602: Why You Need to Tell More Stories on LinkedIn w/ John Chen

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to John Chen, Co-Founder & Head of Digital at LinkedInPedia.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jzchen/

Are you struggling to come up withoriginal content weekend and week out? Start a podcast, interview your ideal clients, let them talk about what they care about most, and never run outof content ideas again. Learn more at sweetfish MEDIACOM. You're listening to theB tob growth show, a podcast dedicated to help you betb executives achieve explosivegrowth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you'vecome to the right place. I'm James Carberry and I'm Jonathan Green. Let'sget into the show. Welcome back to the BB growth show. We arehere today with John Chin. He is the CO founder and head of digitalat Linkedin Pedia. John, how you doing today, man, and doinggreat. Man, thanks for having me on your show. I'm excited tochat with you today. John. We're going to be talking about Linkedin andit is something you have some deep expertise and so I'm excited to dive in. Tell us a little bit about Linkedin PD and what you and your teamare up to over there. Well, team and Linkedin Pedia. What isreally some bullwill on the mission to help people kind of brand themselves professionally ina personal way. Will believe that, you know, the rules of thegame has totally change. It's no longer a game where, you know,people dumped their resumes on Linkedin and try to make a name for themselves throughsome sort of like miracle, some all of like a such engine algorithm.So we believe that, you know, by sharing a story and and,you know, being authentic. I think that's the key word, being authenticand social, selling yourself through, you know, the right kind of content. Yeah, that's the way for it on Linkedin. So well on themission to change that. Yeah, I love it. I love it andyou've been on my radar the last few months. I've been seeing your contenttop up in my feet all the time. As we were talking offline at youknow, this idea of there there the Linkedin, they sayers that arethe you know, these people are you...

...know, they're just telling stories andthey're spacing their updates, you know, to where it's one sentence paragraphs,and that all they're doing is hacking linkedin to show up in my news feed. But then you've got the other side of the coin that's saying, Hey, we're just we're naturally, people are drawn to stories so we're just doingwhat people want in a platform where it's focused on business and we're capitalizing onthat to grow our own businesses. Where do you stand on that? Obviouslyyou're writing content on a, I think it's a daily basis, form andI can tell on Linkedin. How are you thinking about storytelling on Linkedin?What are your thoughts? I think you know, it's a great point thatyou point it out, especially with the one paragraph sentences on Linkedin. Ithink just because you know you're posting one sentence paragraphs on Linkedin, studdy,all of a sudden you get the so called lots of hits in terms ofimpressions, lights, common shares. Well, it's easy to the kind of justbe pointed to the fact that old maybe the algorithm is is kind ofbiased to its people who write in one sentence paragraphs. Maybe it's to kindof make people think that, oh, he's just trying to get my attentionand, you know, just try and get more hit. But I thinkon the other hand, you know, on the other side of the story, you have people who are genuinely trying to share their story, but atthe same time, you know, let's not forget that the audience on Linkedina professional people. They're people who don't really have that much time. Nowthat being said, you know, I think I'm probably the best person tospeak about this because I've had so many people coming to me with mixed opinions. That's the one side of them who appreciates good writing. There's well spaced, well paragraphed. You know, it could be three, three lines,every chunk, chunk, I mean you know, you enter three lines oftext and then you press and that twice and then into a new paragraph.Right, yeah, yeah, and then...

