LinkedIn is one of the best places out there to connect with your podcast listeners and search for suitable guests for your show. Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard are here to share their most valuable LinkedIn optimization strategies to elevate your profile, improve your brand image, and boost your online presence. Using Tom’s pretty outdated LinkedIn profile as an example, they show what to put in your headline, when to use the website’s AI tool, utilize the Creator Mode, and more. They also talk about the LinkedIn program they recently joined, breaking down how it helps them produce shows in the most efficient way possible.
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LinkedIn Optimization: Elevate Your Profile For Greater Visibility
In this episode, we have something very exciting to go over with you and share some things. We have been doing this to take our LinkedIn profiles to the next level. This is about LinkedIn Optimization: Elevate Your Profile for Networking Success. It’s a great thing to talk about here as we are getting into a new year.
I want to be clear, elevating your profile is an extremely important part of your business model and everything that you might be doing, but it’s also important to promote your podcast that way, to get better guests and build the listener base. Doing all the things and all the growth that you want to see on your podcast has to work hand in hand, especially if you have a business podcast. It has to work hand in hand with LinkedIn. A LinkedIn strategy is the number one place that we have and our clients find success and growth in guests and clients.
Let’s think about it from that perspective. We want to build that out. We have been working on many over the years. I think we tried four at least different LinkedIn programs of some kind where sometimes you optimize your profile, have a direct messaging program, use connection request systems and all those different things over the years. We tried many. Sometimes we had good success for a little bit of time, and then LinkedIn shut stuff down and then other times, it was working, but then the company messed up and they didn’t do what they were supposed to do.
We’ve had some very hot and cold results from LinkedIn programs and services that we’ve used, but we’ve had some great success with the partner that we’re bringing on who’s given us some of this advice, although I’ve, of course, customized it for all of you podcasters out there, but for optimizing your profile. LinkedVA Now is one of the partners that we’re talking about. They’ve got a wonderful LinkedIn profile optimization guide that we’re going to share with you for this episode.
Remember, our blog posts are now at PodcastersUnited.org, which means our tips are there. This will also get added to the Tip Library. There’s going to be any which way you want to get this profile optimization guide and what we’re going to talk about, you’re going to be able to access that. Keep that in mind. Here’s the thing. We decided to enter into this program, test it out, see if it was great and what we could do with it so that we could give you advice on how to use it. We decided to approach it from two different directions.
1) I have a podcast that has a lot of guests on it. Tom doesn’t. Our show here are tips and topics. It’s live coaching. It’s a totally different model. I decided that I would use my LinkedIn profile to do a guest strategy because I know many of you like to do that. I needed to change my profile a little bit to get that working and make sure that The Binge Factor, my show, was worked in there in a way in which it was prominent so that it would be very clear to anyone whom I might message and invite on my show. On the flip side of that, Tom’s main role in Podetize is to be sales, marketing, promotion, assistance, tips, advice, and all the expertise that he has here. He needed to make sure that his profile fills that out. As I’m going to show you, it looks bad. I did this as I left it just for this episode. I didn’t optimize it.
I’m the guinea pig here. Watch some of the videos on this and/or see screenshots of what Tracy is sharing on video. In my own defense, my profile needs help. It was out-of-date. Part of that is because LinkedIn changed some things. If you’re like me and you optimized your profile years ago, set it, and forget it, this is a lesson and a reminder that you can’t just do that.
Here’s what I’m going to show you. Tom’s profile photos over to the left and it used to be centered. That’s the way the style used to be. That’s why there’s this big gap in the banner image on the background. It used to be in the middle, but now it’s covering information and things that were there before. We definitely want to update it. The first two things on our list are to update these visual items because they’re the things that people see when they come by. Think of the banner as the sign for your business and your brand. It doesn’t need to have your name on it. It doesn’t need to have your show name in it if your show name isn’t predominantly below it.
Tom’s isn’t. It’s Podetize. Brandcaster Inc. is the company below it. His show does need to be in there. This show needs to be up there and seen. I’m going to do a quick little update here because I’ve got them all saved on my desktop. I’m going to do a quick little update to the background photo. All you do is click on it, go and change the photo. The size is important and it’s all in our guide already, but the size is 1584 by 396. I’m going to drop in a photo because I didn’t have one that was sized perfectly for this, but I have one that works.
