Don’t Throw Away Your Million Dollar Jackpot Ticket, or Why You Should Continue Writing on LinkedIn



In July of 2011, Sharon Duncan bought a lottery ticket at a local store in Beebe, Arkansas. She thought the ticket had no chance of winning and tossed it into a trash bin right in the store.

Turned out it was a winner! Her neighbor Sharon Jones discovered the ticket in the trash bin, and knew exactly what she had found. Ms. Jones claimed the prize money…a million dollars!

That’s just luck, you say. But is it?

Consider another “lost ticket” story. In 1976, Ron Wayne, one of the three Apple co-founders, owned a 10 percent stake in the company. However, after just 12 days Wayne decided to quit and sold his shares for…$800! In his interview with Cult of Mac Wayne said, “They (Jobs and Wozniak) were whirlwinds — it was like having a tiger by the tail. If I had stayed with Apple I probably would have wound up the richest man in the cemetery.”

Indeed, he’d be a billionaire today.

How many of us give up too easily when our chances of success seem slim?

Take LinkedIn Pulse authors. There has been a wave of changes on LinkedIn lately, some of which have made authors frustrated. I agree that LinkedIn Pulse has become less dynamic, and its algorithms are promoting a lot of cookie cutter articles while not catching all the quality articles out there. I also agree that with the growing amount of spam on LinkedIn, we are less optimistic even about communicating with new contacts.

But should we just stop writing and move to another platform? Can writing ever be easy?

No, writing is more of a lottery than a predictable sport. Ask Jack London, Emily Dickinson or Ernest Hemingway. Did they stop trying? Should we just forget about our winning ticket?

“Can one individual’s social media activities, meaningful and honest or pointless, impact a multitude of other minds significantly?” asks Milos Djukic, one of the most original writers on LinkedIn.

Comparing social media writing with the famous Butterfly Effect, he argues that every one of us can make a difference. “You are one in a million, equally unique, unrepeatable and unpredictable. A single flap of a butterfly’s wings may provoke a new Renaissance… It is your global social impact,” says Djukic.

So write to make this impact. Write, but don’t preach. Write to create positive thinking. Write to inspire. Write to make sense. Write to transform yourself.

Ray Bradbury, the king of science fiction, once said, “And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right.”

Or listen to the advice from Karthik Rajan, another successful LinkedIn blogger, who heard a perfect advice on writing from his mother – “Just share your experiences, trigger the reader’s curiosity and let the audience draw their own conclusions, respect them as individuals and they will in turn respect you.” And shared he did! Thanks to LinkedIn blogging, Karthik is now sharing his thoughts in his Huffington Post column. Not bad?

“It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.”
—Robert Benchley

But what should you do with all of your LinkedIn articles? What’s the ultimate goal?

For me personally, writing itself is a rewarding experience. Yet, when I started writing on LinkedIn back in May 2014, I had no idea that my 42 articles would help me find new business leads, meet inspiring social entrepreneurs and non-profits, and open many doors. Most importantly, I found a great diverse audience, fellow writers and readers, who constantly guide me and improve my writing one article at a time. Isn’t that a treasure?

There’s not one single goal in writing, because its ROI is more than just a monetary reward.

So instead of throwing your dream into a trash bin, think of compiling your articles into a non-fiction book.

This is advice that I got from Derek Sivers, a successful entrepreneur, musician and the bestselling author of Anything You Want. This book changed me. It inspired me so much that I wanted to speak with Derek and learn from him. So when I read on the book’s back cover that Derek’s “main act of public service is answering emails from strangers,” I emailed him asking whether I should write a non-fiction book based on the articles I wrote on LinkedIn. Here’s what he said:

“Yes! Absolutely. Share whatever you learned. We should all do that. It’s just the right thing to do.

Tell the tales the best you can.  Start by telling them to friends & strangers, before you write them down.  Watch feedback.

Don’t worry about it becoming an official book. First just start by making each experience into its own blog post like this:

Once the blog posts are well-received, look into making them a book.”

How about that? Want to know how to improve your LinkedIn articles before you venture into the book business?

