’m going to dive into after a blind reach out.

I actually have a business coach (shoutout to Natalie Eckdahl) and it’s no coincidence that that relationship formed organically. I was a longtime listener of her Biz Chix podcast and she was offering a price break on her Strategy Sessions. I had just decided to take a step forward with my business strategy and took her up on that offer.

Unbeknownst to her that I was waiting in the wings, she was nurturing me as a lead with her content. The stars then aligned with her offer and I took her up on it. Our relationship has since progressed to me becoming a coaching client and then a part of her ProfitChix Mastermind.

Use this type of engagement within Sales Navigator. Reach out to a lead you know will be a good fit and simply connect to start the ball rolling. If you’ve done your homework and your reach out is genuine, you’ll more than likely receive a response.

5. Nurture Your Leads

How do you nurture your leads? Do what you do best. Post informative content, share relevant articles, like and engage posts. Maybe you send a private message to a potential lead with a link to an article you think is helpful.

The key is to keep plugging away. This can be difficult because you have no idea how you are impacting those you are communicating with, but trust me when I say that you are. If you have a quality service and you know what you’re talking about, you are making a difference with the leads you are speaking to. The illustration to the right is one of my favorites regarding this principle!

To recap, you can generate responses on LinkedIn Sales Navigator by:

  1. Articulating your purpose
  2. Filling your funnel
  3. Studying potential leads
  4. Reaching out … without a catch
  5. Nurturing your leads

Get started and share your results!

video camera

How to Capitalize on Being Well-Known

There are many degrees of “famous.” In fact, fame is relative when broken down. My die-hard sports fan of an uncle may know every player to don a Detroit Tigers uniform while my best friend from college may not know what an inning is.

Because there are so many levels of fame, every business person who is “known” should leverage it. Plenty of start-ups publish blog posts to resounding silence and have to pay for every Facebook like, email sign-up, and Twitter follower they receive.

If you have a network, use it.

Here’s how you can get started:

1. Start with Friends and Family

No, I’m not joking. When you are known just for being you — maybe you’re an athlete, philanthropist, or stage performer — your friends and family are your biggest fans. They love to boast about every single thing you do and will share it to their social media platforms, by word of mouth, and through email.

If you are starting a business and you have a fan base made up of your friends and family, start there. Let them know what you’re up to, have them follow your social media accounts, and pass along any materials they can forward to their friends.

Exceptions to the rule: anyone who is toxic or who would purposefully tarnish the image of you or your business. Skip those people!

2. Nurture Your Raving Fans

Anyone who is well known has a core group of raving fans who want to be a part of everything they’re doing. Maybe these individuals love your foundation’s mission, followed your college sports career, or were first in line at your local concert.

The key is to feed any and all material to this group. Make them feel special by giving them inside information. Start a closed Facebook group just for them where you make a point to spend time each week engaging.

These people are your lifeblood and will grow your business or foundation.

Think of a bulls-eye. Your raving fans are the circle at the center. The more you feed those fans, the bigger that circle will get because they will spread what you’re doing to their networks. That’s how you grow.

3. Keep Relationships with Influencers

If you have reached the point of stardom — even if it’s local — there are influencers who have shared your story. It may be a local news or TV reporter, the principal or superintendent of a school, or a PR director.

Nurture those relationships and make sure they are mutually beneficial. Do favors for those influencers (within reason) by coming out to an event or signing memorabilia for an auction.

Yes, there are those who will try to take advantage of you, but try to find the genuine ones who clearly care about you and what you’re doing. If you have to ask a trusted friend and family member to help you spot the good apples, do it. The key is to find the influencers who have your back.

4. Give Your Network a Reason to Care

It isn’t just enough to maintain these relationships — you have to give these people a reason to care.

Whether you have a for-profit business or a non-profit foundation, share the personal side of why you started that entity and then continue to engage with content. Stay active on social media, post photos of your business or foundation, conduct interviews, and talk about the passion you have for what you’re doing.