Do you mean you haven’t already done something new for my profile? I thought this was the real deal.
No, sorry. You can adjust it. If you take your YouTube banner and you’re using the usable area, there should be space right here for his head. It looks like it would be perfect. You can zoom it, straighten it and do what you want. We’re going to hit apply. There’s a key factor here. Whenever you do this, it’s not going to show up here. You have to refresh.
That’s a good tip because I meant a lot of us would probably be like, “It didn’t work.”
You go and look at it and go, “Maybe it’s cutting off the P. Maybe I’d like to shift it over to the right.” You play with it until you get it where you want it. If you want to change your profile image, and I’m going to do this because I don’t like the white background here. I think it’s a little stark for you and you’re not smiling. You should be smiling in this photo. I’ve got a better image that I’ve chosen and I know you don’t love it.
I think that’s a smile. You’re not going to use that black-and-white image again.
You click on it and change it. I’m not going to use your black-and-white image. You can take a picture. You want to take up about 60% of the image. Your face needs to be about 60% of the image. I’m going to use this one because you’re smiling and see how nice this is. I think the color is going to work better with the background.
We can go shift it out and pick a different image. It’s not going to matter. You can make these adjustments at all times, but I think that looks a little better. You look friendlier. You look like somebody I’d want to talk to. You’ve got your glasses on because I hate it when you don’t have your glasses in the photo. I think it doesn’t look like you, but that’s just me.
We’ve got this going on here. You could put whatever you want up here. I wanted to make sure Podetize is front and center and Podcasters United. You don’t need my photo up here. Probably, when I go to do the final on this one, I’ll have them put the Feed Your Brand logo here instead of us because you’re already here. You don’t need to be seen again. That’s the way to do it. Those are the first two items you want to do. Fix your banner image and photo because most people don’t read stuff, but they look at it. Those are two very important things.
The other thing is to make sure this all looks professional to the brand imagery that you’re trying to convey. The next most important thing is this headline. See where it says intensive content marketing and podcast production? That headline is in the profile settings here. You can go down. I like the additional name. I’m going to show you that here. You could put something in parentheses. It’s a great way to work on some keywords.
Mine says, “Former Inc. columnist,” because that makes people select me. One of the things here is if you put Podcast Promoter or, “I’ll get you on iTunes.” I see those all the time, which drives me crazy. because iTunes is out of date as it is. If you put that here, I won’t accept your friend request. Don’t be pushy here. Put something that you’re an expert in, whatever it is that’s important from a keyword standpoint, but don’t be pushy. Here’s the place you can do this. What I discovered is it doesn’t tell you how many characters it is, but it’s 220 characters, including spaces for the headline here.
You have a lot more space. It used to only be 120. I upgraded mine and added a whole sentence. I got to add, “I’m the host of The Binge Factor and Feed Your Brand,” which is great for you to be able to have that extra space to add your podcast right in the headline because that’s going to do you some good if you’re trying to seek guests out there. This is a great way to do it. I do not recommend you click the Write with AI button because every time you do it, it goes and it tries to give your title of your most like, “CEO and CoFounder.” It’s not any good. It’s trying to revert you to a very resume-style thing, not what you want for a headline. Don’t use that.
I’m going to go and copy over here where I wrote yours already, drop that in here and then I’m going to save it. The intro’s now saved. Remember, you have to refresh over here to get it to show up. Look how great that is. It’s fitting. It’s perfect. The next area I want you to check is to make sure your Creator Mode is turned on.
The Creator Mode opens up tools. It gives you five things that are your profile topics you can put in. It gives you LinkedIn Live, Audio Events, Newsletters and a Follow link. These are some important things that you’re going to want. Make sure you turn on your Creator Mode. Everyone should be able to qualify for it. I think there are a few restrictions, but very few. If you don’t qualify right now, it’ll tell you how to qualify for it.
I am not very active on LinkedIn. If I qualify, any of you can qualify.
Anyone can. The other thing that I want you to pay attention to is up at the top, your public profile and URL. If yours doesn’t say your name, fix that. You can change it once every so often. I forget how often you could change it, like once a month, every 60 days or something. You can change it. If you just change it, you may not be allowed to change it again.
