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 with original content weekend and week out? Start a podcast, interview your ideal clients, let them talk about what they care about most, and never run out of content ideas again. Learn more at sweetfish MEDIACOM. You're listening to the B tob growth show, a podcast dedicated to help you betb executives achieve explosive growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. I'm James Carberry and I'm Jonathan Green. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to the BB growth show. We are here today with John Chin. He is the CO founder and head of digital at Linkedin Pedia. John, how you doing today, man, and doing great. Man, thanks for having me on your show. I'm excited to chat with you today. John. We're going to be talking about Linkedin and it 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 team are up to over there. Well, team and Linkedin Pedia. What is really some bullwill on the mission to help people kind of brand themselves professionally in a personal way. Will believe that, you know, the rules of the game 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 through some 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 authentic and social, selling yourself through, you know, the right kind of content. Yeah, that's the way for it on Linkedin. So well on the mission to change that. Yeah, I love it. I love it and you've been on my radar the last few months. I've been seeing your content top up in my feet all the time. As we were talking offline at you know, this idea of there there the Linkedin, they sayers that are the you know, these people are you...

...know, they're just telling stories and they'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 doing what people want in a platform where it's focused on business and we're capitalizing on that to grow our own businesses. Where do you stand on that? Obviously you're writing content on a, I think it's a daily basis, form and I 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 that you point it out, especially with the one paragraph sentences on Linkedin. I think 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 of impressions, lights, common shares. Well, it's easy to the kind of just be pointed to the fact that old maybe the algorithm is is kind of biased to its people who write in one sentence paragraphs. Maybe it's to kind of make people think that, oh, he's just trying to get my attention and, you know, just try and get more hit. But I think on the other hand, you know, on the other side of the story, you have people who are genuinely trying to share their story, but at the same time, you know, let's not forget that the audience on Linkedin a professional people. They're people who don't really have that much time. Now that being said, you know, I think I'm probably the best person to speak 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 of text 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 senses because he wants us to carry on reading and in the end give him engagement whatsoever. But here's the thing. Engagement is and impression totally two different things. Okay, right, I could get you to click on the my post because you know I probably break it up and oneliner, so you have to click on, you know, read more to kind of see what a posted about. But at the end of the day, if that particular post get gets like a ton of likes, comments and Chees, it's normally not even I don't, in my personal opinion, and it's not even related to the fact that it's you know, space. Well, if a content works on Linkedin, it as because that's a powerful story behind it and not necessarily because it'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 spacing is 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 been using spacing from all kinds of mediums, all casts, some media, even newspapers do it. You know, I don't expect to flip of a new open and newspaper and I see all the text just jumble up together and and Y and entire chunk I can't read. Yeah, you know. So I think that's like a misconception there between like good storytelling and people are just who are just, you know, supposedly trying to grow hack. Yeah, because at the end of the day that people that are just trying to grow attack the 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 to people. You can space your content, as you know, as much as you want. You can have, you know, the most click baiti opening sentence, but if the value that you're trying to deliver in that piece of content is not good, it's not ultimately going to get engagement. But when you understand kind of the art of,...

...you know, great copywriting, you understand that the first one or two sentences have to hook in the reader because if what you have to say is good and it actually adds value, you want people to consume that. You've got to get them there and having a having a hook in your opening line, spacing out your paragraphs so because we know that most people are reading it on mobile and they have to be able to consume it easily if they see a giant block of text or just going to tune out. And it's funny. I you know, I've had some haters jump into posts of mind and say I like, I hate this one sentence paragraph stuff, I'm a true writer and that it at it a and I go back to their profile and it's hilarious because I look at the content that they're putting out and of course, you know, it's three, four sentence 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 of good copywriting and because of that, nobody's going to receive the content that they're trying 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 not following it. I'm doing stuff that's actually getting results. How do you think about, John, the stories that you're telling, because you you tell some really compelling stories and they always tie back to some fundamental business lesson your delivering real value and the content that you're putting out. What's your process for kind of marrying stories with and a value? I think you know before I answer that it's a great point. Personally, as a COPYWRITER, inside my inside my brain, I'm probably screaming hell yeah, because you know, you can't just point the finger at people who supposed Lee kind of say you mentioned that people who come to you and say, Oh, I hate these one line of texts or paragraphs on linked and and then we go back to the profiles and we see that, hey, you...

...know, these guys are not doing copywriting the way it should be. Elected just link it to the basic tenant of copywriting, or even basic marketing rate, which is ADA. Right, you can know Eida. Yep, right, since first one is always exactly at tension interest, desire and action. Well, if a jumble everything up, I always can compare it to being like watching a movie. Imagine you sat 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 like put that matter to rest or at the very least kind of put this my opinion across is that my personal take is that, you know, spacing and the whole oneliner thing. My personal approach to it was always and in fact I applied this to all my writing, right unless my clients. You know, I do some content writing on the side, unless my client specifically says that, hey, we want all the text Jumblood, which I will, you know, strongly rebel against. Yeah, in the end it usually fails unless they specifically ask for that. I always make it a point to make it easy for the reader because, think about it, you're in a will full of information. It's so noisy out there and you have that fortunate chance for your reader, who has the attention span of the golfish lesson a goalfish are calling new patality. That's less than three seconds. You have the chance to make him like read through your pose and engage with him with with the Post. So in that short amount of time, if you're not even gonna make the point to make it easy on the eyes, then what chance at engagement do you have? So that's my...

