How and why a company should use LinkedIn showcase pages

This post explains what LinkedIn showcase pages are, how Bredemarket uses LinkedIn showcase pages, and (a little more importantly) how YOUR company can use LinkedIn showcase pages.

What are LinkedIn showcase pages?

LinkedIn offers a variety of ways to share information. Two of those ways are as follows:

  • A personal LinkedIn page. This allows an individual to share their job history and other information. Here’s an example.
  • A company LinkedIn page, which contains information about a company, including “about” details, jobs, employees, and other facts. Here’s another example.

A third method is a LinkedIn showcase page. This is tied to a company page, but rather than telling EVERYTHING about the company, a showcase page allows the company to zero in on a PARTICULAR aspect of the company’s product/service offering.

How Bredemarket uses LinkedIn showcase pages

Most companies, even very small ones like Bredemarket, can segment their products and services in various ways. In Bredemarket’s case, the company offers some prepackaged services, such as a “short writing service” and a “medium writing service.”

However, it didn’t make sense for me to segment my services in this way. The people who are interested in 400 word written content are not dramatically different from the people who are interested in 2800 word written content. So instead of segmenting by service, I chose to segment by market.

I started by addressing one of my potential markets, the identity market (biometrics, secure documents, and other identity modalities). Back in November, I created a Bredemarket Identity Firm Services showcase page on LinkedIn, which eventually became a place for me to share information about the identity industry, both content generated by me and content generated by others.

Bredemarket Identity Firm Services on LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/bredemarket-identity-firm-services/

Since then I’ve expanded my offerings. On LinkedIn, I presently have TWO showcase pages, one concentrated on the identity market, and one concentrated on the more general technology market.

Bredemarket Technology Firm Services on LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/bredemarket-technology-firm-services/

These concentrations made the most sense to me, although I could segment even further if I chose to do so (separate showcase pages for fingers and palms, anyone?).

An aside for Facebook users

Incidentally, you can perform similar segmentation in Facebook. In Facebook terms, you can have a page associated with a particular company, and then (rather than showcase pages) you can have groups that link to the company page and delve into topics in more detail.

So Bredemarket (which is committed to disseminating information via multiple communication streams; see my goal number 3 here) has Facebook groups that are somewhat similar to the Bredemarket LinkedIn showcase pages. One difference is that I have three groups on Facebook. In addition to the identity and technology groups, I also have a general business group. At this point it didn’t make sense to create a LinkedIn showcase page for general business, but it did make sense for Bredemarket to have such a group on Facebook.

Enough about me. What about you?

Obviously Bredemarket is an unusual case, although for some of you it may make sense to segment based on markets.

Most companies, however, will choose to segment based upon products or product lines. This especially makes sense for multinational companies that offer a slew of products. However, even smaller companies with multiple product lines may benefit from showcase page segmentation. If a potential customer is only interested in your square blue widgets, but doesn’t care about your other widgets, a showcase page allows the customer to read about blue widgets without having to wade through everything else.

Some of you may have received a pitch from me suggesting how a showcase page can help you highlight one product or product line in this way.

Perhaps it’s best to show an example. I’ve previously highlighted Adobe as an example of a company with showcase pages, but for now I’d like to highlight another company with a similar issue.

Let’s look at Microsoft, which has an obvious interest in using LinkedIn to its fullest potential. Microsoft’s product and service lines have expanded over the years, and while some Microsoft entities (such as LinkedIn itself) have their own regular LinkedIn pages, Microsoft uses showcase pages for other entities, products, and services.

For example, Microsoft has a showcase page for Microsoft Dynamics 365.

But here’s a showcase page that has nothing to do with a product, service, or market: “Microsoft On the Issues.”

So there are a variety of ways that a company can slice and dice its communications, and LinkedIn showcase pages provide an ideal way to do that.

Does this interest you?

Of course, setting up a LinkedIn showcase page is only the beginning of the battle. If you set up a showcase page and don’t publish anything to it, your efforts are wasted. Potential customers look at your company’s online presence, after all.

If your company has established a showcase page, has set goals for how the showcase page will benefit the company, and now needs to generate content at a regular clip, Bredemarket can assist with the creation of the content, working with internal company subject matter experts as needed. If this service interests you, contact me. We will collaborate to ensure that your LinkedIn showcase page includes the best possible content.

Even Apple is moving to a service model. Biometric identity vendors are moving also.

Remember when you bought a big old hunk of hardware…and you owned it?

With cloud computing, significant portions of hardware were no longer owned by companies and people, but were instead provided as a service. And the companies moved from getting revenue from selling physical items to getting revenue from selling services.

