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.

Communities, selling, and service offerings

The infamous content calendar says that today is proposal day, but I’m going to ignore the infamous content calendar and talk about a bunch of things other than proposals. (Well, I’ll mention proposals once, I guess.)

First, I’ll talk about the new glasses that I received yesterday.

In addition to a new frame style, this new set has the transition sunglass tint but WITHOUT the computer tint. (The Costco optical person said that I didn’t need a separate computer tint these days. I don’t know if he was right, but I trusted him.) My last set of glasses had both the transition sunglass tint AND the computer tint, which meant that they had a purple color at times. Now my tint in the sun will be brown rather than purple.

But enough about that.

Let’s get to the meat of this post, in which I’ll talk about the communities that I’ve joined since starting Bredemarket, what led me to purchase something from one of those communities, and one of two actionable items (and an action) that I took from that purchase.

Communities

Before I became a free agent, I was an employee of a multinational firm with thousands of employees throughout North America and thousands of additional employees throughout the rest of the world. One of the company’s VPs established an online community to support her nationwide organization of people, including myself in California, my direct supervisor in Massachusetts, and a bunch of people in those states, Minnesota, Tennessee, and everywhere else under the sun. I was able to participate in that online community even after I moved out of that VP’s group due to a corporate reorganization. (Thanks Teresa.)

With free agency and sole proprietorship came the loss of that community. (No, the VP obviously wouldn’t let me engage with that community when I was no longer an employee.) But over the next several months I joined three other communities. As it turns out, I interacted with all three of these communities over the course of the last two days.

  • On Thursday at 10:00 am, I joined the weekly “town hall” for the employees and associates of SMA, Inc. I am officially an associate of SMA, albeit with a very specialized skill set (more on that later). To support its people, SMA convenes a weekly “town hall” that addresses company issues and also addresses the interests of SMA’s leadership. Every week, for example, there is an “art talk” that delves into a particular artist or artistic topic.
  • On Thursday at 6:00 pm, I joined the monthly meeting of the Orange County, California chapter (“SPARK OC”: Facebook, Instagram) of the Freelancers Union. This monthly gathering happened to be a “happy hour,” although I disregarded the injunction to bring my favorite cocktail.

  • Finally, today at 8:00 am, I joined a paid workshop hosted by Jay Clouse of the Jay Clouse empire of entities. The topic? “Invisible Selling.” Due to early hour, I didn’t have a beer, but had a Nespresso instead. The rest of this post deals with that workshop and the results from that workshop.

The invisible selling of “Invisible Selling”

I’m not going to recount that Clouse covered in his one-hour workshop. After all, I paid for the course, and (most of) you didn’t. But perhaps it would be helpful if I described how I was invisibly sold on “Invisible Selling.”

I first encountered Jay Clouse via LinkedIn Learning. (Another thing that I lost when I was no longer an employee was access to my employer’s online courses from Udemy and others, but LinkedIn Learning has filled the gap.) I had long since forgotten which Clouse course I took and when I took it, but I checked my LinkedIn profile and found that I had taken his “Freelancing Foundations” course back in September 2020.

After taking the course, I ended up joining his “Freelancing School” community, participating in various online meetups, and engaging with Clouse’s offerings in other ways.

All for free.

Then I received a couple of emails from him about his (then) upcoming “Invisible Selling” course.

I deduced from the description that it would meet my needs, and figured that $40 was a reasonable price. Plus, I trusted Clouse based upon my interactions with him and his community over the last several months.

So I signed up.

The results of my attending “Invisible Selling”

As I said before, I’m not going to recount Clouse’s presentation. But in my particular instance, I derived two actionable tasks within the first 30 minutes of the workshop.

  1. The first task, which could potentially be worth between five dollars and tens of thousands of dollars to me, was to make sure that I am anticipating potential client objections up front, and addressing them. I’m going to devote some time to that in the future. And as you can see below, I started to address one objection even before I heard of Clouse’s workshop.
  2. The second task is one that I cannot discuss publicly at this time. However, it could potentially be worth more than tens of thousands of dollars to me. Maybe I’ll talk about it someday.

Service Offerings

One potential client objection that I’m already addressing is that my offerings do not fit my potential clients’ needs. I’m addressing this by broadening my offerings.

Many of you will recall that when I started, I came up with a bunch of packaged “services” that I could sell to potential clients as is, or with some adaptation to meet the clients’ needs. Over the first few months of Bredemarket’s existence, I sold various clients my Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service, my Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service, and my Bredemarket 404 Web/Social Media Checkup. I still sell these services today.

But much of my business today doesn’t derive from these prepackaged services. Well, technically it does, if you read the description of my Bredemarket 4000 Long Writing Service:

The long writing service does not have a “standard” offering per se, because of the variability of what may be needed. Work is billed at an hourly rate.