There are some people out there who advise you to put like, “Tom Hazzard Podcast Expert or Podcast Producer.” I do not. I think you’re much safer with it being exactly as it is because what happens when your role changes and you’ve got links out there in your website, on social media platforms, somebody’s linking to your profile and you change that name, it will break. There’s no way to create a forwarding. Keep it simple, evergreen and something that will work for you.
I guess, unless your name is John Smith and there’s a whole bunch of you, you might have to get a little creative.
Get a little creative there. Now we’re going to go down and fix your About section because this about fact section hasn’t been updated since you were a WTFFF?! host.
That was our very first podcast.
I typed in and copied this right off your Tom Hazzard website and dropped it in here.
That’s my speaker site.
Here’s where I do recommend Write with AI.
You paste it in first and then the AI will massage that language, what’s in there and make it better.
I found it does a pretty decent job and it puts it in this first person. It says, “I’m Tom Hazzard, a podcasting expert.” It changes it from the way that it was on your speaker site. It’s nice. It went too small. I’m going to revert back to where it was to what I typed in there because it undid that. I’m not going to use the AI at this moment because I’m not going to spend the time editing it like I would.
You don’t want it to be too short, is that what you’re saying?
I don’t want it to be too short. You’ve got 2,600 characters to work with here and they were going to make it under 1,000. I don’t want that. I’m going to type this in, come back and edit it later myself. This is no big deal. I’ll write it again with them and then massage it. You can always undo it. You saw me undo it. Now, you want to add all your podcast skills here. This is something video podcast and podcasting. You can have up to five promotions. We want to do podcast production and content marketing. How about that? We’ll save those. Now, your About section is twice as long as it was. It’s good. It’s got basic information in it. Now look at your top skills appearing.
Here’s the next thing. Your companies and your experience down here. Do you see how we have WTFFF?! down here? We have all of that information here. At any time, you can add a company or a position. Being a host is a new position. If you just launched your show, you’re the host of Feed Your Brand, we could add this in as a brand new position. I’m going to show you what happened. I updated my position. There’s a way, and I’ll show you in a moment back on Tom’s because I’m going to update his position and share it and show you exactly how we did it.Don’t be pushy with your LinkedIn headline. Simply put a good keyword highlighting the area you are an expert on. Click To Tweet
I updated my position. I’m taking a new position here at Podetize. I am now the Executive Director of AI Strategy here at Podetize. Up above this, which I’m not showing you because I wanted to zoom in on the results here, that’s what it said. There’s a little post. This post was made on my LinkedIn and it was posted out to all of the people in my network. It says that I was starting a new position. Look at this, within two days, 28 people have liked it, thumbs up and hearted it, done whatever. I’ve got nine comments and 853 impressions on it. All I did was share the update change. I’ve taken on a new position, so Tom’s taking on a new position.
You’re saying the impressions are people who have seen it. Do you know what an impression is on LinkedIn?
Yes. Impression is people who’ve shown it, it’s been shared. Remember, not everything that you post goes to everyone in your network and not everyone in your network is paying attention. Here we go. Tom’s new position is going to be CEO. I’m not only going to change this, but I’m also going to copy what I wrote, a short paragraph for the new position as well because that’s a little out of date what’s there. I’m going to replace that into the description and everything else stays the same.
Look up here. You have the option to turn this on. I changed him to CEO and CoFounder, a full-time position. This is the company. You don’t have to put a location type if you don’t want to. It’s current. That’s from when he started it. I put in this description. It’s very important for you to update the position description. Now I’m going to turn that on and save it. When I save it, it’s going to ask me to post it. I’m going to skip that. It’s going to automatically start sharing this. Maybe I need to go to your activities, look at your post and it should be doing something about that.
You’ll be able to share that and update your entire community that you’ve taken on a new position. If you add a position, it will do the same thing. If I were to go back down here and do add and add a position as Host of Feed Your Brand Podcast, I can turn it on, too. Updates take two hours. You can put contract, self-employed or whatever you want to do here. You don’t have to. You can type in the company.
I have The Binge Factor set as a showcase. That’s also something you can do. It’s in a different area. You can also showcase something. You can add a showcase section, which then allows you to show more resources. Add a newsletter, a link and media. You can add media here. You could add Feed Your Brand here.
This is in the Featured section.