From Apple Computer to Apple

Apple is one of those companies, as its formal name change from “Apple Computer” signifies.

Then “Apple Computer” circa 1978. From https://www.macrumors.com/2020/03/23/apple-computer-retail-sign/. Fair use.

Yet even as iTunes and “the” App Store become more prominent, Apple still made a mint out of selling new smartphone hardware to users as frequently as possible.

But Apple is making a change later in 2021, and Adrian Kingsley-Hughes noted the significance of that change.

The change?

So, it turns out that come the release of iOS 15 (and iPadOS 15) later this year, users will get a choice.

Quite an important choice.

iPhone users can choose to hit the update button and go down the iOS 15 route, or play it safe and stick with iOS 14.

Why is Apple supporting older hardware?

So Apple is no longer encouraging users to dump their old phones to keep up with new operating systems like the forthcoming iOS 15?

There’s a reason.

By sticking with iOS 14, iPhone users will continue to get security updates, which keeps their devices safe, and Apple gets to keep those users in the ecosystem.

They can continue to buy content and apps and pay for services such as iCloud.

Although Kingsley-Hughes doesn’t explicitly say it, there is a real danger when you force users to abandon your current product and choose another. (Trust me; I know this can happen.)

In Apple’s case, the danger is that the users could instead adopt a SAMSUNG product.

And these days, that not only means that you lose the sale of the hardware, but you also lose the sale of the services.

It’s important for Apple to support old hardware and retain the service revenue, because not only is its services business growing, but services are more profitable than hardware.

In the fiscal year 2019, Apple’s services business posted gross margins of 63.7%, approaching double the 32.2% gross margin of the company’s product sector. 

If current trends continue, Apple’s services (iCloud, Apple Music, AppleCare, Apple Card, Apple TV+, etc.) will continue to become relatively more important to the company.

The biometric identity industry is moving to a service model also

Incidentally, we’re seeing this in other industries, for example as the biometric identity industry also moves from an on-premise model to a software as a service (SaaS) model. One benefit of cloud-based hosting of biometric identity services is that both software and the underlying hardware can be easily upgraded without having to go to a site, deploying a brand new set of hardware, transferring the data from one set of hardware to the other, and hauling away the old hardware. Instead, all of those activities take place at Amazon, Microsoft, or other data centers with little or no on-premise fuss.

(And, as an added benefit, it’s easier for biometric vendors to keep their current customers because obsolescence becomes less of an issue.)

Is your biometric identity company ready to sell SaaS solutions?

But perhaps your company is just beginning to navigate from on-premise to SaaS. I’ve been through that myself, and can contract with you to provide advice and content. I can wear my biometric content marketing expert hat, or my biometric proposal writing expert hat as needed.

The “T” stands for technology. Or something. By Elred at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Moe_Epsilon., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3812206

Obviously this involves more than just saying “we’re cloud-ready.” Customers don’t care if you’re cloud-ready. Customers only care about the benefits that being cloud-ready provides. And I can help communicate those benefits.

If I can help you communicate the benefits of a cloud-ready biometric identity system, contact me (email, phone message, online form, appointment for a content needs assessment, even snail mail).

Make sure your social media channels have current AND CONSISTENT content

A few months ago, I suggested that businesses should make sure that their social media channels have CURRENT content.

This does NOT count as current content.

But that’s only part of the battle.

It also helps if the social media channels of a business exhibit CONSISTENT content.

Because of my years of competitive analysis experience, I engage in some competitive analysis for one of my Bredemarket clients. This includes regular visits to competitor social media channels. I won’t mention the name of the competitor (after all, I don’t want to promote a company that competes with one of my clients), but one competitor is very good at social media channel consistency. The competitor uses four major social media outlets, and generally ensures that content on one outlet is also available on another outlet, in a format appropriate to that outlet.

Some companies…don’t do so well.

I’ve run across several companies with multiple social media outlets that fail to take advantage of them.

  • In one case, a company published a very good video on its YouTube channel, but failed to share a link to the YouTube video on any of its other outlets, missing a golden content sharing opportunity.
  • In another case, a company had created two Twitter accounts over the years, but never let the followers of the old Twitter account know about the new Twitter account. Sadly, the new Twitter account had FEWER followers than the old one, again missing a golden content sharing opportunity.
  • In a third case, a social media consultant created accounts on multiple social media outlets, but NEVER posted to one of the social media platforms. (And this is a social media consultant!) It would have been best to have NEVER created that dormant account at all, rather than creating an account with NO content.

