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Content Collaboration: Building a Formidable Content Team

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11 B2B Content Ideas to Fuel your Marketing (with Examples)


There’s almost never a one-size-fits all approach to building or managing a content marketing team.

It’s part art, part science. So, just as there’s no “right way” to draw a picture, there’s no “right way” to build a content team. But there are some basic principles to follow that can boost your chances of success. 

These fundamental principles include filling key roles with the right people, using the right tools, and baking best practices into your team’s approach. 

Let’s take a closer look.

Key roles your content team should have

In this section, we’ll cover the roles that will serve as the foundation for your content marketing team. 

1. Content Marketing Manager 

This person will be the leader of your team in many ways, overseeing the development and execution of your content marketing strategy. A content marketing manager is typically tasked with: 

  • Building out the content calendar

  • Managing writers and other content creators

  • Developing workflows and processes for creating and delivering content

  • Ensuring the team produces quality content that meets your business goals (e.g. boosting sales, engaging loyal customers, driving traffic)

For example, Jenna MJ Thomas is the content marketing manager for the software company, OneTrust. In this role, Thomas builds her company’s content strategy, plans the editorial calendar, and oversees the implementation of multichannel, integrated content campaigns.

2. Subject Matter Expert(s) 

The next key role to fill on your content marketing team is that of the subject matter expert, also known as an SME. Depending on the size and scope of your content strategy, you may actually need multiple SMEs with different areas of expertise. 

Subject matter experts are important because their expertise lends an air of authority to your content, establishing your brand as an industry leader. You can use SMEs to enhance your content in a number of ways: 

  • Podcast interviews

  • Guest blog posts

  • Developing content strategy

  • Reviewing content ideas and topics

  • Fact checking technical content before it’s published

  • Contributing quotes to lend credibility to your content

  • Working with ghostwriters to produce content

  • Hosting webinars or special events

For example, Welcome’s CEO Shafqat Islam recently contributed a guest post on our blog after Gartner released its 2022 Magic Quadrant for Content Marketing Platforms, naming Welcome the leader for the fifth year in a row. (More on this later!)   

Featuring an authoritative figure like a company CEO in a blog post adds credibility to your content. It can also attract a different audience than other blog posts, drawing in those who are interested in the CEO’s perspective as opposed to other topics. 

Another example comes from Koupon Media’s podcast, How Convenient. Many episodes feature relevant subject matter experts from within the company. In the episode about gamification, for example, Koupon interviewed their own VP of Engineering, Brian Reinhart. 

3. Content Creators 

As you might guess, content creators are the people on your team who create the content itself — writers, designers, videographers, and more. Finding the right content creators is important because they directly affect the quality of your content. 

In fact, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) advises that when hiring a writer, the quality of the person’s work should outweigh their background and qualifications. CMI also posits that a highly skilled writer is often more valuable than an average writer with in-depth knowledge about a particular subject. 

Here are some tips to find the best content creators: 

4. Managing Editor 

Next up is the managing editor. This person oversees the day-to-day activities of your content marketing operation, making sure deadlines are met in a timely manner and that your content is up to par. 

The managing editor is often responsible for strategic tasks in addition to technical ones, including: 

  • Developing content ideas

  • Managing the content calendar

  • Collaborating with writers and designers

  • Assigning content to writers and other content creators

  • Ensuring content meets quality standards

  • Fact checking and proofreading

  • Making sure content has the right tone and brand voice

  • Approving graphics and layout

For example, Rohma Abbas is the managing editor at OpenView, a venture capital and private equity firm in the Boston area.

As OpenView’s managing editor, Abbas oversees all content production on their blog. She works closely with contributing writers, freelancers, and internal experts to help them find just the right words to tell their story and provide the best possible reader experience for OpenView’s audience. 

When hiring a managing editor, it’s a good idea to look for someone who’s highly organized, pays attention to detail, and has experience as a writer. 

It’s also important to find someone who’s adept at both giving and receiving constructive criticism, since a large part of their job is giving feedback and working through revisions with other staff members. 

5. Proofreader(s) 

In addition to the managing editor, you’ll need at least one proofreader on your team — especially if you have a large content operation. 

A proofreader typically has a much narrower set of tasks compared to an editor, focused entirely on the superficial aspects of writing like spelling, grammar, and punctuation. This keeps your content clean and frees up the managing editor to focus on strategic issues like tone and quality. 

Proofreaders go over each piece of content with a fine-toothed comb, checking each piece of content for the following:

When hiring a proofreader, look for someone who is extremely detail-oriented and has expert-level knowledge of the structural elements of writing. 