Following Derek’s blog advice, begin by “presenting one little idea, something anyone can read in under two minutes, and shine a spotlight on it.” Watch for comments, and see if other social media channels pick up on your content.

Important – “don’t bury your brilliant idea on page 217”! “Stop the orchestra. Solo that motif. Repeat it. Let the other instruments build upon it.”

Once you’ve selected your top winners, you can plunge into the excitement of book writing. After all, you’ve got nothing to lose! Your own LinkedIn audience improved and approved your articles. And while you’re waiting to receive your first freshly minted book from a publishing house, hear out this advice on how you can actually get paid for what you write, by Jeff Haden, a ghostwriter, speaker, LinkedIn Influencer, and contributing editor for Inc. who authored over 50 non-fiction books.

But always remember your duty as a writer, which Theodora Goss said best: “If you’re a writer, your first duty, a duty you owe to yourself and your readers, and to your writing itself, is to become wonderful. To become the best writer you can possibly be.”

Isn’t that like winning the jackpot?



Hooked: The Ultimate Blogger’s Guide to LinkedIn Fly-Fishing


It’s early morning in Denver, and I have a half-day before my flight. I’m sitting at Peet’s Coffee & Tea with a local friend chatting about the best places in town to visit in the remaining half day, when he suddenly lights up and says: have you ever tried fly-fishing?

Over the next forty minutes he can’t stop talking. I hear about how to fly rod, reel and line, which stretches of the Blue River are best, and all his stories of trout splashing into the air.

Suddenly an interesting idea appears in my mind. This whole fly-fishing thing really reminds me of the LinkedIn blogging experience. Doesn’t it to you?

In fact, here in the wonderful LinkedIn world you can be both, a fisherman (blogger), and a fish (reader).

As I got the ultimate fly-fishing 101 from my friend, I decided to share my tongue-in-cheek advice for those who want to strive as an effective fly-fisher, that is a top performing LinkedIn blogger.

Ready? I am going to share some of my best advice for fly-fishing (publishing) on LinkedIn. In the next 6.5 minutes you will find tips on writing a great blog article, including how to cast your reel (article), which fly (content) to use, to locating the best fishing holes (audiences) in this essential guide to fly-fishing your blog on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Rivers and Streams

With millions and millions of LinkedIn users swimming in pristine online waters around the globe, you’re in a good position to cast your net.
 Yet fly-fishing on LinkedIn may not be as easy as you may think.

How To Catch Your Trout?

Reel the Big One:
 Begin with the best post you can master.

Grab the audience with your choice of words. Write from your experience. Hold your rod tight. Then toss your line into the water right in front of you. Make sure that you’re writing for the community around you, in your waters. These are your most loyal readers. 
Now lift up the tip of your rod, and then move the line quickly above your head. Make sure that it unfurls behind you.

Flies That Never Disappoint

When you’re fly-fishing, of course, you can’t go far without just the right fly (content) for the best trout of your life.

Here are some observations from the best out there in LinkedIn:

1. “Parachute Adams” Streamer 
– Content That Never Dies
(This fly is widely considered to be the most essential fishing fly)

The fly-fishermen call this fly one of the most exciting.  Why? Because a streamer or a dry fly is a type of fly that floats on the surface of the water, and easily attracts fish.

This content never dies. Why? Because it’s practical and useful. You can use it straight away. This content may be located in LinkedIn Tips, Marketing & Advertising, or Best Advice sections.  Do you want to learn how to polish your LinkedIn profile? Here you go. Would you like to learn a new marketing trick – voila! If you master this type of content, you will definitely attract a particular audience.

Another variation of a dry fly answers questions like “Are you a Leader or Manager?”, “Do You Want to Be Happy?”, “Change Your Habits Today” and similar topics. These are easily digestible topics with a universal appeal. Wouldn’t you want to learn how to be happy right now while reading a LinkedIn article? Or how about figuring out your leadership skills?

In my view, Gretchen Rubin and Katya Andresen are doing an excellent job covering these topics.

