Making LinkedIn Content Memorable

Episode Overview

LinkedIn member numbers have been steadily climbing and now reach 810M. This makes the space in the home feed more competitive. We want you to have the know how to not just create a post, that is easy, but how you create content that leaves a lasting impression in a fleeting moment.  

Host Michelle J Raymond discusses practical LinkedIn content tips and strategies with this week’s guest the relentlessly helpful John Espirian Founder

  • Should I stick to one signature content type to be memorable?
  • Does formatting help LinkedIn content stand out?
  • Will a personalised hashtags help my content be memorable?
  • How to avoid being memorable on LinkedIn for the wrong reasons?
  • Best tip for scroll topping LinkedIn content


Good for Business Show Podcast Episode

Good for Business Show LinkedIn Live Video

Good for Business Show Full Transcript

Michelle J Raymond: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Good for Business Show. I’m your host, Michelle J Raymond, and I am joined by everybody’s favourite LinkedIn Nerd, Mr. Relentlessly Helpful, John Espirian. I appreciate you for joining me.

John Espirian: You’re very welcome, Michelle. Thank you for having me. Cheers.

Michelle J Raymond: It’s probably a little bit overdue. For those people who haven’t come across, John Espirian tell us a little bit about you. Who do you help and what do you?

John Espirian: I’m John Espirian, I used to be a copywriter based in the UK, but for the last few years I’ve been building up my knowledge about LinkedIn and I now call myself the Relentlessly Helpful LinkedIn Nerd. I help people with LinkedIn profiles, rewriting and general strategy and consulting and I help small business owners, solopreneurs to get a better online visibility. And now I’ve started my own community called ‘Espresso Plus’, so that’s what I’m focusing on at the moment.

Michelle J Raymond: Tell us about Espresso Plus, because we are down to the last 53 places available in Espresso [00:01:00] Plus. So those that are listening in do not sit back and wait, because once these doors close, they’re not opening again. It’s like the coolest nightclub that you wanna be in on LinkedIn. Sorry, Travis Lachner, yours isn’t it on Fridays. John, tell us about the community, what happens in there? What can people expect?

John Espirian: Yeah, it’s the evolution of a free group that I set up last year. For people who just want a bit of support with things like personal branding and content creation and LinkedIn best practice to give people safe space, to discuss ideas and ask questions and it’s a direct access to me really.

So we’ve got a community of just over 240 people at the moment trying to build it to 300. We chat every day pretty much and then I do set piece content, where I’ll just review people’s posts and we’ll have live Q&A’s. It’s a really good bunch of people, but I wanna keep it manageable so that I do everything myself. That’s why I’m keeping it small and it’s called Espresso, it would be weird if it was big, so small and strong.

Michelle J Raymond: Maybe you should call it Piccolo, double shot. If anyone is thinking [00:02:00] about an affordable solution to get access to one of the best LinkedIn trainers in the World, then I highly recommend it to anyone that’s joining us.

So John, you said before that you actually come from a background in copywriting, how does copywriting on LinkedIn differ to say website copywriting or on other platforms, in your opinion?

John Espirian: I think increasingly LinkedIn is becoming a place where you can show a lot more personality. It used to be quite stuffy and professional but I don’t think that’s the case anymore. LinkedIn is now the place where you can build a personal brand, convey helpful information to bring people towards you and display a lot of personality in the process and so that’s perfect for the copywriting approach.

Copywriting really is just influencing and persuading people to come closer to sales, that’s really what it’s all about. So if you take the opinion that you’re trying to build a personal brand so that you can reinforce in people’s heads, what you are all [00:03:00] about so that they can trust you over time, they will march slowly towards you and you’ll make sales down the road. So that’s what copywriting is all about and that’s what personal branding is all about on LinkedIn.

Michelle J Raymond: Today, we’re gonna be talking about making LinkedIn content memorable, because there’s posting for the sake of posting. There are probably some people out there that have been posting for some time and feeling like they’re not getting anywhere, like they’re just spinning on the same spot.