Leverage the network you already have to kick-start your marketing efforts and then continue to grow as a person and a professional. These people will cheer you on every step of the way and help you make your dream a reality!

I Have to Have a ‘Why?’ … Why?

As an entrepreneur, it is critical to have a ‘why.’ What does that mean?

Your ‘why’ is the reason you are doing business in the first place. It’s what fuels your fire and gets you up in the morning excited to start your day. Businesses with a ‘why’ do better than those that don’t because it connects the consumer with your product or service.

I saw a great example of this on The Partner, the CNBC reality show starring serial entrepreneur, Marcus Lemonis. In one of the episodes, he gave the contestants the challenge of selling products at a mall kiosk.

If you’ve ever walked by a mall kiosk, I’m assuming you’ve also executed the head-down-if-I-don’t-look-at-them-they-won’t-ask-me-to-try-a-sample method. Point being: these entrepreneurs had their work cut out for them, even if they did have cameras following them to add intrigue.

Marcus told the contestants they could research a number of different products and then choose the products they wanted to sell at their kiosk. The group that generated the highest sales total would win.

The contestants chose products they thought would be most appealing to the consumers that also had the best sales margin: candy, popcorn, designer bags, etc. They overlooked Flex watches, a product that donates 10-percent of sales to charity (each watch represents a different charity). Their mindset was that it would take too long to explain the backstory and, therefore, wouldn’t be worth trying to sell at a mall kiosk.

In the show, Marcus steps in after the groups are mostly unsuccessful and has a mall employee (or extra?) pitch the watches to passing customers. She sells seven (or something like that) in 30 minutes because she catches the attention of passers-by when she tells them that each purchase benefits a charity.

Now, I recognize this is reality TV that must have a plot to hold the attention of viewers (so we can question whether some of this was staged), but the overarching message rings true: people stop and pay attention when there is a purpose behind a sale.

Think about it: we are inundated with countless pitches on a daily basis with an ever-decreasing attention span. What is going to set one business apart from another? Tapping into emotions. Even when we are talking about products — cleaning products, for example — there are internal and philosophical reasons we purchase.

Network marketing is another great example. There are countless consultants selling the exact same products to friends and family. The difference-maker is the ‘why.’ Someone is selling products to start a college fund, pay medical bills, or go on vacation. The more touching the purpose behind the sales, the more sales the individual will receive.

If you are a business coach, it is critical to set yourself apart from others within your space. Having a well-developed ‘why’ — e.g. you want to empower female business owners or help driven start-ups — will connect you with your potential clients.

It’s all about the ‘why.’

So, do you have a ‘why?’ What is it?

GENERATING LINKEDIN LEADS

Generating LinkedIn Leads: Paid Ads vs. Content and Engagement

After optimizing your LinkedIn personal profile for inbound marketing, where do you go from there? Regardless of the option you choose, it’s important to know there will always be an associated cost.

If you choose paid advertising, you’ll be paying LinkedIn directly. If you go the organic route, you’ll either be paying a consultant to engage on your behalf, or you’ll be investing your own time.

The moral of the story: you get out of lead generation what you put into it!

Paid LinkedIn Advertising

While this seems like the easiest — most direct — plan of action, leveraging paid advertising on LinkedIn can result in a great deal of frustration if you aren’t sure what you’re doing.

LinkedIn offers a few paid advertising options, but I’m only going to focus on two: Sponsored Content and Sponsored InMail. Other options — text, dynamic, and display ads — are all located on the right rail and aren’t ideal for service-based businesses to generate engagement, in my opinion.

Sponsored Content:

With this option, you are paying for a spot in the LinkedIn news feed. You can pay to have one of your existing posts sponsored or you can create a post from scratch.

  • PROS: You are gaining exposure to your specific target audience through the news feed. This is especially helpful if you target individuals based on their title, business type, or location.
  • CONS: Compared to Facebook, which provides substantial results as low as $5 per day ($0.30 – $0.50 per click, ideally), LinkedIn clicks tend to run $5 each. To run a CPM ad (cost per impression) means you’re paying for every single view, which can also get pricey if you aren’t generating results.

