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      29 min read

      LinkedIn | Don't Be Boring with John Espirian

      How can you improve your reach and engagement on LinkedIn? It all starts with your content. 


      Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Spotify

      John Espirian, Technical Copywriter and author of Content DNA thinks that boring is the new risky. He's seen too many companies and individuals crank out mediocre and often self-promoting LinkedIn content on an inconsistent basis, and then those same folks wonder why they aren't getting value out of the platform.

      Think about the last time you were on LinkedIn. What prompted you to visit? I imagine you spinning the scroll wheel on your mouse at a rapid pace, and then something makes you stop. What was it about the content that drew your attention? Was the post from a company or a person? 

      John shared a research finding that LinkedIn visitors are more likely to interact with people in their network rather than businesses. Add to this the expansive nature of personal networks over business, the case is compelling that your company's LinkedIn strategy should have employees, not the company, at the forefront. 

      Successful LinkedIn engagement springs from consistently posting on-brand content that follows the rule of being challenging, inspirational or drawing a chuckle.

      In the most recent LinkedIn algorithm change, posts that cause people to linger longer than a few seconds are prioritized, giving advantage to video and long-form content. John shares an interesting hack for this utilizing PDF documents.

      We also cover how to strengthen you LinkedIn profile and even touch on Clubhouse (an up-and-coming invitation-only social networking platform).

      Did you enjoy this episode? Watch more episodes from our LinkedIn Miniseries!





      Wendy: Think about the last time you visited LinkedIn, you were probably taking a break from your busy work, wanting some sort of just change of pace, and you went to your news feed and you started scrolling at a pretty rapid pace. Think about the companies, or more likely the people that caused you to pause. Notice that post. What did that post say and those that you decided to interact with? Well, I want you to have that in your mind as you listen to this episode with a technical copywriter who is also an expert at LinkedIn content development.

      And he has wonderful practical advice on how to increase engagement for your company and for your personal brand through stronger content. One of the things he likes to say is that boring is the new risky and you'll find out what that means and how you can avoid being boring when it comes to social content. Let's do this.

      Narrator: Welcome to Content Marketing, Engineered. Your source for building trust and generating demand with technical content. Here is your host, Wendy Covey.

      Wendy: Hi and welcome to Content Marketing Engineered. On each episode, I'll break down an industry trend challenge or best practice in reaching technical audiences. You'll meet colleagues, friends and clients of mine who will stop by to share their stories, and I hope that you leave each episode feeling inspired and ready to take action. Before we jump in, I'd like to give a brief shout out to my agency, TREW Marketing. TREW is a full service agency located in beautiful Austin, Texas, serving highly technical companies. For more information, visit, and now on with our podcast.

      Well, hey, everyone.

      I'm here with John Espirian. He's a technical copywriter and the author of Content DNA, but he's best known for his deep knowledge on how to be successful on LinkedIn. Welcome to the show, John.

      John: Hi, Wendy. Thank you very much for having me. Really looking forward to digging into some questions about LinkedIn. So, yeah, let's do it.

      Wendy: All right. Well, before we do that, I think it would be super interesting for people to hear a little bit about your back story because you studied math and computer science. And if your LinkedIn profile is accurate, it looks like your first job was in user testing. How did you get from there to the fascinating world of technical content development?

      John: Yeah, I was the guy who poked and fiddled and people asked, how does this thing work? And I would have the queue of people at my desk asking me that kind of question. And I was the explainer in house. And then I became a quality assurance manager. So I was listening to people's phone calls, reading their emails and saying, no, don't tell the customer this. Tell them that. And so then I got made redundant from my job.

      I took those transferable skills and became a communications person rather than just a technical person. And more than 10 years later, here I am.

      Wendy: Here you are.

      And I know a lot of what you do is help coach companies on how to think about their customers' pain and how to reach those individuals. You know, not from a place of our products or solutions are so wonderful. But how can I meet you where you are and help you along your journey?