I’m struggling with this myself at Bredemarket, since I have multiple accounts devoted to the Bredemarket business itself, and other accounts devoted to me in a professional or personal capacity. For example, I’m probably going to share this blog post after I publish it. Where should I share it? Why? How?

If only there were a service that could help me analyze my web/social media content…oh yeah, I offer one: Bredemarket 404 Web/Social Media Checkup.

If you’d like me to perform an unbiased third-party social media checkup, contact me. (I can analyze your competitors also.)

The business TikTok post that I couldn’t share with you

I had a really good post planned for today.

While I’m not a big creator of video content, I can certainly appreciate good content, and I planned to share some excellent video content with you.

There is a mobile car washing service in my hometown of Ontario, California. Now videos of mobile car washing are more exciting than videos of…well, videos of writers writing, but not by much. So if you want to grab someone’s attention, you have to put entertaining content into a mobile car washing video.

(No, not that.)

So this local mobile car washing service posted a video on TikTok that began with the service washing…a kid-size vehicle.

Completely cute and entertaining, so I decided to share it from the TikTok app to one of my Facebook groups, and then decided that I wanted to write a blog post about it.

So I went to share the video from the TikTok web page to this blog, and was told the video was not available. I investigated further, and found this on the account page.

Yes, you read that right – a COMPANY’S TikTok account is PRIVATE.

I went back to my TikTok app, navigated to the account, and confirmed that the video was still there (for those of us who were logged in and following the account) and that hundreds of people have seen it.

But I can’t share it with you, nor can I share any of the company’s other videos, which are restricted to “Followers only.”

But trust me, it was a really cute video.

Why you need current online content (or, one reason to prove to your customers that your firm is an ongoing, viable concern)

This is a follow up to my post from two days ago…with a critical data point.

In that prior post, I listed some ways that a company’s website and social media channels could look attractive or unattractive to customers. I focused on the second of my three issues, which was whether the website/channels have current content.

But that prior post consisted of my opinions regarding why your company should hire Bredemarket to work with you on written content creation. Obviously self-serving.

But to be honest, is current content all that important? “Does website and social media content really matter?” you may ask. “Don’t B2B customers gather data by word of mouth anyway?”

The Demand Gen Report June 2020 B2B Buyer Behavior Study

Um…word of mouth is not that prevalent, according to Demand Gen Report, which released a B2B study last June entitled “2020 B2B Buyer Behavior Study.” You can download that study yourself for free here.

Much of the study concentrated specifically on COVID-19 related effects, but one item on pages 7 and 8 of the study caught my eye.

This portion of the study concentrated on the sources that B2B purchasers referenced when making buying decisions. Specifically, the survey participants were asked, “What were the first three resources that informed you about the solution in question?” Responses were as follows:

  • Web search: 53%
  • Vendor web sites: 41%
  • Review sites: 30%
  • Prior experience with the vendor: 28%
  • Peers/colleagues: 27%

Yes, almost twice as many B2B buyers depend upon the web for initial research rather than asking peers and colleagues.

Demand Gen Report offered the following comments on these and related responses (emphasis mine):

Making a positive first impression is important in any buying situation, but the survey showed that it is becoming an even more critical part of the buyer journey. Not surprisingly, most buying journeys start online, with a general web search, specific vendor websites and review sites as the first resources buyers used to inform them about a specific topic area related to their purchase….

The survey underscored that content remains a critical influence on B2B buying decisions, with 76% of respondents saying the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact on their buying decision.

Demand Gen Report, 2020 B2B Buyer Behavior Study, page 7. Available via download (5,664KB).

Now I don’t want to quote the entire study: again, you can download the study yourself. And I’ll admit that I’m only concentrating on a portion of the entire study.

But there’s no denying that a company’s online content is critical in B2B buying decisions.

Does your content cater to potential buyer behavior?

So, is your website and social media content the content that you want your customers to see?

  • Have you posted product-specific content on your website blog and/or your website “news” page in the last 3 months?
  • How about your website case studies, product data sheets, testimonials, white papers, and/or presentations? Are these recent, or is your company relying on past successes and failing to communicate present successes?
  • Have you posted relevant content on your company LinkedIn page in the last 3 months?
  • How about your other company social media outlets? Facebook? Instagram? Twitter? YouTube?

Although I refrain from linking to them, I know of countless bad examples of outdated content. Web “news” pages or social media accounts with no posts in years. LinkedIn company pages with no posts at all. Companies that haven’t posted presentations in a decade. Data sheets that prominently mention a product’s compatibility with Windows 7. Companies that post wonderful YouTube videos, but then fail to share the video link on their other social media channels or on their own website.

