You don't need to be a big brand or celebrity blogger. All you need . . .
. . . is LinkedIn Pulse — the publishing arm of the B2B social network.
Maria Peagler: This is Maria Peagler with Socialmediaonlineclasses.com and today I have with me career coach Lynda Spiegel of Rising Star Resumes. Welcome, Lynda.
Lynda Spiegel: Thank you, Maria. Great to be here.
Maria Peagler: Lynda, tell us a little bit about yourself and about Rising Star Resumes.
Lynda Spiegel: Sure. Well, I spent about 15 years in the HR space in corporate America and when I was in my early 60s due to some corporate change I found myself out of a job and for the time time in my life virtually unemployable. I think it had something to do with age. Can't prove it but after 6 months of looking for a job I was thinking about something to do on my own and I started doing essays. I am a former English teacher so I started helping high school students with their college application essays. As you know because you and I discussed it it just wasn't profitable. It wasn't a great business model. There was tons of competition.
It wasn't working and then just one day out of the blue a cousin who was the head of the telecom sales reached out to me, "Can you take a look at my resume because we're about to be bought and I'm going to be on the market. You're an HR person. Tell me what's good about it." I said, "Not much. Let me fix it for you." The light bulb went on. That was really how Rising Star Resumes got it's start.
Maria Peagler: You pretty much put yourself out there and were successful but not yet profitable and knew that you needed to make some sort of a career pivot and that light bulb went off when people started coming to you.
Lynda Spiegel: Exactly. Exactly. It started with one person, my cousin, which was a zero dollar sale. He was so excited about what I had done that he started telling all of his direct reports, "You're going to be out of a job soon like me so you should call my cousin Lynda." He said to me, "You know, you could charge money for this." Which had not occurred to me, believe it or not.
Maria Peagler: You've come a long way from doing essays for English second language students. You're now a blogger for a New York Times blog, a Wall Street Journal panel speaker, and a midlife career coach.
Lynda Spiegel: Well, I am not a columnist for the New York Times. I am for the Wall Street Journal. I was quoted in the New York Times. Their career columnist Rob Walker and he and I are on LinkedIn and we discuss things all the time but I do not do anything for the Times. I write for Cornerstone on Demand which is a large HR ... A provider of HR services to the government and to some major corporations, globally. I write for them. I am a member of the Wall Street Journal's Experts Blog.
Maria Peagler: Wow.
Lynda Spiegel: I'm their career expert.
Maria Peagler: I cannot tell you how proud I am of you, Lynda. You came to Socialmediaonlineclasses.com really looking to make a change and you have sky rocketed.
Lynda Spiegel: Well, I have to say Maria when I came to you I was clueless. The foundation that you gave me for being found online and how to utilize social media in order to start a business was so incredibly useful. Those one on one sessions that you were generous enough to include as a member ... I actually got Facetime with you via your go-to meetings or whatever webinar service you use. It was amazing. I was looking at you, you were encouraging me.
The foundation @sm_onlineclass gave me for being found online & how to use #socialmedia to start a business was so incredibly useful. Those 1:1 sessions were amazing: you were looking at me & encouraging me.
The social media online classes I sat there with my laptop on my terrace everyday and I diligently went through the lessons and I just learned so, so much. I was motivated.
Maria Peagler: It's kind of like a fitness center membership or a gym membership. People join and they go once or twice and don't come back. It's not going to work unless you use it. I am so proud of you for sticking with it and doing your classes.
Lynda Spiegel: Can I just interrupt and say you say sticking with it as if it were going to the gym and doing pull-ups. It was fun. You really broke it down into digestible chunks. Everything was easy to follow, easy to understand. There were I remember one or two little glitchy things where what was in the lesson wasn't what I saw, a phone call to you or an email to you you clarified it or updated everything and I was back in business. It's not painful. It is not a painful thing to get through. It's actually quite enjoyable and very easy to digest.
Maria Peagler: Thank you. I really do try and make it as painless as possible. You know, because I realize nobody has time to sit in front of a one hour webinar. You've got to get into your lessons, get what you need, and get out and do it. That's what I try to make it easy to do.
PART 2: USING LINKEDIN PULSE TO PROMOTE A BLOG POST
Maria Peagler: What role did Social Media Online Classes and your membership play in your career pivot?
