Naomi Simson: What 1.5 million followers taught me about influence

By Naomi Simson | Feb 25, 17 10:26 AM

She's the most read person on LinkedIn in Australia … so what's her knack for creating content that clicks with people?

At 9.28am summer time on a Sunday morning in Sydney, the 1.5 millionth person (Eduard Muriá Gené) chose to click on the button and subscribe to what I have to say about life as an entrepreneur, business leader and mother on the LinkedIn Influencer platform. I have often reflected on what people are most interested in hearing about. What is it that could perhaps inspire someone else into action?

I have asked the editorial team at LinkedIn why they believe people are interested in what I have to say. I thought it might be because I use ‘red’ in my profile picture. ‘No!’ was the resounding answer. In the opinion of the content team, my reach is because of three things:

1. I write regularly (more than 160 posts, do average of 40 per year)

2. I write the way I speak (it is easy to ‘consume’ quickly)

3. I write about everyday issues that have broad appeal beyond my own geography

I think more than anything we are all curious about how others live … And I am happy to give plenty of stories from my life and use my own photography as part of what I share.

Since my first post Is Happiness a Dirty Word at Work? on 2 October 2012, which had about 6000 people read it, I have covered a broad range of topics. On 27 November 2012 I chose to move away from writing about workplaces and speak to the young people in my life. The post Three Things Young Women in Business Need attracted a readership of 260,000. 10 Things Bosses Hate reached close to 300,000 people on 18 December of the same year. Over the last four years, I have learnt much about what people do and don’t want to hear about … and I have also learnt that timing is everything.

The platform follows the fundamental publishing principles: a great headline (click-bait headline or lists that do not match the content dilute authenticity over time – you might get a person once but they won’t read it and they won’t come back – so I stay clear of them). A vivid, colourful picture that builds the personality for the piece, as well as relating to the content is important. Again, it is about building trust and authenticity with your audience.

I have learnt to write about what is on my mind which is likely to be relevant to many, and I always write when I have something to say. I can never just come up with an idea for the sake of it.

Some posts fly, others do not. Ironically those that I think will go ‘viral’ don’t – those that are raw and fast often do. I am prepared to make a statement and put myself out there.

What has it meant to be the #1 read person on LinkedIn in Australia and at times in the top 25 in the world? It is hard to say – most people don’t even know. But what I do know is that I am now in touch with people in every part of the planet. People who have never heard of the businesses that I have started: the girl from middle-class Melbourne Australia with two kids who has written a couple of books and is on Australian TV. The 1.5 million people are spread everywhere. What a privilege it is to think that the words I write might influence them, that they might learn something and perhaps inspire them to action making life slightly better.

Thank you to the team at LinkedIn for including me as part of your program. What a journey we are on. Onwards and upwards, I say.

Naomi Simson is the founding director of Australian online tech success story RedBalloon and Redii. She has written more than 1000 blog posts at NaomiSimson.com, is a professional speaker, author of Live What You Love and Ready To Soar, and is one of five Sharks on TEN’s business reality show Shark Tank Australia. (Shark Tank has been nominated for a Logie – vote for them here).

This piece was first published on LinkedIn here and Women's Agenda here


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