830 million people on LinkedIn now, that number is growing and it’s just a huge amount in the feed that’s literally the same size, so competition is fierce. I wanted to give those people that are joining us today, some of your best advice. When it comes to creating content, let’s start with one place, is it best to have a signature style of content that makes me memorable? Or should I mix it up a little?

John Espirian: I would always recommend mixing it up a little, eventhough one type of content might perform best for [00:04:00] you, I think if that’s all you did, you risk maybe boring your audience? For example I’m a really keen tracker of my stats and I know that over the last four years, document posts, PDF embeds, are by far my most significantly well performing piece of content but if that’s all I did, I think people would just get a bit bored. So I think you should try a bit of everything to mix it up, unless there’s something that you’re really not comfortable with. For example, if getting on video is just your worst nightmare then that’s gonna come across, in which case maybe you could sidestep that but I would try all the other types.

What’s more important than the type of content is actually the message that’s coming across. So every time you show up, whether it’s a text post, a document, video, it should be in service of whatever your core Value Proposition is, and that’s the whole idea behind ‘Content DNA’, my book, which is to define what you really want to be known for. Like [00:05:00] in your case, it’s very clearly LinkedIn Company Pages and so pretty much everything you do is in service of that. You’ve written a book about it, you post about it on your Personal and your Company Page, and you are the go-to person for Company Pages.

If you were doing loads of other bits, like saying, I wanna do Instagram consultancy and I’ll help you fit your kitchen cupboards and who knows what else? I’m not gonna remember you. So making things memorable really is being intentional about what you want to be known.

For me, this whole Relentlessly Helpful thing is something I just drill home in every case that I show up and it means that people repeat it and therefore they must be remembering it. So that’s the point you want to get to, where people say it back to you, then you’re onto something.

Michelle J Raymond: I was watching a really cool LinkedIn Live from the LinkedIn Marketing Team this morning about B2B branding and content. There was a lady that used to work for Coke and she said with their [00:06:00] content they have roughly, and forgive me if the numbers aren’t exactly right, but let’s call it 70, 20, and 10 with their content. How they do it is 70% of their content is, let’s just say predictable, it works, it’s been working for a hundred years, it’s what we all know and expect. Then they’ve got 20% where they’re looking and trialing things where they’re gonna tweak it and see if they can make it a little bit better, see if they can improve it. Then they’ve got the 10%, which is the stuff you’re not sure whether it’s gonna work but they’ve gotta try it and just see if something’s changed with their audience. That was something I’d not thought about before.

I’m with you, I think mixing it up is important and the reason that I’ve become really aware of that, I personally am going to be the last person on the face of the earth that is gonna listen to a podcast, which is ironic given that this will be a podcast. Now that’s because listening to things puts me to sleep. I love the talking part of the podcast, but listening to them, it’s not for me. Give me the transcript of the podcast, I love to [00:07:00] read it, no problems and probably more likely to watch a video.

So if you think about your community, everybody’s got a mix of all kinds of people. So for me, the mixing the content is so that I don’t just focus in on the one type of person and miss out on all the other types of people that enjoy different types of content.

I thought that was really interesting and a different way for me to look at it and go, yeah, this is what I’m known for, this is my particular style and probably a text and image person is my preferred content style. Obviously I love a good LinkedIn Live and a LinkedIn newsletter, but for the most part, I would say text and image is my favourite, carousels perform really well. I get the similar kind of stat back as what you do.

John Espirian: There’s a couple of important things there. One of them is, if you can get on video, that is the most extensible content format. Because if you start with a video first content approach, you could turn that into a podcast. You could turn it into a blog post, through a transcript, you could turn it into [00:08:00] social media, snippets and images. So it’s the thing that branches out most into other forms of content. So it’s the most efficient way of starting, if you can stomach the idea of being on video.

Michelle J Raymond: And I personally couldn’t at the beginning, I hate the sound of my voice. I don’t particularly wanna sit here and stare at the camera and then have to watch it back while I edit everything but what I found over time, I’ll share my secret and what got me past that initial craziness is, the second that I stay in my head worrying about what do I look like? What do I sound like? Am I getting this perfect? All those kind of noises that spin, and I move to, there’s someone out there that needs to hear what I’ve got to say, cause I’m gonna help them grow. I’m gonna help their business grow. I’m going to give them some of my knowledge that will make their life easier.

