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Last fall LinkedIn announced their Creator Accelerator Program, a 10-week incubator-style program where participants bring new concepts and visions to life, grow their audience, and engage with the LinkedIn community.
Program applications closed at 11:59 PM on October 12. I submitted my application at 11:56 PM and received an error message stating that I had another section of the application to complete. With thousands of people applying, only 100 spots available, and my kids screaming for a snack, I knew I was in for a bit of a challenge. No time for fancy words or intriguing angles; I just talked about the value I would provide if accepted.
“Through my content, I’m going to help people scale their business, save time and have more opportunities to enjoy the people and experiences that matter most.”
Fortunately, I was accepted into the program so now is a good time to remind you to follow me on LinkedIn. While I was originally only going to share my key takeaways, I would be remiss not to include the lessons learned by other LinkedIn Creator Accelerator Program (CAP) members.
Here’s what we learned.
1. Stop counting likes and comments, start building relationships and opportunities
Hannah Tran is a content expert who is passionate about bringing mindful movement and workouts to the world through social media. When asked about her key takeaways from the program she stated “Hard work will not go unnoticed.” This is key because content builds relationships, but it’s easy to feel like nobody is listening if you receive very little engagement from some of your posts. Unfortunately, if you’re only concerned with how many likes your posts get, you won’t be able to make a deep connection through your content.
Anyone can go viral with a knock-knock joke. It’s much more impactful to write content that benefits your specific audience. Focus on sparking conversations and forming relationships. Your hard work will not go unnoticed.
2. You’re probably better at creating video content than you think
Video is a great way to make a deeper connection with your audience. With no-code tools, including Descript and Canva, you can easily produce impactful, well-edited content. Can’t think of anything to say? Just answer questions that your audience has. This will give you the perfect opportunity to highlight your expertise and personality.
Or, tell a story related to your niche. In this example, I discuss how a typo led to someone getting a 6X revenue increase from a project.
Most people are a bit uneasy when first starting out (I always looked scared AND angry) but the only way to improve is to get those reps in.
3. When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one
Although it may be tempting to talk about broad categories, “The riches are in the niches” applies to content creation as well. As a sustainable packaging consultant and podcast host, Cory Connors is keenly aware of this and passed along the following advice “Adding value and supporting others is the way to success. Don’t talk at people, have a conversation with them and engage to move ideas forward.”
One of the easiest ways to create a conversation is to start or end your posts with a question. When someone responds to your post, a percentage of their network sees their comment, which could give you even more eyeballs on your post. Then, be sure to respond to all comments as soon as possible. You’ll keep the conversation going which can help you gain knowledge and connections.
4. You must consume to create
It’s impossible to create conversations if you’re not discovering new information to share. You’ll eventually bore everyone, including yourself.
Grace Gong creates content to help people who don’t have “the right network” pick brains from successful tech leaders on career development. She shares her process for staying on top of the latest trends: “I forced myself to read crypto news every morning so I could create summaries for people to read. Through the process I also gained a lot of knowledge because of everything I’ve consumed.”
I’ve noticed some of the brightest people I know are often quoting another person or source. If you want to be viewed as a thought opinion leader you just need to discover and distribute relevant information to your audience.
5. Test and learn, then test again
Any digital marketer will tell you “test and learn” is a common approach to creating efficient marketing programs. Unfortunately, you’re often testing with large budgets and learning if you’re going to get anything back in return. That’s why the opportunity for you to post on LinkedIn is so unique. You can test your content out for free, learn from the results and create even better content the next time around.
Christian Peverelli helps non-technical entrepreneurs launch their online businesses without programmers or technical skills. To his surprise, he discovered spending more time on content doesn’t necessarily lead to creating better content. He shares “Experiment with different content formats. Sometimes content that takes two days to produce performs worse than two lines of text and a picture. Experiment and look at the data.”
The goal of an experiment is to learn something. So, even if your post “flops”, you can still learn from it and continue improving going forward.
6. You must give to grow your audience
I often say “You have to provide value in exchange for your audience’s attention”. Zander Van Gogh, a Creator Manager at LinkedIn, said it much more eloquently “When we give we always end up receiving”. At the end of the day to grow your audience you must provide a valuable gift.
Walter Gainer II, a content creator who creates support systems for Black professionals feeling discouraged about their career, learned that lesson as well. He shares “During my time in the LinkedIn Creator Accelerator Program, I realized that LinkedIn is a place for people to learn. So to grow on this platform, I needed to create resources that contribute to the growth of the community I want to support.”
These resources can be a handy checklist, guide or template that provides value to your audience. It may only take a few hours for you to create, but it’s the key to unlock growth and opportunities on LinkedIn.
7. Focus on impact, not perfection
Aubrey Bergauer is known for her results-driven, customer-centric, data-obsessed pursuit of changing the narrative for the performing arts. When asked about her key takeaways from the program she shares “More than anything, I learned I need to push myself to reveal more of myself. People like it when we get a little vulnerable, and even a little unpolished. It’s real and relatable.”
Creating content is a great way to build your personal brand. But your audience will never come to know, like and trust you if you don’t share any personal stories. Don’t feel like sharing intimate details about your personal life? That’s fine, you can still share day in the life content as it applies to your work.
8. Never blend in
Speaking of boundaries, Jahmaal Marshall helps busy professionals establish boundaries that frees them up to unlock their full potential. His unique voice and experiences have helped him gain a following of peoole who appreciate him for who he is, not just what he does. “There’s only one you. Trying to sound and look like other content creators is the quickest way to get lost in the noise of social media.”
The best version of yourself is all you need to be, but your audience will never get to see that side of you if you’re constantly copying others.
9. We’re all creators
Miller creates content to help creators build confidence and connection through collaboration. With the creator economy currently valued at $20 billion – and expected to grow to $102 billion in 2022 – Miller has some encouraging words if you’re a bit hesitant to start posting. “For anyone wondering if there is a place for them in the creator economy. One thing I learned in CAP is, yes, you absolutely belong. Especially on LinkedIn.”
Creating content is the key to unlocking your revenue potential, so don’t let your ideas and experiences stay trapped inside your head. Your content could be the solution to someone’s problem and create a moment of relevance that sparks a new business relationship.
10. The future belongs to creators, but we have to build it together
I’m extremely grateful to my Creator Manager, Kojo Oppong, for his support as well as the entire Creator Manager team. Callie Schweitzer, Head of Creator Programs at LinkedIn, even led a call from her car in order to avoid missing an event!
Beyond that, I was amazed by the support and inspiration provided by my fellow program members and the broader LinkedIn creator community. I’ve been given advice on areas including how much to charge for content creation – shout out to Kim Kaupe – the right tools to use and how to curate a valuable community for others.
As creators it is vitally important that we collaborate as opposed to competing for who can get the most likes and followers. Ego is the enemy, so let’s all work together to build the future for creators.
Have any questions about creating content or my experience with the LinkedIn Creator Accelerator Program? Message me on LinkedIn today.