One of the challenges those of us who love using LinkedIn often face is how to answer the question, “So what can it really do for me?” I’ve seen numerous blog posts and several articles claiming that LinkedIn simply isn’t useful for anything much other than, well, using LinkedIn. But those of us who have used to LinkedIn to get clients, find jobs, build teams, plan business trips, reconnect with old friends, colleagues and classmates, and so on, know better, right?
For a long time, I’ve been wanting to put together a resource about the many really smart ways you can use LinkedIn to accomplish personal and career goals. However, that’s a pretty daunting task for one person. This takes a group effort.
And so, here we are… the “Smart Ways to Use LinkedIn Group Blogging Project”.
My network has really come through on this — I have over $4,000 in prizes to give away to participants. And if this works like I hope it will, we will all have a fantastic resource for explaining LinkedIn to friends and for answering the nay-sayers.
Interested? If so, I bet you have a few questions.
I do. What’s a group blogging project?
Simply put, a whole bunch of people blogging about one specific topic for a specific period of time.
Cool… what’s our “one specific topic”?
Our topic is “smart ways to use LinkedIn”. In can be either:
- A personal story about how you used LinkedIn to accomplish a particular task or career or personal goal.
- A step-by-step guide to accomplishing a particular task or career or personal goal using LinkedIn.
It should NOT be:
- A simple feature-oriented how-to guide. It should focus on the business or personal objective, not simply the mechanics, i.e., not “how to use LinkedIn Answers”, but “how to enhance your reputation using LinkedIn Answers”.
- A list of multiple smart ways to use LinkedIn. If you want to do multiple posts, that’s great – I’ll use all qualified posts, but additional posts do not earn you additional prize opportunities. They need to be individual posts because the final compilation is going to be categorized, so each post needs to be able to fall into a category or two, rather than covering numerous topics.
- A short, simple description. Please make it more than just a sentence or two. We’re creating a buffet, not a menu. I’d say a good guideline is that it should at least 100 words or so.
Also, your post isn’t required to have a link back to this post, but it’s certainly appreciated if you do. That just helps encourage more people to participate, building a bigger, better resource for all of us.
UPDATE: I will not be judging posts on whether I agree with their philosophy or not. All networking styles are encouraged and supported. That said, any posts that encourage specific behavior that violates LinkedIn’s User Agreement will be disqualified, e.g., posting your e-mail address in the name field or using Answers to post thinly-veiled job postings. Just leave that step out, OK?
UPDATE: If you feel this topic is too far off-topic for your blog, you can submit your entire post to me via e-mail and I’ll post it here, crediting you and linking to your site. Yes, you’ll still be eligible for the prizes.
And our “specific period of time”?
You’ve got a week. Submissions need to be in by 5am GMT (that’s midnight my time – makes it easy for me to check) on Wednesday, May 9, 2007.
Also, you can submit a previously-written post, and it will be eligible for inclusion in the compilation. However, you must submit a new post (i.e., time-stamped after this post) in order to be eligible for a prize.
How do I submit my post(s)?
Send me an e-mail to Scott AT Linked Intelligence DOT com. Be sure to include:
- Your name
- The URL and title of your post
- Your physical address in case you win a prize
Please do NOT post your submission as a comment in response to this blog (other comments are welcome though). I don’t want to be making anyone’s contact information public, plus sending me an e-mail ensures that I at least have your e-mail address.
What are you going to do with the posts?
I’ll link to your post twice – a daily post of submissions received, and a categorized compilation of all the posts next week.
Prizes. You said there would be prizes.
Wow – I was overwhelmed at everyone’s generosity! You all really came through on this.
The following prizes will be given to randomly selected qualified entrants:
- One admission to The Internet Marketing Main Event, September 14-17 in San Francisco ($997 min. value) from Paulie Sabol.
- Your choice of a one-hour “Intro to LinkedIn” teleseminar for your organization or one month of personal LinkedIn coaching ($800) from Scott Allen (that’s me).
- Trendwatching.com‘s 2007 Trend Report ($499). If you’re not familiar with Trendwatching.com, check out their monthly trend briefing. This is the one newsletter I read top-to-bottom, multiple times, every month.