...there's the other side. Would Think, Oh, John is just, you know, writing different paragraphs short sensesbecause he wants us to carry on reading and in the end give him engagementwhatsoever. But here's the thing. Engagement is and impression totally two different things. Okay, right, I could get you to click on the my postbecause you know I probably break it up and oneliner, so you have toclick on, you know, read more to kind of see what a postedabout. But at the end of the day, if that particular post getgets like a ton of likes, comments and Chees, it's normally not evenI don't, in my personal opinion, and it's not even related to thefact that it's you know, space. Well, if a content works onLinkedin, it as because that's a powerful story behind it and not necessarily becauseit's well spaced. Well, spacing is part of the story and in fact, I did like a simple text post on this topic. I spoke about, you know, how, at the end of the day, the spacingis very closely related to the story that you're trying to tell. I mean, all kinds of outlets do it, like what you said. We've beenusing spacing from all kinds of mediums, all casts, some media, evennewspapers do it. You know, I don't expect to flip of a newopen and newspaper and I see all the text just jumble up together and andY and entire chunk I can't read. Yeah, you know. So Ithink that's like a misconception there between like good storytelling and people are just whoare just, you know, supposedly trying to grow hack. Yeah, becauseat the end of the day that people that are just trying to grow attackthe platform. And I've been seeing it too, when your contents not good, your contents not good, and and if your contents not adding value topeople. You can space your content, as you know, as much asyou want. You can have, you know, the most click baiti openingsentence, but if the value that you're trying to deliver in that piece ofcontent is not good, it's not ultimately going to get engagement. But whenyou understand kind of the art of,...

...you know, great copywriting, youunderstand that the first one or two sentences have to hook in the reader becauseif what you have to say is good and it actually adds value, youwant people to consume that. You've got to get them there and having ahaving a hook in your opening line, spacing out your paragraphs so because weknow that most people are reading it on mobile and they have to be ableto consume it easily if they see a giant block of text or just goingto tune out. And it's funny. I you know, I've had somehaters jump into posts of mind and say I like, I hate this onesentence paragraph stuff, I'm a true writer and that it at it a andI go back to their profile and it's hilarious because I look at the contentthat they're putting out and of course, you know, it's three, foursentence paragraphs and and it gets no engagement. And some of it's because, honestly, the contents not that good, and then other parts so that are. Maybe the content is good, but they're not following those basic tenants ofgood copywriting and because of that, nobody's going to receive the content that they'retrying to put out there. Because they're romantic about it, feeling like well, we have to follow the rules of the game, so to speak,and it's like I don't know where that rule book is, but I'm notfollowing it. I'm doing stuff that's actually getting results. How do you thinkabout, John, the stories that you're telling, because you you tell somereally compelling stories and they always tie back to some fundamental business lesson your deliveringreal value and the content that you're putting out. What's your process for kindof marrying stories with and a value? I think you know before I answerthat it's a great point. Personally, as a COPYWRITER, inside my insidemy brain, I'm probably screaming hell yeah, because you know, you can't justpoint the finger at people who supposed Lee kind of say you mentioned thatpeople who come to you and say, Oh, I hate these one lineof texts or paragraphs on linked and and then we go back to the profilesand we see that, hey, you...

...know, these guys are not doingcopywriting the way it should be. Elected just link it to the basic tenantof copywriting, or even basic marketing rate, which is ADA. Right, youcan know Eida. Yep, right, since first one is always exactly attension interest, desire and action. Well, if a jumble everything up, I always can compare it to being like watching a movie. Imagine yousat down on a movie and he tells you the ending at the very beginning. You'll be wondering like, okay, so what am I paying for?Yep, Yep, you know that's not there's no plot, there's no pacing, that's no suspense, that's no you know, tense intensity in the action, that the viewer doesn't feel anything at all. So to kind of likeput that matter to rest or at the very least kind of put this myopinion across is that my personal take is that, you know, spacing andthe whole oneliner thing. My personal approach to it was always and in factI applied this to all my writing, right unless my clients. You know, I do some content writing on the side, unless my client specifically saysthat, hey, we want all the text Jumblood, which I will,you know, strongly rebel against. Yeah, in the end it usually fails unlessthey specifically ask for that. I always make it a point to makeit easy for the reader because, think about it, you're in a willfull of information. It's so noisy out there and you have that fortunate chancefor your reader, who has the attention span of the golfish lesson a goalfishare calling new patality. That's less than three seconds. You have the chanceto make him like read through your pose and engage with him with with thePost. So in that short amount of time, if you're not even gonnamake the point to make it easy on the eyes, then what chance atengagement do you have? So that's my...