Sponsored InMail:

With this option, you are gaining access to inboxes of your target audience, creating an email message that LinkedIn distributes.

  • PROS: You can personally invite individuals within your target audience to an online or in-person event, to download promotional content, or to engage in a demo.
  • CONS: You are invading the personal space of people you don’t know. I am an advocate of nurturing online relationships instead of slapping people across the face with an ask, which is why I am not a fan of this type of promotion. There are those who make it work, however!

My advice: if you are going to go the paid advertising route on LinkedIn, go in with a very specific objective, such as promoting a downloadable item in exchange for contact information. If you don’t, you will probably end up with a big bill and a lot of frustration.

Content and Engagement

My method of choice on LinkedIn is content and engagement. Write articles or post videos to showcase expertise and draw attention to your brand. You can also engage with others to increase visibility.

As I mentioned before, the cost associated with this is the consultant you pay or the time you invest. Premium consultants should be able to do all of this with little input from you. Those who charge less will more than likely need a greater investment of your time to ensure what you’re publishing is truly “you.”

A step-by-step process in engagement:

  1. Get your LinkedIn profile ready to be seen. Create a great headline, optimize for keywords, add multimedia, and make sure it’s readable. Dig deeper into this here.
  2. Like, comment, and share content of relevant individuals. The hope is that your headline and profile catches the attention of those individuals and they may reach out to learn more about what you provide.
  3. Strike up conversations. Search for individuals within your target audience and reach out to connect. Add a personal note mentioning why you’d like to talk further. If they accept, thank them, and don’t pitch! Take note of their name to follow up or mark them as a lead in Sales Navigator, a great tool ($79.99 per month).
  4. Generate quality content. Write blogs, post videos, or share relevant articles. You want everything to appeal to your target audience while showcasing that you are a great source of information and that you have great expertise.

No matter the option you choose, you will truly get out of lead generation what you put into it. Conduct research around what will work best for you — paid advertising, hiring a consultant, or engaging on your own — and then focus on it to the best of your ability!

generating leads on social media

Is Your Social Media Audience Ready to Buy From You?

Last week I wrote about not getting discouraged when your social media campaign doesn’t generate leads right away. Today I’m going to dig deeper into the reasons why.

Before we continue, however, please know that the foundation of my business is to help others with a proven product or service generate leads through building credibility and trust. If a business doesn’t have a proven product or service, this process is far more complex with plenty of additional elements. When a business has already established itself as viable, finding success online is just a matter of time (though there are always exceptions).

If a business with a viable product or service comes to me looking to generate leads online, there are specific questions I will ask (in a specific order) to determine where we start the project and how long it will take. With every “yes” answer, the timeline for generating leads gets shorter.

1. Do you have an online audience?

If yes, move on to question two.

If no, you will — without a doubt — be looking at months before you are generating leads online. Building an online audience isn’t a simple process because there are so many factors involved. Here are a few questions highlighting those factors:

  • On which social media platform(s) does your audience spend the most time? Which makes the most sense for you to try and engage them?
  • What are the best ways to attract your audience to your page or profile?
  • Are there specific segments of your target audience we should focus on in the online space? In other words, does only a portion of your overall audience actually spend time on social media?

Some brands can build online audiences at lightning speed. Others build them at a slow crawl. It depends on what is being sold and the personality of the target audience (yes, entire groups of people have a “personality”).

Sometimes the platform to focus on is obvious. Other times, I will select two or three to test and see which moves the fastest. Then we put all of our strategy eggs into that basket.

2. Is your online audience engaged?

If yes, move on to question three.

If no, this may be an extremely difficult hurdle to clear, because it could take your online marketing strategy back to square one. Why? Because a huge online audience — even tens of thousands of followers — is useless if it’s made up of the wrong people.