      John: Yeah, I mean, I tell my clients that, you know, you've got to start with what your brand identity is, because a lot of people come to me saying, you know, we need a thousand words on so-and-so. And I'll say, well, hang on a second, what do you stand for? Who are you trying to reach? What is your differentiators? Let's develop that. And then the content becomes much easier to produce once we've got that vision really clear.

      So that was the genesis of me writing the book in the first instance. And more and more, those people want to stand out through social media. And of course, LinkedIn is a great place for the business to business clients to do that.

      Wendy: What happens when a company says, no, John, I really I don't want to work on my brand. My messaging is fine. I'm happy with it. Just help me get more followers on LinkedIn, how do you respond to that?

      John: And that's that's a really tough sell because very often it doesn't lead to a differentiated enough message for someone to want to follow you. So the whole the whole thing about content DNA is defining what your shape is and then turning up with that shape over and over again until you're too good to ignore and people want to invest in you. Very, very often, people haven't done that critical thinking first to define what they really want to be known for and therefore that they'll produce something that is forgettable.

      And there is no quick way of generating followers. To be honest with you, it's a long, slow burn. I found this myself and anyone who's gone through the content marketing approach knows that it's not an overnight job. You don't get a six pack and biceps of steel by going to the gym three times, right? You've got to turn up, you've got to keep doing the hard yards, the work, so I can't sell anyone a promise, on getting them quick follow.

      That's that's not what I'm about at all.

      Wendy: No, no. And I like it. At one point in time, I had JD Sherman on the show, so he was the former CEO of HubSpot and he had a great way of talking about content marketing as an annuity that pays over time. But you still have to build up that machine and put in that foundation and like you said, show up, be consistent and put the work in in order to, you know, get the get the goods back.

      John: Yeah, that's right. I mean, I say that ads are a cost, but content is an asset. And so, you know, if you turn the tap off on your ads, that's it, it dies straight away on day one. Whereas your content can build and form an estate, search you for months or years in advance for customers all around the world at any time of day.

      So it's pretty powerful stuff.

      Wendy: You know, so we've touched on how companies need to be differentiated and show up and be consistent. And that's one mistake, I guess some companies try to skip over that when it comes to their social strategy. What are some other common mistakes you see companies make as they approach LinkedIn?

      John: Well a lot of them will be so invested in their own products or services, but that's all they want to talk about. And, you know, at the end of the day, the reader is going to be turned off by that. You can do it a little bit. But if that's all you do, then it's boring. If all you do is put up sales content, not on the board and and specifically on LinkedIn, very often the company wants to appear professional because LinkedIn is a professional platform and therefore they say, let's funnel all of our content through our company page.

      But actually, if you look at the data, in almost every case, a personal profile will get more exposure than a company profile. And so what the smart companies or the brave companies will do is empower the personal brands of the people who work for them and say, right, you go out and be all ambassadors. You talk about the company with your own voice, we'll give you some topics, but you talk about it and therefore you get a lot more organic reach by doing that than putting everything through a company page with a company logo on it.

      And no one really cares about that kind of content.

      Wendy: And it feels very authentic when it's coming from the voice of the employees that are there every everyday living this company. Yeah, I see what you say.

      John: It reinforces the brand identity, doesn't it? Because if everyone's saying the same sorts of things, they feel more they feel like they have more agency by being the ambassador out in the public doing the work. They don't have to just follow a script, and everyone's kind of faceless and nameless. I think that's what great companies do and that's how they succeed.

      I like the word brave. That's very interesting. So the opposite of that, so the chickens over there, so why is this so scary or uncomfortable for those companies not willing to have empower their employees in such a way?

      Well, I think the fearful leader says if we empower the personal brands of the people who work for us, what if they get really big and then go and work for Tesla or something? OK, but what if they stay and are mediocre for the next three years? What's that going to do to you? You know, you want people to develop because that will have a halo effect on your company, you know, so that's what a smart leader would do, is they want their people to be the best people they can be.

