Brand Journalism on LinkedIn

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LinkedIn is essential in building relationships with employees, customers, partners and communities. Here is a 10 page playbook for creating engaging content with high quality visual storytelling that leverages the full capabilities of LinkedIn and maximize engagement.

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Brand Journalism on LinkedIn

  1. 1. Brand Journalism on LinkedIn (Facebook, too) Three elements that maximize Engagement (Likes, Comments, Shares) and extend Audience Reach, 2 key top line measures of addressable markets and future sales how customers happen Ed Alexander Chief Digital Marketer
  2. 2. What is “Brand Journalism”? Brand Journalism combines the best of two worlds: mainstream journalism, where the author takes a detached, objective stance, and Brand building, where you are obviously promoting your Brand in a hype-free way while tuning your message to suit audience interests and expectations and leverage online channel capabilities. In a world awash with noise, audiences appreciate and share content that is timely, relevant, well constructed, and renders well on its channel. Why do it? These LinkedIn stats tell the story.
  3. 3. Who’s doing it? In today’s real time social media space, the ability to conceive, design, package and showcase branded visual content on the fly has replaced the slow-paced, iterative process of siloed content creation, graphic design and multiple approvals. One client, a Global 500 company, has been quietly crushing it, using this rapid content playbook to build Engagement on LinkedIn. They are enjoying Engagement numbers 2½ times higher than competition while reducing talent acquisition costs with a branded campaign. The chart on this page shows how they are outpacing benchmark rivals, measured in sheer audience size as well as growth rate.
  4. 4. The “Brand Journalism” Recipe Box These three key ingredients, shown below in order of impact (highest first), are proven to grow Engagement (Comments, Clicks, Shares) on LinkedIn. The next few pages will expand on each of these elements. Briefly, they are: 1. “Movie Poster” graphics (attention starts here – not the headline) Everything old is new again. Human brains process visuals better, not text, no matter how large or how loud your headline may shout. If you have video, use it! If not, do a movie poster. Carefully craft it to portray multiple themes and engage multiple audiences. Your graphics should blend multiple reader-interest themes into a colorful, visual “story at a glimpse”. This injects intrigue and invites audiences deeper into the content. 2. Headline – the first line of text in your Update paragraph • Reinforce your Graphic image’s theme(s), but keep it to one line • Construct it to flow logically and fit on Line 1 of your Post (that‘s around 70 characters on LinkedIn and Facebook). Pro Tip: avoid “click bait tactics”. 3. Summary paragraph • Expand on main themes. Use all 75-word space available. It creates a break in mid-paragraph, making the “more…” tag a cliffhanger, inviting readers. • CTA – include a Call to Action link to further, deeper fulfillment via additional content, main news article, landing page, etc.
  5. 5. 1. “Movie Poster” Graphics (attention starts here, not the Headline) Human brain receptors are tuned to process visual information faster than text. If you have video, use it! If not, use colorful graphics to tell a story in a glance. Everyone loves a winner, so select images of success. Product pictures and head shots alone are boring (especially stock photos of models) but, combined, they add relevance. Here we pictured a customer, a product action photo, and photos of two key execs featured in a linked press release announcing a milestone achievement. Solar-Yay CompanySue Solar CXO Our company Pete Partner CXO Our client Caption / title / label Action photo
  6. 6. Use this Layout Template Use this enlarged frame as a workspace to compose and arrange your images, captions, logos etc. into a “movie poster” composite image that tells the story. LinkedIn graphic image actual size (350 Pixels X 200 Pixels) LinkedIn graphic image standard proportions: 700 W x 400 H (Enlarged 4x for easy working space) This frame is enlarged 4X to give you plenty of room to experiment and arrange the elements of your movie poster image. When you upload it as a .jpg to LinkedIn, it will automatically be reduced to 356 x 220 pixels. This is how big your Movie Poster graphic will look in LinkedIn’s newsfeed. Keep captions and text in your assembled image legible even when shrunk to this size. Limit text; your objective is an intriguing visual image that tells the story in a glance and motivates engagement. A click enlarges your article and image in a pop-up window. 1. “Movie Poster” Graphics (cont’d) Your Workspace Auto-shrunk by LinkedIn