Even if your audience is made up of the right people, we still have a problem if they aren’t engaged. What does it mean to be engaged? An engaged audience cares about the content you’re putting out. They like, retweet, share, comment and/or click through to what you publish. An engaged audience means you have individuals that care about you and your brand.

This is online lead generation gold.

If you don’t have an engaged audience, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be generating leads right away. Determining the best way to engage an audience — and then making it happen — takes time and testing.

Here’s why:

  • Each social media platform engages its users in a different way. The same person may follow you on Twitter and Facebook, but only engage with your brand on Twitter. This is because each platform is appealing for different reasons – Twitter tends to be a networking tool or news blotter; Facebook is more about developing content your followers can identify with.
  • You may have to overcome platform obstacles to reach your audience. If your audience spends the most time on Facebook, you will have to get through that platform’s lack of organic reach (and probably leverage paid ads). If your audience spends time on Twitter or Instagram, you may have to increase your followers to give yourself more credibility.
  • You must determine how your audience wants your content. Maybe your audience prefers Instagram videos to photos. Maybe they like it when you hold Q&As on Facebook LIVE. This can be one of the more difficult variables to nail down because it can take weeks to determine whether a particular type of content is going to stick.
  • You have to find the right formula. I oversee all communications for a high profile nonprofit that requires a regular switch in the tone of social media content. The nonprofit raises funds and awareness for a type of pediatric brain tumor that has a zero percent survival rate. If we only posted heavy, emotional content, we would burn out our audience. We rotate between research statistics, emotional stories, and lighthearted videos of the family to keep things fresh.

3. Will your engaged audience buy immediately?

If yes, celebrate (yay!) and then move on to question four.

If no, let the content planning begin. I typically work with businesses or professionals that do not have an audience that will buy immediately, primarily because I work with service-based businesses. Typically, there is an interim step in there, such as entering an email address for follow-up or reaching out for a demonstration of your service.

This process of moving an audience from followers to buyers will look different for each business. I caution you not to compare yourself to another business and think, “That’s how I need to be doing it.” It all comes down to who you are and who your audience is. As you’ve learned from the first two questions, audiences are complex!

There are a number of ways your audience may move from follower to buyer:

  • Signing up for an email list. This is the method shouted from the rooftops as the “standard” for lead generation — building an email list. While I recognize the power of an email list, it may not be your primary method of lead generation. I, for one, have a very personal way of generating leads that doesn’t include collecting email addresses. I tend to make personal reach-outs and connect with individuals online to generate interest. This is a skill not everyone has.
  • Requesting a free trial. Some businesses have such great success that they offer a free trial knowing they will convert a certain percentage who opt in. If this is the case, generating online leads tends to be fairly easy … people respond to results.
  • Engaging with your content. If you are an expert in your field, putting out high quality content will build your credibility with your audience. You may include a call to action within that content that includes a free trial or discount toward your services … or you may just have such a high level of expertise that you know individuals will reach out after reading or watching your content.
  • Building a relationship with you. As I said before, I generate leads through engaging with people online. You may have that same ability and, therefore, reach out to potential leads through a service such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator. If this is the case, your content will act as a support in that process.

4. How do you maintain your process?

Congratulations! If you’re answering this question, it means you’re generating leads … now it’s just a matter of maintenance!

This typically includes regular content, social media posts, and emails to your list (if you have one). Depending on your funnel, you may have social media ads in place. The key is to keep everything going so you are always in front of your audience … you don’t want them to forget about you!

I hope this has helped you understand why generating leads on social media is frequently a 3-6 month process. It all depends on where you are in terms of your online audience and then how long it takes to get them to buy.

And always keep in mind … no two businesses are alike!

Don’t Be Discouraged When Your Social Campaign Doesn’t Work Right Away

There is a big misconception out there when it comes to social media marketing: that it works instantly.

True, you can instantly share to your social media channels, but that doesn’t mean you will generate immediate results. It’s what we refer to as a “long-term play.” It can take anywhere from 1-3 months to see a tangible return on your efforts.

