Blending high quality marketing content with LinkedIn efforts is the key to how we generate leads, develop prospects and create thought leadership positions for our technology clients. In fact, if you do not (or do not plan on creating) a blog and a wide variety of content tools including videos, white papers and  webinars then you cannot become a client of GetLinkedInHelp.com.

Here are 6 ways we’re mixing LinkedIn with content marketing for our clients:

1. Use content on LinkedIn to make targeted connections.

Instead of sending blah, blah connection invitations for our clients, we let the prospects know about a valuable piece of content we can provide once they connect with us.

The CMO of an enterprise operations management software company came to us with 368 connections, only 13 of which were relevant to his current position and marketing objectives. We needed to build his relevant network quickly.

We identified target connections and categorized them according to title and industry to give us a starting point for determining what content would appeal to them. We also looked at what groups each prospect was a member of and which, if any, discussions they were liking or commenting on. From there we selected the most appealing introductory content and crafted a connection invitation around that content.

Within two months, we grew his personal network to include 525 relevant contacts, most of whom happen to be high-level executives from large global firms such as Merck, LG Electronics, and WalMart – his exact target audience and a difficult one to reach. The number of connections keeps growing.

2. Use content on LinkedIn to engage high-level executives.

Connecting with high-level executives is one thing. Keeping them engaged is another. Content based on business issues and industry trends works very well for this purpose. It also helps to have your own LinkedIn group, but that’s a topic for a different article.

In a custom LinkedIn group we built for an IT Capacity Planning Analytics client, we’re attracting IT executives from companies such as BT, Vodaphone, Barclays, HP and Xerox by using content. Inside this private community, we provide these executives with on-going discussions built around the client’s latest blog article, new white papers, case studies, and third-party reports.

From there, we send a sequenced message campaign to targeted executives providing them access to additional content selected to meet their specific interests and working them toward a conversation with the client’s sales team. The sales team is able to connect with people they have never been able to reach before.

This messaging campaign is similar to the email campaigns your prospecting or inside sales teams may be conducting with two very important differences – 1) messages and content are highly targeted to the recipient and 2) in the current market, executives are more open and responsive to receiving messages via LinkedIn than they are email or phone calls.

3. Use content on LinkedIn to generate marketing qualified leads.

It amazes me when I see so-called social media experts – and anyone else – saying you can’t generate leads for technology companies from LinkedIn. We do it all the time, and they tend to be very high quality leads, by the way.

A large global AV integrator ran a multi-faceted lead generation campaign and hired us (through their marketing agency) to handle the LinkedIn portion. The lead generation campaign also included email, pay-per-click advertising, online media and telemarketing.

The goal of the campaign was to find and connect with buyers who had both a budget and an interest in talking to a sales person. We used content provided by the client and their vendor – white papers, case study and an archived webinar – to drive traffic from network outreach and LinkedIn groups to landing pages where contact information was captured.

Because buyers had an opportunity to get to know the client company through the content we provided, the leads generated from our campaign were the most qualified. In fact, in the end, the LinkedIn efforts produced more qualified new customer leads than all the other lead generation tactics combined.

4. Use content on LinkedIn to drive traffic to a website.

Well written company blogs, updated at least weekly, are a great magnet for interested prospects, but you have to use the content properly. The biggest mistake we see companies making on LinkedIn right now is blasting out blog articles to LinkedIn groups without attempting to create a discussion or even thinking about whether or not the topic is really appropriate for the group.

This is what was happening with a software company in the recruitment sector when they came to us for help. The company published two blogs, which were updated weekly, and distributed the content via LinkedIn groups, personal status updates and company page updates. Still, traffic from LinkedIn remained very low.

We stopped the auto-posting and adjusted their group membership to include only those that offered more dynamic communities of their target prospects and categorized groups according to membership interest. As new blog articles became available, we created customized discussions to post in relevant groups. These discussions provided value in themselves with links to blog articles included for those who were interested in learning more.

Within one week of beginning our program implementation, the client saw a 20% lift in traffic from LinkedIn. Traffic continued to climb over the next 5 weeks until it leveled out at 3620% above the original level.

5. Use content on LinkedIn to fill up a webinar.

High quality content and LinkedIn also work well together for promoting a webinar. One client contributes 25% to 35% of increased registrations to our LinkedIn efforts.

When this Inc. 5000 automotive dealer software company approached one of our agency partners to help them create, produce and market a demand generation webinar, our partner promised them 80 to 120 webinar signups. The actual number of registered webinar attendees: 337.

The webinar topic focused on a specific challenge car dealerships are currently facing and, for the LinkedIn program, we used content that provided a sneak preview of the information and value they would receive from the webinar. This content was primarily case studies and case-study-related blog articles. The case studies already existed and we asked the client to produce the blog articles we needed.

We promoted the content throughout LinkedIn by joining LinkedIn groups of car dealer decision makers and creating thought provoking conversations that added value within each group. Each discussion invited readers to read a blog post for more information. Each blog post, of course, contained a call-to-action to register for the free webinar.

We also engaged in a LinkedIn lead generation message campaign, sending webinar invitations to target attendees. In addition to explaining why they should register for the webinar and giving them a link to sign up, we also provided links to content where they could learn more about the client’s program and how other car dealers have benefited from it.

Click here to listen to the audio case study

6. Use content on LinkedIn to reconnect with former customers and existing contacts.

Most personal LinkedIn networks are full of cold connections. Marketers and sales people send out invitations to connect and then forget about those who don’t show immediate interest in their solutions. Content gives you an excellent reason to reconnect – and stay in touch – with these people.

One of our clients, a B2B video production company, learned just how lucrative this can be. When we first began working with them, the co-founder had about 300 connections and among them were former clients with whom he had had no contact in months or even years. He also had a report showing 6 ways B2B marketers can use video to quickly explain complex value propositions.

We sent LinkedIn messages to his relevant network, reconnecting with them and offering them a copy of the report. This was the first step in a multi-message nurturing campaign; however, it received an immediate result. One former client, who had forgotten all about our client gave them an opportunity to provide a proposal for three projects at a value of $36,000 for our client.

For even more information on how to mix content marketing with LinkedIn, download our Free LinkedIn Marketing Training which includes an interview with LinkedIn’s senior content marketing manager. You can also click here to sign up for our free LinkedIn content strategy planning session