...personal take a day now kind ofanother interesting question or I love this showman as well. There's a lot ofinteresting questions. So your question was how do I link these stories to?What's the thought process that goes on behind it? Yeah, MMM, Ithink at the core it's always about, you know, broadening the mindset,because my personal journey as an entrepreneur was that I started eight years ago,I was doing freelance writing on the side. I started a few companies along theway. Started and Events Company, copywriting company. So you know,naturally, along those lines, that it kind of like compult like huge storiesof failure right, which at learned later on was like stories of success.So naturally I will always like, you know, whenever I faced a similarsituation now, I would always think back because chances are I learned it whenI was twenty all right, I'm twenty six now, so that was sixyears plus the two additional years where I started freelance writing. So to meit was always about, Oh hey, there's something, you know, nextto me. It could be a notebook where I had, you know,wrote on it three years ago. I was like an old chat oh parchment, I look at it. Oh Hey, this reminds me of something. Sohow can I link this to whatever I'm doing now and how can Itake it further to make it a lesson, because I believe that, you know, every object around us is like something for us to use, butalso something for us to learn from. Like, for example, you know, a bicycle ring too many people. Some people might see it like ajust the bicycle. But to me, I you know, the more Iwrite the bicycle. It's weird, but it kind of feels to me thatthe bicycle knows me as much as I know what a bicycle and you know, I kind of see the wind as like experience where I just h USothers people, other people might see it as, you know, just wayinto depreciation and it's time to change your...

...bicycle. So, you know,the and hot talk process is always about, hey, there's something that, youknow, I learnt. There's something that, you know, I hadthe chance to learn when I was on the CAP. They call it Texisand Singapore, but you know, I'm on a cat, I'm having food. Oh, Hey, there's why this is kind of suff you know it. Yeah, yeah, that's it. Look at kind of put it.But I think there is some valuable takeaway there that everything around you, whenyou start seeing everything around you as potential for, you know, a story, I think it opens up the world. And when you start looking back at, you know, past experiences. That's something that I've started doing recentlyis just thinking about thinking about my childhood and different elements of my childhood andhow that shaped me today. Thinking about you know my early professional career andlike the corporate you know, the corporate world that I was in for ahot second. What was it about that lifestyle that that I have wanted toretreat from? You know, processing through that, writing about that, connectingwith people bull in ways that I didn't even think we're possible. But metalking about my dad leaving when I was two years old, I'd never hadany idea that a story like that would touch people on the next level.Right like I'm still doing messages from that post because I tied the fact that, you know, my dad wasn't around when I was too and because ofthat I had a very supportive environment around me and my mom and my grandma, my sister, and as a result of that support I now have mydefault setting is to surround myself with incredibly supportive people because my upbringing I wasin, I was very well supported. You know, the lack of mydad almost like forced, you know, my mom and my grandma to tosupport even more, knowing that I didn't have a male figure around. Andso talk just talking about that connection. But to your point earlier, youcan't like I think there is something powerful...

...in not just sharing stories for storysake, but always making sure that there's that connection. Do you find withyour clients, John, that that making the connection is the tough part forthem, or is that more trying to find the story that can then tieto a business principle? That's the harder part? Sure, I always findthis should be a buntecular problem, the smaller the company is. I saythis from the clients perspective, meaning a lot of clients, you know,the coming to me like, Oh hey, yesterday, just yesterday there was aclient who came to me, Oh hey John, and neat you tohelp me sell book. So I say what do you want to really sellabout? So I want to sell. You know, I've been through mysome struggles. Both my parents were actually murdered by my brother. Oh Wow, you know, there's these are real stories. You know, she actuallyleft India at the age of, I think fifteen, when she was ateenager, took a took a loan from the bank, came to state.Today she's the head of growth for a very large team and, according toher, she is in a very happy marriage. She has a husband,of loving husband, two kids and she's like how can I, you know, reach out to people. So what we did was like kind of counterintuitive. I said Hey, look, stop trying to pitch me, you don'tneed to peach me. Yeah, so I got in a female colleague onmine and we kind of set set up like a really fun self call.So the idea was, you know, that client of my shed did aquestionnaire beforehand that asked to like the typical marketing scenarios, like what's your endcustomers nightmare on miracle? So instantly, while she was thinking of that,she did the questionnaire and she immediately got the chance to pitch to my femalecolleague, Hood, at this point had no idea what she was doing.Now take note that we wasn't really trying to sell the products or services.We wasn't going into something technical. We're...

