How To/Social Media

5 Weeks to LinkedIn Success – Getting Started

Posted by M. Sharon Baker

First in a Five Post Series

I’m helping a family law firm with their content marketing efforts, and learned that some of the attorneys do not have LinkedIn profiles and that others have profiles but aren’t doing much with them. These attorneys are very busy people, and the common reason they haven’t done anything with LinkedIn is due to the time crunch they believe is involved.linkedin button

As with anything, you get out of it what you put into it. Many high profile sales people like Jill Konrath, Lori Richardson and those in content marketing like Ardath Albee and Carole Mahoney have been highlighting the success businesses and professionals can achieve using LinkedIn. They provide tons of social proof.

What I’m creating is a step-by-step cheatsheet that anyone who is just starting with LinkedIn can use to get up to speed quickly in a few bite-sized chunks that don’t take a lot of time.

Here’s Week One. I’ll be sharing the other weeks over the course of the next four or five weeks. I’d appreciate your feedback.

Week One: Getting Started with Your LinkedIn Profile

Set up a profile/account

1)      Use your personal email to sign up so you always have access throughout your career.

2)      Find (or take) and upload a good professional headshot also known as a photo to accompany your profile. People want to know what you look like, and if you don’t have a photo, people will wonder why not or what are you hiding. A photo builds trust.


3)      Write a headline using your top keywords. Don’t just put your title but tell pepole who you are and what you do.

Here’s Mine:  B2B Content Writer | Freelance Journalist I create compelling content that helps companies connect with customers.

Read this great blog post, Crafting an SEO- and Human-Friendly LinkedIn Headline if you need more help in crafting a headline.


4)      Fill out this guide before you fill out the rest of your profile. Carole Mahoney wrote it to help folks like you. She is a LinkedIn expert who coaches people on how to use LinkedIn for sales.

5)      Upload the information you created from the Optimize your LinkedIn Profile worksheet.

No. 4 will take you a little bit of time. If you are feeling stumped at what to include in your profile, take a look at what other people have included in your profession. Don’t worry if they have a lot more information, links, connections and endorsements. Focus on what they have said and how they said it.

As I mentioned, I’ll be posting the additional weeks quick bites over the next four to five weeks. Since I’m delivering emails along these lines to my client each Tuesday, I’ll upload the posts that day as well.

Beginners: Please leave me questions about what might not be clear.
Veterans: I’d love to hear how I can improve this Cheat Sheet or what else you would have started off with. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

blogging/How To/Writing

Blogging Cheat Sheet

Posted by M. Sharon Baker

I’m setting up a blog for my client and overseeing 6 or 7 people who for the most part, haven’t blogged before.

In addition to setting up an editorial calendar, I’m also creating a Blogging Cheat Sheet, which I wanted to share.

 Blogging Cheat Sheet

  • Posts should be around 350 to 500 words.
  • Stick to one topic/idea.
  • Try to think about what your clients might be interested in knowing.
  • Try to create a catchy headline.
  • Graphics, pictures, charts and links are encouraged.
  • Subheads help the reader along.
  • End with a call to action that invites comments.
  • Remember to respond to each comment.
  • Promote via social media in a way that’s engaging.


What other handy tips and ideas do you keep top of mind when you are writing blog posts? I’d love to add your thoughts to my cheat sheet.


Content/Content Marketing/How To/Websites

How a Service Firm Tackles Content Marketing: First Step – Rewriting Web Pages

Posted by M. Sharon Baker
How a Service Firm Tackles Content Marketing:  First Step – Rewriting Web Pages

u2scp19bI’m in the midst of helping a client rewrite her company website. Her business had dipped, and she wanted to land more traffic from specific keywords, ones she knew were shuttling most of the business to her competitors.

For the most part, her site was a gigantic brochure, talking all about her firm, not about what her team does for people or how her services are different from others. Like many companies, she wrote the copy herself, many years ago when she first launched her website.

But now, her brochure site no longer works.

Case Studies/How To

Two Storytelling Secrets Marketing Managers Can Use To Transform Boring Case Studies

Posted by M. Sharon Baker
Two Storytelling Secrets Marketing Managers Can Use To Transform Boring Case Studies

Do your case studies make prospects yawn?

Do your case studies make prospects yawn?

Most business case studies are nothing more than informational reports where concepts are discussed in generalities.

Many are formulaic, starting with an overview of the customer and a general outline of their problem and, in very general terminology, how your company solved that problem.

What’s missing are the specifics that allow you to create and write an engaging story that resonates with prospects.

Jack Hart, a newspaper writing coach and collaborator who helped several reporters win Pulitzers, addresses the difference in his latest book, Story Craft.

For years, he says, reporters were directed “to show not to tell.” But in reality, he says, to tell a good story, you need to do both – tell and show – by moving up and down the abstraction ladder.

A case study must describe a general problem that many have encountered, but make us feel the pain of the problem by providing specifics and highlighting the pain of a single customer. The key is to make us feel the pain, not just describe it.

So how to you do that?

First, ask the right questions in the interview process.

Identify the pain points. There is a big difference between “having an antiquated phone system” and having the press box phone bank go dead during the championship basketball game.

Or between “maintaining an old PBX system” and having to wait four days and then pay $1,500 for a service provider site visit only to tell you it will take another five days to get the part you need.

Your customers call you for a reason. Listen to what they say and start capturing that information.

During a case study interview, ask them to tell you what they are trying to do and why it is important to their company. What problems are they running into, and how does it affect the overall business?

Get really specific and ask how, why and “what happened then” questions.

Don’t settle for generalities like “our computer system was very old.” Dig until you hear “many of our customers wanted to place bets right from their mobile phone while the thoroughbreds paraded to the track. But our network couldn’t handle every new device and we knew we were losing millions of dollars.”

Second, quantify results people can relate to and understand.

You didn’t just save your customers time and money. You can now get the press box phone system up and running in five minutes from your home at any time rather than driving 25 minutes to the field, figuring out what is wrong and without making a $150-hour service call.

You didn’t just add new servers and a T-3 line, you provided Internet access to 400 students who used to sit in the library and find the information they needed in the school’s single set of 10-year-old encyclopedias.

Ask customers what benefits they now receive from your services. Ask them to contrast the task now to what they did before, and to quantify how easy it is to accomplish now.

Armed with these specific details, you should be able to write a chronological story, starting with your customer’s biggest headache and progressing to how you solved the problem and how his life is much, much easier now. Weave historical details and company background throughout the introduction rather than blurting it out at the beginning.


Tell prospects a story; don’t dump information in their lap. The story is in the details; you just need to dig them out.

Photo: Morguefile by Indenture


Are you tired of the formulaic method of writing case studies? How are you making your case studies more engaging?