      The fearful leader wouldn't see it that way, but the smart leader does. And that's how they succeed.

      Wendy: Interesting. What are some ways, thinking more tactically, what are some ways in which companies can help the process along? So say they're, I don't know, releasing a new white paper or maybe it's a new product for that matter. How can they encourage their employees to do this and empower them with some new interesting content or whatever it is so that they want to go out and they have something to say? 

      John: I mean, certainly they can give some guidelines on high level topics that they want to talk about or a new product or service is coming online is the kind of thing that we want you to talk about. But I would say that really the people should be educated enough to know what the different types of content are that they could put out on LinkedIn. So, for example, one employee might say, I'm going to take a photograph of this thing and I'm going to share it.

      Another one could say I'm going to do a text post about this thing. Another one might be good at PowerPoint and they'll say, let's create a slideshow that goes on as a document post on LinkedIn. So they need some basic understanding of the technical capabilities that LinkedIn offers, which is lots. Right. But I don't think that they should be held to a script or anything like that. They just need to be reminded of what the company stands for.

      So in other words, what are the red lines that you can't cross, the things you can't say or you really shouldn't say, the things that would go against the brand identity?

      And what are the general topics or specific topics we want to talk about and then trust those people to start building reputation by talking organically about that stuff, that's much more believable, if a single person within an organization is talking honestly about what's going on and what the company is working on. I'd find that far more believable than a polished look from who knows who wrote that thing. And I've got no real way of getting in touch with that person. It's just far more human and far more authentic to to give people a bit of trust in creating their content.

      Wendy: I'm thinking of of this in two ways. So, one, I like how organic and authentic this approach is. Also, though, I've seen companies that had a big announcement and they I guess the timing was very orchestrated. So not the actual messages. Every employee had their own thing to say, but the overall timing was so orchestrated within from this date to this date. And it was very obvious, you know, that there is someone behind that wanting to cover up LinkedIn as much as they could with all of their employees saying certain things.

      What do you think about that style?

      John: Yeah, I think anything that gives a sign of being too orchestrated like that kind of breaks a bit of trust. You just feel like, oh, we're just hearing about them now because they've got something to promote. And it's really important, I think, to build the well before you're thirsty. Right. So you should always be there. Always be in the conversation, even if you don't have something to promote right now, build the audience, build the trust, because when you do have something to promote, it won't seem like a jarring change.

      Like we haven't heard from this guy for three months. And, oh, look, they've got a new product cycle.

      So now we're hearing from them, that feels sales-y. But if you've got a constant kind of he's always there, He's always answering questions about this this topic or this industry niche. And he happens to be promoting so-and-so right now. But that's OK, because he's always got that baseline of activity. So I think people should always build a presence with that in mind, not cynically dip into something only when you need it. And I think this is why a lot of people struggle with job searching on LinkedIn, because they treat it as the résumé site.

      And so they'll use it only when they need a job instead of thinking, if I'm always present here, it'll be easier because people will know me. My network will build my my authority will build that. But that's the real key to success, I think.

      Wendy: Yeah. It lends to my own personal brand, you know, and I know that word is sometimes overly used or used in different ways, but this is certainly what you're speaking to of of how how am I coming across, you know, what is my voice as a person and how does that relate to my company? And both of those need to be considered. 

      So in your book, you say boring is the new risky and you talk about putting personality into your content. So tell me about the types of posts that do well in social and bring this personality in, throw boring aside.

      John: Yeah, I mean, there's so much competition out there that if you stay in the middle of the road, then you're going to be hit by the wrong kind of traffic. Right, because you won't be differentiated enough. You might end up in a price war. And that's not a war you ever really want to win because you're going to be basically struggling to survive. So you need to be at the edges in some in some respect to be noticed, remembered, preferred.