2. “Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear” – Popular Personal or Professional Development Advice in a List Format
(The defining characteristic of the fly is its sheer versatility)

This is the content that generates positive feelings and provides useful how-to advice. Authors usually are heavy on using keywords and key phrases in the title, such as “extraordinary”, “superb”,  “highly successful”, “remarkably polite”, “totally unselfish”, “advice that makes you remarkably successful”, “extraordinarily likeable”, “truly exceptional”, “genuinely charming,” etc.

LinkedIn authors Jeff HadenTravis Bradberry and Bernard Marr, among many others, like to use this approach, and clearly it creates traction. If you look at the hits and views – these are top performers.

3. “Salmon” Fly – Career Advice Columns:
Surprise, surprise – everyone looks at career advice! It’s like catching Atlantic Salmon. And here’s the catch – this could be the place where you can be seen as redundant and predictable, or you can come across as a powerful and experienced adviser with a strong message from the recruitment trenches. Of course, it’s best when it comes from experience.

For example, Liz Ryan’s posts are among the best here in LinkedIn. In her witty and engaging style, she covers pretty much everything – from job-hunting like a CEO to what to do when you hate your job.

By the way, I’ve seen a bunch of these “hate your job” and “now it’s time to quit” topics lately, and was wondering how extensive this problem is? Could it be that this is just a trendy topic?

Anyhow, if you want to get on the wave with this fly, you may want to use these types of keywords. Apparently, it works just like this bait.

4. “Crayfish” – Creative Diversions and 
Personal Advice (Crayfish fly adds a completely different type of prey species to your imitative capabilities)

James Altucher is probably the best example for this type of content. I started reading James’ blog about a year or two ago, and can’t stop reading.

Somehow, his counterintuitive, contradictory and rambling style of content captivates your attention, like a giant boa. Check out his posts and emulate, if you’d like. It will be hard, but is a good exercise.

5. American Pheasant Tale – “Deep Dive” Content
(This fly is designed to sink below the surface of the water)

This is one of the most underappreciated content types – thoughtful, deep and analytical. Usually, these articles attract someone who wants to learn beyond simple how-to advice.

Why dive into deep waters as a blogger?
To show your subject matter expertise, for one. Some brave authors, like Milos Djukic and Sramana Mitra are doing it. Not surprisingly, they do have a steady pool of followers. Sramana Mitra writes excellent articles on entrepreneurship, new start-up unicorns, and the like.
In a few short paragraphs she can get right to the heart of the matter.

Well, David Lynch, internationally acclaimed filmmaker and the author of Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity, said it best:

“Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper. Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure. They’re huge and abstract. And they’re very beautiful.”

Swarming Ideas – Anglers’ Best Friends


Sometimes when you’re leisurely strolling past a lake or a riverbank, you may experience a swarm of chaotically flying bugs. These little creatures seem to be enjoying this sudden burst of activity. The reason is simple – they’ve just hatched out of the water, and the new fresh air seems magic, if only for a brief moment of their lives.

What’s interesting though is that fly-fishermen don’t run from these clouds, but fully embrace them. Do you know why? Because trout can’t wait for that moment to munch on these lively bugs.

What does it mean to you, writer? These “bugs” are headlines that you need to use to entice your audience. Identify your most relevant keywords to attract your readers, and experiment. The more you practice, the more readers you can attract.

In the end, you may discover which keywords will get your most desirable fish – Google crawler. Once it picks up your content and gulps it deep into its algorithm, your page will be validated for a long time.

The “Authority Blogger” recommends the following 6 types of headlines:

  1. Get What You Want (In health, wealth, relationships, time and lifestyle).

  2. Crystal Ball and History.

  3. Problems and Fears.

  4. Fact, Fiction, Truth and Lies.

  5. How To Advice.

  6. Best and Worst.

Best Angling Advice:


Well, you can’t go too far without the advice of the best anglers out there. These are the masterminds and most successful fly-fishermen on LinkedIn. I recently interviewed two successful LinkedIn bloggers and here’s their best advice:

John White, a successful marketer and blogger:

1. What are the top 3 things every LinkedIn blogger needs to use to make his/her article a success?


A. Every blogger needs to work on developing their professional network on social media. Don’t limit your exposure to one platform. Experiment using a strategic combination of social platforms to find your target audience.