6. Distribution Specialist(s) 

Once your content is created, you need someone to publish it in all the right places — also known as content distribution. If you’re not too familiar with this concept, content distribution is the overall process of publishing, sharing, and promoting your content through various channels.  

These include owned channels (like your website), shared channels (social media), paid channels (ads) and earned channels (similar to publicity). And while the actual distribution happens after your content is created, it’s important to understand where a piece is going to be distributed before it’s created. 

This is where a distribution specialist comes into play. Not only will they publish your content, but they’ll also guide your strategy from the beginning to make sure your content is optimized for each channel. (Hint: If you can find a distribution specialist who also does SEO, that’s even better!)

7. Analytics Manager

If you’re churning out content without paying attention to how it’s performing, you could be wasting serious time on the wrong stuff. Enter the analytics manager. 

This person keeps an eye on all of your metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs), letting your team know what’s working and what’s not. This allows you to adjust your strategy accordingly. 

Here are some typical tasks for an analytics manager: 

  • Create and maintain a reporting system to deliver daily, weekly, and monthly insights on content analytics and traffic trends

  • Identify and interpret patterns in consumption behavior

  • Identify new opportunities and best practices based on emerging trends

When hiring an analytics manager, look for someone who is proficient in all things technical, from content tagging and measurement to the management of large, complex data sets. You’ll also want someone who is a proven collaborator, with the ability to present insights in a compelling, easy-to-understand manner. 

How to build a formidable content team

Now that you know all about the roles you need to fill for your content team, here are six steps to help you put it all together. 

1. Select your team members

The first step in building a formidable content team is choosing the right players — both individually and collectively. 

If you’re assembling a team from within an existing department, who would be a good fit for each role? Jot down a list of names and then consider whether this group would work well together. 

If you’re assembling a brand-new team, create job descriptions for each role and post them on the appropriate forums. LinkedIn is a good place to start, along with writer’s groups and industry associations. 

It’s generally a good idea to hire your content marketing manager and managing editor first so they can participate in assembling the rest of the team. It’s also a good idea to have a solid strategy in place so you have a general idea of how many content creators you’ll need. 

Jill Phillips of Buildfire suggests, “Before you start looking for writers, you need to create an effective content strategy that will help you decide on the type and number of writers you need to hire. The strategy will also help you stay focused on your long-term goals and not just on producing content.”

2. Get your content team focused on key KPIs

Once you’ve assembled your team, let them know what success looks like by focusing them on key KPIs. Not only does this point everyone in the same direction, but having a content team who has mastered performance measurement will put you way ahead of the curve. 

Our 2022 State of Content Survey found that the ability to measure performance has the highest impact on a team’s success, yet it’s the most challenging and underdeveloped part of content operations. 

For example, only 9% of marketers rated their ability to demonstrate the impact of content as “excellent”. Breaking it down further, 44% had difficulty with holistic reporting, 43% with tracking performance across channels, and 39% with measuring KPIs. 

By focusing on KPIs from the start, your team will be better equipped to measure success in the future. 

3. Create an onboarding process

When assembling a new team, it’s important to have a clear onboarding process so that everyone knows exactly what they’re supposed to do — and what everyone else is supposed to do. 

As the Content Marketing Institute puts it: “To function efficiently, it’s important to have clearly defined job roles and a formal structure for your team. Without this, responsibilities get blurred and chaos usually ensues.”

In addition to defining roles, it’s a good idea to create a style guide to give new team members during the onboarding process. This creates consistency across all of your content and gives writers and other creators something to refer to when they have questions. 

4. Build your content calendar

Next up is creating your content calendar — a long-term timeline for planning and executing your overall strategy. This helps to keep your team on the same page. And on top of that, here are a few other benefits of a well-planned content calendar

  • Reduces the amount of time your team spends brainstorming and scheduling because it’s all done up front.

  • Makes it easier to handle change because you can see the big picture and move things around accordingly.

  • Improves collaboration within your marketing team, with management, with other departments in your company, and with outside stakeholders.

  • Provides the vantage point needed to repurpose existing or evergreen content and use your resources more efficiently.

  • Allows you to measure results based on your marketing objectives and change course when needed. 

5. Set up a workflow using project management software

Once you’ve mapped out your content calendar, it’s time to set up a workflow so that the right people get the right tasks at the right time. When a writer finishes a draft, for example, who does it go to? When your managing editor signs off on a piece of content, how does it get published? 

Since there are so many moving parts with content marketing, most teams use some kind of project management software to keep things running smoothly — and automatically. 

