Mickey Baines is the President & Founding Partner at Fourth Dimension Partners, a higher education consulting practice. In addition, he appears regularly as an on-air guest for QVC and co-hosts a local TV show in central Pennsylvania. You can tweet Mickey @4DPartners.



If you blog regularly to promote your business, you are putting in a significant amount of resources into this lead generation and conversion tactic. Between the time needed to develop your list of topics and actually composing the content, you won’t find many other tactics that require so much of what may be our most valuable commodity.

But what I personally find very frustrating is seeing so many marketers wasting that invested time by promoting their posts in all of the wrong places.

Today, I will focus exclusively on (un)successful LinkedIn (LI) promotion. It seems many, many companies use the discussion groups in LI to share their blog posts. While that can be a very effective way to generate interest, there are several things to consider when using this tactic:

1. Who currently posts to the group, and how active of a member will you be? Do you just post to the forum, or do you actively read and follow other posts?

Look into the group and determine how regularly users post. You may find that the only posts in the group are from other marketers trying to sell their products. If that’s the case, check those posts out and make sure your posts will stand out above the rest. You don’t want to post a mediocre piece that lands among a million other mediocre pieces, or even worse, among a million other very well composed pieces. Did you know LinkedIn rates how active its most popular group members are based on their posts – and that isn’t based on how many discussions you post. It bases that rating on how actively other users engage in your posts. So if you post to a group weekly, but don’t see your contribution level increasing that’s because you aren’t engaging people with your posts.

2. If no one posts, what will the discussion group look like if someone checks it out in a month or so, and finds that the 10 most recent posts were all from you?

Will it make you look like an authority on those topics, or a desperate sales person? If no one is active, submit a post, ask an engaging question and try to build the engagement. Want to know what an engaging post may be? For that answer you need to know what topics members of that group find interesting. If you don’t already know, then you have work to do to engage those group members. That will certainly take more time on your part, but if you want the group to be of value for you, then you may need to help build it back up. It certainly doesn’t take much time to post to the group if it is inactive, but it also doesn’t help you either.

3. Are your posts really relevant to the group’s focus?

Here is an exaggerated example to make sure you understand the point: If it is a group for automotive repair companies, are your posts on “TV repair tips” more likely to draw more interest from group members, or irritate them? I know that is a gross exaggeration, but look carefully at the discussions of the groups you are connected with and if it is an active group, you will find that one in every 10 posts, at least, is inappropriate for the topic.

4. Is your post relevant to the audience in the group?

Again, here is a basic example: in a group designed for football players, how effective is your post if it is about how to coach football players? Sure the topic is within the realm of the group’s theme, but the post isn’t really relevant to the large majority of the audience. Any reader with a brain sees not only that you are just trying to push out a sales piece (I call them advertisements), but it also makes you, the person posting the information, look like an ill-informed marketer that doesn’t really know their business.

So if you use LinkedIn as a promotional channel for your blog, critically assess how effective your efforts are. Are your posts really written for the groups’ and their respective members’ actual interests, or have you just joined a lot of groups so that you have an avenue to push out a message to a bunch of random people in hopes that someone will read it?

Blogging can be a very powerful tool to not only share important information about your industry, but also to expand on your brand and personal expertise in your field. If you carefully craft your posts to a targeted audience, you will compose a piece that can engage and influence your readers. If you don’t, you may have just wasted a lot of time writing about nothing. Unless your last name is Seinfeld, you will probably have better things to do with your time.