Some of Bredemarket’s more lucrative work comes from ongoing hourly relationships that I have established with several clients. They use me as needed, sometimes more frequently, sometimes less so, but I’ve kept them happy.

“I just wanted to truly say thank you for putting these templates together. I worked on this…last week and it was extremely simple to use and I thought really provided a professional advantage and tool to give the customer….TRULY THANK YOU!”

Why do these customers work with me? Well, while I have a number of customers employing various technologies, the vast majority of my customers are focused on biometrics. And I am the biometric content marketing expert and the biometric proposal writing expert, because I said I am. (The other John Bredehoft, the one who owns Total Plumbing Services, taught me the importance of self-promotion.)

But what if a client wants to pick my biometric brain and not pay hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to do so?

Well, for the past month I’ve been addressing that price point also via Bredemarket Premium. Certain posts on this Bredemarket blog delve deeply into my quarter century-plus of biometrics knowledge. These posts are only available to subscribers, at the cost of $5 per month. Here’s an excerpt from the public view of one of these posts:

So to my mind I’ve covered the “Bredemarket doesn’t address my price point” objection. (Prove me wrong. Please.)

As I said before, I need to do a better job of anticipating and addressing other potential objections to using Bredemarket to help you communicate your firm’s benefits. And I’ll work on that.

But if your objection is that you don’t like my glasses, I can’t help you. You can’t please everyone.

And a reminder that if I’ve brilliantly addressed all of your potential objections, or even if I haven’t, and if you’re ready to talk about how I can help you:

Four of my identity information sources that I have created over the years, including one that you can access in the next ten seconds

How many of us keep on doing the same thing, but just use different tools to do it?

For example, I am going to provide four examples of ways…I mean, for example, I am going to list four ways in which I have disseminated identity information to various internal and external audiences over the last fifteen years. Three of these methods had restricted access and some are no longer available, but the last one, Bredemarket Identity Firm Services, is publicly available to you TODAY.

You can get to this information source in ten seconds if you like. If you’re a TL;DR kind of person, click here.

For the rest of you, read on to see how I used COMPASS (most of you haven’t heard of COMPASS), SharePoint (you’ve heard of that), email (you’ve definitely heard of that), and LinkedIn (ditto) to share information.

Take One: Using Motorola Tools

For the first identity information source, let’s go back about fifteen years, when I was a product manager at Motorola (before The Bifurcation). Motorola had its own intranet, called COMPASS, which all of us Motorolans would use to store information except when we didn’t.

Using this intranet, I created a page entitled “Biometric Industry Information,” in which I pasted links and short descriptions of publicly-available news items. I’m not sure how useful this information source was to others, but I referred to it frequently.

Eventually Motorola sold our business unit to Safran, and “Biometric Industry Information” was lost in the transition. For all I know it may be available on some Motorola Solutions intranet page somewhere, though I doubt it.

Take Two: An Industry-Standard Tool and an Expanded Focus

The second identity information source was created a few years later, when I was an employee of MorphoTrak. Two things had changed since the Motorola days:

  • MorphoTrak’s parent company Safran didn’t use the Motorola intranet solution. Instead, it used an industry-standard intranet solution, SharePoint. This was tweaked at each of the individual Safran companies and regions, but it was pretty much a standard solution.
  • The second change was in the breadth of my interests, as I realized that biometrics was only part of an identity solution. Yes, an identity solution could use biometrics, but it could also used the driver’s licenses that MorphoTrak was slated to produce (but didn’t), and other security methods besides.

So when I recreated my Motorola information source, the new one at MorphoTrak was a Microsoft SharePoint list entitled “Identity Industry Information.”

Again, I’m not sure whether others benefited from this, but I certainly did.

Take Three: Taking Over an Email List

The third iteration of my information source wasn’t created by me, but was created about a decade ago at a company known as L-1 Identity Solutions. For those who know the company, L-1 was a conglomeration of multiple small acquisitions that provided multiple biometric solutions, secure document solutions, and other products and services. Someone back then decided that a daily newsletter covering all of L-1’s markets would be beneficial to the company. This newsletter began, and continued after Safran acquired L-1 Identity Solutions and renamed it MorphoTrust.

MorphoTrust and my company MorphoTrak remained separate entities (for security reasons) until Oberthur acquired some of Safran’s businesses and formed IDEMIA. In North America, this resulted in the de facto acquisition of MorphoTrak by MorphoTrust, and some significant shifting in organizational charts and responsibilities.

As a result of these changes, I ended up taking over the daily newsletter, tweaking its coverage to better meet the needs of today, and (in pursuit of a personal annual goal) expanding its readership. (This email was NOT automatically sent to everyone in the company; you had to opt in.)