      Right. So that comes down to knowing what you differentiators are first and foremost. And secondly, demonstrating that through the content that you produce. I've come up with a framework in the book about the kind of content that tends to get the best kind of engagement. And I've got this acronym, which is CHAIR.

      So that stands for challenging, helpful, amusing, interesting, relevant, and content that meets one or more of those high level categories tends to perform pretty well on LinkedIn. So I'll give you an example. Challenging content is something where you're stating an opinion or asking a potentially divisive question, because people will will will separate the two sides of the room and there'll be some heated debate going on maybe and and that generates comments which are the best accelerant for organic visibility on LinkedIn, right.

      Helpful content. Means that people are psychologically tuned to want to reciprocate again, generating more comments, amusing content tends to get lots of likes and shares less in the way of comment. But it's still engagement metrics. And finally, interesting and relevant stuff reaffirms your authority and make sure that people don't unfollow you because the last thing you want to do is be talking about a million different things because it's very hard for people to pigeonhole what your real area of strength is.

      And if they don't get value from you, they're going to follow you and if they don't follow you, then essentially you're kind of you're finished to them on social media. So you want to stay relevant in the conversation always. So if you can create content that is that does those things, that that's the best way of generating more engagement and therefore ultimately more visibility. And the whole point of doing that is to get to the gold on LinkedIn, which is all about the conversations that happen in the direct messages.

      So you start this with public conversation through comments. Your post generates engagement comments and you try and move that as much as possible to the private side, which is direct messages where LinkedIn is also fantastic because you can do things like voice notes, video messages, you can share documents. You know, you can't do those things on Twitter, for example, they began on LinkedIn. And that's where I transact all of my business. I help people in public.

      And then once I've demonstrated my value and started a public conversation, I get them into the direct messages. I exchange voice notes, videos, all of that stuff. And over time, a proportion of those people will want to either hire me directly, maybe to fix their LinkedIn profile or their website, or they'll refer me to someone they know who who might need my help. So that's my long, slow burn. And as a result, like three quarters of my business now comes from LinkedIn and I don't do any outbound lead generation, don't place any ads because it's all inbound as a result of having spent four years doing this stuff.

      Wendy: You mean you don't ask for someone to be a connection on LinkedIn and immediately, you know, go into messages and try to sell them something? I'm shocked.

      John: That's that's a terrible practice. I mean, we've all seen that on LinkedIn. You know, sometimes daily.

      I want to find out about your service, okay, and then all of a sudden it's a bait and switch and they actually want to sell you their service or they'll just give you, you know, a straight pitch with no kind of preamble at all. It's and that's just playing the numbers game. It's not a smart long term play. It might generate short term results. But if you're intending to be in business for a long time, it's certainly not an ethical way of running your business.

      Wendy: I think it's just pitch, pitch, pitch, you know, and then I immediately remove the connection. As soon as someone does that, they're out of there.

      John: Yeah, absolutely. Because, you know, you're not going to get any value from them. It's much better to have a help first attitude than a sell first attitude. And in the long run, you'll you'll generate more trust, authority, love even. And people will want to bat for your side. You know, they'll want to hire you or refer you for work. And that is how I get my business. So it definitely works.

      Wendy: Let's talk about some of the innovations that LinkedIn has brought to their platform and perhaps plan to bring. Since you're following LinkedIn pretty closely, I know a couple of recent things are LinkedIn stories in the nudge button. So I'm curious to hear your thoughts on those two.

      John: Yeah, yeah. So so LinkedIn stories was actually trialed with a lot of students in the U.S. and then was rolled out into a few different countries. And I think everyone has got LinkedIn stories now.

      So it's a good feature. I don't get very many views on mine, but it's a good way of staying in the conversation because your face appears at the top of someone's home field on the LinkedIn mobile app. So it's good to kind of reinforce that "yes, he's still there. He's still saying something presumably relevant." Even if people don't watch the stories, it's just a reminder that person exists so that when the time comes and they need to make a buying decision, maybe they'll remember you. It's a marginal benefit. But it's good from from that side of things.