Call to (your) action

This is the part of the post where I share my “contact with me!” pitch, but before I do that, perhaps you should take the following steps yourself.

  1. Take a look at your website and your social media channels from the view of one of your potential customers. When putting the “customer” hat on, do you like what you see?
  2. If you don’t like what you see, what are you going to do about it?

Now perhaps Bredemarket is NOT the answer to question 2. Perhaps you have an employee who has the time to update your content, and do so on a regular basis.

But if you find that you need outside help in creating content (short blog posts, longer white papers, whatever), feel free to contact Bredemarket.

As a reminder, my process to work with a client to create content is a collaborative process. For example, here’s the process that Bredemarket uses when working with a client to produce written text of approximately 2800 to 3200 words, such as the content for a white paper.

  • Agree upon topic (and, if necessary, outline) with client.
  • Client provides relevant technical details.
  • Bredemarket conducts any necessary research and provides the first review copy within seven (7) calendar days.
  • Client provides changes and any additional requested detail within seven (7) calendar days.
  • Bredemarket provides the second review copy within seven (7) calendar days.
  • Client provides changes and any requested detail within seven (7) calendar days.
  • Bredemarket provides the third review copy within seven (7) calendar days.
  • Client prepares the final formatted copy and provides any post-formatting comments within seven (7) calendar days.
  • Bredemarket provides the final version within seven (7) calendar days.

(By the way, these times are maximum times. For the white papers that I have written, both the client and I have provided our deliverables in less than seven days, and we didn’t need all of the review cycles. Better preparation up-front minimizes the need to fix things at the end.)

A similar (but simpler) process is used for shorter Bredemarket writing projects of approximately 400 to 600 words, such as blog posts or LinkedIn posts.

Regardless of the specifics of the process, the goal is to work together to create text that states your company’s message and attracts your company’s desired clients.

And letting your potential customers know that you exist.

Three ways to prove to your customers that your firm is an ongoing, viable concern

[Update, January 27, 2021: a July 2020 study from Demand Gen Report explains WHY up-to-date content is important. I addressed that study in this post.]

When a customer is looking for a business to provide products and/or services, the customer would probably prefer to deal with a business that is not bankrupt.

Now I haven’t conducted specific surveys on this topic. This is just a wild hunch that I have. (As the meme says, prove me wrong.)

The search for viable businesses also applies in B2B relationships also, or businesses that provide services to businesses. Bredemarket, of course, provides marketing and writing services to businesses, and I’d be wasting my time if I pursued businesses that no longer existed.

What if your business IS still an active business, but just LOOKS like it no longer exists?

I’m going to list a few things that I check out, either when Bredemarket is looking at selling something to potential clients, or when I as a potential customer want to buy something. If you’re a business owner, here is a three question checklist to ask yourself when you look at your website and your social media channels.

  1. Make sure your business website still exists.
  2. Make sure the business website and social media channels have current content.
  3. Get the copyright date right.

After looking at these three items in the checklist, I’ll then have a few more comments on the SECOND of these three items, current (NOT outdated) content, because this is the one for which Bredemarket (or another consultant, or perhaps one of your own employees) can have the most impact.

Checklist Item 1: Make sure your business website still exists

This sounds like a no-brainer, but I’ll say it anyway. If a business website no longer exists, either the business is bankrupt, or the business has changed its marketing and forgot to take care of a loose end or two.

Just today I was surveying local businesses in a particular industry, and I ran across the Google listing for a particular business. The business was highly rated in Google reviews, so I checked out the business a little more. In the process of checking out the business, I found its Yelp page, which had one negative review (and an explanatory reply from the business owner). I also found a social media page for the business, which included a post about the company’s brand new location and how wonderful it was.

But in between checking out the Google listing and the Yelp page, I happened to check the business’ own website. This website was prominently mentioned on Google, Yelp, and the social media channel. And when I followed the link to that website, I saw this.

Now I’m going to give the business the benefit of the doubt and assume that the business DIDN’T send unsolicited commercial email, violate copyright, or used fraudulent credit cards. (If it did, the business owner is in REAL trouble right now.)

I’m just going to assume that the company didn’t pay its web hosting bill.

Why am I assuming this? Because after I visited the web page, I looked at the Google listing again, and took a more careful look at the other content that I found on Yelp and the social media channel. When doing so, I noticed that no reviews or other content had been posted about the business in more than a year. (See the second item on the checklist, below.) So my guess is that the business is no more.