Now some may believe that email is dead and that everyone should be on Volley or Clubhouse, but email does serve a valid purpose. As a push technology, emails are provided to you every day.

OK, every five seconds.

But modern email systems (including those from Microsoft and Google) provide helpful tools to help you manage your email. This allowed people to prioritize their reading of my daily newsletter, or perhaps de-prioritize it.

Two years later IDEMIA underwent another organizational change, and I was no longer responsible for the daily newsletter. Last I heard, the daily newsletter still continues.

Take Four: Market Me, Benefit You

Eventually I left IDEMIA and started Bredemarket, and the identity industry became one of the industries that I targeted for providing Bredemarket’s services. To build myself as an identity industry authority, and to provide benefits to identity industry firms, I needed to market specifically to that segment. While my online marketing outlets were primarily focused on my website, I was also marketing via LinkedIn and Facebook. My LinkedIn marketing was primarily though the Bredemarket LinkedIn company page.

In late November, I decided to create a LinkedIn Showcase page entitled Bredemarket Identity Firm Services. While the page was initially created for other reasons, I eventually settled into a routine of sharing identity industry information via the page.

Like I’ve done one thousand times before.

I’m trying to add new content to Bredemarket Identity Firm Services on a daily basis. It’s primarily content from other sources, but sometimes my own content (such as this post) will find its way in there also. And, as in the example above, I’ll occasionally include editorial comments on others’ posts.

So if you’re on LinkedIn and would find such content useful to you, go to the showcase page and click the “Follow” button.

P.S. I have a technology showcase page also.

Why I created a LinkedIn Showcase Page for Bredemarket

It was Sunday, and I was thinking about something that I wanted to communicate to a potential client in the coming week. The potential client performs work in multiple areas, and had inquired about my assisting in one of those areas.

As I thought about solutions for that one section of the potential client’s website, I began wondering how that material could be repurposed in other channels, including LinkedIn. One solution, I realized, was for the client to set up a special “showcase page” on LinkedIn that was dedicated to this one area. Content from the website could then be repurposed for the showcase page.

If you are unfamiliar with LinkedIn Showcase Pages, they “are extensions of your LinkedIn Page, designed to spotlight individual brands, business units and initiatives.”

A notable example of the use of showcase pages is Adobe. Adobe has a company page, but since Adobe provides a plethora of products and services, it would be a firehose to cover EVERYTHING on the main Adobe page. So Adobe established showcase pages, such as its page for Adobe Experience Cloud, that allowed the company to go into greater detail for that particular topic.

But this doesn’t explain why I just created a showcase page for a Bredemarket customer segment. Actually, there are two reasons.

  • While Bredemarket provides its services to identity firms, technology firms, general business, and nonprofits, it’s no secret that Bredemarket’s most extensive experience is in the identity industry. Because of my experience in biometrics and secure documents, I know the messages that identity firms need to communicate to their customers and to the public at large. Because of this, I thought I’d create a showcase page dedicated solely to the services that Bredemarket can provide to identity firms.
  • There’s another reason why I created the showcase page – the “eating your own dog food” reason. If I’m going to talk about the use of LinkedIn Showcase Pages, wouldn’t it make sense for me to create my own?

So on Sunday I created the Bredemarket Identity Firm Services page on LinkedIn; you can find it at the https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/bredemarket-identity-firm-services/ URL.

And if your interest is specifically in identity, be sure to click the Follow button.

3 ways Bredemarket can help your business, the mid-October 2020 edition

There are a number of ways that writers can grab readers’ attention, and one of those is via the list post. They’ve been around for over a decade, and they’re still popular. Why? Because they grab the reader’s attention.

So I thought I’d use the list post format to talk about Bredemarket’s current focuses in contracts, as well as in pitches and proposals to potential clients. Perhaps your business can use one of these three services, or perhaps you can use two or three of them. (I just wrote a proposal this week that included all three of the services listed below, as well as some other things.)

In preparation for this post, I reviewed Ali Hale’s 2008 ProBlogger post “10 Steps to the Perfect List Post.” (You see what Hale did there.)

One: Have Bredemarket write your 400 to 600 word text

I’ve previously talked about why you may want to have someone else write your blog post, your Facebook post, your LinkedIn post, or any other short text. (Advance warning: this “list post” is going to have some little lists in it…)

Regardless of the reason, Bredemarket can assist you in creating that content that you need. Via a collaborative process, Bredemarket will work with your business to craft the text that you need, and provide you with the final text at the end of the contract. The entire process can be completed in 15 calendar days or less, often much less (one of my clients and I completed one blog post in less than 3 days). Bredemarket’s goal is not to get the job done quickly, but to get the job done correctly.

For more details on the process, see the Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service.

