"Content marketing results happen when the right content meets the right audience."

Some very wise words LinkedIn shared in a recent report on the power of content marketing on the world's largest network for professionals.

Most important, it's true: The more specific, helpful content that you create and share with a niche audience, the more you move into a sweet spot for generating leads on LinkedIn.

Like it or not, content marketing is the price you must pay to "buy" a prospect's time, attention and interest online in today's marketplace.

Also, when you demonstrate your authority (as opposed to just claiming it) by sharing content that adds value and/or solves your customers' biggest problems, you instantly build your credibility and likability in their eyes.

Once you do that, it becomes far easier to win new business on LinkedIn.

With all that in mind, LinkedIn recently shared data on what types of content its audience seems to engage with most. Here are 3 key takeaways from LinkedIn's report to apply to your content marketing efforts on the platform.

Takeaway 1: The Most Popular LinkedIn Content is Educational or Informative

62% of respondents to the LinkedIn survey shared they are looking for content to grow professionally.

"Marketers have to understand what types of content their audiences want. You're not just marketing to their demographic profile. You're also trying to fulfill their needs and desires," noted LinkedIn.

If you need help brainstorming topics your ideal customer would want to read about, try sending out an easy survey and ask them.

In my own business designing online training courses to help others generate more business, I have found this strategy to be highly effective.

Here are some example questions:

What is the biggest challenge facing you in your business right now?

If you could get training on one topic to help your business goals right now, what would it be?

Google Forms has a free and easy survey builder tool, and other sites like Survey Monkey work well too.

Takeaway 2: Staying on Top of Industry Trends and Improving Skills are Huge Draws

On LinkedIn, the riches are in the niches. LinkedIn has 500 million members in 200 countries, and adding two new members every second. This means lots of opportunity, but it also means your efforts can get lost in the abyss, unless you get hyper-targeted and become a big fish in a small pond.

Your content will do well when you provide insight or offer help that is specified to your audience, offering actionable advice, skills or tactics. If you want your audience to engage with your content, help them stay on top of trends or learn new skills!

Not sure what your niche is? Ask yourself few questions: What industry do I have proven success in? What area or niche can I best demonstrate a case study or offer proven advice?

Your content will have the best chance when you provide insight or offer help that is specified to your audience.

You can also use LinkedIn's Advance Search techniques to find hyper-specific and hyper-targeted lists of your exact customers, where you can connect and share your content with them directly over LinkedIn.

Takeaway 3: Inspirational, "Cut To The Chase" Content Works Well

The report noted that "44% of respondents told us the last piece of content they really enjoyed was inspirational and got to straight to the point."

This means sharing your best testimonials, business lessons, and anecdotes in an easy to consume format that also fires up your audience to achieve the same type of results.

Also, make sure your headlines are simple, clear and that your blog delivers on the promise. Lastly, keep blogs to 600-800 words, and break up the text with sub headlines and images to improve readability.

Final Thoughts

Your content should always be a point of entry to your sales funnel, so make sure you give your audience a way to opt in for more.

This might be a free e-book, or free webinar, or case-study that you link at the end of each post. You can also hyperlink to other relevant content you've generated within your post.

Remember, your free content is your foot in the door with prospects. It gives you permission to communicate with your audience. If they like what you have to say, you now have the right to ask if they want more of the same without being sales-y or spammy.

This kind of personalized, 1-on-1 marketing is what generates loads of qualified, warm leads on LinkedIn!

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