There are a number of reasons this is the case:

1. You have to TEST!

Even the very best digital marketers don’t have all the answers right away. I know, it’s shocking!

There are so many variables that exist within a social media campaign that it is extremely difficult to get it right with your first iteration. Simply breaking a campaign down into finding your audience and what to say presents a number of different paths to take that require testing to see what works.

How to reach your target audience. Do we use ads? Organic content? LinkedIn InMail or email? More than likely, the answer consists of a combination of tools that work together to get the job done.

What to say to your target audience. We may be in front of the right people, but what will cause them to act? Minor tweaks in copy, changing the image associated with an ad or content, and a difference in call to action can all impact results.

2. You are still vetting your sales funnel.

If a business already has an established sales funnel, early success of a social media campaign is much more likely. What does that mean?

Let’s say you are a business coach. Your method for generating quality leads is to acquire email sign-ups through your website. You already know your email content is effective in nurturing members of your target audience to becoming clients.

That means that once your social media campaign is reaching the right individuals and adequately leading them to your website, you will produce leads.

If, on the other hand, you don’t have that sales funnel established, we would not only be testing your social media campaign, but also the ways to lead your target audience toward becoming paying clients or customers.

That means your social media campaign could be effective in what it is supposed to be doing — reaching the right people and getting them to act — without generating leads.

3. You aren’t conveying your value.

This is a big one. I’ve seen a number of entrepreneurs who are doing great things, but there is a disconnect between what they are doing well and what they are saying about themselves.

One of the biggest indicators of this is if you have a successful local business with raving clients, but you aren’t pulling in online leads. More than likely, you aren’t properly articulating your “it factor.”

Let’s go back to our business coach example. A business coach may articulate through her social media campaign that she will “assess your business and coach you through necessary changes to increase revenue.”

That statement may be accurate, but it isn’t conveying this coach’s true value. After asking her clients why they work with her, she may find out that her “it factor” is pushing her clients outside their comfort zones.

Changing her social media campaign to articulate that she “will push you outside of your comfort zone to get you to do things you’ve been putting off” will resonate much better with her target audience.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are a number of variables in play when beginning a social media campaign. Each is directly associated with your campaign, but is also impacted by other areas of your business and factors outside of your control.

It is impossible to predict how an audience will respond to your efforts, even when you know that audience inside and out! Testing, refining your sales funnel, and properly conveying value are all elements of a social media campaign that require time and multiple iterations.

It’s why I set goals with my clients in month-by-month increments. What we are doing is building layers of a social media campaign and testing them along the way.

My next blog post will focus on that layering process – make sure you follow me on LinkedIn so you’ll be notified when it’s live!

LinkedIn help

Don’t Make This Mistake When Writing Your LinkedIn Profile

There are a number of factors to consider when writing your LinkedIn profile: target audience, search engine optimization (SEO), and call to action to name a few. After all, you’re looking to convince users (target audience) to buy from you (call to action) and you want to be found (SEO).

But even when everything is written well, there is one critical mistake made over and over again that can greatly decrease your chances of generating leads on LinkedIn.

And that mistake is … Readability.

You can write the greatest sales copy of the century, but fail miserably if it is thrown into one gigantic paragraph. The average human attention span is eight seconds, which means you have the blink of an eye to make a great first impression. You better have a profile that is easy to digest or you’ll lose the audience you’re working so hard for.

This is especially challenging within a LinkedIn profile because the platform doesn’t allow for formatted text (e.g. bold, italics, font size). You have to get creative to make your profile stand out, but the first step is making sure it’s readable.

Here are some of my suggestions:

Paragraphs

I am a huge advocate of breaking up text into paragraphs. There is nothing worse than trying to read something that is a giant word wall.

Now, I get that paragraph length is a personal preference and that mine tend to be on the shorter side. But in this age of short attention spans, I want to keep eyes moving. To me, structuring paragraphs within a profile is an art form that can make all the difference between someone getting lost in your copy to feeling lost reading your copy.

