5 Ways to Make Your Ideas Heard and Stop Pretending to be Someone Else!
There are only two choices in life. You can be yourself, or you can be a cheap imitation of someone else. It’s up to you.
It was August, the year after I was forced to close my own theatre and I was up for a part in Shakespeare in the Park, in Oklahoma City, one of America’s longest running Shakespeare companies.
Since the last time I’d auditioned for anyone else, I’d outgrown the male love interest and come of age to play fathers. So, small as it was, I was up for Montague in Romeo and Juliet. I stood in the hall, going over the sides they’d handed out for study. As an acting coach, I knew I needed an angle.
Once I was comfortable with the lines and they were starting to call in actors to read for Montague, I positioned myself as near the door as I could get.
Montague: O thou untaught! what manners is in this? To press before thy father to a grave?
Not much to make an impression with, is it? Montague has just lost his wife and Prince Escalus is bringing more bad news on top of it, Romeo is dead. As I listened to the readers, to a man they played it the same way. They raged! I could feel the door vibrate with their shouts of agony.
Now, if you knew me, you’d know, I’m a shouter from way back. I’m loud. But, I had a choice to make. I could either wade in their and try to beat these other, known actors, at their own game, in their own house, or I could flip the script a bit and do something unexpected, so I chose the latter.
In my book, there are two American actors who’ve played rage well in my lifetime, one, the inimitable Jack Nicholson in movies such as The Shining and A Few Good Men. Then, there’s Clint Eastwood, in Dirty Harry and Grand Torino, among others.
Nicholson is a rager. No doubt, had he strolled into that room and lost his shit, they’d have given him whatever part he wanted. But Clint, Clint would have delivered that speech nice and slow, in a growling whisper that would leave you breathless with a tingle down your spine.
So, that’s what I did, and two days later, I had the role.
As I was getting ready to write this piece for today, I did a little digging on what Linked In likes. What kind of articles are getting shared? What will help build an audience? I found out a lot of stuff, but I’m not going to share it with you. If you want that route, you can Google it. I used “Linked In Article Statistics 2019” as my search terms.
I got a whole bunch of statistics. Some I agreed with, some I thought were misinterpreted, but then I realized, I was about to wade into their theater, with actors the director knew, and try to outrage them all. (translation, I am competing against known Linked In article publishers on their home turf)
But, I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to share what I think you should do. And it’s mostly because of one really stupid piece of advice I found in one particular article that said:
“Don’t get your audience all fired up”
Yep, turns out, their research has determined that posts that hold no particular point of view at all, neutral posts get shared more, and get more comments. But, I wonder about this. I’m sure it’s true overall, but what about the influencers? Are they neutral?
So, I looked it up.
I found a list of the top 20 influencers on Linked In in 2018, a who’s who of business thought leaders. To be honest, I didn’t know who half of these people were. I should probably find out. I’m sure they’re brilliant and say a lot of amazing stuff, but who did I find at the top of the list?
That’s the author of this book
“Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way” by Richard Branson
Funny, doesn't sound much like a guy who doesn't get his audience all lathered up, does it?
When you Google Richard Branson quotes, literally the top one you find is this.
Well, maybe this is just a coincidence, I'm sure the rest of these folks are pressed down, pinstripe, English executive types with droll little accents who never raise their voices, right?
So, I go down the list at little further, and there I find, Gary Vaynerchuk, a man who seems to be trying to single handedly make the F word okay in polite society.
Here’s his top quote from Goal Coast
PASSION is priceless
Then, as I was editing this article, I also found this, that I thought was even more fitting!
I think this may be the biggest key to all of this. The site I found my advice on is making their money off of analyzing what people do, not doing.
Further down, a guy whose name I don’t care about is the current CEO of Paypal, founded by this guy…
Elon Musk, a man famous for his brashness! Just this past year, he apologized for calling a Thai cave diver a pedophile for his plan to rescue juvenile soccer players in a flooded cave, by carrying them out next to his own body. His mouth is a trainwreck, but when he talks, people listen.
I’m sure many of the other fine folks on that list are just as opinionated as these three gentlemen, but they’ll do as examples of what I’m talking about.
My point is this, do your own thing. You know your business. You understand the passion behind what you do. You know how to tell your story, so do it!
Stop waiting for permission to think your own damn thoughts. Aristotle didn’t become famous quoting some stone age monk, did he? No, he branded his thoughts and he had them literally etched in stone.