Take Welcome’s software, for example. Our straightforward marketing workflow and task management system was purpose-built for marketers, ensuring alignment across the board. Here are a few things you get from our workflows: 

  • Never miss a deadline – All team members can track progress at a glance with activity history details for each task and project update.

  • Create a single point of truth – Grant access to all relevant information necessary to accomplish a task, user by user, so that each contributor can focus on the details most relevant to them.

  • Build alignment from the beginning – Manage all relevant details in one place, allowing users to focus on whether their contributions are meeting the expectations set during the initial planning stage

  • Set strict or flexible marketing workflows – Things change by the minute for marketers. Make your workflows as strict or as flexible as you need with your workflows with customizable task management.

6. Encourage courtesy among team members

This last point may not seem that important at first glance, but it’s absolutely critical. 

Content creation involves a lot of collaboration, revisions, feedback, and constructive criticism. If these things aren’t communicated in a positive way, it can lead to resentment and animosity among staff members — a poison pill that can quickly pull your team under. 

So, it’s important to foster an environment of courtesy and professionalism from the very beginning. 

For example, when giving feedback or suggestions for revisions, you should recognize the work that’s already been put into the project. Explain why you think the changes are necessary and encourage the writer or creator to provide their thoughts as well. 

Same goes for writers or creators responding to edits. They should be able to accept criticism and make changes without taking things personally. 

Must-have content collaboration tools for your team

Did you know only 16% of organizations have the right tech in place to manage their content operations? Sixteen percent! 

To make sure you’re part of this group, here’s a list of essential tools you need for your team to reach its full potential. 

1. Content marketing management software

The first thing you need in your marketing technology (MarTech) stack is a good content marketing management software. This tool should be the backbone of your stack, connecting to your other solutions while also doubling as a project management tool. 

We’re a little biased, so we think Welcome’s software is the best choice here. But don’t just take it from us! As you can see above, Gartner has once again named Welcome the leader in the In the Magic Quadrant for Content Marketing Platforms, positioning us furthest to the right for Completeness of Vision and highest for Ability to Execute for the fifth consecutive year. 

Gartner also rated Welcome the #1 vendor across all three use cases — B2B Demand Generation, B2C Narrative Design, and Complex, Distributed Marketing.

2. Content management system (CMS)

Next up is a good content management system. This tool is a critical component in your MarTech stack because it handles all the things that go on behind the scenes of your website like assigning permissions and organizing content. 

There’s an endless variety of web content management software to choose from, each with its own set of features and benefits. Some software, for example, is ideally suited for ecommerce sites whereas others are tailored towards bloggers or service-based businesses. 

Which one is right for you mostly depends on what you need your website to do and how tech-savvy you are. 

3. Social media scheduling software

Social media will undoubtedly play a large role in your content distribution strategy. Oftentimes though, the time you’re available to post on social media isn’t the same as your audience’s most active time. 

This is where social media scheduling software comes into play. It allows you to align and schedule posts to multiple social platforms at different times to maximize your reach. 

This tool will be your Distribution Specialist’s best friend. Not only does this mean they don’t have to be live on social media at all hours of the day, but it also means they can take advantage of the optimal posting times for each platform. 

4. SEO software

Finally, you need a good SEO tool to make sure your content is found through organic search. After all, what good is it to put a ton of content out there if no one can find it? 

Plus, SEO software can do a lot more than just optimize for keywords. Here are some other things you can do with your SEO tool: 

  • Analyze your competitor’s SEO strategy

  • Save time and money on manual SEO audits

  • Find high-converting keywords to drive your content strategy 

  • Track SEO progress & KPIs

  • Visualize and conceptualize data

  • Communicate clear ROI to clients

FAQs on building a content team

How do you build a content development team? 

There are many different ways to build a content team. Here are six steps to get you started: 

  • Select your team members

  • Get your team focused on key KPIs

  • Create an onboarding process

  • Build your content calendar

  • Set up a workflow using project management software 

  • Encourage courtesy among team members

What are the rules for a content team?

There are no pre-set rules for a content marketing team — that’s one of the things that makes content marketing so unique. There are so many different ways to do it, and what works for one company may not work for the next. 

What is content collaboration?

Content collaboration is the process of involving multiple people in the creation of a piece of content. This usually involves strategists, writers, designers, editors, proofreaders, and subject matter experts. 

Why is content collaboration important?

First, it provides multiple points of view — a subject matter expert, for example, can provide insight that a writer couldn’t get on their own. Second, it ensures that you’re producing high-quality content by allowing people with different skill sets to perform different tasks. .

Conclusion

Building a top notch team is critical to content marketing success, and now you know what roles to fill, how to assemble a formidable team, and what tools you need to get the job done. Best of luck! 