Lynda Spiegel: Well, I think it was analogous to deciding to run a marathon. I would say it was buying the right shoes and the right gear and learning about how to hydrate and feed yourself in order to get ready. It was the preparation. I think had I started to do this without that preparation I would have been sunk.
Maria Peagler: Wow. Wow. You really put yourself in the place of most opportunity. You got in there and made sure that you were in the place that was going to coach you and train you to success.
Lynda Spiegel: I hope so.
Maria Peagler: Well, I'm so impressed - specifically, I am incredibly impressed with what you have done on LinkedIn. You have really turned LinkedIn into a hugely successful tool for launching your business. Specifically, LinkedIn Pulse. You have an article on LinkedIn Pulse that has 50,000 views and 63 comments.
Lynda Spiegel: And 490 shares which is pretty amazing.
Maria Peagler: That's incredible. Tell us a little bit about how you got started with LinkedIn Pulse and then how this article just took off.
Lynda Spiegel: Okay, well, I don't remember who it was that told me about Pulse. Actually, it was somebody who knew somebody who worked there. They mentioned that LinkedIn was opening up a free publishing platform to anybody. Of course, we've discovered since then that of course it's to LinkedIn's benefit. They know own all this great content that they didn't have to pay a penny for but I don't care because what it did was expose what I wrote to the entire world.
Maria Peagler: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Lynda Spiegel: That's invaluable.
Maria Peagler: It looks to me like you publish something first on your blog and then you'll republish it or reframe it on LinkedIn Pulse. Is that accurate?
Lynda Spiegel: Usually the other way around. Now a friend of mine who I had met while we were both doing a podcast together is an NCO specialist. He gets on the backend, looks at your site, does the analytics and he pretty much is able to tell ... He knows all the algorithms. He's just amazing. He, and a shout out, his name is Todd LaHenry. He said to me, "Don't do that. Google search hates to see repetitive content and they will flag you for it." It got me really nervous but it hasn't happened to me. What he advocated and I sort of got this from you as well ... I've heard you say this first that Google Plus, even though nobody uses Google Plus as a social media site because it's owned by Google, anything you put there really juices up your SEO.
Maria Peagler: Right.
Lynda Spiegel: He agreed and he said ... He's not one of those people who saw the value of LinkedIn. Now LinkedIn comes and goes in terms of it's value but I have to say from my particular business where I'm not selling a product, I'm selling a service, and it's a service that can go anywhere in the world. Yeah, most of my clients are in the US or Canada and most of them are English-speaking but I'd say 20% aren't.
LinkedIn Pulse gave me that global reach. It has not hurt my ranking with Google at all. Google is smart. It can tell if you're tweaking things a little. If it repeats the same content mostly from my blog or from LinkedIn or Google Plus it's going to recognize that it's the same piece of information. If I had to pick I would say that LinkedIn Pulse has gotten me more exposure than anyone else. The other thing is nobody really comments or engages. There are no conversations regarding what I've said on my blog. On LinkedIn there are amazing conversations. Often there are perspectives I hadn't considered. One thing I would want everyone listening to know is and I think you've pointed this ... I think I got this from you is you must engage with your readers. Even if they're calling you an idiot.
Maria Peagler: Yeah, yeah.
Lynda Spiegel: Saying your ideas are terrible and you should crawl back under the rock you came out from. You still have to take the high road, you just have to engage. You thank the person for taking the time to comment and you say, "That's an interesting perspective. I respectfully disagree and here's why" but you engage. Based on that, you establish yourself as a thought leader.
Having been a member of Social Media Online Classes for a year I've listened to a lot of your webinars and read just about everything you have on the site and I know a lot of your members have small product-based businesses. You have been a big advocate of Pinterest and Instagram for them. I think were I in a business ... You had been talking on once about members who had a vintage clothing store or they were selling some kind of thing and how Pinterest really drove the sales. I was thinking, "Yeah, absolutely. If I were in that kind of business that's the social media site I would be spending most of my time on." For someone like that, is LinkedIn even relevant? I don't think so.
Maria Peagler: Yeah, probably not. For someone who does B to B like you, LinkedIn is perfect.