The second I focus on that, the rest of it disappears. I know when I’m listening to what’s going on in my own head about me, that all I need to do is stop and go, why am I even doing this? I create this [00:09:00] show to help other people grow their businesses. That inspires me and that just lets me resonate with my audience and really get it out there.

John Espirian: The other thing you said that I wanna pick up on about experimentation and leaving some gaps to test stuff. You need a space to do that. So for me, my LinkedIn personal profile is the main attraction, right? I’ve got more than 40,000 followers there. I don’t want to mess around with that too much, but then I’ll use something like Twitter or my LinkedIn Company Page as the kind of fringe theater, where I’ll just test experimental stuff and see what flies and then I can build that into the main column, the main attraction that I’m trying to build. So keep one platform or one avenue available for experimentation, it’s really valuable as you grow.

Michelle J Raymond: We’ve got a question that’s come through, if you’ve got an idea for a post today, for whatever topic, how do you decide whether you’re gonna put it on a carousel, maybe just a text only, or record a video. Do you have a process for deciding what [00:10:00] ideas go with what formats?

John Espirian: Not particularly. I’ll just pick whatever I think will convey the information as efficiently as possible. Sometimes something is really best described on a video. It would take you ages to write out steps, but if you can just say on this screen, you press this. That might be a 20 second video.

So it’s all to do with context, but like I said, I do try and mix it up a little bit. If I’ve just done five videos, I’m not gonna do another one for a little while.

Michelle J Raymond: Yeah, mix them up and there’s that whole batching versus not batching. For me, sometimes I go through a run, where I just I’m enjoying a particular style and then all of a sudden I have to catch myself and go, we’re gonna mix this up a little bit.

Say we’re gonna mix this thing up, so we are covering a wide variety of people, different styles of content. As far as formatting goes John, you’re a copywriter by trade, how can you give people tips where they can actually get formatting tips on their posts that will help them stay memorable?

John Espirian: Okay, so you need to use white space as much as possible. [00:11:00] Long sentences, lead to long paragraphs and that can really put people off, especially given that LinkedIn has said that 70% of all LinkedIn traffic comes through mobile. Even a moderately long sentence there, can look like a huge paragraph on mobile, so break your sentences and paragraphs up as much as possible. If there is a complex word that you use, try and use a simpler word instead.

Strong verbs, at the start of a sentence, can feel a bit punchier and feel as though you’re getting to the point a lot quicker and people will appreciate that, even if they’re not conscious of it. If you could reduce, let’s say the number of words in a post by 20% without removing the detail of the message or the personality that’s being conveyed, people will subconsciously appreciate that, even though they’re not aware that you’ve done it, it’ll just feel easier to consume. So that’s a big one. If you can use visuals to support the text, like a really simple graphic could get rid of [00:12:00] the whole paragraph of text, if you can do that then do it.

And then Use the other tools that are available to you. Now, you can’t do rich text formatting, not classic rich text formatting, but you could use faux bold and Italics, there are tools for that. You can use all caps for subheadings. You can use emojis to produce bullet lists. There are all sorts of ways of breaking up the text that just make it cognitively easier to process. So use all of those tools, if you can. If a sentence doesn’t need to be there, get rid of it.

The biggest tip, before you post, read the text out loud, make sure that it sounds like you and make sure that you’re not gasping for breath as you read it, cause if you are, that means the sentence is too long, you’ve gotta shorten it. If you do all of those things, your text will be a lot more scannable and a lot more easily consumed.

Michelle J Raymond: I think there’s been a lot of great posts that get lost in big chunks of text, because the eye [00:13:00] literally looks at it, goes too hard basket, and it’s just so easy to scroll on by. So from that perspective, everything that we do, the white space that John was talking about. Can you give us some examples of the punchy verbs that you just mentioned? If people wanna know your tips around some of those that might stand out.

