Would you like to create the kind of content that draws in a crowd, generates engagement and results in new connections and opportunities? Of course you would! But how do you go about it?
When you want to be a champion, one of the best things to do is to look to the real champions, and check out what they do and how they do it. Naturally you don’t want to plagiarise, but imitation is the greatest form of flattery after all, and there’s nothing wrong with picking up a few tips from the high flyers!
CEOs who pull this off really well often have these things in common:
- They courageously tell it like it is – or at least how they see it.
- They use descriptive language to tell stories that people can relate to.
- They are generous in sharing their thoughts, ideas and experiences without asking for anything in return.
- They bring their personality with them so that you get a glimpse of it through their posts.
To demonstrate, let’s turn to LinkedIn Pulse and look at three very different business owners who do this well, each in their own way – Mark Bouris, Moby Siddique, and Thang Ngo.
Before we dive in, let me point out that Moby and Thang don’t yet have massive followings on Pulse, but they’re on the way with over 1200 and 1700 followers respectively, and if they continue to publish content with heart, (and in Moby’s case a little more often!) their followings are likely to grow substantially. As you might expect, with the advantage of being well known, Mark Bouris has many more followers – over 108,000. But this isn’t about numbers – it’s about approach.
So, what’s so special about the approach of these three fellows?
Follow the Yellow Brick Road
Mark Bouris is no doubt the most famous of the three, having been made known to us through the Australian version of The Apprentice in 2009. Mark is founder and chairman of Wizard Home Loans and Executive Chairman of wealth management company Yellow Brick Road.
In the TV show, Mark was a straight-talker, and in his Pulse posts he also tends to talk directly to the reader, telling you about what he’s observed and using everyday language. For example, in his post ‘Look Back to Get Ahead’ he tells us about certain businesses he’s observed during the year, what was good and what was inspirational, and what drives him nuts. It’s all pretty much straight to the point and honest.
Mark also uses story as illustration and analogy in his posts. For instance, he tells the one about Alexander the Great’s impetuous decision to cut a complicated knot rather than spend time untying it, to illustrate how businesses can develop problems from growing too quickly.
Generosity is a feature of his articles, in that he observes the market and freely shares his insights. This includes some great, easy-to-understand tips for entrepreneurs, and some thoughts that might sometimes counter the prevailing wisdom or question interpretations. Personal stories also weave their way into the narrative – such as how he managed to get a ‘small slice of a big pie’ with his Wizard business, and how that small piece (about 2%) made him a big sum of money when he sold it.
Mark manages to make his personality shine through. When this is done well, you feel like an author is really talking to you, rather than just dishing out advice from on high. It helps to build rapport with your unseen audience.
Red Pandas Rock!
Moby Siddique is co-founder and head strategist of RedPandas Digital, a relatively new Sydney marketing agency. Moby has recently resumed posting on LinkedIn Pulse after a lengthy break, but he has the capacity to be very entertaining, and teach us a trick or two while he’s at it!
Moby’s posts are easy-to-read and straightforward. For instance, he makes a very definite case for hard work, consistency and dedication – rather than some sort of ‘natural talent’ – to get the results you want. In other words, there are no short cuts in this game!
Plenty of descriptive writing makes its way into Moby’s blogs. His ‘Black Belts in Judo’ article uses Judo wrestling (with cheeky references to ‘Tour De Paramatta Road’ cyclists!) to illustrate the point that, just as judo practitioners tend to reach a plateau at certain points, so do entrepreneurs and brands at times, and how this is a necessary stage to push through to get to the next level.
Moby is also generous with his advice, offering tips on strategy, social media, ad-fatigue and other concepts. And as he says in the judo article, most people do not progress beyond the ‘blue belt’ level, and so at the top of game the competition really thins out.
Perhaps that’s why successful people are often generous in sharing information – they know how tough it is to get there and are not threatened by helping others succeed.
There’s certainly a humorous side to Moby’s posts, with references to ‘nerdy guys way too passionate about digital marketing’, and so on. You certainly get a sense of Moby’s dry sense of humour and personality coming through his posts.
Expect to see more from Moby in 2017!
Eat Your Noodlies
Our third pick is Thang Ngo, editor and publisher at top food video blog Noodlies, and Managing Director at IDENTITY Communications. Thang has had a heap of other roles as well – too numerous to mention!
He uses a nice easy and conversational writing style on LinkedIn Pulse, which is enjoyable to read and follow. When discussing blogging and goal setting for instance, he talks straight to you, about such things as holding yourself accountable, and understanding your own limits, motivations and distractions – in other words, about the need to have plenty of self-reflection.
If you write about food and eating – one of mankind’s favourite pastimes – as Thang often does, it’s expected that you won’t be able to help using some descriptive and emotive language! Food to most of us is more than nutrition; it is life’s sustenance, and is connected to culture, emotion, and our mothers or other early nurturers. Thang uses language to describe for instance what certain Asian dishes mean in the hearts and minds of Chinese people – such as fish for prosperity, spring rolls for wealth (their shape resembles gold ingots), long noodles for long life, and how the Chinese word for ‘tangerine’ sounds very much like ‘luck’, and so on.
Thang is incredibly generous in his posts. His latest one ‘Five lessons from 17 years of blogging’ is brimming with advice from his own experiences of what works and what doesn’t. It even has a nice neat list at the end you can use, so you can ‘save yourself months of trial and error’ by learning the basics of blogging – including finding your niche and style, using visuals for illustration, best platforms to use, content strategies, promotion, analytics and tools.
Thang comes across as an outgoing people-person, and a bit of a high achiever while remaining approachable and down-to-earth.
Do they write their own content?
We have no idea! Perhaps they do, or perhaps they jot down or dictate notes for a professional blog writer or their in-house copywriter to flesh out. Perhaps they do a little of each. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that they publish with personality.
Granted, these three business owners all have some advantage when it comes to attracting attention online – Mark Bouris is a celebrity and a ‘LinkedIn Influencer’, Moby Siddique is a digital marketing strategist, and Thang Ngo is both a professional blogger and manager of a communications company! But there are plenty of offerings here for business owners who write, such as approachability, humour, conversational language, and generosity when it comes to sharing knowledge and insight.
Perhaps the biggest take away of all, is that when your aim is to establish a strong personal profile online, the most vital ingredient may be a generous helping of you.