Now, of course it’s possible that the business is still operating in a minimal way, without a website. (If I felt like it, I could drive by the new location advertised on its social media channel and see what’s there.) Or perhaps the business created a new website with a different URL and never closed the old one.

But do people really want to do business with a company that doesn’t pay its bills?

Checklist Item 2: Make sure the business website and social media channels have current content

Lack of current content is something that troubles bankrupt companies and ongoing companies alike. Ever since I started Bredemarket, I’ve dealt with several companies that are facing a “dated content” problem. Now I know that these companies aren’t bankrupt, and are in fact bringing in revenue; it’s just that their content is outdated.

What usually happens, in small and large companies alike, is that an effort is made at some point to “spruce up” the content of a website and/or its social media channels. Perhaps an employee is assigned to this task, or perhaps a consultant does it. (I’ve done both.) A heroic effort is undertaken, and a bunch of new content is produced, impressing the company heads and the company’s clients.

But then…things happen, and next thing you know your online channels have content that is three years old…or ten years old.

Or if the exact year of the content isn’t explicitly identified, there are clues within the content itself as to its age, such as “Our product is now supported on Windows 7.”

What are the ramifications of dated content? Visitors begin to wonder why there isn’t any new content.

  • Perhaps the company went bankrupt; see my first checklist item, above.
  • Perhaps the company is still a going concern, but hasn’t done anything in the last few years. Maybe that great customer reference from three years ago was the last new customer that the company got, or maybe that great presentation from several years ago was the last time the company presented anything.
  • Perhaps the company has continued to do business, but its more recent business isn’t as impressive as its previous business.
  • The most positive explanation is that the company HAS done amazing things in the last few years, but hasn’t taken the time to tell the story of its most recent accomplishments. (TL;DR: I can help.)

Now I don’t always eat my own wildebeest food myself in this regard. I’ve previously noted that my Empoprise-NTN blog isn’t updated regularly; in fact, it has only had one update in the last five years. (And no, I can’t really use COVID as an excuse.)

If you’re a business owner, ask yourself: do you want your business social media channels to look as outdated as the Empoprise-NTN blog? I don’t think you do.

Checklist Item 3: Get the copyright date right

This is a simple little thing, but it can stick out when it’s not fixed.

Now I’m writing this in January of a new year, so I’ll cut a little bit of slack here for companies with a “Copyright © 2020” notice on their web pages that hasn’t been updated to 2021 yet.

But if your website still says “Copyright © 2019,” fix it. Now.

Incidentally, I found a site that says “Copyright © 1996-2019” at the top of the page, and “Copyright © 2021” at the bottom of the page. Confusing.

But let’s get back to Checklist Item 2

Outdated copyright notices are more of a nuisance than anything else, and if your company has already gone bankrupt there isn’t much that can be done.

Outdated content is something that a company CAN remedy. And it’s something that the company SHOULD remedy.

Neil Patel provides one practical reason for removing outdated content:

The more low-quality content you have on your site, the less authoritative you’ll look to Google, and the harder it will be to rank.

But that’s just Google. Google and Bing are important, but perhaps not as important as real people.

Hugh Duffy wonders how those real people react to outdated content.

An outdated site makes your firm seem behind the times. These days, that can be cause for potential clients to steer clear. They think if you’re not updating your site, there may be other aspects of your business left unattended.

You don’t want your dated website to cause Google to question it, and you certainly don’t want your dated website to cause living breathing people to question it.

So fix the content in the website and the social media channels!

To fix an outdated content issue, you just have to ask yourself a few questions.

  • What do you want your online channels to say (the message)?
  • What recent examples can you cite in your online channels that support your desired message?
  • Who knows about these recent examples? (The account manager? The program manager? The customer?)
  • Who can talk to these subject matter experts (SMEs) and convert the examples into the proper messaging?

Now of course the step of eliciting the correct information from the SMEs and finalizing a written message has its own sub-process. For example, here’s the process that Bredemarket uses when working with a client to produce written text of approximately 2800 to 3200 words, such as the content for a white paper.

  • Agree upon topic (and, if necessary, outline) with client.
  • Client provides relevant technical details.
  • Bredemarket conducts any necessary research and provides the first review copy within seven (7) calendar days.
  • Client provides changes and any additional requested detail within seven (7) calendar days.
  • Bredemarket provides the second review copy within seven (7) calendar days.
  • Client provides changes and any requested detail within seven (7) calendar days.
  • Bredemarket provides the third review copy within seven (7) calendar days.
  • Client prepares the final formatted copy and provides any post-formatting comments within seven (7) calendar days.
  • Bredemarket provides the final version within seven (7) calendar days.