Lynda Spiegel: Well, I really do B to C if you think about it because my clients are the people who are changing jobs or looking for jobs so they're people, not corporations. I do HR consulting. That's B to B. Have I been picked up from things that people have read there? Occasionally but mostly people read what I have to say on employment situation or on things about resumes and recruiting and they either say, "Wow, I don't like this person" or they say, "I like her approach. I like the way she presents herself. I like the way she responds to people who are negative. I like how she offers a lot of free advice" as you do. I think that builds loyalty.
Maria Peagler: Yeah, yeah, you know I have called LinkedIn the human resources database of the 21st Century and your advice and your background in HR make you invaluable for that. You've differentiated yourself on the human resources platform that most people are on. That's my perspective as what I see as to the huge success that you've had. People are using it as an HR tool and you've got great HR advice.
Lynda Spiegel: It is a great place. Everyone in the world knows that every recruiter in the world is on LinkedIn. That's actually where they drive most of their revenue from. The rest of us are just on there for the free ride and benefit there. When I was in corporate HR and I was looking for any kind of employee other than entry level I went straight to LinkedIn. Maybe I would drop the couple of hundred bucks ... It was actually $400 at the time to post a job. Mostly I just typed in the keywords into the search bar with the term "New York City" because that's where I worked. I would pull up page after page of people's whose profiles or headline had those keywords in it. I did all my hiring there.
Yeah, you've got to be there if you're looking for a job.
Maria Peagler: Now going back to the LinkedIn Pulse article that you did, Lynda. You had said that you got a lot of comments and had conversations that presented perspectives that you didn't even think about. It sounds like it's intelligent conversations that are going on in LinkedIn Pulse.
Lynda Spiegel: Very often they are. Occasionally they are not and occasionally people ... It's a professional site. The people occasionally devolve into name calling and somebody has to be the grownup in the room and say, "Hey, this isn't Facebook." No dumping on Facebook but that's where I have my political arguments with people, not on LinkedIn. It's by and large very respectful exchanges of ideas.
I think that for anybody, any members of Social Media Online Classes, who are not just selling a product or a service but want to present themselves as thought leaders LinkedIn Pulse is the place to do it. Using you as an example. If I were Maria Peagler I would occasionally write an article on Pulse where I talk to people about the benefits of using social media to establish a business and grow it. You're not selling your services. There's a little thing at the bottom that says, "I'm Maria Peagler and I'm the founder of Social Media Online Classes" but basically you're sharing your expertise.
Maria Peagler: Absolutely.
Lynda Spiegel: Yeah, you are giving away information for free. There's no other way to look at it. I think in a day and age where content is king and that's pretty much the mantra of this year and the last few years. Content is king. Of course you're giving it away but people are drawn ... You can tell somebody this is how you ought to do X. At the end of the day they don't want to do X. They're busy doing Y, Z and A, B, C. Plus they've got car pool that day and they really don't have [inaudible 00:17:53] but when you tell them this is how you do it it lets people know this person knows from whence she speaks. They're going to hire you.
Maria Peagler: Now Lynda, I'm curious. Of the comments that you got on this LinkedIn Pulse, the title is What You Want, Baby, I Got is the Key to a Great Resume, and you have this awesome photo of Aretha Franklin belting it out. Of the people who commented on that, were these people that you are connected to in groups or that are a first connection with you? Are these people that you are already familiar with or are these people that you had never heard from before?
Lynda Spiegel: That's a great question. What happens is ... Again, I just want to point out that I write about every week or so. That was just an extraordinary piece of viewership. Over 50,000 views. The people who caught ... I wrote something this week didn't get anything close to that kind of readership but there's always a core group of people in my network who they see that I published something and because they're loyal good network connections they'll like it and they'll say something.
Here's where the magic and the business opportunity is, so if they love it they'll share it. Then I tweet it as you do too. Then people start to see it. I would say 90% of the comments on the piece you're referring to What You Want, Baby I Got It is The Key to a Great Resume, 90% of the comments were people I had never heard from.
90% of the comments on @RisingStarResumes @LinkedInPulse post were from people she had never heard from — new connections.
Maria Peagler: Wow. Wow.
