✨ Start Here
Building Your Lifeline on Inbound
Breaking into Strategic Accounts
1. Create a Social Listening Capture Doc
Social listening is the true starting point of creating great content. If your content has been performing well and resonates with your ICP, you can skim this. However, if you’re just getting started with creating content or haven’t found much success yet with your content, this is the most important step in the whole process.
The reason we create content is to build trust at scale. Content replaces you.
Because we’re all limited in the number of hours we have per day, we can only have so many meetings and so many intro calls. By leveraging the algorithm, you can create trust by association. Every time you post a piece of content, your name + photo + headline appear. If the content is good, someone will remember your face.
Rinse and repeat 20 times. The 20th time they see your post, it’s a *really* good one so they drop a like. Or they follow. Or they leave a comment. Remember: most people (90%) of active users on LinkedIn do not like or comment.
We’re Trained to Pitch, Not Create Content
Because we get immediate feedback from cold calling and cold emailing, creating content can feel more difficult. We learn what makes a good cold call or cold email, because we get immediate “validation” that what we did, worked. Content isn’t like that. That’s because most people do not engage with it. So, we don’t get that “feedback loop” proving that what we wrote, worked.
However, posts can be seen by thousands of people. Your name, photo, and headline appear in the feeds of thousands of people, just by posting. They may not like or comment, but you can gradually build trust with accounts simply by posting. Simply by showing up.
So how do you create content that will resonate? Social listening!
Refer to the Social Listening Comment Play for our breakdown on how to do social listening.
What you’ll be doing is creating a Capture Document to capture insights and interesting questions from your audience. This can live in Google Docs, Notion, a spreadsheet, or whatever suits you best. It needs to be searchable + easily formatted. Here’s what you’re looking for:
- How are people talking about their problems?
- What are interesting comments, insightful questions, or other tidbits that caught your eye?
- What are unanswered questions that you can see, but they can’t?
- What are posts that get the attention from your ICP?
- What is the information that your ICP continues to ask for, but can’t find?
- …and many more.
Review After 2 Weeks for Patterns
It’s very possible within the first day you’ll find some interesting insights and patterns. But, don’t stop there. Dedicate at least 2 weeks to social listening. You can start creating content with the following steps before the 2 weeks are over, but we really recommend spending the time to listen in.
What you’re searching for are patterns in the ways people are talking about their problems.
- What are their pain points?
- How do they talk about them?
- What is it that they really care about?
We regularly revisit our Capture Doc. The more you engage, the more you will be able to accurately answer these questions. This also helps you answer the Preparing for Your Outbound Campaign questions about who you’re targeting. The more you can understand them, the better your content will be.
2. Map Themes & Topics to ICP Customer Pain Points
Now that you’ve listened in for a couple weeks, it’s time to start listing out the specific pain points they have.
Here’s what’s different about this process. Instead of thinking about multiple different personas, it’s time to really focus on just one ICP persona. It will likely be the dominant majority of the ICP persona accounts from your social listening strategy. What is their job title? What is their function?
You can do this exercise for as many personas as you’d like, but it’s really important to start with just one persona profile. For example: “SDRs/AEs at Series B SaaS firms” or “Customer Success Directors at B2B SaaS.” This will help narrow your focus on creating content.
Create Your Pain Points List
It’s time to review your social listening capture doc and tease out the recurring pain points and problems. What is it that they’re struggling with? Don’t worry about whether you can speak about these pains or want to write content about them. Just start with a list.
For example: a Customer Success pain points/problems list from a social listening session
- Customer lifecycle continuity
- Low email connection rates on existing customers
- Workflow & setting up meetings/reminders for appointments
- Getting more reviews → indicative of trust
- Customer retention
- Lowering churn rate
- Upselling opportunities
- Referrals → higher sales performance, higher revenue
- Lowering CAC
Create Your Themes/Topics List
Now that you have your list of pain points (the things people care about), it’s time to get creative! Start to generate some ideas for themes that you could talk about.
While you can really write about anything, it’s important to choose a few topics that you regularly return to. We recommend starting with 3 themes or topics. These 3 themes can be big or small, but it’s important to start creating content within a few specific areas.
Importantly, these themes are *likely* related to the product/company you work for.
You want to think about themes/topics that are related to the pains they’re experiencing, but could also be something you regularly talk about. You’re connecting the dots through your content.
- How customer success saves the day / can save the day with automation
- Better customer lifecycle continuity
- Upgraded retention through ease of automation
So, strictly speaking, these are topics that sit within the “wheelhouse” of the company. It wouldn’t be weird for a sales professional selling an automation tool to talk about these topics.
But, there’s additional juice added because you’ve engaged in Social Listening. You’re confident (80%+ chance) that these topics will resonate because they’re topics people are talking about out on LinkedIn.
3. Create Headline Concepts for Each Theme/Topic
It’s time for Morgan’s favorite exercise! Headline concepting is more of an art than a science, but it’s core premise is this: there are tons of different “angles” you could take for each theme/topic. We call this The Content Prism.