      Wendy: So for those who are listening, who are unfamiliar with it, could you explain the setup and how it works?

      John: Yes, it's kind of a bit similar to Instagram in that you use the mobile app to create a story which can be it could be an image or it could be a short video up to twenty seconds long. And you record these and upload them to your story and you can have multiple story items. So so they appear in sequence. And that could be, you know, you might be doing some behind the scenes stuff. You know, how your working day is set up.

      Maybe you have just spoken to a client that's got some insight that you want to deliver.

      And it might not be something that's strong enough to justify you writing a whole post about it, but you could just share it. And it's a way of getting your voice out there, getting your face out there. And this stuff disappears after 24 hours. It's very good, low risk way of sharing a bit of you without committing to, well, this is going to be published on the Internet forever. It does disappear.

      So it's useful. Like I say, I'm not getting a huge number of views from. I think it's good to just reinforce some relationships and remind people that you exist.

      Wendy: Yeah, and I'll confess I haven't played with it yet. So time and ROI and I'm I don't know and I'm not convinced yet. But maybe I need to start experimenting, too.

      John: Well, I mean, I think I think more usefully is actually creating video in the linked in home feed itself, which is, you know, you spoke to Brian Fittin in the last episode, didn't you, and all about the value of video. And even though I'm a writer, I know the value of getting my face out there and kind of showing the body language and talking with some kind of authority, hopefully about my subject matter. And there's there's a kind of intangible but very important value proposition that that gives you that you can't just get just by black and white text, I think it was very hard to get via that, and video just accelerates the whole thing.

      So perhaps I'd encourage everyone, no matter how technical your business is, trying to put some video component in there, if you can. And it will it will build a better bridge with your audience.

      Wendy: Yeah, one of the things we just experimented with is, so every year we publish an annual research study. And I don't know if you've seen it, John, where we study how engineers seek and consume information to make purchase decisions. And of course, it's a great tool to marketers. And so this year, when we announced the research study, we had a flat social post that had a nice image of the report and a call to action. And then we had another one that we built in Canva, which was a short video slideshow.

      And which one do you think went out? Kind of a no brainer here, right? So that video performed five to one over the flat and I should have done one that was a video of me talking about the research and measured all three in retrospect. But it was just a good reminder of taking the time doing video, particularly for important calls to action, important news, things like that.

      John: One thing I wanted to say about that is I look at my stats very carefully on LinkedIn because I'm really a stats nerd.

      Wendy: Of course you are. You were a math major. What are you talking about?

      John: I found that image posts were actually my worst performing type of post on Linkedin. So it goes contrary to what you get on other platforms, whereas document posts. So where you share PowerPoint or word document, those are my best performing posts and document posts will probably outperform image post by a factor of about four to one on average. So that's quite a significant difference. So if you are someone who hasn't tried that, if you can create a word document, you can create a PDF really?

      Because it's just an export thing, or you can create a PowerPoint, you can create a PDF. So if you create that, create a nice opening brand and slide to reinforce the brand identity. It's a relatively easy way of getting a lot of views on your phone. So documents are some really good things to do on LinkedIn. And this ties into something about the LinkedIn algorithm, which which kind of changed around March last year, 2020, which is that LinkedIn now rewards posts that generate more dwell time.

      In other words, when you look at a post and you click the "see more: link and then you kind of expand it to its full height and you sit there and read it or watch it or listen to it, the longer you do that, the stronger a signal you send to say this is useful. Now, show it to more people. And naturally you're going to do that more with a document post or with a video, because the video by definition takes longer to consume.

      So therefore, those two content types have got an unfair advantage in terms of getting more visibility in the feed. So create more videos, create more documents would be my advice if you want to get more visibility.