They keep moving things around. You can add media here and your show. When you do that, you can then post that out and share that with your community. Those are some key things. Go back up to the top, the photo, the banner and the headline. It’s very important here. Your About Me, which is down here about you, your company, showcase your show, publication, media and anything that you want to do there.
Make sure every time you have an opportunity, put your skills. Every time they give you those hashtags, put your skills in there. Those are important. Remember to use your good keywords. When you put your show in place, your show is about business and finance, health and wellness. Make sure you put those key tags in there as well. Make sure you’re putting them everywhere.
The last thing is don’t forget to turn on that Creator Mode. Those are the important things to be able to make sure that you’re getting shared out there and your show is being showcased. That way, when you do what I did and invite people to come on your podcast, they see everything prominent there and it makes them feel like it’s much more of a legitimate request from an established podcast host because it’s so much a mystery out there.
All of you podcast hosts out there know that there’s this hesitation as to whether or not you have a good show because our statistics are not public. They can’t see how many followers we have. They don’t know how many subscribers or downloads, and because they don’t know that, they’re concerned whether or not you have a good enough show for them to be a guest on. If you are seeking high-value guests, making sure that you put this prominently on your LinkedIn profile can make a difference for you.
Readers, this was a bit different than our normal episode.
A little bit more training and tips here.
A little more training, tips and very visual. Watch some of the videos. We have a lot more information than the typical episode because we have a program that we are using within LinkedIn that you’re going to want to know about.
Let’s talk a little bit about what we’re doing. One of the ways that I have gotten us guests since 2014, I have been getting us guests for all of our podcasts, predominantly through LinkedIn. I will do outreach through there and people connect with me. When they connect with me, I take a look at them and I go, “You’d make a great guest.” I’ve been doing this in an organic way for a long time.
However, The Binge Factor, my show, is a very focused show. I only interview people who have 100 episodes or more. They must have been a podcast host for at least a year. They must be consistently posting week after week. I get inundated with requests and I have to search through them and try to figure out who’s valuable in the community, who’s going to take action and who’s on LinkedIn that’s going to promote the show.
It’s hard to do if all you have is an email list. One of the great things that I was excited about when the LinkedIn program that we’re using, LinkedVA Now, came to us was this opportunity for me to connect with podcast hosts everywhere, be able to share our live streams here, a connection to you, Tom, and be able to vet them and screen them through based on their actions.
If they communicate, if they’re networking with me, if they’re trying to get me interested in them by communicating and having a conversation with me in a direct message, then I know they’re going to make a better guest on my show. The problem is, I don’t have a lot of time. I don’t know about you, Tom, but I definitely don’t have a lot of time. Having those conversations and monitoring the chat is not something that I can do.Not everything you post on LinkedIn goes to everyone in your network, and not everyone pays attention as well. Click To Tweet
It’s not something I can do and do well, either.
I’ve used programs before that will go out and make connections to all the people who claim podcast host in their title. You can do it through LinkedIn Premium or whatever they call it now. It used to be LinkedIn Navigator, but now it’s Premium. You could do that. You could put a list together and then you can reach out to them every day yourself. You can do all that. You can do automation, but the automation part without the direct message strategy, being in it constantly and nurturing that conversation is not good enough.
I was excited about LinkedVA Now when that opportunity came to us that they were going to help us with the concierge management of that model so that I could set the profile and the messaging, but they could communicate and make sure that the right people got forwarded to me and I got the right people as guests on my show.
I have to say, so far, I’m going to let you share the results of what we’ve gotten. The guests that I’ve had on my show from there have been more top-notch than I expected. I expected them to be good because there’s a screener. I told you, 100 episodes or more and 1 year or more, but these ones are great at promoting the show after I have them on it because they’re communicating in LinkedIn, it’s a predominant form of communication for them, a predominant form of promotion for them so they do a better job of promoting us on LinkedIn.
That’s what we’re doing with your profile. With my profile, we’re doing something quite a bit different, which is connecting with other podcasters and lead generating, using the whole process of connecting and then the message engagement, the conversations going back and forth, inviting podcasters to do one of a couple of different things, which it provides them some very real value because that’s who we are as a company.