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MarTech’s marketing operations experts to follow

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MarTech's marketing operations experts to follow

Marketing operations is what makes the magic happen. These are the folks who see that your martech stack doesn’t get stuck. They are the maestros, modelers and makers who make sure the trains run, the data is digestible and that you have the programs you need. Where would we be without them? That’s too scary to think about. Here’s our list of MOps experts who have the ear of the profession.

Darrell Alfonso

Darrell is director of marketing strategy & operations at Indeed and the former global marketing ops leader for AWS. He’s the author of “The Martech Handbook: Build a Technology Stack to Acquire and Retain Customers.” In addition to speaking at many conferences, Darrell was named one of the Top Marketers in the US by Propolis 2022 and among the “Top Martech Marketers to Follow” in 2020 by Martech Alliance. He’s a regular and popular contributor both to MarTech and the MarTech conference; you can find all of his articles at this link.


Eddie Reynolds

Eddie has been in business a long time, starting his first company when he was 14. “A pretty minimal enterprise,” he told one interviewer. “I had a tax ID number, a legal entity, and a company name. I even had the IRS coming after my dad for sales tax that I failed to report properly.” Today he is CEO and revenue operations strategy consultant of Union Square Consulting. He publishes The RevOps Weekly Newsletter and the podcast RevOps Corner. Eddie’s large LinkedIn following attests to the quality of the insights he shares there on  sales, marketing, service, and admin roles. 


Sara McNamara

Sara is an award-winning marketing and sales operations professional whose work has been recognized by awards from the likes of Salesforce (Pardot), Adobe (Marketo), Drift, and LeanData. She is a Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at Slack and a martech stack (+ strategy) solution architect. That and her passion for leveraging technology and processes to improve the experiences of marketers, sales professionals, and prospects, explains why she’s a regular guest on MOps podcasts.


Ali Schwanke

Ali is the CEO and founder of Simple Strat. The firm specializes in helping companies get the most out of HubSpot — from CRM strategy and setup to marketing automation and content creation. She is also host of HubSpot Hacks, “the #1 Unofficial YouTube show for HubSpot Tutorials” and has been a guest speaker at the MarTech conference.


Mike Rizzo

Mike’s career in marketing operations showed him that there is a real and significant MOps community. That’s why he founded MO Pros/MarketingOps.com, the fast-growing online community for people in marketing operations. He is also co-host of Ops Cast, a weekly podcast. 


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About the author

Constantine von Hoffman

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.

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Is a Marketing Degree Worth it in 2023?

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Is a Marketing Degree Worth it in 2023?

If you’re thinking about getting a degree at any age, it makes sense to think about the value of that degree. Is the qualification needed for the career you want? Are there alternative paths to that career? Can you develop better skills by gaining experience in work? 

All of these are perfectly valid questions. After all, getting a degree requires a pretty large investment of both time and money. You want to know that you’ll get enough return on that investment to make it worthwhile.

Why marketing?

When it comes to marketing, a lot of entry-level jobs list a bachelor’s degree as a requirement. That doesn’t mean there aren’t alternate ways to get into marketing but having a relevant degree certainly makes your resume more competitive. 

Growth industry

Marketing skills are in demand in the current jobs market. According to a recent report from LinkedIn, marketing job posts grew 63% in just six months last year. Half of those jobs were in the digital and media sectors, meaning digital and content marketing skills are highly valued

Personal Development & Career Path

The reason for this increased demand for marketers is tied to the rise in digital marketing. New methods of marketing have continued to develop out of the digital sector. This means that marketers capable of creating engaging content or managing social media accounts are needed.

This leaves a lot of room for personal development. Young graduates who are well-versed in social media and community management can hit the ground running in digital marketing. Getting on this path early can lead to content strategist and marketing management positions.    

What are the Types of Marketing Degrees?

When we say marketing degree, the term is a bit too general. There are a lot of degree paths that focus on marketing in major or minor ways. The level of degree available will depend on your current education history, but the specific course will be down to your personal choice. 

Associate, Bachelor’s, or Master’s?

Recent statistics suggest that 74% of US marketing professionals hold a bachelor’s degree. 9% have an associate degree and 8% have a master’s degree. Here’s a quick overview of the differences. 

Associate degrees – 2-year courses that cover marketing and business in a more basic way than bachelor’s qualifications. They’re designed to give students the basic skills needed to apply for entry-level marketing jobs.   

Bachelor’s degrees – 3/4-year courses that cover business and economics. There is a range of bachelor’s courses with marketing at their core, but you’ll also cover wider business topics like management, communication, and administration. 

