Monthly Archives: January 2014

How Professionals Can Use Feedly To Create Website Content

What Is Feedly?

Feedly is a news aggregator that has blossomed on the back of the demise of the best known aggregator, Google Reader. Sometimes called a “feed aggregator”, these are web applications that collect syndicated internet content, including blog posts, podcasts, news reports etc. For the purpose of this post, we will concentrate on the aggregation of blog posts.

Let’s say there are twenty website you want to follow on a regular basis. This is especially helpful if you wish to maintain a protracted research effort. For me, this is to stay up to date with the latest information about content  marketing, especially as it impacts professionals. You can imagine how much time would be wasted if I was to go through a manual search of these blogs. As well, few bloggers post every day, so this would be at best a hit or miss practice. Instead an aggregator notes the blogs you wish to follow, and when a new article is posted, places it in your account, where it can be found and read the next time you visit.

For the past eight years, Google Reader has been the aggregator of choice, and the application that I used for some time. For reasons that are now irrelevant – there was much angst at the time of the announcement – Google chose to close it. There are many alternative aggregators on the market, none really as proficient, but like many others I decided to give Feedly a go. To be frank, I can’t remember why I chose Feedly, apart from it’s clean design and the fact that it worked hard to fill the breach. It also seemed to be closest to Reader in terms of functionality and was poised to take advantage of its years of development. It’s usage has exploded since Reader closed.

How To Use Feedly

It can be daunting to set up any aggregator. First, read the instructions at Feedly, they are helpful and you will quickly learn the mechanics of the process. But how can Feedly “feed” your blog? It’s simple.

As you look around the web, you will come across articles that appeal to your professional needs, and are worth a look for your clients’ content needs. For example, if you are a family lawyer, you will notice that there are hundreds of blogs that deal with a myriad of family law issues, many which are relevant to your clients, or can be used as research for an article. If your family law firm is interested in collaborative law, you may find a blog that deals specifically with this topic (in fact there are many). You therefore add that blog to your Feedly account and it will aggregate any future posts.

In other words, everything is handled through the Feedly site, there is no need to visit the blog again. Simple.

My Feedly

You add blog URLs to your “My Feedly” section. There you can categorise it (e.g. put it under the group “Collaborative Law”) so it appears with all the other posts that deal with the same subject. Each time you open Feedly, the unread aggregated feeds are grouped under headings, as well as an “All” category that tells you how many articles you have to read. When you click on the categories you are taken to a line summary of the article, so it’s easy enough to choose whether you want to read the full article or quickly delete it. Over time you will learn to scan the articles and streamline the process.

So try Feedly for an ongoing source of ideas for your blog. Remember, a blog is the best way to feed content  to your site, the search engines, and most important to your clients.

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Why Professionals Should Optimise Their LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn for professionals

Why LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a great tool for professionals. But to be useful you must understand the structure and parameters of the Profile. This will be the place prospective clients and business partners first check your professional status and expertise. The LinkedIn website makes it all straightforward – they even give you a score to tell you how well you are doing in the Profile stakes. The mechanical details are easy, but it nevertheless requires a degree of subtlety.

A Professional Profile

Obviously you want to highlight what you do – but to what extent, and where should you place the focus? Contrary to what may appear to be a common sense view, your history is somewhat irrelevant. Really, it’s not very important to any prospective client that you once captained the school under-18 seniors football team. That’s important to you. How about your first job in a multi-national accounting firm where you fell out of love with the corporatized culture and decided to open your own firm based on your own values. Sorry, no interest there either. Ah yes, there was the time you took a chance on an Indian immigrant just arrived in the country who turned out to be something of a genius in the money markets. Great story, yes? No.

Can you see a pattern here? No one is interested in any aspect of your career that has no quantifiable value to them today. It’s fine to write that you have been a personal injuries lawyer for thirty years and an accredited expert for the last  fifteen years, but that’s sufficient.

There is a place for greater detail, and that’s in your About Us page (or whatever you call it – “Our People” or “Our Team”) which resides happily on your website. The only criteria there is whether you have an arresting story to tell that is well written and informative. That’s the opportunity to create your firm’s narrative, not your LinkedIn Profile.

Use Your Client Persona

If you have created a client persona, this is where to put it into action. Who are the people who use your services, or those you would like to see come in for a free first interview? The answer to that question should determine the tone, content and tenor of your LinkedIn Profile.

Let’s say that you are a professional provider of financial services, and in particular self managed superannuation funds. Who is your ideal client persona:

  • New business owners who have moved from the employed sector and have had an industry fund, and will look to roll over to a self managed fund.
  • “Aspirationals” who are looking for a safety net for the future to buttress their present-day risk.
  • Those who want cutting-edge advice.
  • People within a decade of retirement. They need reassurance, a firm hand on the tiller and the beginning of a plan to see them into retirement. They are less interested in the here and now, they are starting to focus on the future.

Based on these “ideal clients”, these are the facts you should emphasise in your Profile:

  • Do not describe yourself as a “financial adviser”, even if that is the way you identify yourself. It’s too nebulous for your target audience. You could be a “Certified financial and strategic superannuation investment adviser”.
  • Concentrate on your expertise as an expert strategic investor for their futures – they want to concentrate on building their wealth.
  • Show you understand the needs of prospective clients whose retirements are drawing closer and worry about the lifestyle they will be able to afford, for themselves and their family.

Obviously the needs are different if you want to focus on your career opportunities, in that case recruiters will want to know more about your experience. But for mature professionals whose focus is prospective clients, it is their needs that are paramount.

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