(By the way, these times are maximum times. For the white papers that I have written, both the client and I have provided our deliverables in less than seven days, and we didn’t need all of the review cycles. Better preparation up-front minimizes the need to fix things at the end.)

A similar (but simpler) process is used for shorter Bredemarket writing projects of approximately 400 to 600 words, such as blog posts or LinkedIn posts.

Regardless of the process(es) that I use, or that another consultant uses, or perhaps one of your employees uses, the goal is to create written text that meets your company’s needs.

And if you have an outdated content problem and need a consultant to help you fix it, contact me.

Revisiting my “have fun” goal

When thinking about content to create, there’s one idea that I’ve had. “Over the course of 2021, why don’t I make a point of revisiting my 2021 goals and seeing how I’m doing on them?” (Content repurposing and extending for the win.)

I hope to soon revisit my multiple income streams goal. But for now, this is an ideal time to revisit my “have fun” goal.

I’ve already talked about how I snuck iguanas into a proposal for a potential client.

Well, I just had the opportunity to write a proposal for a particular opportunity.

The title of the opportunity?

“Funny and Witty Creative Writer.”

The potential client needs to create some content, but fears that if the content is too dry, it won’t be digested by the people who read the content.

So the opportunity description talked about how the content needs to be funny and witty.

I certainly had fun when I wrote my proposal to this client. Iguanas made another appearance, for example. But I also pointed out that funny and witty is NOT enough.

Here’s how my proposal began.

Having read your description of the work needed, I believe that I can provide the balance that you implicitly requested – namely, a balance between conveying the necessary content, but conveying it in an interesting manner. A service provider that can only do one without the other is as useful as a two-wheeled automobile – you’re not going to get anywhere.

My proposal continued by describing the types of content that I could provide before veering into…iguanas. (I’m going to need to find another example. The poor iguana is getting tired of being used over and over again.)

My iguana content started with a story about my former coworker who despises the cliché “best of breed.” She managed technical proposals, not entrants to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

By Kjunstorm (Lori) – https://www.flickr.com/photos/kjunstorm/3346671755/, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6605832

This example served to explain why one of my 2021 goals was NOT to “eat my own dog food.” Continuing my story, I then reproduced some of the text that I’ve already reproduced in this post.

After some more of the same, I changed from a yuk-yuk tone to a more serious tone. Leaving out some of the “fun” text, this is what I said to my potential client.

So what have I done here?

I have satisfied the requirements in your description by using a conversational tone that employs storytelling.

I’ve provided you with links to my web and social media content, and given you an incentive to explore them….

I have ensured that you understand my distinction between “fun writing” and “fun writing with a purpose.” You still need to convey the content.

The examples that were provided, including the attachment, exhibit different facets of my writing style, and also exhibit the breadth of topics that I can address.

We’ll see if my conversational, iguana-infused tone will actually help me get business with this particular client, and if the client is prepared to address more serious topics, such as the overall goal of the content that the client wants me to create.

While it’s important to have fun, it’s important that the fun contributes to the overall goal. Remember when I told a group of people at work that I was going to “play” with something? Some of my coworkers understood that I wasn’t going to play for play’s sake. They understood that I was going to play and ensure that the item in question achieved the goals set by the corporation.

Have fun…with a purpose.

And remember that different clients have different needs and require different conversational tones. Perhaps I may have fun while RESEARCHING the benefits and risks of using temperature sensors as a COVID-19 response, but I may choose NOT to exhibit a “fun” tone while WRITING about these benefits and risks.

(Oh, and if the “funny and witty creative writer” potential client happens to read this particular post while reviewing my writing examples, I’ll give you a bonus iguana color: orange. Let’s talk about that…and other things.)

While the contractors test the service providers, the service providers also test the contractors

When I wrote Bredemarket’s goals for 2021 (latest version here), my second goal was to pursue multiple income streams. This requires me to sign up with various middlepersons that marry service providers (such as Bredemarket) to contractors.

Or to TRY to sign up to such middlepersons.

I signed up with one such middleperson a month and a half ago, and never heard back from them. I had occasion to ask someone from the middleperson how long signup takes, and the person indicated that the process should complete within 10 business days. So I contacted the middleperson to see where my application stood, and waited…and waited…and eventually re-read the signup process instructions and realized that the middleperson only contacted SUCCESSFUL applicants. Non-successful applicants receive no response.