Master’s degrees – 2-year courses, usually only available if you’ve already completed a bachelor’s degree. MA or MBA courses are designed to develop a deep understanding of complex business topics. They are highly specific, covering areas like strategic marketing or marketing analytics. 

Free to use image from Pixabay

Marketing Specific or Business General? 

This is down to personal choice. There are general business degrees that will cover marketing as a module as well as marketing-specific degrees. There are also multiple universities and colleges, both offline and online, offering different course platforms

If you’re looking at a specific job role or career path, then research which type of degree is most relevant. Remember that you will need to add to your marketing skills if you intend to progress to management roles in the future. 

Check the Modules & Curriculum

This is important, and not only because it lets you see which courses align with your career goals. Marketing has changed significantly over the last decade, even more so if you go back to before the digital age. Many business courses are still behind on current marketing trends. 

What Jobs Look for a Marketing Degree?

Once you’ve got your marketing qualification, what jobs should you be looking for? Here are some job titles and areas you should watch out for, and what qualifications you’ll need for them.

Entry level

If you’re starting with a degree and no experience, or work experience but no degree, take a look at these roles. 

  • Sales/customer service roles – These are adjacent roles to marketing where most companies do not ask for prior qualifications. If you don’t have a degree, this is a good place to start.
  • Marketing or public relations intern – Another possibility if you don’t have a degree, or you’re still in education. 
  • Digital/content marketing associate – These roles will almost always require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. A good grasp of new digital and social marketing techniques will be required to succeed. 
  • Copywriter/Bid writer – This is a good route into marketing for those with journalism or literature qualifications. These roles combine aspects of marketing, creative writing, and persuasive writing. 
  • SEO specialist – A more focused form of marketing centered on SEO content optimization. If you know how to optimize a blog post for search engine rankings, this role is for you. Bachelor’s or associate qualifications will be a minimum requirement. 
  • Social media/community manager – Since these are relatively new roles, we tend to see a mix of degree-qualified marketers and people who’ve had success fostering communities or online brands but don’t have on-paper credentials.  

Free to use image from Unsplash

Career Progression

If you have an MA or MBA, or significant experience in one of the above roles, then you can look at these more advanced roles for your career progression.

  • Digital Marketing Manager – A role for experienced marketers that involves running campaigns and coordinating marketing associates. 
  • Senior Marketing Coordinator – A department management level role. Responsible for overall marketing strategy and departmental performance.  
  • Content Strategist – A specialist role that focuses on content strategy. Designing content plans based on demographic and keyword research are a core aspect of this role. 
  • Marketing Analyst – This role involves analyzing customer behaviors and market trends. If you want to move into analysis from a more direct marketing role, you’ll likely need specific data analysis qualifications. 
  • Public Relations Specialist – The public voice of a large organization’s PR team. Managing a brand’s public perception and setting brand-level communication policies like tone of voice.   
  • Experiential Marketing Specialist – This area of marketing is focused on optimizing the customer experience. Experiential specialists have a deep understanding of customer psychology and behaviors. 
  • Corporate Communications Manager – Communications managers are responsible for company-wide communications policies. This is an executive-level role that a marketing coordinator or public relations manager might move up to. 

Average marketing salaries

Across all the roles we’ve discussed above, salaries vary widely. For those entry-level roles, you could be looking at anything from $25 – $40K depending on the role and your experience. 

When it comes to median earnings for marketers with a bachelor’s or master’s degree, we can get a bit more specific. Recent statistics from Zippia show us that $69,993 p/a is the average for bachelor’s degree holders and $80,365 p/a for master’s degree marketers. 

Image sourced from Zippia.com

Marketing Degree Pros and Cons

So, the question we asked above was “Is a marketing degree worth it?” Yet, in truth, it’s not a simple yes or no answer. The question you need to ask is “Is a marketing degree right for me?” Here’s a summary of the pros and cons that might give you some answers.  

Pros

  • Degree holders have better job prospects and higher earnings potential in marketing
  • You can study highly specific skills with the right courses
  • Gain soft skills like communication and collaboration

Cons

  • High time and money investment required 
  • Diminishing salary returns at higher levels
  • Can be a restrictive environment for self-starters and entrepreneurs

What are Marketing Degree Alternatives?

If you want to stick with education but don’t want to invest four years into a degree, then accredited online courses can provide an alternative. This can be your best choice if you wish to upskill in a specific area like running conference calls from Canada

If higher education really isn’t your thing, the other option is gaining experience. Some businesses prefer internships and training programs for entry-level roles. This allows them to train marketers “their way” rather than re-training someone with more experience.  