      Wendy: Good advice. Good advice. OK, so what about this nudge button?

      John: OK, so you're going to have to clarify the terminology for that because I don't know if LinkedIn refers to nudge button.

      Wendy: OK, so this is this is something that we've seen just pop up very recently and maybe maybe we're in a beta. I don't know.

      But the idea that if TREW marketing puts out a post. I can nudge my employees. All right, OK, to share that post. So it's literally says nudge on the button.

      John: Yeah. I mean, as a one person business, I don't get the opportunity.

      I can't manage myself, but I sourcing seeing it with our clients where we manage LinkedIn as well. And so you're sending essentially you're sending a notification to the people within your the employees within your LinkedIn company to tell them that some content is there? Well, I think that's that's OK. But if we go back to what I said earlier, it's far better, rather than trying to push one post to perform well, it's much better for those people to do independent posts.

      And that will get you more overall coverage, because if you think about it, a company page has got a certain number of followers. Right.

      But individuals have got a bigger sphere of followers overall, bigger second and third line network. And so if all of them were to be posting, then their coverage through the whole LinkedIn network spans, you know, it's a big a zone of influence. And so nudging people to respond to one post it has has limited value in my experience. Much better for them to post independently.

      Wendy: Yeah. So, again, it's that balance of efficiency versus having authentic relationships. And yeah, this feels efficient on the surface, but it might not yield. Exactly.

      John: You know, got to do the thing that works. And if you imagine getting a voicemail or a video message from one named employee within a company, isn't that going to be much more personal than the company responding to a comment that you've made on their company page? It's not. You'd rather speak to a person than speak to a logo? I think there's a lot of power in that. So, yeah.

      Wendy: What is it, B2B is human to human? We all realize that, but sometimes we fall in these B2B traps for sure. Well,  let's round things out.

      We're talking a little bit about LinkedIn profiles. I know that you help both companies and individuals strengthen these. So what are some some things that are overlooked or common mistakes that are made in this area?

      John: OK, so the most important thing to get right, I think, is to get your headline very, very clear and differentiated. So it's the only piece of text that follows you all around LinkedIn other than your name, which you are not going to be changing. Right. So I always suggest a three part headline formula, which is the Three I's: interesting, informative, intriguing. And the interesting part is the first 40 characters, because that's all the people will see on mobile.

      If they're looking at a post or comment on mobile, they'll just see the first 40 characters and it cuts off. So if you haven't grabbed that person's attention in those first 40 characters, the rest of it is kind of academic. So you need to spin whatever your product or service is in an interesting, strong, bold, different way to get them to read the rest. And then the middle part, the headline, I say, put something that is informative.

      So use your keywords. You know, what things are people going to search for that add context to what it is that you do? And the last thing the thing that no one ever seems to do is the intriguing thing. It's the conversation starter, because all the business really comes from conversations. So the more conversational looks you can put into your content, the more likely you are to actually close business. So my intriguing bit is not a douche canoe, right?

      So, when I put that in but will either make people laugh.

      Right. And that's a reason for them to say I like, or they'll go, what does that mean? And I can say, oh well I wrote about it in a chapter of my book. Let me explain what it means. Or maybe it just puts people off me so much that they don't bother getting in touch at all. And that's also a win.

      Wendy: Absolutely, because it repels the wrong people. Yeah, yeah.

      Marketing is like a magnet, right? You've got to attract, but you've also got to repel. So that helps. I'd rather not waste my time with conversations that are always going to end up being fruitless anyway. So so the headline is really important and also the first two lines of your about statement, because that's all that's shown before the "See More" link. So that first two lines is really important if you want people to read the rest of the thing.

      And one more tip for you there is that to try and get another conversation hook in in my about statement and include a secret word. OK, so if people read my about statement and get to the secret word, they'll see if you've read this far, please include this word and I'm not going to tell you what the word is in case you want to go.