Anyway, there’s another middleperson that’s much better at these sorts of things, and I’m trying to solicit work from that service. Essentially you bid on jobs by providing a rate and a text-based technical proposal. After that you either hear from the potential contractor…or you don’t.

I began wondering if there was a way to increase my chances of hearing from the potential contractor.

As I was bidding on a content and social media strategy opportunity, I hit upon an idea.

After describing the service that I would provide, but before my call to action, I included the following section in my text proposal. (If you read my goal 2, you already know why I talk about iguanas.) Pay special attention to the last paragraph.

REFERENCE WEBSITES

If you’re contracting with someone to manage your company’s social media, you’re probably asking if I eat my own iguana food. (Dog food is boring.) Please check out my Bredemarket and Bredemarket-related online channels:

Website: https://bredemarket.com/

Blog: https://bredemarket.com/blog/

LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/bredemarket/

LinkedIn identity showcase page: https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/bredemarket-identity-firm-services/

LinkedIn technology showcase page: https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/bredemarket-technology-firm-services/

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Bredemarket/

Professional Twitter account: https://twitter.com/jebredcal

Personal Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/johnebredehoft/

I do not have Pinterest, Snapchat, or TikTok accounts, and I have not posted YouTube videos in years.

Incidentally, if you check out the links above, one of them will specify the color of the iguana. Let me know if you see it.

I have no idea who the potential contractor is, but I’m hoping that he/she is an ex-IDEMIA employee who exhibits curiosity. If so, the person may click on the links to discover the color of the iguana.

If so, I could be really cruel and wait to reveal the iguana’s color until the very last link (Instagram).

But I’m a nice guy. The color of the iguana is being revealed right here, in the second link (the Bredemarket blog). THE COLOR OF THE IGUANA IS PURPLE. (Color purple. Geddit?)

Then again…perhaps I’ll specify a DIFFERENT iguana color in one, or more, of my OTHER social media channels.

There may be an entire army of multicolored iguanas waiting to be discovered.

Obviously I’m wondering if my potential contractor is curious. And I might be wondering if others are curious.

Have fun. (Goal 5.)

Are longer posts better? It depends.

I may be a writer who specializes in biometrics, but I write about other things also.

Perhaps you didn’t know this, but my favorite record album of all time is The Beatles, more commonly known as The White Album. Side 3 of that album concludes with a George Harrison song, “Long, Long, Long.”

Harrison was NOT talking about blogging when he wrote “Long, Long, Long.” Heck, we didn’t even have Usenet back in 1968. But if “Long, Long, Long” had been about blogging, most people would think that Harrison lived in a crackerbox palace.

Ain’t She Sweet, when sweet is a blog post?

For years, I’ve subscribed to the theory that blog posts need to be short and sweet, and have corrected myself when I thought that my blog posts were getting too long. After all, my first blog post in October 2003 was only two paragraphs long. My second consisted of a single sentence.

However, the vast majority of my subsequent posts were much longer, which finally led me to try to embrace succinct writing. Or try to, anyway.

Even Bredemarket’s business tactics are geared toward shorter blog posts. The reason that Bredemarket 400 is called Bredemarket 400 is because the target minimum length is 400 words. I’d certainly be open to writing a 2800 word blog post—after all, it provides me with more revenue—but so far my blog post customers have preferred the shorter length.

And the shorter length seems to fit the consumption preferences of some people. When seeking information, many people prefer a few minutes of reading to an hour of reading. Even if something is broken up into a series of posts, do you really want to read a 27-part series?

But what if posts aren’t read by people?

Which brings me to a comment that I made toward the end of a recent, short blog post.

Perhaps you’ve seen my post “Rhonda Salvestrini and her secret salesperson.” As I concluded that post, I inserted the following:

And yes, Rhonda, this blog post has far fewer than 3,000 words…

Most of the people who read the post may not have had any idea why I said that. But Rhonda certainly knew, because in the interview that formed the basis for my post, Salvestrini briefly referred to a preferred blog post length of 3,000 words or more. She didn’t really go into detail about WHY longer blog posts are better, since this was outside of the scope of the interview.

So I looked up the topic.

One of the items that came up in my search was a Neil Patel post entitled “Why 3,000+ Word Blog Posts Get More Traffic (A Data-Driven Answer).”

Yes, friends, the reason that longer blog posts are better is derived from…science. (No, I won’t post the song. You can find it yourself.)

By dm4244 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63061280

You see, short blog posts can be great if a human is reading them. (Or perhaps not. We’ll come back to this later, when I give you 70 reasons why longer posts can be better in some cases.)

