The Campainless Blog
According to LinkedIn, 88% of US marketers currently leverage content marketing to achieve their objectives. However, almost half of this group feel that they aren’t using it effectively. That means there are countless marketers out there, eager to find ways of doing content marketing better.
Sound familiar? Luckily, we have everything you need to do exactly that. In our in-depth LinkedIn content masterclass – we’ll walk you through the basics, before diving into specific steps, helpful tips, nifty tools and first-class examples. All you need to do is start reading and you’ll be on track to elevating your content marketing today.
To start with – let’s address the bare essentials. What is content marketing and where does LinkedIn fit into the picture?
Content marketing refers to a business’s use of content to attract, engage and build a relationship with their target audience. The theory is that by providing prospects with high-quality content, brands are able to foster trust and establish themselves as a thought leader. Plus fill up their marketing funnel and ultimately, generate more conversions.
LinkedIn is one of the most popular platforms leveraged by B2B companies for content marketing. Why? The targeting capabilities are far more advanced than any other advertiser. Meaning you can get your content in front of exactly the right eyeballs. And if you compare it to other social channels like Facebook Ads, where the whole world is on there and could be doing anything under the sun – LinkedIn users are already in a work mindset.
Perhaps above all, content marketing works so well on LinkedIn because quality content is the bread and butter of the channel. It’s where working professionals go to seek career tips, insights and information. So, it’s no surprise LinkedIn is the preferred playground for content marketers.
There’s no easy, one-size-fits-all answer. The performance of content on LinkedIn depends much more on your ability to meet the specific needs of your audience than the content format. Therefore, it’s less a case of saying whitepapers work best on LinkedIn. And more a case of saying success depends on how well you understand your audience.
That being said, there is a strong correlation between the stage of the funnel your prospects are at and the preferred content format. We generally find that short videos and infographics work best for top-of-funnel awareness campaigns. Whitepapers, how-to guides and eBooks perform best for mid-funnel, lead generation purposes. And product videos, case studies or product demos shine when it comes to bottom-funnel retargeting. Again, there is no hard and fast rule here – testing a few different styles of content is the quickest method of finding your answer.
Image source: Digital Strategy Consultants
Now you understand why content marketers use LinkedIn and the types of content that work for each stage of the funnel – let’s dig into some essential tips for devising your own strategy. By absorbing these nuggets of wisdom, you’re putting yourself in the prime position to win at the content marketing game.
The #1 rule of Linkedin content marketing, and the key to success is to KNOW, understand and write for your target audience. What does this mean in practice? Before you put pen to paper – you should have a clear definition of your key personas. This means who they are, what they do, and perhaps most importantly, what their problems are. All this information should then be packaged up, designed, documented and distributed to your entire marketing team.
It is only once this first step has been ticked off, that you can endeavor to create an effective strategy. We’d strongly recommend investing the time (or money) into creating fully fleshed-out, detailed and designed personas if you haven’t already got them. It’s 100% worth it as these documents will be referred back to constantly.
Once you have a firm understanding of who your key personas are and which ones you want to focus on – the second step is to ask yourself how you can provide real, genuine value to them. Using content as your vessel, while not coming across as salesly or ingenuine.
For example, say your target audience are software engineers. Your research shows that many of them are tired of spending hours of their day troubleshooting small network issues rather than working on higher-value projects. You could devise a piece of long-form content like an eBook that addresses this pain point and provides some genuine tips and insights to solve it. This would be a great example of content marketing done well.
Through this approach, you’re able to build trust and credibility without coming across as pushy or commercially focused. You’re able to deliver real value. And real value is something which LinkedIn users can detect straight away.
We’ve touched on the importance of the funnel stage (top, mid, bottom) in determining the performance of certain content pieces on LinkedIn. But it’s important to really hammer down the point here. You need to meet your prospects where they are, not where you’d like them to be.
Even though ideally every prospect would be ready-to-buy, most aren’t. Particularly when scrolling through their LinkedIn feed they’re likely looking for jobs or career tips rather than an expensive business solution. For this reason, you need to curate content that fits with every stage of the buying cycle. This holistic approach gives you a chance at meeting the needs of as many prospects as possible. It also prevents you from missing out on any valuable opportunities that may not be ready today.
Beyond knowing your audience, focusing on providing value & aligning your content with the relevant funnel stage – you should aim to get a sense of what topics are trending in your industry. This is crucial to evaluate before you start deciding on your direction. After all, content marketing is most impactful when it aligns with the topics that are currently resonating with your audience.