John Espirian: It’s not so much specific words, but if you can get a word that shortcuts four or five other words, a short verb that does that, that’s what you want to try and aim for and particularly if you can do that in the first three to five lines of your post, that will encourage more people to click the ‘see more’ link, and then you get more visibility off the back of that.

So one of the tips I recommend sometimes is to pick a little bit of the post and maybe put it in quotes as an opinion at the top and so long as that’s faithful to what the rest of the message of the post is, that’s likely to get people to expand and engage. It’s one of the parts of the chair model in Content DNA, [00:14:00] challenging is the first item. If you put forward an opinion, sometimes a divisive opinion, that can stimulate a lot of debate and that can get you a lot of engagement and visibility, and it’ll probably lead to your content being more memorable aswell.

Michelle J Raymond: I just recently did one last week about Social Saturdays, I had a differing opinion to the popular opinion. I just put it out there for people to think about it cause I think it’s really important when you consume any kind of content, just because it’s popular, does it mean it’s good for you? Not necessarily. I was really surprised by how much engagement. I did this short post on a Sunday morning, few tips that I think would help people instead. 12 hours later I was still responding to comments. 24 hours later, it was still going. A bit of controversy every now and then I think helps.

Every industry has a topic where people sit on either side of the fence, it does not matter what industry you’re in. I think the important part is to have an opinion and not just sit on the fence, you have to pick one side.

John Espirian: In your case, for example, you could write a post [00:15:00] that starts with something like ‘five benefits of having a Company Page’, but a more punchy, effective way of doing that might be in quotes, everyone who says that Company Pages are dead, is wrong.

Someone’s gonna go ouch and they’re gonna want to read more because you’ve really put an opinion out into the World and then you’re gonna justify it with some data. Yes, you might get a few trolls and a few dissenters, but that’s okay, so long as it’s civilized but putting an opinion out really is very powerful.

Michelle J Raymond: Dwell time is something that gets thrown around the platform. For those that aren’t familiar with what that is, it’s basically how long a set of eyes stay on a post to keep it very simple. Now with that, that then impacts, how long people read the post for and I think that’s the real advantage to slider posts or PDFs, the carousel post, depending what you call them, where you spend a lot of time scrolling across to get to the end of the slides. Do you write your posts based on the dwell time or [00:16:00] based on how long it takes you to get a message. It used to be 1300 characters that we had, now we’re up to 3000. What’s the John Espirian formula for where these should sit?

John Espirian: I would rather respect the reader’s time and try and get to the point than to chase dwell time. If I was chasing dwell time, I would fill out the 3000 characters every time. I would put as many pages in the document post as I could, or I’d make the video just that little bit longer to try and get more watch time, but I’d rather respect the reader’s time.

So for me I don’t chase those things, but when I consult with people, I will make them aware of this is the way it really works and this is why document posts and videos tend to perform so well and this new carousel format, which I haven’t got yet, but that will also perform well, those videos will be up to three minutes long when they come out. So those are the kinds of content you want to create, if you want to chase dwell time, that needs to be a personal decision. I don’t play that game myself, but it definitely would be effective if you [00:17:00] do.

Michelle J Raymond: I wrote one post 3000 characters, when it first came out. I was one of the very first people that got that particular feature rolled out, especially on my Company Page and by the time I’d finished writing it, I didn’t even wanna read it. That was the whole story behind the post is are you still here at the end, because it’s a lot.

So I’m with you, it’s what length do you need to actually get the point across, give people value, but not take up too much of their time. No, one’s got time to be having a Masterclass in a post while we’re just scrolling through the feeds.

John Espirian: If you can pack in the information you want to convey in 3000 characters and you can do that instead of pointing them to an external link to your blog post, on one hand you’re thinking, oh yeah, but I want the traffic to go to my website. Yes, but if you can serve them where they are with all of the information that they would’ve got from clicking away, you’re actually winning there. So there are definitely cases for using that space, but don’t use it just because it’s there, because chances are you’ll write an extra paragraph you didn’t really need or just bloat out some [00:18:00] sentences and no one’s gonna appreciate it. So if it’s lean content, fill the 3000 if you’ve really got value to hit in those 3000, brilliant. It probably isn’t that though, so just be careful.

