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Should you use LinkedIn Live as part of a comms strategy?

These days all major social media platforms give the option to do live video, and LinkedIn is no different. I’ve been co-hosting a monthly LinkedIn Live event with Ayo Abbas and Emma Drake since November, and it’s been a huge learning curve.

Screen shot from our LinkedIn Live showing Ayo Abbas and me side by side at the top of the screen and Emma Drake at the bottom in the middle of the screen. We are all wearing headphones
Screenshot from It’s A B2B Comms Thing LinkedIn live episode on…LinkedIn Live

So in the April episode of our It’s A B2B Comms Thing LinkedIn Live, we decided to talk about what we’ve learned from using the platform and whether it was good for business.

Here are some key points. Scroll down to watch the full episode, which includes audience questions.

What do you need to know about LinkedIn Live?

Me: At the moment, you need to use an external provider to do the broadcast. We use StreamYard, but LinkedIn is developing its own in-house platform to do live events, which is being beta-tested.

When using an external platform, you can customise it, add a banner, put questions on screen, add your branding and make it look quite slick.

We didn’t do everything to start with; we kept it quite simple and added new features as we’ve gone along. It’s a bit of a learning process.

We didn’t know what to expect for our first broadcast, and people started submitting questions, so we adapted the next one by adding a Q&A. We were surprised by the engagement with the actual event.

A LinkedIn Live is not just a live event, the recording stays on your LinkedIn event page, and people can go back and rewatch it. You do create something that has longevity.

Emma: The platform is glitchy, and we’ve had a few problems that we’ve had to work through. So things like you can’t go in and change certain details once you’ve set up an event. I set up one for midnight instead of midday, but we got around it.

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Lessons learned from publishing 102 blog posts

Blogging regularly has taken a bit of practice, but I passed a milestone recently, publishing post number 102. (I was so busy posting I missed the 100th blog milestone.)

Photo of an old fashioned school room with wooden desks, ink wells and a blackboard.
Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash

And I feel pretty chuffed with that, particularly as it takes time and effort, and it’s been a learning curve.

Even though I write for a living, writing for my own business hasn’t come naturally. It’s taken a little while to find my feet, working out what to write about and how to write about it.

There is stuff I’ve had to establish and get comfortable with, like tone of voice.

So what have I learned?

1. Write stuff that is good for business

When I first set up my website and blog, I was fresh out of a 20-year career as a B2B journalist in the built environment sector. I was comfortable writing about the industry and what was going on but not about me and what I do.

I ended up posting sporadically, a weird mix of stuff about being a freelancer, some work-life stuff and the odd thing about writing.

Neither the frequency nor the content mix was doing me any favours. It wasn’t engaging, and it wasn’t doing much to demonstrate my knowledge and expertise.

2. Make the blog top of the content pyramid

At first, I’d been trying to turn stuff I was writing about on LinkedIn into a longer format suitable for a blog post.

Then I had a lightbulb moment, which seems so flippin’ obvious now: Write the long-form blog post and repurpose it as shorter LinkedIn posts.

I’m still experimenting with how to repurpose the blog content, but it gave me the incentive/kick up the bum I needed to blog a bit more regularly.

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The diary of a B2B journalist at a trade show

I was walking along the Croisette in sunny Cannes, on my way to my fourth meeting of the morning, my thumbs rapidly typing a Tweet.

Screen shot of a Tweet showing a picture of the beach and sea in Cannes. Beach is covered in deckchairs with parasols. Caption is Gorgeous morning here in Cannes, just in case you were wondering #MIPIM makes for a lovely walk to work.
Tweeting from Cannes back in 2017

It was day two of MIPIM, the international property trade show held every March, and already I felt like my phone was part of my hand and might have to be surgically removed at the end of the week.

Tweeting was par for the course, something you slotted in while hurrying to the next event or one to one. It was about mopping up the sights, sounds and hot topics of the show to give a flavour of what was going on and what it was like for those not there.

It was also a way of showing what you were up to and that you were ‘all over the show’.

But it was only a small part of the output.

My work on MIPIM usually started in December, coming up with content ideas and commissioning the features for the supplements that would go out with the ‘MIPIM issue’.

Planning ahead with content

Supplements usually had an eight-week production schedule. However, because of the volume of content going into what was our biggest issue of the year, preparation started earlier so I could drip-feed articles through to the production desk for subbing and layout.

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B2B comms: How to get value out of trade shows

Trade shows are on the agenda again after the lockdown hiatus. Attending can be hugely beneficial for businesses but also a drain on time and marketing resources, so how do you maximise the value?

In March’s It’s A B2B Comms Thing LinkedIn Live, I chatted with comms pros Ayo Abbas and Emma Drake about how to make sure you get the most out of these big trade events.

Here are some key points; scroll to the bottom for the full video recording.

Screenshot from the It’s A B2B Comms Thing LinkedIn Live on trade shows (March 4, 2022)

What actions should you take before your trade show?

Ayo: The key thing for me is building some energy and excitement that you’re going to be somewhere. Before a show, start talking about it and sharing what you’re going to be doing.

Social media plays a huge part in that, and you can start connecting with potential visitors and delegates. And use it as a way to build your relationship with the organisers – find out what hashtags they’re using.

If there are press interviews and previews, make sure that you’ve got your press releases out there and all your details and ready to go.

Me: If you’re launching something at the show, think about getting the press release to journalists under embargo because once the show’s on, they’re going to be extremely busy. They’re probably not going to have time to turn around press release stories.

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How I created 9 pieces of content from a LinkedIn Live

A piece of content doesn’t have to have one life in its original format. Repurposing that content to fill different content streams – and different mediums is the smart way to build its audience.

Get creative with repurposing content. Photo by Malte Helmhold on Unsplash

Besides, creating a ‘hero’ piece of content is time-consuming, so why wouldn’t you want to get bangs for your content bucks?

Here’s an example of what I did with a LinkedIn Live. It’s A B2B Comms Thing is a monthly Live I do with a couple of fellow comms freelancers in the built environment sector.

We decide the topic and three key questions, create the artwork, set up the event using Streamyard and promote it.

The Live is 15 minutes where we answer the three questions then a Q&A with the audience. The total broadcast time is 30 minutes.

When the Live is finished, Streamyard generates a video file and a separate audio file. Our latest Live was on repurposing, and I created nine pieces of content from that initial Live, and this is what I did:

Long form blog post

Using Otter.ai, I got a transcript of the Live and created a long-form blog post from the three key questions. This took 1.5-2 hours to create and edit but writing a 1,500-word post from scratch would have taken me the best part of a day.

YouTube video

I uploaded the video to our YouTube channel. I used the same words we’d used on the LinkedIn event page for the description, just tweaked slightly.

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