Relentlessly Helpful with John Espirian
You can watch the video interview by clicking the arrow in the image below or go to YouTube and watch then subscribe to my YouTube channel!
We start with John's favorite quote:
"A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats" ~ John F. Kennedy (although Ted Sorenson, Kennedy's speechwriter claims it as his own)
It means if you can be helpful, you can help more people by raising everyone's standards. Don't be the center of the universe if you want to be helpful.
Technical copywriter from South Wales in the U.K., he writes content for B2B about HOW products and services work for nearly the past 10 years as an independent writer.
John started out as a software and hardware tester, became the 'go to' guy when the support teams couldn't figure it out and needed explanation.
About his LinkedIn Nerdiness
Instead of trying to be in all the different places, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram he thought he'd just double down on where his B2B customers most likely were hanging out. Focusing all efforts on LinkedIn, he received a lot of organic reach, and as a copywriter he can sharpen his skills in writing, providing helpful content and finding his ideal clients.
In other words, engage in grown up conversations that are measured, helpful, interesting and enlightening where you can jump into the stream, provide value and become a memorable person.
Since the beginning of 2017, John has grown his LinkedIn followers from 1,500 to over 8,000.
How? By being helpful and by focusing on this one platform, he was committed to the idea then put resources behind showing up consistently and with congruence and eventually it works. It takes time. He's not doing anything differently than he was in early 2017.
When you choose your lane and delivering something of value, then stick to it until it generates results. It can take awhile so just stick with it.
The important thing about engaging with others is you can't be too strategic about your conversations. It's all well and good to target who you want to influence but don't rule out conversations with those who aren't immediately in your audience. He tries to give time to anyone who's happy wanting to converse with him as long as they are polite, friendly and respectful. And no question goes unanswered.
John says: When engaging in other people's content, go beyond a 'Like' - think about how many minutes have been poured into the creation and engagement of a post - if you leave a thoughtful comment that's a bigger investment in time. So if a post attracts a lot of time, i.e. viewing time and engagement time, those are the things that can really accelerate.
John gets seen more because of leaving thoughtful comments on other people's posts. He intentionally looks for interesting content he can add value to.
On LinkedIn Connection Requests John's strategy is to try and look at connect request profiles before accepting - but when you get a lot of requests in one day, it's not always possible. One sure way to get John's attention: Follow him, engage in his content then send a connection request with a personal message. Those are the ones who are genuinely interested in your content and the value you bring to conversations.
If you're listening, reading or watching this episode and are wondering how you can have a better chance of building your network - John suggests taking time to read other people's profiles before trying to connect with them and then send them a personalized note.
Ideally, if you want to go the extra yard, follow them first and engage in content they are posting or engaging with to gain recognition by that person so they can see the value you bring. That way they are more likely to accept your invitation.
In his profile, John mentions something to include in the connection request. Know what it is? You have to go to his profile to find out, of course ;)
3 Key Take Aways About LinkedIn:
Add value to your engagement on your posts and on other people's posts
Helping beats selling EVERY time. Don't be the 'salesy' or 'me first' person - those people tend to be ignored. Don't expect to build your network that way.
Before you send a connection request, Follow - Engage - Invite (with a personalized message)
3 Key Insights About Technical Copywriting:
Understand the problem or the pain that your intended reader is feeling. Decisions are made on emotions then rationalized later. Tap into that one feeling that's causing them a hassle, and if you can fulfill that need, it can be quite personal.
Use the language that your actual customers use. Your inbox is a goldmine. Look at the conversations you have with your customers. See their terms and phrases, lift that from their messages and have it reflected in your material. It creates a sense of oneness and it’s powerful.
Don’t be afraid to sound human in a conversation. Your tone of voice should be the same as if you were speaking to that person face-to-face. Just take the language of “if only we could get all these people in a room we could get to what we want” to "great, take that same language and put it on your website and tell them all in the masses." Be brave and think “what would this sound like if we said it out loud” Let’s write that thing.
One thing people don't know about you but you wish they did:
John went to 7 different schools because his mom moved around a lot. He wanted to be a biochemist but the teachers told him he could never get the grades to be a biochemist. He ended up getting the highest grades in his school - THAT's determination! He ended up choosing a different route but had he not listened to his teachers, he could be walking around in a white lab coat doing science experiments.
3 Resources John has used to help his professional career:
Top UK Organizations - Discovering membership communities through Content Marketing Association (CMA) and Atomic helped him learn about content marketing and helped him codify what he was doing.
Mark Schaefer - John learned everything he needs to know about marketing from his marketing mentor, Mark Schaefer. He's met him several times and is honored that Mark is writing the foreward to his book, Content DNA, which will be available April 2020. Mark has been a goldmine of information. John has learned to be more human in his own marketing because of Mark.
Rhyme Zone - Fun little resource book. John loves silly rhymes and Copywriters relying on rhymes. It's so useful.
John's Wrap Up Comments:
It's important to live your brand identity every day. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. So, if John says 'relentlessly helpful' and then he's not, you have every right to call him out with that. So he's set the bar high by making such a bold claim. If you want any kind of help on LinkedIn, want to have a conversation by all means hit him up! You'll talk and have some fun.
As mentioned at the beginning of the episode, there's a fun and easy-peasy challenge - if you're up for it. Here are the details:
Go to LinkedIn
Go to John's profile page (link below under how to connect with John)
Look at the resource library under the About section
Identify which document would be most useful to you right now to up, and improve, your LI game
Create a post with the name of the document and tag John and myself (linkedin.com/in/vickioneill)
The purpose of the challenge is to 1) have fun, 2) do something different, and 3) see how engaging John is (I promise you won't be disappointed).
John shares writing tips, branding guidance and LinkedIn advice on his blog at espirian.co.uk
You can also connect with John online:
Book: CONTENT DNA preorder
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