Michelle J Raymond: When I go to something that’s gonna be that length, I’m moving that into my newsletter, something where I can expand that long form thought leadership and I am personally loving newsletters on LinkedIn. It’s something that I’m running one on my Company Page and one on my Personal Profile and just really loving them because I get to expand my thoughts. I’ve become very good at putting my thoughts down into 1500 characters but it’s really nice to have that space where I can give people value on topics that are a little bit different to what I normally talk about as well.

So part of making content is obviously when we create posts, we’re using hashtags. Tell us your latest opinions on personalised hashtags? Do you think that they help content be memorable? Are they a waste of time? We should be doing something else. Where are you at with this one now?

John Espirian: I think they’re a good idea, so long as [00:19:00] you use them consistently. So if you come up with one or two personalised hashtags, you better be using them. If you’ve got Creator Mode turned on, make sure that one of your featured hashtags is one of your own personal brand ones. What I advise people is to leave your hashtags for the end of the post and then to give people a reason for following it. So it’ll be ‘follow hashtag whatever it is for linkedIn tips or whatever’ and when the hashtag grows to a certain following, I would also start including the number of followers because that’s a social proof metric.

When I started doing that a couple of years ago, the rate at which more people started to follow increased and LinkedIn being the way it is, if people follow your hashtag and they follow you, they’ve got more chance of seeing your content. It’s a good idea from the algorithm’s point of view, aswell.

Michelle J Raymond: Yeah, absolutely. There’s a reasonably new feature, the bell feature on profiles, to make sure that your content gets seen by people. [00:20:00] Do you think that’s a good idea? Is there any guidance that you would share? If you’ve got content, should I put a statement down the bottom that says click on my profile, click the bell? Is that desperate or is that memorable?

John Espirian: Yeah, I don’t think it’s memorable. I’m seeing a lot of people doing it. I think if the content is good enough, then people will do that anyway. Although there is a bit of an education piece that some people don’t even know it exists. So I’m not against doing that occasionally. Everyone I’ve spoken to has had the same experience, which is they clicked loads of bells, and then they slowly unclicked loads of bells, to the point where now most people who use the feature probably only got the bell clicked for two or three people because it’s a notifications burden.

Remember as well that whenever you repost something, which is another new feature, that goes into people’s notifications and it says that they reshared something, which isn’t actually true, they reposted it. So if someone has clicked your bell and you are going repost, repost, repost, you’re sending lots of [00:21:00] notifications out and those people might go, that’s not valuable I’m going to unclick the bell and they might even unfollow you as well. So just be careful with the amount of content you’re putting out, if you’re encouraging people to click your bell, cause it might be overwhelming for them.

Michelle J Raymond: I found that and I think that leads perfectly into the next question that I wanted to ask you. Can you be memorable with your content for the wrong reasons, just as much as the right reasons?

John Espirian: Well yeah, if you put out opinions that that you can’t really back up, like you are just saying something because it sounds cool. Hey, it’s Pride month, let’s put rainbows over everything but then, we’ll not have a equal opportunities policy for hiring. There’s something not right there. So you’re gonna get called out. Someone’s gonna notice these things.

What I would always recommend people do is spend some time thinking about what your foundational brand elements are, what I call the content DNA building blocks, which I recommend everyone should have four or five of these things and then just reinforce those things all the time. These are your core [00:22:00] foundational things that you want to be known for, and try not to stray away from that. Don’t start talking about environmental issues as if you’re an expert, unless you really are an expert because you might end up in a sticky debate and then what happens then? Okay, I wish I haven’t got into this, so you can be remembered for the wrong things.

Also, whenever you challenge people, just make sure that you’re challenging their ideas and not the person themselves, cause people see your comments and they’ll see who you’re associating with and they’ll see what you’re saying and they might just silently unfollow you or not connect with you or tell other people have you seen this? So everything that you do is part of your extended content footprint. And it says something about you. So just be careful, not just when you’re posting, but also when you’re commenting and make sure that you can genuinely stand behind everything you say otherwise you might get called out.