      Wendy: Oh, come on, John.

      John: Please include this word because that shows that you've read my profile. I know that you're not a bot. Right. And I found out only five percent of people bother, which is pretty low. Right. So most people don't even send a note at all. But even the ones who do don't really read in detail. But I was interested in those five percent because they're the ones who actually made a real effort and I want to make a real effort with them.

      So think about ways that you can make your content engaging and put those conversation hooks into something intriguing in a headline, something interesting in your about statement, because it's something for someone to start a conversation with and maybe someone's desperate to speak to you, but they just don't know enough about you. They don't have a way of starting a conversation. And if you gave them that invite to do it, they would be more likely to get in touch. And similarly, when you're trying to contact other people, look for any signals that can start a personal conversation and a business appropriate personal conversation.

      Right. It's really, really important that that's where all business leads from. Yeah.

      Wendy: What advice do you give to someone who feels inundated with requests and they're thinking about should I have that connect button or should I change that to the follow button? And what does that say? What does that convey to people if I have one versus the other?

      John: Yeah, well, if you're a content creator, then the follow button is really a very smart move. Now, I made the change to follow first in October 2018. And since then my connection number has diverged massively from my follower count. So right now, today, I've got close to 8000 connections, but I've got 32000 followers. And before I made the change, those numbers were almost the same. Right. So so I'm getting a lot more followers as a content creator.

      That's exactly what I want, because I want to impress people with my content so that they get in touch.

      So I definitely recommend people look into that if they haven't already considered it. But yeah, I think you alluded to what impression it might convey.

      Wendy: Is there a negative connotation associated with one or the other?

      John: It might feel as though is this person and influencer? I've got loads of connections. Do they just not really want to talk to anyone? Right. So so there's some potential negative connotation of that. But if you're the kind of person who's getting loads of low value connection requests, then this is a good tactic for just cutting those down. And so I definitely recommend looking into making a change.

      And I always say to everyone, this works for me, but please test it yourself, you know, for a month. Is it doing anything? If it's a marginal gain that's over time that compounds and it can really help you.

      So test things for yourself and follow first has worked fantastically well for me. So it's definitely worth a look.

      Wendy: Great, great advice and all that. We work with C Suite, you know, spokespeople at technical companies and you know, because LinkedIn can feel so overwhelming to them making this change to follow and helping to decrease those requests. Because, you know, there's all these bots that say, oh, C suite, OK, let's let's go after them or podcast hosts, let's go after them.

      And so it's helped, you know, alleviate some of that workload and help them to engage in a way that that is more appropriate too.

      John: Yeah. So one of the tactics that sometimes I advise people to do, if they're getting lots of that kind of stuff and they're not ready to switch, to follow first is maybe to do something like setting their first name in all caps, because doing so means that when a bot hits them, the name is written in all caps.

      Wendy: And that's a little trick. Secret word, all caps. It's simple stuff like that.

      John: I mean, I can tell you I don't do that on my profile, but I can tell straightaway. This is the generic template email. No thanks. And you can tell the personalized ones straight away. You can just, you know, it's just naturally easy to spot them. But if you're busy or you're not really looking very carefully at these messages, something like setting your name in all caps is is not really an offensive thing to do, but it will help you weed out the real timewasting bots, for example.

      Wendy: Good practical tip. Well, real fast, let's touch on another social platform, that's, let's say. somewhat new and upcoming that we we talked about before we hit the record button, which is Clubhouse.

      And I haven't yet talked about Clubhouse on this podcast, so. Could you quickly tell us what it's all about, John?

      John: Well, I mean, I've been there for all of three weeks. I think definitely a influence of it. It's an audio only social network. So the thing that's really impressive about it is that the speed of which you can just start a conversation, you know, you go in, doesn't matter what you look like, doesn't really even matter what's in your bio.