There’s nothing wrong with finding out what people who came before us thought and said. And quoting them can be a great way to get a point across, but I think too many people put an awful lot of stock in the thoughts of a bunch of men and women, who were dead long before the digital reality our kids are inheriting was even dreamed about.
The same thing is true about tracking how many letters should be in your headline, or knowing that 8 images is the optimum number you should have to get the most shares of your articles on Linked In!
So, what is important? Five things you need to know to make your voice count!
Writing a headline that makes people pause is the single greatest skill you can learn. Period. Everything that comes after it is secondary to the headline. Why? Because without the headline, no one will ever see it. There are four main things you can do with a headline.
Make a promise
State a fact
Draw a picture
Ask a question
Choosing an eye catching image that will draw people in is the next most important thing you can learn.
Make sure your first image is sized properly so it looks good in your newsfeed.
Only use images that belong to you, or you have permission to use, Pixabay is a great source Gratisography.com has amazing humorous images.
Choose pictures that add something to your content. They’re not just decoration.
Graphs, charts and infographics are great too, if they really do add something.
Write a brilliant opening paragraph. It’s all that matters in the body of your text. Seriously. Without that, no one reads to the bottom. Ever.
Know your audience and their pain points, appeal to one or more.
Hint at what you’re going to share up front if possible.
Tell a story, hook them in, if they read past the first two or three paragraphs, you’ve got them.
You might want to post your videos separate from your article content. Among the statistics, this one was useful. Articles with videos get less love.
Videos are best shared as links from Youtube, instead of the native Linked In format.
If you follow guys like Gary Vaynerchuk, you know this, but video is a great way to recycle, or upcycle content ideas.
Repeating the same ideas in multiple medias is only valid if you also duplicate the post into another point of connection with your audience.
Write, write, write. While the entire rest of the world is shrinking down their thoughts, to the point it feels like we are going back to hieroglyphics, Linked In likes 1900 to 2100 word posts.
These five things, and consistency!
Ordinarily I would tell you flat out, that this content you’re creating needs to go on your own blog. There are some really great reasons for this.
Reasons your blog should be the hub of your content marketing
Your website is literally the only piece of real estate online you can control. Everywhere else you publish, the rules could be changed tomorrow and the entire distribution matrix could change with them.
It gives you a central place to share your ideas and drive your traffic.
You have total control of the design and branding for your website. This is true nowhere else. Sure, you can choose headers and avatars, but beyond that, you’re very limited.
But, if you don’t already have steady traffic to your website, I’m going to suggest a way of building an audience that may help you.
Start on Linked In.
It has a built in publication matrix
Your content leads back to your profile, with your resume and hopefully a link to wherever you actually do business online.
The competition is lower.
Linked In’s Google and Alexa ratings are perfect. It’s a high authority site, so sharing your content here is better than good for business, it’s great!
Here's the opportunity this represents!
Out of 500 million regular users, only 260 million (just over half) log in each month. Out of those 260 million active users, only 1 million have ever posted an article. That’s significant, what it means is, you’ve got an audience of business people who 91% say they come to Linked In for content, and fewer than half of one percent of all active users are posting any original content besides posts, on the platform itself.
Won’t you just get lost in the shuffle?
First of all, that's what your great headlines and images are for, right?
It also turns out, the odds may be in your favor! Last year, of the top 30 shared articles, only half were written by “influencers” like the ones I talked about at the beginning of this article. The rest came from people like you and me! Of the 10,000 top shared articles of all time, only 6% were written by influencers, meaning 94% of the top shared content came from nobodies, who have a better chance of becoming somebodies on a platform like Linked In, with relatively low competition, than almost anywhere else online.
But, what about my website?
I’m getting to that. I’ve always believed in repurposing content, and after reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s amazing slide deck on how he syndicates his content, I’m convinced. So, here is a strategy I’m recommending.
Start with a single piece of “pillar” or “skyscraper” content. This is a big chunk of information. It can be written, or video, or podcast on your personal website.
Break that content into smaller, related pieces, shorter videos, a podcast if you start with writing or video, and even quote memes from the content.
Share these pieces, along with links to your larger content here on Linked, and ultimately, back on your website, wherever you can.
*I shared Vaynerchuk’s slide deck on my profile, you can check it out there, or go here to get more ideas about how to create your own “viral web” effect.
So, that’s it. Day two of the content challenge is in the books. Check out my profile for today’s writing prompt and if you’d like a free audit of your content here, on your blog,or anywhere online, PM me for details. I’d love to help. If you agree that more people need to think their own thoughts, click "like" leave a comment, or share my article. I'll return the favor on your next great piece of content.