Michelle J Raymond: I think you raise a good point that whilst we’re talking about making content memorable, that [00:23:00] content is not just posts in the feed. That could be your direct messages. That could be your connection requests. That could be your recommendations that you leave people, your comments, there’s all kinds of different ways that form the total content that you put out there.

You can’t be one thing in the feed and then something everywhere else. If you are saying I’m really nice in the feed and then I’m really confrontational with every comment that I put out there, they don’t line up. The second that they don’t line up makes people really question what you’re up to.

John Espirian: Just remember every time your hand is on the keyboard or your mic is live, or your camera is on, that’s probably being recorded somewhere on the internet and you need to make sure that everything that you do is something you could stand behind, if you needed to.

Michelle J Raymond: The biggest challenge that I think people that are creating content is how do we actually stop people from scrolling on by? If you were to give your best tip on how do you stop someone from scrolling by your content? How can we make it memorable to stand [00:24:00] out? What would be John Espirian’s best tip for this one?

John Espirian: As a data nerd, all the research suggests that the biggest thing really is the element of surprise and the element of something new.

So for me, if I’ve got something that’s like new data research on, ‘I’ve looked at a thousand LinkedIn posts and I’ve found this’, that for me, I know is gonna stop the scroll for people because it’s new, it’s relevant for them. It’s interesting. It’s maybe that the insights are a bit of a surprise that’s right for me and that will work.

For other people, It might be making sure that you put in an extreme opinion, for example, something that challenges the orthodoxy and you know that it’s gonna cause debate. For other people they’ll prefer to do amusing content cause they know that will travel well through the LinkedIn network, especially now we’ve got the funny reaction.

Each person has to pick what is going to work for them, but it has to be in line with the personal brand you’re building. For example, if I was building a personal brand, all around [00:25:00] mental health and supporting people, coming out with a load of data research about the way LinkedIn works, that would be a bit odd. My audience probably wouldn’t be expecting that and that might not stop the scroll cause I’d have no expertise in that field. So you have to do what your audience is roughly expecting. For me, surprise and new data research, that’s what works for me.

Michelle J Raymond: That is awesome and we’ve covered so much ground here. Before we wrap up today John, I asked you to prepare a tip that if the listeners of the show are gonna go away and put something into action to make their content more memorable, the one thing that they could do, that’s easy to implement and have the biggest impact, what do you think that they should do?

John Espirian: I think it’s always to do with focusing on the opening line of your content and of your headline as well. Actually, the headline’s really the most important thing you can do, because if you’ve grabbed someone’s attention, that’s the first step to them wanting to find out more and starting a [00:26:00] conversation with you.

So just really refocus on what the first line of your content is and the first 40 characters or so of your headline. If you can get those tight and get those interesting and relevant and memorable differentiated, that’s the root. For me, Relentlessly Helpful has been that. Might take a while for you to get there, but that’s what you wanna be shooting for.

Michelle J Raymond: I think it’s just literally practice and if you click the bell on John’s profile, you will see the style of his Posts. You can click the bell on my Profile, see the style of my Posts. I think the thing to do is whilst they’re examples, don’t try and become a clone of John or I, because what happens is and I’m, that you see it all over the platform.

I joke sometimes that I’m gonna do a Justin Welsh style Post. There’s a particular formula, there’s a way that he writes, it’s really effective but it’s not me and sometimes I do it just to play around but it just will never feel like it’s actually me that wrote it. Do they perform? Yes. Is it something that I wanna do all the time? Absolutely not. I just do it for [00:27:00] fun to make myself more creative from time to time.

So my advice is, be yourself, give yourself the grace to learn as you go. For those of you who have been holding back and actually not putting any content and that could be comments, that could be a post, that could be direct messaging someone. It’s time to take an action. It’s time to try something and just know that you’ll get better with it over time.

John, I wanna say thank you for making this time available.

John Espirian: Thanks a lot, Michelle.

Michelle J Raymond: And thank you everyone else that’s joined us and thanks for coming to the Good for Business Show. Cheers.

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