      You can just go in, enter a room, let's say, about LinkedIn or anything. And you just hear people talking and you can hop up on the stage and you can chat with them.

      And because it's a relatively new platform, there's a lot of fairly well known influencers there. You know, because it's right now, at this moment, it's an invite only platform for iPhone users. And so relatively few people can get in, but they've got two million users already. And it looks like it's growing really quickly. And I just love the relationships you can build because I love audio only content. I listen to podcasts all the time.

      Right. So audio is my way of learning and it's my way of getting closer to people. So an audio only social media platform is fantastic because I can you know, I had one today. I was out on a five mile walk. I tuned into a room by the end of my walk, they said, you know, you want to come and say stuff on stage. Well, I'm not going to be doing that on LinkedIn, but in Clubhouse, it worked brilliantly.

      Yeah, OK, I'll say some stuff. It's really relaxed. It's insightful content, I find. And I think it's really exciting right now.

      Wendy: Great. Well, those of you listening, take a look as John said, it's it's an invitation only platform. However, you know, you can probably find your way in if there's a will, there's a way.

      I've also heard it's a big, shiny object in terms of it can suck out your time and your attention. So I think that's, you know, one thing to keep in mind, too.

      John: Yeah, there is some aspect. There's definitely some truth in that. But one other thing to bear in mind is that maybe you can add some value on that platform and then get people to follow you back on, let's say, Instagram, LinkedIn, wherever. That's where you transact your business. So it's just a way of connecting, reaching people and then furthering the relationship on a platform that you're already comfortable with. And one of the thing is, in the next two weeks, possibly by the time this episode goes out, they're going to be introducing a monetization option.

      So you'll be able to tip because, you know, give them five dollars if they've helped you, that kind of thing. 

      So maybe there is some financial value in actually being there and sharing wisdom about whatever your expertise is. So something to keep an eye on. Definitely.

      Wendy: Great. Well, John, where can our listeners and watchers connect with you?

      John: OK, well, my website is Espirian Cases. So long as you can spell my surname, you'll be able to find that really easily. And I'm Espirian everywhere because it's such an unusual name. So LinkedIn is my main social platform. So by all means, please come up, come along and say hello. But if you do firstly say that you've found me through Wendy's podcast.

      And secondly, please include that secret word that's on my about statement.

      Wendy: And if folks want to go buy your book, can they do that on Amazon, I assume, or your website?

      John: Yes, it's on Amazon is on Barnes and it's on Noble as well. It's on Audible and it's available as an ebook. So Content DNA is the name of the book. And yeah, take a look at it. It's taken me 10 years to get to this point and I think I'm quite proud of the content. I think it really helps people. So I hope it provides value to your audience.

      Wendy: As you should be proud. It's a big in Denver and it's a very strong book. So I, I so appreciate you sharing your wisdom with us today. Thank you so much and have a good evening in the UK.

      John: Yeah, welcome. Thanks for having me. Cheers, Wendy.

      Wendy: Thanks for joining me today on Content Marketing, Engineered. For show notes including links to resources, visit While there you can subscribe to our blog and our newsletter and order a copy of my book, Content Marketing, Engineered. Also, I would love your reviews on this podcast. So please, when you get a chance, subscribe and leave me your review on your favorite podcast subscription platform. Thanks and have a great day.


      Wendy Covey

      Wendy Covey is a CEO, a technical marketing leader, author of Content Marketing, Engineered, one of The Wall Street Journal’s 10 Most Innovative Entrepreneurs in America, and she holds a Texas fishing record. She resides in a small Hill Country town southwest of Austin, Texas, where she enjoys outdoor adventures with her family.

      About TREW Marketing

      TREW Marketing is a strategy-first content marketing agency serving B2B companies that target highly technical buyers. With deep experience in the design, embedded, measurement and automation, and software industries, TREW Marketing provides branding, marketing strategy, content development, and digital marketing services to help customers efficiently and effectively achieve business goals.