The whole point is lead generation for prospects, for new potential customers for Podetize. It’s working incredibly well. What I mean by that is I do not have to do anything other than the initial setup to make sure the right calls to action are there, the links to book either a power podcast appraisal on my calendar or another inquiry appointment. Occasionally, if there are questions that part of the conversation goes somewhere that it’s not appropriate for the system to respond, then that’s sent to me and I respond directly.
Most of the time what’s happening is I see appointments booked on my calendar. I’ve created a special booking calendar, so I know it came from the LinkedIn program, so I can see that. I’m having meetings with prospects. Here are a few of the numbers. I’ll share mine first since I’m talking about that right now. November was a partial month, but I got 50 connection requests accepted. In December, 167. January to date is the time we’re recording this, I usually don’t ground these in time, but I think it’s important because of the numbers here.
We’re at January 10th and I’ve already got 59 for the month. The messages that are going back and forth for the full month of December, it was almost 500 for me. Messages in January are 133. We have this data for the replies, but the point is it takes having that engagement to get appointments booked, generate leads, nurture those prospects and get them to book a call.
All that is happening without my involvement. That is a testament to how this program is working. I see the comments. I see things flash up on my app, and people are happy to connect and have good conversations. That’s great. I don’t have time for that in my business and neither do you, Tracy. I don’t think so. For you, Tracy?
Do December’s numbers in whole for them. Give them the whole number.
I’ll do the whole thing. Profile views are one of the metrics. It’s 1,230 in December. Connection requests, 570 sent out. Connections accepted for you, 198. It’s about 200. Message replies, 111. The number of messages that went out in total is 530. Here’s another thing that LinkedVA Now does that I didn’t mention yet. Endorsements. This is reciprocity in action. What do we call it? The Law of Reciprocity.
You’re connected with somebody. You endorsed them for something. They appreciate it. They tend to engage with you more. That whole process also happening with this program. I know it seems a little weird. I don’t know somebody. I’m endorsing them for something. I’ll admit that’s true, but the Law of Reciprocity. We’re trying to get engagement with people on LinkedIn, with people who are hopefully our ideal prospect and people we want to connect with, and eventually get those bookings. That’s what’s happening.
I want to go back to what you said there. I had 190 people who accepted my connection request in December. I had 111 message conversations going back and forth. Think about that. Think about how high that is. Those people didn’t connect with me if they weren’t interested in having a conversation with me.
I can’t do that on my own. I can’t have 111 conversations in a month and do my job, but I think I had about six guests booked out of that, which is high for me because I don’t usually book that many. They did book up my calendar over the holiday and into January. I’ve interviewed 2 of those people so far of those 6 that have booked on my calendar. That’s a pretty good ratio if you’re looking to get guests and to have these kinds of conversations back and forth. I’ve had many people who I would send a tip or send them to one of our LinkedIn lives.
That was also some of the exchange things that happened in conversations that the VA team does. They would come back and thank us. They would say, “That was valuable. Thank you so much. I’m following you now.” There’s going to be much more long-term results from these kinds of things if you have gives along the way and it’s not just push sales.
Here are the two tips we have before we go to talk to LinkedVA and have some more conversations. The two tips we have for you on the process are if you understand your who, looking for great podcast guests who are active podcast hosts that I knew exactly who it was. Tom knows exactly who he wants to outreach to. If you know that and you can dial that in, you’re going to be more successful here.
The second thing is to participate in the process. If you think that you could let them do everything, it’s not going to serve your core business. Participate in the process, make it yours, make it your voice, add your own tone to things, make sure that your calls to action and play with them a little bit until you get what you’re looking for. I had it too loose in the beginning and I was getting too many comments. We had to tighten it up a little so we could get to the truly active, high-value people. Make sure you participate in the process. It didn’t take a lot of time. I don’t think I spent 30 minutes a week for the first couple of weeks. That’s it.
I’m not even spending that much time, quite honestly, on it. To qualify what Tracy is saying here, participate in the process, especially in the beginning, to set it up. For me, the way I’m using it is very hands-off. I am not spending a lot of time every week. In the beginning, you’ve got to get the messaging dialed in, make sure it’s in your voice and that there’s a whole process because I would call it a done-for-you service. You want to make sure it represents you properly. You do have to participate in that process. Once you get that dialed in, set it and forget it.
We’re going to turn off the show and say goodbye to all of you there. Thanks for reading. We’ll be back in the next episode with some more topics for you and some more great results in how to promote and market your show.