Friday, September 19, 2014

How Content Marketing Allows Greater Access to LinkedIn Connections

Edward Brown, M.S.

One of the markets I embrace and love writing for is law enforcement.  As a former Atlanta police officer, I have an interest in police departments improving their morale and employee engagement, which leads to better services for the public. My initial entry into marketing my skills on LinkedIn was met with missteps.   I was trying to increase the contacts in my LinkedIn database and started sending LinkedIn requests to law enforcement personnel across the country that I didn’t know. I was not aware that this was a “no no,” within LinkedIn policies.  LinkedIn wants the individual using its services to know the people they are trying to “Friend.” Therefore, I was “dinged,” which meant that I could no longer send invitations to connect with others, but that others could request to connect with me.  Fortunately, two things happened out of this faux pas: 1. I wrote content to help solve problems within police departments, which built trust among my contacts and 2. Police personnel reached out me to join my network.

What does this mean for you with content marketing to increase your LinkedIn connections?

If you are participating in any Internet marketing strategy on LinkedIn, where you want people to view you as an expert or valued resource, it is essential that you see yourself as a content marketer.

The benefits of content marketing are:

Inbound marketing attracts people to you. Inbound marketing is the idea of having people come to you based on the perceived value that you provide through articles, videos and books versus outbound marketing, which are your typical advertisements, commercials and fliers. The core difference between the two hinges on how you view human nature from a buying perspective. If you believe people buy when they are comfortable and trust that you are actually trying to solve their problems, you are exercising inbound marketing. However, if you view the world from an “If they see me enough, they will buy from me” perspective, then you are demonstrating an outbound marketing paradigm. The ideal marketing mix involves inbound and outbound marketing, but if you want to increase your value to LinkedIn connections, inbound marketing is a better choice.

You stand out within your industry. One of the greatest needs as humans is to be recognized and viewed as significant. If you can produce reports, blog posts, white papers and digital books that solve problems within your industry, you become a force to be reckoned with. Since most people don’t like to write, those who do enjoy writing can create a monopoly in their niche. If you have been within your industry for a significant amount of time, you have expertise that is unique and different from an outsider. By using content marketing strategies in advance, the next time you ask for a raise in salary, you are in a better position to receive it, because you’ve demonstrated value within your organization as well as your industry. Also, creating value on LinkedIn allows you to leverage opportunities.

You only have to do it once. The beauty of the Internet is that once something is published, it’s there permanently. If you decide to write a position paper within your industry, once you publish it on your LinkedIn page, it’s there forever. No more pitching your idea to newspapers, magazines or book publishers. Your targeted niche gets to decide and accept your work right away. Be rest assured that 97% of the people within your industry will not publish a video, article or book to attract partners, alliances or even recruiters to position themselves within their industry. This creates a huge opportunity for you.

Finally, accept the fact that we all have become marketers of some sort. We all are attempting to influence behavior that is mutual beneficial for participating parties. The next time you visit your LinkedIn page, decide whether it is a lifeless picture of your accomplishments or a self-sustaining platform that allows the world to see your true value.

Edward Brown, M.S., is a content marketer and researcher for Core Edge Private Label Rights (a subsidiary of Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute, Inc.), which develops web copy and digital products for police departments and businesses.

He has advanced legal training from the University of Dayton School of Law and a master’s degree from Mercer University in Public Safety Leadership.

Ed is the author of over 30 books including: Police Leadership: The Morale Driven Police Department and The A-Team: How to Be a Top Police Department in Recruiting, Training and Retaining Employees available at Amazon Kindle. 

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