Two: Have Bredemarket write your 2800 to 3200 word text

Longer text is used for deliverables such as white papers; longer thought pieces; detailed company, product or service descriptions; lengthy customer testimonials; or other items.

The reasons for having Bredemarket write your longer text are similar to the reasons for having Bredemarket write your shorter text, but the process is a little more detailed.

Because these deliverables are more complex, more work is needed at the beginning of the process, and more time is needed for the reviews. Therefore, the process for a longer text piece can take as long as 49 calendar days, although again it can often be completed much more quickly. Again, the goal is to deliver the correct text to the client.

For more details on the process, see the Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service.

Three: Have Bredemarket examine your website and social media accounts

Perhaps you don’t need text for your website or social media accounts. Perhaps you need a checkup on these properties.

Ever since I started Bredemarket, I’ve been examining the web pages and social media accounts for a number of companies, including my own. And a number of times, I’ve run across some errors.

  • Perhaps the text on the site uses the wrong word to describe something.
  • Or perhaps a link doesn’t work.
  • Or perhaps one part of the site says one thing, while another part says a totally different thing.
  • Or perhaps the contents of the site are old. (A site that brags about Windows 7 compatibility, or a site with a 2019 copyright date, is not the site of a thought leader.)

Or perhaps the collection of sites doesn’t have any obvious errors, but exhibits missed opportunities. One company posted some excellent content on one of its social media channels, but failed to cross-post the content to its other social media channels, or to the website itself. Therefore, most potential customers were unaware of the great content from the company.

Bredemarket’s methodology for a website/social media checkup is simple, but thorough. The two major steps are

  • for Bredemarket and the client to agree on the scope of the checkup (for example, should the checkup include the personal LinkedIn page of the company CEO?), and then
  • for Bredemarket to examine six factors as part of the checkup.

While you’re waiting for me to write my list post about six critical items in a website/social media checkup, you can cheat and read the list yourself in my description of the Bredemarket 404 Web/Social Media Checkup.

Incidentally, I can’t quote the length of this service, because the length depends upon the number of pages to check, the percentage of those pages that require a more detailed (rather than cursory) check, and whether there are PDFs or other documents on those pages that also require examination.

Can your business use any of these services?

Now Bredemarket provides other services (you can say that I have a whole…um, list of them), but right now (mid-October) these three services seem to be the most popular. Like I said, I recently proposed all three of them to a single client.

If you could use one of these three services, you can fill out the “Request Information” form at the bottom of each service description (Bredemarket 400, Bredemarket 2800, or Bredemarket 404), or you can contact me in one of the following ways:

If your marketing channels lack content, your potential customers may not know that you exist

[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.]

One of Bredemarket’s most popular services is the Short Writing Service. It can help small (or large) businesses solve the content problem.

You know what the content problem is. Your business has established one or more marketing channels: a website, blog, email list, Google My Business site, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter…or many others.

But the marketing channels are useless IF THEY HAVE NO CONTENT.

Or old content.

Or poorly-written content.

Maybe the information on the marketing channel is six months old, or a year old, or nine years old. (Trust me, this happens.) Or maybe there’s content on one marketing channel, but it’s never cross-posted to the other marketing channels for your business.

What are the ramifications of this? If your channels lack content, your potential customers may forget about you. And that’s NOT good for business.

I’ll use myself as a BAD example. In addition to my business blogs at Bredemarket (https://bredemarket.com/blog/) and JEBredCal (https://jebredcal.wordpress.com/blog/), I maintain several personal blogs. One of those personal blogs is Empoprise-NTN (https://empoprise-ntn.blogspot.com/), and that blog is obviously the ugly stepchild of the bunch. Between 2016 and 2019 I authored exactly ZERO posts on that blog. So if someone is looking for authoritative commentary on NTN Buzztime games, they’re obviously NOT going to look to me.

The obvious solution to the content problem is to CREATE CONTENT. Some people have no problem creating content, but others may need some help. They may not have the time (https://bredemarket.com/2020/09/25/when-you-dont-have-the-time-to-craft-your-own-text/), or they may need some help in selecting the right words to say.

Bredemarket can help you solve the content problem, one post at a time. The Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service (https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-400-short-writing-service/) uses a collaborative process, in which you and Bredemarket agree on a topic, Bredemarket provides a draft of the text, and the text goes through two review cycles. At the end of the process, you have the text, you own the text (this is a “work for hire”), and you can post the text on your blog or Facebook or wherever you please. Your content problem is solved! And if the post includes a call for action, your potential customers can ACT, potentially providing you with new business.

Speaking of a call for action…

If you would like to talk to Bredemarket about ways to solve your business’ content problem, contact me!

Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service

(new text of approximately 400 to 600 words)