- UPDATE: A lifetime JibberJobber membership ($495) courtesy of Jason Alba. (Sorry for my oversight in the initial post, Jason!)
- Admission and 2 nights hotel to BlogWorld & New Media Expo ($375 min. value) in Las Vegas, November 8-9, courtesy of Rick Calvert. This looks like a great event!
- UPDATE: 1 year of web hosting, 100 Meg with WordPress installed, plus domain registration ($289), from ACS Web Services, courtesy of Kathie Thomas.
- A half-hour coaching session ($165) via phone or Skype with Des Walsh. You may know Des best as moderator of LinkedIn Bloggers, or as coauthor of Happy About LinkedIn for Recruiting, but he’s also an exceptional business and personal coach, serving on the Board of Governors of the International Association of Coaches.
- A signed copy of Happy About LinkedIn for Recruiting ($69.95) from Bill Vick. This includes the over $500 in bonus items that normally come with the book.
- UPDATE: A copy of Shally Steckerl’s Advanced Everything Bundle ($65.97) – This includes the Advanced LinkedIn Cheatsheet, Advanced LinkedIn Networking, Advanced Google Cheatsheet and Advanced Windows Live Cheatsheet. He’s also going to through in the pre-release of his new Blog Search Cheatsheet.
- A 3-month membership to MarketingSalad ($43) from Biana Babinsky.
- Three copies of Steve Mulder’s The User Is Always Right ($40), courtesy of Scott Abel.
- UPDATE: A signed copy of Wes Zimmerman’s The Perception of a Difference ($29.95), courtesy of Bill Austin
- Signed copies of More Space ($24.95) and Blog Marketing ($24.95) from Jeremy Wright
- A $20 Amazon gift certificate from Miki Saxon. Check out Miki’s blog series this week on the backlash of saying “no”.
- A signed copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Growing Your Business with Google ($19.95) from Dave Taylor.
- UPDATE: A signed copy of Tim Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Workweek ($19.95) – Check out my interview with Tim Ferriss over at About.com.
- UPDATE: A signed copy of Denise Berry’s Small Business Cash Flow ($19.95)
- A copy of The Virtual Handshake: Opening Doors and Closing Deals Online ($19.95), signed by yours truly.
- b5media has donated several hats and other unspecified schwag (priceless!).
Also, to help kick things off:
- The first 25 qualified entrants will receive a signed copy of Andy Sernovitz’s Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking ($24.95), courtesy of Andy Sernovitz.
- The first 10 qualified entrants will also receive a signed copy of Liz Ryan’s Happy About Online Networking ($19.95), courtesy of Liz Ryan.
How exactly will you select the prize winners?
On Wednesday, May 9, I will compile and post a list of all the qualified entrants that:
- Follow the content guidelines above
- Create a new post after the time of this post
- Submit it before 5am GMT, 5/9/2007
- Include their name, address and URL of their post
I will do the drawing in order of the retail value of the prize. Each participating blogger is eligible to receive only one randomly selected prize per person. However, I reserve the right to aggregate multiple smaller items into a single “prize bundle” in the event that there are more prizes than participants.
The two books (Andy’s and Liz’s) for the first entrants will be awarded based on the order they arrive in my inbox. Simple. Recipients of those books will also be eligibible for the randomly selected prizes.
And just to cover my ass, I reserve the right to add additional prizes or to remove them, in the unlikely event of a withdrawal of sponsorship by the donor. Remember – these are gifts of appreciation directly from the donors – they’re not being given out by me personally or b5media. I also reserve the right to announce the winners later than May 9 in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
Also, all of the prizes are transferrable. If you can’t use it yourself, give it to someone who can.
Anything else I should know or do?
- Spread the word. Tell everyone you know who blogs and who’s a LinkedIn fan. Blog about this. Digg this. Vote for it on StumbleUpon. The more people that participate, the better resource the end result is for all of us.
- Participate. Read and link. Watch the daily posts, visit their blogs, leave comments, draw inspiration for your own post, and so on. Feel free to blog about your favorite posts from other people on your own blog. Pick your own top five, or top ten, or whatever.
I think that’s about it. Happy blogging!