Lynda Spiegel: They were people who said ... I would say by and large people agree. Many times people say, "Well, you know what? What are you saying that we should tailor our resumes to each specific job but then again you won't [inaudible 00:20:03] you shouldn't have variations on a resume. Could you please clarify?" Which is wonderful because if you're confusing people this is a great chance to clarify.
Other people say they disagree. Some people just write, "Great post" that's nice but I'd like to hear why did you think it was a great post? I've had, not that particular posts but other posts where they've just been serious disagreements ... There was one I had written about a year ago where I said that people who write on their headline and LinkedIn, "Looking for next new opportunity" are shooting themselves in the foot. They're doing themselves a tremendous disservice. I've also said get rid of that selfie. You don't have to get a professional photo but have someone take out their iPhone and take a headshot of you looking at the camera, looking approachable, and I've been taken to task for that in the comments.
Maria Peagler: Any time you put yourself out there and take a position not everyone is going to agree with you. I think that's sometimes the hardest thing. Especially for women. When you know that you're writing a piece that people are going to disagree with because you want everyone to like it but there's always going to be people who have that alternate perspective but good for you that you're able to have that thick skin and to have that intelligent conversation and say, "Hey, it's okay that we agree to disagree."
Lynda Spiegel: Well, I have to tell you I don't have a thick skin at all. I pretend in public. The funniest thing was a piece I had written for the Wall Street Journal and I know this isn't social media so it's probably a digression but I had written about why it's important to have a multi-generational workforce. That businesses not hiring people because they're over 55 because they won't be a cultural fit can really be dismiss. I provided studies that showed while all these misconceptions about hiring us baby boomers is just wrong.
The comments I got ranged from, "Yeah, thank you. I'm 60 years old. I'm idle. I can't get a job" to a whole bunch of people saying, "People like you ought to just retire and let the rest of the world get a job." Then once person wrote, "Lynda Spiegel clearly hates older people" even though I set it up by saying I'm a 63 year old baby boomer but she clearly hates older people and she's a shill for ... It was hysterical. I just sat there cracking up laughing because I wrote to somebody, "What about if you happen to be middle aged and you're the victim of being broke because of a divorce or you don't have savings or if there was an accident or a serious illness and your savings are depleted." This person writes back, "Anybody who didn't think ahead to prepare for their future deserves what they get."
Maria Peagler: Clearly someone who knows it all.
Lynda Spiegel: Disengage. Thank you for your comment and have a wonderful day. May nothing terrible ever happen to you.
Maria Peagler: You know, Lynda, the best advice I ever got on that was I think it was I had a YouTube video out there and somebody left something that was a really nasty personal comment. I asked my son ... My son is 15 but he's a huge ... He's actually a YouTuber and he knows more of the successful YouTube channels than I could ever even imagine. I said, "What would you do?" He said, "Mom, ignore it. They want a reaction from you so don't give it to them."
Lynda Spiegel: They're bullies. They're cyber bullies.
Maria Peagler: I'm like, "You're 15 and you just gave me the best advice ever." That's the best advice. Just, okay, great, move on.
Lynda Spiegel: Yeah, move on but always acknowledge the person and say thank you for taking the time to write.
Maria Peagler: Yeah, there you go. Show yourself as the consummate professional you are.
Lynda Spiegel: I think what the First Lady said the other night, whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, is great advice. When someone takes the low road, we respond with the high road.
Maria Peagler: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.
Lynda Spiegel: She said it better but you know.
PART 3: HOW TO CREATE A COMMUNITY WHO CAN'T WAIT TO READ YOUR NEXT BLOG POST
Maria Peagler: Lynda, If you could sum up your LinkedIn strategy what would it be?
Lynda Spiegel: My LinkedIn strategy is . . .
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Maria Peagler: Great advice Lynda! If people want to get in touch with you, what's the best way to do that?
Lynda Spiegel: Well, they can go to my website which is RisingStarResumes.net. All my contact information is there. There's tons of free articles to read. Lots of information. There is samples of resumes. That's really the best way to get in touch with me. My Twitter handle is @RisingStarRes. I'm on LinkedIn and that's pretty much it.
Maria Peagler: Well, Lynda Spiegel, career coach and founder of Rising Star Resumes, thank you for joining me today.
Lynda Spiegel: It's been my pleasure, Maria.