But in many cases, HUMANS AREN’T THE ONES READING BLOG POSTS. At least not directly.

Perhaps I’m going out on a limb here, but I suspect that most of you don’t wake up every morning and say to yourselves, “I’d better go check the Bredemarket web site and see if there’s a new blog post.” That’s NOT how this website, or many websites, get the majority of their traffic. In many cases, people visit a particular blog post because they’re searching for an answer to a question.

A question that they asked a search engine.

As a result, the people aren’t reading the blog posts. THE SEARCH ENGINE is reading them.

And how do search engines find content? Patel’s post links to another post that discusses long-tail search engine optimization. In brief, this post asserts (and Patel agrees) that more descriptive phrases are more beneficial than single words.

Let’s use an example, and say that you’re looking for a writer who specializes in biometrics. If you search for “biometrics,” you will get a lot of results that don’t really pertain to what you’re seeking. Perhaps “biometric writing” might be better, but, as I found out (iguana food, you know), that presented a number of results about a particular biometric modality. “A writer who specializes in biometrics,” while not yielding perfect results (yet), appears to provide results that are much closer to what you’re seeking.

Back to Neil Patel. His post includes a graphic (I don’t have permission to reproduce it here, so you’ll have to find it) that asserts that 70% of search traffic is long-tail traffic. And it stands to reason that longer posts will tend to have more of those longer phrases that are search engine gold. (Don’t try shorter posts that use keyword stuffing; Google’s on to that.)

In summary, posts often AREN’T read by people, but by search engines that are seeking the phrases for which searchers desire the answers to questions.

Why not go to seventy different sites to answer your question?

But Patel asserts that there are other advantages to longer posts. One of these is the fact that a comprehensive post on a particular topic will serve the reader better, since it can answer all of his or her questions.

How many of you groaned when you saw my question above about visiting seventy different sites? If you want a comprehensive answer to your question, I’m sure that most people would prefer to read one comprehensive well-written post instead of reading seventy different posts.

Here’s part of what Patel said on this particular topic:

You’re perceived as an authority in your industry. Your audience appreciates comprehensive posts that delve into intricacies of their pain points. They won’t need to jump on 10 different websites to get the same information.

Yeah, Patel referenced ten sites while I referenced seventy. My pain points are truly painful.

A few moments ago, I made the statement that “short blog posts can be great if a human is reading them.” This is sometimes true, and sometimes not true, depending upon what the human wants to know.

  • If the human’s question is fairly simple—for example, “When did the Cuban Missile Crisis occur?”—then a short post with a single sentence may be sufficient.
  • But what if the human asks a more complex question—for example, “WHY did the Cuban Missile Crisis occur?”—many people aren’t going to be satisfied with a one-sentence answer. This article devotes over 2,500 words to the topic.

So, who’s right on blog post length?

If you’ve come to this post to find the definitive answer on blog post length, I’m going to have to disappoint you.

Blog posts are designed to do one of the following three things:

Regardless of attention span, SEO, or anything else, a blog post will be as long as it needs to be to satisfy its purpose. (Yes, I’m channeling Abraham Lincoln here.)

This particular post is roughly 1,200 words long, which is too long for a “succinct” blog post and too short for a Patel-optimized blog post. But I don’t feel like padding it to get to an optimum word length, and I don’t feel like cutting anything.

I especially don’t want to cut the George Harrison song.

Rhonda Salvestrini and her secret salesperson

I just listened to an interview of Rhonda Salvestrini, conducted by Sumair Abro. During the interview, Salvestrini made the following point:

Content for your business is one of the best ways to drive organic traffic. It’s your secret salesperson because it’s out there working for you 24/7. And it’s evergreen, so not only is it working…day in and day out…it’s available years down the road.

Rhonda Salvestrini
By Luke Rauscher – James Bond (Daniel Craig) figure at Madame Tussauds London, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=86705881

Excellent point. In my 17 years of online writing, I’m consistently surprised when someone contacts me about something that I wrote years ago. The Internet, for better or worse, never forgets.

So if you’re reading this quote in 2029, and the quote inspires you, let Rhonda know.

And if you’re reading this in 2020 or 2021 and are looking for a writing coach to give your enterprise a voice, Rhonda is available to assist you.

(If you’d prefer to outsource the writing rather than doing it yourself, Bredemarket can help.)

Finally, if you want to hear the rest of the conversation between Salvestrini and Abro, here it is. Both the interviewee and the interviewer share many other insights on content creation.

And yes, Rhonda, this blog post has far fewer than 3,000 words, which kinda sorta limits its repurposing.

Or maybe not.