There are a number of tools that can help you do this – including BuzzSumo, Answer the Public and SurferSEO to name a few. Simply search a topic and see what users are engaging with across multiple platforms and search engines. Doing a bit of keyword research to see what top of funnel terms are gaining traction in recent months is also a good idea to ensure your content is fresh and on the pulse.
Once you’ve decided on a piece of content for every stage of your prospect’s buying cycle and ensure this content aligns with what’s trending – you’ve got to map it all out! Online tools like Miro can help translate your content marketing strategy into a visual, editable and collaborative whiteboard format. They also make it easy to share your strategy with team members for their contributions and feedback. Having this tangible strategy document to refer back to and make changes to at any time, can really make or break your content marketing efforts.
Once you’ve mapped out your end-to-end Linkedin content marketing strategy – you need to have a firm grasp on the key metrics you’ll use to measure success. After all, what’s the point of mapping out a strategy if you have no way of judging whether it’s working?
So, how do you decide? Again, let’s circle back to funnel stages. Is brand awareness your focus? If so, metrics like reach and VTR may be really important. Is your goal lead generation? If so, lead volume, cost per lead and lead form completion rate are probably more suited. Or is it bottom-of-funnel conversions you’re after? Hone in on conversion volume and CVR.
Whatever your focus or objective, it’s crucial that you define your metrics, know what you’re trying to achieve and continue to check in with their progression over time.
Now that you have your LinkedIn content marketing strategy (and the metrics you’ll use to determine success) – it’s time to send it out into the world! We’d recommend using not only LinkedIn Ads, but also amplifying your content through a number of paid and organic channels. This might include Facebook, Twitter or Google Ads depending on where your audience is.
Once your content is live – the hard work doesn’t end. You need to make sure you constantly monitor your campaigns and posts, check in with your KPIs, and make adjustments based on the data you’re seeing. From an ads perspective, in-platform performance and demographic dashboards within LinkedIn can be very helpful for this. You can even create custom views that only display your key metrics. From organic LinkedIn, the engagement stats provided on your company page are key.
That being said, LinkedIn’s recently introduced Content Marketing Score is the best way of measuring your overall efforts. This encompasses paid and organic channels. The sole goal of this score is to quantify the success of your Linkedin content marketing initiatives. And do so in a more holistic way and help you get it to reach maximum potential.
So, you’ve learnt the theory. But what does LinkedIn content marketing look like in the wild? We’ve pulled together some examples of companies who have done it well. We’ve also tried to represent the various stages of the funnel. Hopefully these stellar examples will provide you with some well-needed content inspiration to fuel your own efforts.
Salesforce’s recent 30 second brand video is an A-grade example of LinkedIn content marketing. First of all, this piece of content clearly aligns with the top-funnel awareness stage. The focus is on educating prospects about who Salesforce are, what the brand embodies and how they help businesses. The target audience (all businesses across verticals with a customer focus) is also clearly articulated. If you’re looking to create an effective top-funnel piece – we’d recommend taking some pointers from this short video.
Moving onto mid-funnel content marketing – global tech company, Integrated Research (IR), are pros. What do they do so well? First, they design their content assets around clearly defined audiences. For example, for a recent campaign asset they focused on writing for network engineers from a target account list.
Secondly, they catered their content (A Guide to Optimizing your Network) specifically to the problems these engineers face on a daily basis e.g. hours of a day wasted on troubleshooting common network issues. And thirdly they provided value in the form of offering solutions within the piece (& in an organic way included their own UC monitoring tool as one of them). Successfully linking their prospects’ problems to IR’s solution in a natural way. Perfection.
While content is most commonly associated with top and mid-funnel stages, Canva’s recent LinkedIn sign up video is a great example of how content can also be used to achieve bottom-funnel objectives. In this 15 second video, you can tell straight away who the audience is (marketing teams across all businesses/verticals), what the offer is (free sign up) and the stage of the funnel it fits into (bottom-funnel).
The video itself does an excellent job of highlighting Canva’s key features and displaying the easy-to-use, highly customisable UI from the point-of-view of the user. With this approach they enable prospects to really imagine themselves using Canva and envision just how much easier the platform will make their lives. For each of these reasons, Canva’s use of content in their Linkedin marketing is 👌.
With all these tips, tools, insights and examples at your disposal, you should have everything you need to excel at LinkedIn content marketing. Still feel like you still need a bit more help? With Campainless, the world’s first LinkedIn optimisation tool – you can receive a constant stream of content best practices to keep your content strategy on track.
Plus, you’ll get alerts to let you know pieces content are working (and those that aren’t) as soon as there’s statistical significance. Learn more about the platform here, or if you have other LinkedIn questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.