Lists

Lists are another great way to keep eyes moving through your copy, and you can work them in to just about any section of your profile. Take a look at what you’re writing and if there are sentences structured with commas (i.e. “I am talented in item A, item B, and item C”), consider breaking those items up into a list.

You will have to use symbols as bullet points since LinkedIn doesn’t allow for formatted text within its profile sections, but you can get creative with what you choose. Visit websites like copypastecharacter.com to find symbols for your profile.

Subheads

Since you can’t add HTML to your profile you won’t get the SEO benefits of subheads, but you will break up your text and draw attention to key points within your profile. To see the power of this effect, take a look at my LinkedIn profile.

By capitalizing all words and using symbols before and after those words, the subheads within these profile sections stand out. Not only is your eye drawn to those sections, you’ll find yourself reading them. This technique is a tool to better communicate what you and your profile are all about!

Symbols

I’ve already mentioned symbols in two of the other sections because they are critical within LinkedIn profiles. When you use symbols, it successfully breaks up text and draws attention to key points.

Now, I recognize that symbols are fun and it’s easy to get carried away. Make sure you pick professional icons that look good together!

Final Thoughts on Formatting

Readability is critical for a successful profile and formatting is a key piece of that. Get creative with the way you use capitalization, symbols, spacing, and paragraphs to draw attention to what you can do for the audience you draw to your profile.

And if the entire thing sounds like too much work, take advantage of my LinkedIn Profile Development service.

Good luck!

LinkedIn Profile

Resume Or Life Story? What To Say Within Your LinkedIn Profile

Should you write your LinkedIn profile the same way you would write a resume or should you tell your life story?

Knowing what to say within your LinkedIn profile is much harder than it seems. Sit down to start your Summary or Current Experience section and you may come down with a case of writer’s block.

There are a number of factors involved when it comes to what you should say within your LinkedIn profile and how you should say it.

1. Industry

First thing’s first: what industry are you in? An investment banker isn’t going to sound the same as a film producer. A doctor may lose credibility if he or she cites a love of wine or cigar smoking within his or her profile. A freelance writer may miss out on jobs if copy is dry or uninteresting.

It’s important to look at your profile through the filter of the field you’re in. What would someone looking for your services expect to see? How can you use what you write within your profile to show off your skills or expertise?

2. Personality

Stay true to you when you’re writing your profile. Here’s what I mean: if you don’t like sharing personal information, then don’t. If you like to tell stories, tell them. You’ve reached this point in your career because of who you are — don’t shy away from then when you’re talking about yourself within your LinkedIn profile.

At the same time, you want to make sure what you say comes off the way you intend it to come off. Having another set of eyes look through what you’ve written is always a good idea, especially when you’re really looking to showcase your personality.

Something you think is funny may come off rude. Something you think is clear may come off confusing. Get a proofreader!

3. Credibility

What approach will give you the most credibility? Put yourself in the shoes of the people you’re targeting. What could they read within your profile that would lead them to feeling comfortable giving you their money? What would inspire them to want to work with you?

This is the inbound marketing process, which walks people toward wanting to work with you before you even have a conversation.

The right approach will vary by industry and individual. A sales rep, for example, would want to list numbers to show competency. Someone selling a product would want to list key features or testimonials that showcase product benefits. Know what others will want to see from you and include it within your profile.

4. Context

Take a step back from your profile and look at the big picture. Envision your target audience, or who you want to be viewing your profile. What are their key attributes? Then ask yourself these three questions:

  • Where are they coming from? In other words, how will they find your profile?
  • What must they know about you if they are going to do business with you?
  • What do you want them to do once they’ve read your profile?

These three questions will guide you through the process of understanding what you should say to your audience. If your LinkedIn profile were an experience, what would you want that experience to be like for those who visit?

You may need help or guidance when it comes to answering these questions, which is completely normal. You may not even want to write your profile! No problem.