Free to use image from Unsplash

How to Decide if a Marketing Degree is Right for You

Ultimately, choosing to do a marketing degree depends on your goals, your preferences, and your talents. Consider all three factors before making your choice. 

Career Goals

Do you want a management position that needs marketing knowledge? What areas of marketing interest you? What skills do you already possess? Answering these three questions will help you define your career path. That will narrow down your course choices. 

If you want to get better at selling small business phone systems in Vancouver, you don’t need a four-year course for that. If you want to develop into high-level marketing roles, then you want that degree. 

Personality

You don’t need a specific personality type to work in marketing. Your personality and interests might determine what area of marketing would suit you best though. For example, if you’re outgoing and creative then public relations or social media management might be for you.    

Investment & Return

Money isn’t everything. But, if you’re going to put the resources into getting a degree, you want to know that you’ll get some return on your investment. From the figures we quoted above, it seems the “optimal” qualification in terms of salary return vs. time and money investment is a bachelor’s degree. 

Average earnings for marketers with a master’s qualification were only $10k higher. This suggests that you’re not really getting a significant financial return for the additional investment. Of course, if that master’s leads to your dream job, you might see it differently.  

Final Thoughts: Forge Your Own Path

Is a marketing degree worth it in 2023? The short answer is yes. Whether that means a marketing degree is right for you, we can’t tell you. Hopefully, though, this guide has given you the information you need to make that choice. 



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How the LinkedIn Algorithm Works in 2023 [Updated]

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How the LinkedIn Algorithm Works in 2023 [Updated]

LinkedIn bills itself as “the world’s largest professional network” — and they have the numbers to prove it. With over 875 million members in more than 200 countries and regions, LinkedIn is immensely popular and well-used. On top of the sheer size of the platform, nearly 25% of users are senior-level influencers; about 10 million are categorized as C-level executives, and LinkedIn classifies 63 million as “decision makers.”

If you’re a B2B marketer or brand, you probably already know this social media platform offers you an excellent opportunity to reach your target demographic. However, seizing that opportunity is easier said than done since LinkedIn uses a unique algorithm to serve content to users.

In this article, we will walk through how the LinkedIn algorithm works in 2023, best practices for beating the algorithm with organic content, and how brands can elevate their presence on the platform.
 

What is the LinkedIn Algorithm?

 
The LinkedIn algorithm is a formula that determines which content gets seen by certain users on the platform. It’s designed to make each user’s newsfeed as relevant and interesting to them as possible to increase engagement and time spent on the platform. In this way, the LinkedIn algorithm is similar to the Facebook or TikTok algorithm, though LinkedIn’s is slightly more transparent (which is good news!). 

In fact, LinkedIn itself is a good source for demystifying the algorithm and understanding what content is prioritized for members. But the general function of the LinkedIn algorithm is to review and assess billions of posts every day and position those that are most authentic, substantive and relevant to each user at the top of their feeds.  

How the algorithm achieves that function is a little more complex.
 

How the LinkedIn Algorithm Works in 2023

 
 
LinkedIn users’ feeds don’t show posts in chronological order. Instead, the LinkedIn algorithm determines which posts show up at the top of users’ feeds, meaning that sometimes users see older or more popular posts before they see more recent ones.

Several factors influence the LinkedIn algorithm, and the factors change relatively often. Let’s take a closer look.
 

1. Assess and Filter Content by Quality

 
When someone posts on LinkedIn, the algorithm determines whether it’s spam, low-quality, or high-quality content. High-quality content is cleared, low-quality content undergoes additional screening, and spam content is eliminated. 

 

  • Spam – Content flagged as spam can have poor grammar, contain multiple links within the post, tag more than five people, use more than ten hashtags (or use expressly prescriptive hashtags like #follow, #like, and #comment) or be one of multiple postings from the same user within three hours. 
  • Low-quality – Content categorized as low quality isn’t spam but is judged as not particularly relevant to the audience. These posts can be hard to read, tag people who are unlikely to respond or interact, or deal with topics too broad to be interesting to users.  
  • High-quality – “Clear” content is easy to read, encourages engagement, incorporates strong keywords, uses three or fewer hashtags, and reserves outbound links to the comments. In other words, it’s something your audience will want to read or see and react to in a substantive way.

 

2. Test Post Engagement with a Small Follower Group

 
Once a post has made it through the spam filter, the algorithm distributes it to a small subset of your followers for a short time (about an hour) to test its ability to generate engagement. If this group of followers likes, comments or shares the post within this “golden hour,” the LinkedIn algorithm will push it to more people. 

If, on the other hand, the post is ignored, or your followers choose to hide it from their feeds (or, worst of all, mark it as spam), the algorithm will not share it further.  
 