Not only is it beneficial to have a large number of followers, it is necessary to have a targeted and strategic following. Network with people on platforms that share common interests with the topics you write about. It is simply not enough to just put out a blog and expect readers to just begin flocking to it. There is some real work that needs to be put into networking.

B. Persistence is something that every successful blogger must have. Blogging is a marathon not a sprint. I see many people get into blogging with good intentions. Then, they write their first two or three posts and they don’t meet the writer’s performance expectations. So, they end of abandoning ship on their blog. To generate results with blogging it takes time and true dedication to build a following, develop thought leadership, and see a monetary ROI.

C. Every blogger needs to have a sense of humility and self-awareness. Developing an authentic voice is critical. LinkedIn Pulse has proven that you don’t need to be a celebrity or CEO of a multinational to have a successful blog. Don’t try to be someone you are not, just because you have started blogging. Write from the heart readers will become emotionally attached to what you have to say.

2. What are your preferred themes and why?

I tell my clients that they should write about what they are passionate about and what they want to be known for. Since my business is social marketing, I write a lot about social media in business. However, I am also passionate about sustainability, company culture, and sales. So, I write about those topics as well and more!

3. How do you write your content? Where do you get ideas and inspiration? Any hints for fellow writers?


The inspiration for my blog came while in my MBA program. Many of the topics we have discussed there have translated into very effective blog posts.

As a matter fact, I recently wrote a post on LinkedIn titled, An MBA Chronicled Via My Blog. (‪)

‪Other inspirations come from the relevant stories from either what I am doing currently or what I’ve done in the past that I feel people can learn from at some level professionally. People love to read well told story in blogs. Especially if you can combine humor and a powerful takeaway or two for readers.

Milos Djukic is another blogger extraordinaire, who goes deep into his subject matter. My opinion is that he should be featured on the LinkedIn Pulse almost every time. Here are his answers:

1. What are the top 3 things every LinkedIn blogger needs to use to make his/her article a success?

To be inspired, true to own personal vision and persistent in self-expression.

2. What are your preferred themes and why?

The complexity and flirting with the chaos of modern society. Renaissance is on the horizon, firstly through our personal authentic expression, then the collective one

3. How do you write your content? Where do you get ideas and inspiration? Any hints for fellow writers?

I write out of my profession only when I have inspiration. It makes me feel extra fulfilled. I usually find inspiration in people, nature, complexity and science. It is not only professional collaboration what makes this network intoxicating and addictive. Unknowable is also addictive, even more.

(You can read more in Milos’ inspiring post – “The Five Lessons About Self-Expression“)

What’s My Biggest Fish? (4 Ideas on Making Your Content Compelling)


I’ve been writing on LinkedIn since the early days of the Pulse, and here is what has worked for me:

1) Write like you are writing a novel. Engage your reader with a surprise entrance or colorful story. Think movies – does Spiderman begin with a monotonous monologue about the effectiveness of a particular type of spider web material?

No, you’re bungee-jumping right in. Don’t let them catch their breath – engage, engage, engage. Add some cool characters along the way.

2) How do I find my themes? If I meet someone awesome, I try to find time to interview him or her on the spot. These are usually honest and fresh interviews. In fact, this could be a short but very useful interview for your audience. But guess what, you can let this person know that you wrote an interview about him and share it with his audience.

Sometimes you can write about what’s on your mind – what bothers you? Is there anything that your company can’t handle well? Write about it. Drama always works. What’s life after Twitter like? Are we ready for Apple’s iCar? iGum? iPlane? iBabysitter? etc. People love to hear about future trends.

3) It helps me to gauge what’s out there by reading a number of other blogs. I’ve always believed in a cross-exchange of ideas and borrowing from other industries and themes. No wonder the best magazines I love reading while traveling are the in-plane magazines or Golf, Gardening and other trade or specialty magazines. They’ve just got enough ideas to nurture and inspire my mind.

4) Authenticity is the key. Be you.