Schedule a Strategy Call or LinkedIn Profile Optimization. We’ll have your profile representing you in no time!

LinkedIn Profile

How to Get Your LinkedIn Profile Ready to Be Seen

I was recently asked an eloquent question around LinkedIn:

How do I get people to buy from me without being smarmy?

Really a fantastic question … and I have an answer!

There are three important steps to generating sales on LinkedIn:

  1. Get your profile ready to be seen
  2. Engage, engage, engage!
  3. Reach out to leads

It’s really that simple, though I know it isn’t simple at all. How do you get your profile ready to be seen? Where do you engage? What do you say when you reach out to a potential lead?

Today we are going to take a look at preparing your profile to be seen, starting with one of the most important aspects of LinkedIn: having a great headline.

It’s All About the Headline

Your headline is critical to the attention you receive on LinkedIn. When you have a headline that pulls attention from potential clients, curiosity will get the best of them and they will click through to your profile.

So … what makes a great headline?

The key is to adequately represent what you provide. How to do that will vary by industry. For example, I receive the most attention for my services (LinkedIn Profile Optimization) by putting those words first in my headline.

Others who don’t have a specific deliverable (a business coach or marketing consultant, for example) may do better with an action-oriented headline such as, “Generating Leads for Small Business Owners in Metro Detroit.”

Now, I just used that last headline as an example, but it gets you thinking, doesn’t it? Even if you don’t have a small business in Metro Detroit, you want to see what that person has to offer. It resonates far deeper than a headline that reads, “Marketing Consultant,” or “CEO.”

Ask yourself what your top deliverable is and represent that within your headline. Also, make sure you put the most relevant keywords within the first 75 characters since that number of characters is always visible when engaging.

What Would You Say First?

When it comes to what you should write within your Summary and Current Experience sections, think about what you would say to someone who would most benefit from your product or service.

  • How would you best describe your product or services?
  • What problem(s) are you solving?
  • What are the next steps to getting started with you and your business?

What you want to say within your Summary and Current Experience sections are what you would tell someone who just walked into your brick-and-mortar establishment. Instead of an actual store, though, they’ve walked into your LinkedIn profile.

The difference between a Summary and Current Experience section is kind of like the difference between a cover letter and a resume. Your Summary will talk more about who you are as a professional while your Current Experience section will talk more about your deliverables.

Don’t Forget Keywords

What would someone type into LinkedIn search to find what you’re offering? Those are the keywords you want to include within your headline, job title(s), and copy. If you have characters left over (LinkedIn provides 2,000 per section), you can even list keywords at the bottom. Simply refer to them as “Specialties” or “Expertise” and then list them out.

Add Articles, Multimedia, and Websites

LinkedIn doesn’t allow for dynamic links within your body copy, but you can add links at the bottom of each section. Great things to include are sales landing pages, articles you’ve written or been featured in, multimedia (e.g. videos, podcasts), links to your website, or PDF brochures.

You want to link to anything that provides credibility or links users to the next step in your sales funnel.

Make it Readable

Make sure what you write is easy to read. I know this can be difficult since LinkedIn doesn’t allow for formatted text within sections, but there are ways to write something that is easy on the eyes.

Avoid giant blocks of text — use plenty of breaks, headers (use all caps for these), lists and icons. You don’t want it to look like an emoji app blew up on your profile (keep it professional!), but some strategically-placed icons never hurt anyone.

Also, proof it! Have someone else take a look at what you’ve written and point out any errors. Grammatical and spelling errors are the best ways to look unprofessional!

Be YOU

Don’t forget to be yourself! Adding some personality to your profile can be a huge benefit. Articulate your passions, write with a particular flair, or add a little humor. Obviously, a profile for a tax consultant will have a far different tone than that of a business coach, but you get the idea. Make sure what you say is memorable!

Okay, what do you think? Did I leave anything out? Feel free to ask questions below! And if all of this seems like way too much work, take a look at my LinkedIn Profile Optimization service.