3. Expand the Audience Based on Ranking Signals

 
If the algorithm decides your post is worthy of being sent to a broader audience, it will use a series of three ranking signals to determine exactly who sees it: personal connection, interest relevance and engagement probability. 

These signals boil down to the level of connection between you and the user who potentially sees the post, that user’s interest in the content’s topic and the likelihood of that user interacting with the content. We’ll break down exactly what these ranking signals are further in the post.
 

4. Additional Spam Checks and Continued Engagement Monitoring

 
Even after a post is pushed to a broader audience, the LinkedIn algorithm continues monitoring how users perceive it in terms of quality. If your content is marked as spam or entirely ignored by the new audience group, LinkedIn will stop showing it to those audiences. On the other hand, if your post resonates with new audiences, LinkedIn will keep the post in rotation. So long as the post gets a steady stream of engagement, posts can stay in circulation for months.
 

8 Best Practices to Make the LinkedIn Algorithm Work for You

 
 Understanding how the LinkedIn algorithm works is the first step to reaching more people on LinkedIn and ensuring your content is well-received and engaging. The next step is optimizing your content based on the factors the algorithm prioritizes to maximize its effect. This is where mastering the ranking signals comes into play.

Here are eight tips for crafting high-performing LinkedIn content:
 

1. Know What’s Relevant to Your Audience

 
Relevance is what the algorithm prizes above all other content qualities. For LinkedIn, relevance translates to engagement, which leads to more time spent on the platform, which results in more ad revenue and continued growth. Following this tip will win you points in the “interest relevance” and “engagement probability” ranking categories. 

The entire LinkedIn ecosystem is set up to prioritize highly relevant content. To ensure your posts are relevant, create content focused on your niche and your audience’s specific needs and interests. As LinkedIn’s then-Director of Product Management Linda Leung explained in 2022, “we are continuously investing in the teams, tools, and technology to ensure that the content that you see on your feed adds value to your professional journey.” 

Use customer research and analytics from other social media platforms to learn more about what your audience wants to know. Focus on creating high-quality, valuable content that helps professionals succeed in formats they prefer (for example, videos, which get three times the average engagement of text-only posts). But above all, posting content that is personal and has industry relevance is vital. 
 

2. Post at the Right Time

 
As with most things, timing is crucial for successful LinkedIn posts. It’s even more critical when considering the “golden hour” testing process integral to the algorithm’s rankings. Remember, how much interaction a post gets within the first hour after it’s published determines whether it gets pushed to a broader audience. That means posting at the optimal time when your followers are online and primed to respond is a central factor to success.

You are the best judge of when your top LinkedIn followers and people in your network are most likely to be on the platform and engaging with content. But for the general public, data suggests the best time to post is at 9:00 a.m. EST on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Cross-reference these times with your own analytics and knowledge about your audience — like a common time zone, for example — to find the best time for your posts.
 

3. Encourage Engagement

 
Your post format can play a significant role in user engagement. The LinkedIn algorithm doesn’t explicitly prioritize videos over photo and text posts, but LinkedIn’s internal research has found video ads are five times more likely to start conversations compared to other types of promoted content. 

Asking a question is another great way to encourage interaction with your post. If you’re sharing industry insights, open the conversation to commenters by asking them to share their opinions or experiences on the topic. 

Additionally, tagging someone in your LinkedIn post can expand its reach, but only tag relevant users and people likely to engage with the post. You don’t automatically get in front of a celebrity’s entire following just because you tagged them. In fact, the algorithm’s spam filter can penalize your post for that. But when you tag someone relevant, the tagged person’s connections and followers will also see your post in their feeds. 
 

4. … But don’t beg users to engage

 
The LinkedIn algorithm penalizes posts and hashtags that expressly ask for an engagement action like a follow or a comment. In an official blog post from May 2022, LinkedIn said that it “won’t be promoting” posts that “ask or encourage the community to engage with content via likes or reactions posted with the exclusive intent of boosting reach on the platform.” Essentially, content that begs for engagement is now considered low-quality and should be avoided.
 

5. Promote new posts on non-LinkedIn channels

 
LinkedIn doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and neither do its users. Content that gains traction in other channels can help boost LinkedIn posts and vice versa. Sharing posts on your website, other social media platforms, or with coworkers can spark the initial engagement required for a viral LinkedIn post. Promoting content on other channels can also encourage inactive LinkedIn users to re-engage with the platform, and that interaction will be interpreted as net new engagement for your post.
 