Due to your social listening exercise, it’s possible you already know some ideas! The goal of this exercise is not to create actual headlines of posts, but “Headline Concepts” – short summaries of the concept.
For the Customer Success theme of “Upgraded retention through ease of automation,” here are some headline concepts:
- Shiny objects are killing your job
- Customers vs clients
- How disjointed customer experience is like a bad date
- When the trial is over and the client is gone
- Whoever said chatbots were a good idea?
- Selling while sleeping
- My company never calls me anymore
- Did we break up?
- Ghosted by my lead
These are just “ideas” for a piece of content. Not all of them are great ideas, either. The point is, you’ve generated a bunch of options! Create headlines for each of your three themes/topics.
4. Experiment with Content Frameworks & Tone
Here’s where the rubber meets the road.
Now that you have some ideas for posts, you can choose any one of the following options to create your post.
Each of these options provides a slightly different formula to reach your end-state. You can return to this list whenever you want to ask new questions, formulate a post differently, or re-do an earlier concept into something new.
This is what’s called “experimenting with content frames.” You’re framing up your content. Adding some structure. Figuring out how you want to say what you want to say.
- With your headline, ask a question:
- How can people do this (with step-by-step instructions)?
- What’s an inspirational story you know in this topic?
- What’s a controversial point-of-view you have about this topic?
- What’s a good comparison within this topic? How do different companies or people address this topic?
- What’s a good example of someone doing this right?
- What’s a good example of someone not doing this right and why?
- How does it work today vs. how will it work in the future?
- Select your headline concept.
- With that topic, write a quick story by answering the following questions:
- What was the inciting incident?
- What did you feel when that happened?
- What happened next?
- How did the story resolve?
- What did you learn?
- Insight. Data, observations, and expertise about the headline concept.
- Takeaway. Recently our company/I did X experiment. We learned Y.
- Controversial. A hot take version of your headline to garner attention.
- Repurposed. Take an existing piece of content you already have about your headline and make into something new.
Each of these framing devices are just “prompts” for actually writing your post.
Stay Focused on Who Matters
Chances are you will get very little engagement when you begin posting. In fact, many years ago under a way-more-favorable algorithm, Nick posted for 30 days straight on LinkedIn and got maybe 1-2 likes per post. It sucked! Morgan has posted great content that gets 100 views and okay content that gets 10,000+ views.
The point is not to get stuck on the specifics of each post. It’s more important to consistently get in front of the right people. It’s better to have 2,000 followers of the right people than 20,000 followers of the wrong people. That doesn’t mean the “wrong” people won’t engage or comment, but they won’t fuel your pipeline.
Staying focused on who matters means you get to experiment with what resonates with your Target Accounts! LinkedIn is a big platform and you get endless opportunity to try a point-of-view (or develop one) and a tone. That’s why we recommend you started with comments and driving inbound from outbound. You’ll learn a lot by talking directly with the people you want to serve. No pitches and no shadow pitches please!
5. Post Consistently – Not Daily
Well, maybe daily. If that works for you!
Most advice on posting LinkedIn content are offered by content strategists and content creators — people who are measured (at their jobs or at their firms) on the quality & quantity of the content they create. It’s no wonder they recommend 30-day or 90-day challenges. Because that’s the way they learned to create content.
We recognize our blind spots when it comes to this. As hosts of the B2B Power Hour, we have a “layer cake” of content from podcast interviews, live shows, written themes, and more. We can churn out a ton of content in a short amount of time. We post daily Monday through Saturday. This is because our main demand generation engine sits on LinkedIn, so there is a business case for so much activity.
But most of you reading this are not content marketers and you are judged on metrics other than the content you produce.
There are lots of ways to tackle the question “how often should I post?” Our rule of thumb is: whatever works for you, as long as it’s consistent.
That could mean you’re posting once per day. Once per week. Three times per week. Three times per month.
We do not recommend always listening to content marketers who suggest posting every day for 90 days simply to “train your content muscle.” If you want to do it, great! Go for it. 30 day challenges are a lot of fun, too, if you’d like to give it a go.
But if you don’t think you have the time, energy, or attention to produce daily content, then don’t! Post content once per week. It’s more important that you’re engaging with your audience anyway via comments or DMs, as it’s a much more relevant way to build trust. Content is just another leverage point at your disposal.
So, here’s what you can do:
- Choose a cadence (once per week, twice per month, etc.)
- Make your first post tomorrow. Don’t worry too much about it being perfect, it’s just important to post. It helps combat imposter syndrome and perfectionist tendencies. Even if it’s Sunday and it gets no likes.
- Then, start posting on your chosen cadence. Write up a post using the templates above or something even simpler.
- Continue to work and refine the content that you’re posting!
- 1. Create a Social Listening Capture Doc
- We’re Trained to Pitch, Not Create Content
- Review After 2 Weeks for Patterns
- 2. Map Themes & Topics to ICP Customer Pain Points
- Create Your Pain Points List
- Create Your Themes/Topics List
- 3. Create Headline Concepts for Each Theme/Topic
- 4. Experiment with Content Frameworks & Tone
- Stay Focused on Who Matters
- 5. Post Consistently – Not Daily