...going towards the emotional, because onething that a lot of people miss out are a fine especially on linked itor with like most small businesses. In fact, I mean your audience isbe to be so kind of they'll understand, and it's important to understand, ispeople make decisions eighty percent based on emotions and twenty percent based on logic. Yeah, the funny thing is that once they committed to buying something emotionally. Even if the logical part of the brain says, Hey, maybe that'snot a good purchase, the convinced himself that it was a good purchase.Yeah, so emotional selling is so important and the only way that, thebest way that humans know how to sell emotionally is through stories. So bythe end of call, that client actually cry. Now actually did a dida post on it this morning. So we're talking all about, you know, how crying was a sign of strength and not weakness, and how,you know, women ought to be empowered. So coming back to a point Ithink you know, a lot of people don't realize that the smaller yourbusiness is, the stronger your story point is going to be, because thebigger your organization gets, the more people join. Right, then it's goingto be corporateized, is going to be all but oh, what's the vision? What's the sales target? What we're trying to achieve? When you're small, do your company's story and Core Vision, and commission is going to pretty bepretty much tight to your personal story. and to kind of like put arest in the matter, I'm not saying that we should create sob storiesright, it's not sop stories that we should create. Like a lot ofpeople have this mentality they all just because we're sharing stories that get huge engagement, is automatically you know bs or something that you know we came up withall the hat or something. But like what you mentioned about losing your father, right, that was something personal to you and it takes something within yourselfto be able to kind of open up...

...apply it to content, much lesslink it to whatever that you are that is motivating you to do something likesweet fish media. Yeah, today, right, it's like so many differentlayers in storytelling. We call it layering. So it's not really I would saya lot of the challenges that small businesses have as light. They tendto distance themselves from the business that they're starting up. For example, likeif you're starting a cupcake business, a lot of people think that, oh, we sell the best cupcakes. No, that's a technical point. People willonly know you sell the best cupcakes after they've tasted your cupcakes. Butwhy? Again, this goes back to Ada, right, you got toget their attention, interest and desire. So before you actually get them totaste your cupcakes and know the technical aspect that your cupcakes are the best.They've got to be sold emotionally into it, and storytelling is the best way todo that. I love it now that your spot on. We're veryaligned in our thinking around this, John, so we could talk about this fordays, I think. But if they're if there's somebody listening to this, John, they've resonated with what you've said. They want to follow alongyour journey, continue to see the stories that you're sharing, or they wantto go learn more about Linkedin pedia and what you're up to there. Whatare the best ways for them to go about doing both of those things?Well, it's best in both. Can you to connect with me on Linkedin? I think James will be kind enough to leave a link. Yeah,if not, you can just check out linkedin pedia. That's Linkedin followed byan encyclopedia the pedia behind it. So that's Lengthdin pediacom. Love it wonderful, John. Will, thank you so much for your time today and I'vereally really gotten a lot of fun with this conversation. So I think ourlisteners will get a lot of value out of it as well. So Ireally appreciate it and thanks a lot. James. If you're a BEDB marketer. We want to feature you on sites...

...like the Huffington post social media examinerin chief. Marketer. Every week we send that a question related to beto be marketing. We use the responses to those questions to fuel the contentwe write for really popular websites. So head over to sweet fish mediacoma questionsand sign up today. Thank you so much for listening. Until next done.

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