...personal take a day now kind of another interesting question or I love this showman as well. There's a lot of interesting questions. So your question was how do I link these stories to? What's the thought process that goes on behind it? Yeah, MMM, I think 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 the way. Started and Events Company, copywriting company. So you know, naturally, along those lines, that it kind of like compult like huge stories of failure right, which at learned later on was like stories of success. So naturally I will always like, you know, whenever I faced a similar situation now, I would always think back because chances are I learned it when I was twenty all right, I'm twenty six now, so that was six years plus the two additional years where I started freelance writing. So to me it was always about, Oh hey, there's something, you know, next to 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. So how can I link this to whatever I'm doing now and how can I take it further to make it a lesson, because I believe that, you know, every object around us is like something for us to use, but also something for us to learn from. Like, for example, you know, a bicycle ring too many people. Some people might see it like a just the bicycle. But to me, I you know, the more I write the bicycle. It's weird, but it kind of feels to me that the 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 US others people, other people might see it as, you know, just way into 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, you know, I learnt. There's something that, you know, I had the chance to learn when I was on the CAP. They call it Texis and 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, when you 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 recently is just thinking about thinking about my childhood and different elements of my childhood and how that shaped me today. Thinking about you know my early professional career and like the corporate you know, the corporate world that I was in for a hot second. What was it about that lifestyle that that I have wanted to retreat from? You know, processing through that, writing about that, connecting with people bull in ways that I didn't even think we're possible. But me talking about my dad leaving when I was two years old, I'd never had any 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 of that 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 my default setting is to surround myself with incredibly supportive people because my upbringing I was in, I was very well supported. You know, the lack of my dad almost like forced, you know, my mom and my grandma to to support even more, knowing that I didn't have a male figure around. And so talk just talking about that connection. But to your point earlier, you can't like I think there is something powerful...

...in not just sharing stories for story sake, but always making sure that there's that connection. Do you find with your clients, John, that that making the connection is the tough part for them, or is that more trying to find the story that can then tie to a business principle? That's the harder part? Sure, I always find this should be a buntecular problem, the smaller the company is. I say this from the clients perspective, meaning a lot of clients, you know, the coming to me like, Oh hey, yesterday, just yesterday there was a client who came to me, Oh hey John, and neat you to help me sell book. So I say what do you want to really sell about? So I want to sell. You know, I've been through my some struggles. Both my parents were actually murdered by my brother. Oh Wow, you know, there's these are real stories. You know, she actually left India at the age of, I think fifteen, when she was a teenager, 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 to her, 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't need to peach me. Yeah, so I got in a female colleague on mine 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 a questionnaire beforehand that asked to like the typical marketing scenarios, like what's your end customers 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 female colleague, 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 one thing that a lot of people miss out are a fine especially on linked it or with like most small businesses. In fact, I mean your audience is be to be so kind of they'll understand, and it's important to understand, is people 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's not a good purchase, the convinced himself that it was a good purchase. Yeah, so emotional selling is so important and the only way that, the best way that humans know how to sell emotionally is through stories. So by the end of call, that client actually cry. Now actually did a did a 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 I think you know, a lot of people don't realize that the smaller your business is, the stronger your story point is going to be, because the bigger your organization gets, the more people join. Right, then it's going to 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 be pretty much tight to your personal story. and to kind of like put a rest in the matter, I'm not saying that we should create sob stories right, it's not sop stories that we should create. Like a lot of people 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 with all 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 yourself to be able to kind of open up...

...apply it to content, much less link it to whatever that you are that is motivating you to do something like sweet fish media. Yeah, today, right, it's like so many different layers in storytelling. We call it layering. So it's not really I would say a lot of the challenges that small businesses have as light. They tend to distance themselves from the business that they're starting up. For example, like if 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 will only know you sell the best cupcakes after they've tasted your cupcakes. But why? Again, this goes back to Ada, right, you got to get their attention, interest and desire. So before you actually get them to taste 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 to do that. I love it now that your spot on. We're very aligned in our thinking around this, John, so we could talk about this for days, 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 along your journey, continue to see the stories that you're sharing, or they want to go learn more about Linkedin pedia and what you're up to there. What are 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 by an 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've really really gotten a lot of fun with this conversation. So I think our listeners will get a lot of value out of it as well. So I really 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 examiner in chief. Marketer. Every week we send that a question related to be to be marketing. We use the responses to those questions to fuel the content we write for really popular websites. So head over to sweet fish mediacoma questions and sign up today. Thank you so much for listening. Until next done.

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