Colleagues tell me they have some success using LinkedIn articles for their brand marketing. In a “catching-up” phone call, JP Laqueur told me how he hit a home run with his LinkedIn long-form article “Mission, Vision & Values are Dead (Or At Least Easily Forgotten)” in May 2017. I asked him to provide some background and ideas why this article was so popular: how this article came about and the results of his being perceptive and expressive to the global LinkedIn business community. Thanks, JP for contributing this guest blog piece!
For almost 15 years, we relied exclusively on personal networking to build our marketing consulting practice. During that time, I watched as others embraced new forms of digital marketing, blogging, V-logging and other forms of thought leadership, but always resisted the effort seeing it as “too time-consuming” and ”too hard to get noticed.” I didn’t want to be another one of those “content marketing guys” struggling to come up with something to say each week.
But, in January 2017, we decided to give it try. I had come to realize that over years of personal networking, I had handed out and collected thousands of business cards but had never stayed in front of those people in a disciplined manner. And since 100% of our business was referrals, it seemed content marketing would be the best way to do that.
Working with an outside consultant, we consolidated all our contacts from LinkedIn, address books and Constant Contact into a real CRM (InfusionSoft), and organized the first few dozen topics we could write about. I got into the rhythm of writing a blog post every other week, posting to our website, as an article in LinkedIn, and then sharing it with all the groups I had joined. At the end of each post was a link to some deeper “gated content” that required registration, so that we could capture leads and see with whom my writing was resonating.
One Saturday in April, I opened my editorial calendar and saw I was supposed to write a post on “Mission, Vision & Values.” I knew these were important statements to a company’s brand and culture, but I also knew they were widely ignored by today’s workforce and I didn’t want to write yet another article on “the difference between mission & vision” or “how to write a mission statement.” So, instead, I wrote this: Mission, Vision and Values are Dead!
And it went viral.
By the end of the summer it had been read over 75,000 times on LinkedIn alone and generated thousands of inbound registrations for additional information. It continues to grow (82,800 reads as of this writing), and has dramatically increased our followers on LinkedIn and the number of registrants in our database. This global exposure translated into thousands of views of our other posts, and allowed us to launch a whole new revenue channel in the form of an online product (a DIY workshop kit).
Many people have asked what caused the original post to go viral. I noticed that there were pockets of viewers in places around the globe like Scandinavia, the U.K., Brazil, and Middle East indicating that several second degree “connectors” or centers of influence must have forwarded or shared the post. But ultimately, I think it came down to two things: a willingness to “skewer a sacred cow” and the ability to offer a better model to replace it. Others have challenged Mission, Vision and Values but failed to offer an effective alternative. I think you need to do both in a provocative, yet thoughtful, manner.
And a little luck doesn’t hurt either!
JP Laqueur is the Chief Connector at BrandFoundations. The firm helps organizations unlock the value of their two biggest intangible assets: brand and culture. Sought out by private equity sponsors and purpose-driven CEOs – especially those rapidly pivoting, growing or transforming as a result of M&A – BrandFoundations develops powerful brand stories that energize a company’s culture, create competitive separation, and enhance exit valuation. See his LinkedIn profile linkedin.com/in/jplaqueur