6. Keep Your Posts Professional

 
As the “professional social networking site,” LinkedIn has a well-honed identity that extends to the type of content it favors. Specifically, business-related content that users will find relevant and helpful to their careers or within their industry. 

This might seem common sense, but it can be tempting to think that content that earns lots of clicks or likes on other social media platforms will perform similarly when cross-posted on LinkedIn. Unfortunately (or fortunately), hilarious memes, TikTok dance clips and personal videos don’t resonate with the LinkedIn algorithm. 
 

7. Avoid Outbound Links
 
 

The urge to include an outbound link in a LinkedIn post is real, especially for B2B marketers using LinkedIn to generate leads and traffic to their websites. But this is universally regarded as a tactic to avoid. LinkedIn wants to keep users on the platform and engaging; link-outs defeat that purpose. Therefore, the algorithm tends to downgrade content that includes an outbound link. 

Posts without outbound links enjoyed six times more reach than posts containing links. Does that mean there’s no room for a link to your brand’s website or blog with additional resources? No. But the best practice is creating content that encourages a conversation and letting the audience request an outbound link. If you feel compelled to link to something off-platform, include that link in the comments. 
 

8. Keep an Eye on SSI

 
LinkedIn has a proprietary metric called the Social Selling Index, which measures “how effective you are at establishing your professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building relationships.” Per LinkedIn, social selling leaders create 45% more opportunities than those users with lower SSI scores.

A higher SSI boosts users’ posts closer to the top of their audience’s feeds. While this impacts post visibility for individual posters rather than brands and companies, it remains a significant influence on LinkedIn’s algorithm and is worth noting. 

Source: Business 2 Community
 

An Overview of Ranking Signals on LinkedIn’s Algorithm

 
 
As mentioned earlier, there are three ranking signals the LinkedIn algorithm uses to rank posts in a user’s feed:
 

  1. Personal connections
  2. Interest relevance
  3. Engagement probability

 
And here’s how each signal impacts a post’s ranking:
 

Personal Connections

 
In 2019, LinkedIn began deprioritizing content from mega influencers (think Oprah and Richard Brandon) and instead began highlighting content from users’ personal connections. To determine a user’s connections, LinkedIn considers these two things:
 

  1. Who a user works with or has previously worked with
  2. Who a user has interacted with before on the platform

 
At the top of the feed, users now see posts by people they engage with often and by anyone who posts consistently. Users also see more posts from connections with whom they share interests and skills (according to their LinkedIn profiles). 

That said, as of 2022, LinkedIn is also “creating more ways to follow people throughout the feed experience,” including thought leaders, industry experts, and creators that may be outside of a user’s network. So it’s important to remember that personal connection is just one factor influencing post ranking.
 

Interest relevance

 
Relevance is another of the three ranking signals – and in many ways, the most important one. LinkedIn explains on its engineering blog: “We already have a strong set of explicit and implicit signals that provide context on what content a member may find interesting based on their social connections and the Knowledge Graph (e.g., a company that they follow, or news widely shared within their company).”

LinkedIn also uses what they call an “interest graph” that represents the relationships between users and a variety of topics. This lets the LinkedIn algorithm measure the following:
 

  • How interested users are in certain topics
  • How related are different topics to one another
  • Which connections share a user’s interests

 
The algorithm also considers the companies, people, hashtags, and topics mentioned in a post to predict interest. To maximize the interest relevance ranking, you have to understand your target audience and craft content that they’ll find relevant.
 

Engagement Probability

 
Interaction plays a significant role in a post’s ranking on LinkedIn. The platform uses machine learning to rank interaction in two ways:
 

  1. How likely a user is to comment on, share, or react to a post based on the content and people they have interacted with
  2. How quickly a post starts receiving engagement after it’s published. The faster users interact with a post, the more likely it will appear at the top of others’ feeds

 
Users who regularly interact with others’ posts in their LinkedIn feed are more likely to see interactions on their content, which in turn means that they’ll be more likely to show up on other people’s feeds.
 

Elevate Your Brand’s LinkedIn Presence

 
The LinkedIn algorithm can seem intimidating, but it really isn’t. It relies on a series of rules and ranking measures that can be understood and mastered to present users with content they find helpful in their professional lives.

Knowing that the algorithm prioritizes engagement, relevance and connection will help get your posts in front of more LinkedIn users and improve your overall performance on the platform. And by following the eight best practices outlined in this article, you’ll be able to keep your audience’s interest and create plenty of opportunities for them to engage with your content. 

Tinuiti helps brands strengthen relationships with new and current customers through expert social media strategy and brilliant creative. Reach out to our Paid Social services team to learn how to start advancing your LinkedIn strategy today.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2021 and has been regularly updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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