  7. 7. Graphics Layout Template Assemble the elements movie-poster style - headlines, captions, and colorful image elements, sized and positioned as a storyboard to engage multiple audiences. Save the composite image. A .jpg will do just fine for website and mobile reading. It looks sharp and loads quickly. Tight budget? Assemble your graphic in MSPowerPoint, copy it all to MSPaint, and save as a .jpg. Bam. How it looks after LinkedIn “auto-shrinks” it Final assembly (enlarged 4X) 1. “Movie Poster” Graphics (cont’d) 356x220px 356x220px
  8. 8. 2. Headline In a 140-character world, intense competition for fleeting attention makes the ability to write compelling headlines a coveted skill that can be mastered with practice. Here’s how. Reinforce your “Movie Poster” image’s themes in a single line of text. On LinkedIn, that’s about 70 characters. Invite curiosity. Reinforce a main story theme. Topics that work well: (test yours at http://www.aminstitute.com/headline/) • Product – new product breakthrough, evergreen content • Customer – success stories, milestone events • Thought Leadership – event speech, whitepaper, blog post • Careers - Jobs, executive moves, business expansion • Human Interest – Community outreach Topics and techniques to avoid: • Only posting positive financial news – Investor Relations policy favors balanced reporting. Consult your Investor Relations pro. • Repeating the same post verbatim; instead, cover the topic, event, or person from other topical angles that appeal to relevant audiences. • Cramming - If you have multiple themes, products or brands to promote, do so, in separate posts. Mix it up! Pro tip: Write several versions of your headline. Test and select ones that perform best. Idea: try using the Portent Title Generator
  9. 9. That same 70 character limit also apples on Facebook Brand Journalism on LinkedIn
  10. 10. 3. Update / excerpt paragraph LinkedIn Limit: 75 words (600 characters including spaces) Write a cogent summary that uses all the 75-word space available. Treat these first few lines of visible text in your article summary as “teaser” content that expands on your Headline theme(s). Done well, it motivates people to click the “more…” link to access the rest of your content. This is good; a click is a decision that builds engagement and value, and often motivates people to Follow your channel and answer your “call to action” (CTA - discussed below). • Expand on your Headline’s themes, but don’t give away the whole story. Treat this paragraph as a bridge from your Movie Poster graphic image and Headline to additional, expanded content or fulfillment. • Call to Action (CTA): Place a link to expanded content at the end of the Summary. This is a good User Experience tactic; in LinkedIn’s medium- length reading format, links at the end of an article are shown to get more clicks than links in the middle. Write your last article sentence to invite that click. Example: “Download your free wonder widget at http……..” • Track conversions with Shortlinks: Using your bit.ly account, create a custom shortlink for tracking audience behavior. Be sure to edit the link name to include, if possible, a keyword, or at least a more descriptive label.
  11. 11. Headline (70 char) Summary Paragraph CTA sentence + URL Assembled Post Here are the main parts of your assembled LinkedIn post. Finishing tip: LinkedIn’s publishing tool typically grabs and renders your CTA URL’s source content below your post, but not always in a way that tells your story best or renders well. Solution: delete that “grabbed” content and substitute your Movie Poster graphic using the LinkedIn publisher tool’s paper clip icon. Brand Journalism on LinkedIn
  12. 12. What results can you expect? Brand Journalism on LinkedIn, or any multimedia channel, is proven to increase Engagement which can be measured in clicks, likes, comments, shares, landing page conversions and, ultimately, customers and hires. LinkedIn’s added benefit is that when you attract Followers, you can then access their Profiles, then segment and nurture them as clients, prospects, employees, recruits, and more. How big an effect can this have? Our client’s Engagement results are 2 to 3 times the norm. Their Share of Voice is consistently high in their competitive space. They attract new talent while reducing the acquisition costs. Your own results may vary.
  13. 13. Thank you! Ed Alexander Chief Digital Consultant ed@fanfoundry.com +1 (781) 492-7638 USA East For more information, contact: Check out LinkedIn’s official tutorial on posting Updates: http://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/8262 @fanfoundry

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