Best Ways to Target The Most Impatient Audience

According to Valley News, “scent, taste, color, size, position in the water — all contribute to a fish’s attraction to food. But in most cases, if the food isn’t moving, the game fish is moving on.” The very same happens with your content if it’s stale, boring and un-engaging.

And you know who’s the most impatient audience? Yes, millennials. So what can you do to make your content “live” and moving?

Kimbery Grimms suggests 11 best ways to attract younger readers, and especially Millennials:

  1. Segment your posts
  2. Make it relevant
  3. Go for practical value
  4. Rock their emotions
  5. Mind your length
  6. Don’t underestimate videos
  7. Go social
  8. Hashtag your way to success
  9. Fuel their creativity
  10. Give them a good deal
  11. Help them escape and dream

It’s Fishing Time!

As every fisherman tells you, the best time to fish depends upon the air temperature. According Jay Thurston, your fishing success awaits you in AM hours (6 am – 9am), if the temperature is between 71-89 °F. Translating this into bloggers’ terms, the higher temperature means the higher activity of the world wide web. In fact, that is what KissMetrcis research suggests as well:

1) Morning is the preferred time for most of the readers and bloggers

2) While some bloggers may disagree, Monday is when blogs get the most traction.

3) 7 am on Monday, June 15th is when I pushed the button to publish this blog, and that’s, according to KissMetrics, when the average blog usually gets the most inbound links:

It’s early AM. And the WWW temperature is rising. It’s time to go fishing.


Andrey Gidaspov is a published author, creative fundraiser, and a passionate “dot connector.” He is passionate about connecting people and ideas, creating new social ventures and helping non-profits find new funding streams. 

Follow him on Twitter (@AndreyGidaspov) and check out his blog ( for more useful tips on creativity, innovative marketing and fundraising.

Other articles by Andrey you might enjoy:

My Little LinkedIn Miracles And How You Can Create Your Own in 2015

One Skill Every Visionary Leader Needs to Master

Jumping Into The Unknown: Risky Business

3 Steps to Reignite Your Thinking

The Power of Asking

5 Secrets of Successful LinkedIn Fundraising


5 Secrets of Successful LinkedIn Fundraising

Suppose that you want to launch your new educational or community engagement program. You have a plan, your people are ready to move mountains, community partners are fully behind you, and you deeply believe in your cause. All is there. And yet you need $50,000 to make it happen. Where can you find it in this economy?

Knowing how long it might take today to get foundation grants or navigate corporate philanthropy circles, what else can you do?

Or perhaps you bootstrapped and sweated your way to create another great software company. Your startup is showing its first signs of progress. You have enough customers, growth is positive and partners are interested in affiliation. But to push it to the next level you need some money (something along the lines of $200K+). And yet every angel investor you meet politely declines. Frustrating and stressful. Is there a better way to find your first funder?

LinkedIn is your way. If you agree with me that the key to successful fundraising is building long-term relationships, LinkedIn is one of the most effective fundraising tools that you have at your disposal 24/7, 365 days a year. Even more impressive is the fact that according to Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project study, 38% of American online adults with annual household incomes over $75,000 use LinkedIn.

LinkedIn provides you with everything you need to build relationships with your prospective donors. This effective social networking platform offers you a full platter of fundraising tools: from lead generation and donor cultivation, to a platform for a successful ask and donor stewardship. Most importantly, you have relevant data on your prospects. And that’s pure gold.

As Anthony Pisapia, President of TechImpact, noted in his interview for the Council on Philanthropy, “LinkedIn is big data. It’s a giant collaborative database with contact info—who you know, what you do, what you like—and it’s all sitting out there for us as nonprofits to take advantage of.”

What do you do with all this data? These steps will help you to maximize your use of the world’s most substantial professional social media network.

  1. Maximize Opportunities via Your Company Page

If you don’t maximize LinkedIn’s free “Company” platform, you’re missing out on an enormous amount of leads and opportunities. Your next step should be uploading the most up-to-date information about your non-profit or small business on LinkedIn’s Company Page. Don’t be afraid to overdo it. Your non-profit should make sure that this page strategically funnels leads and answers fundamental questions such as your mission, your news and your success stories.

As Susan Gunelius suggests in her Forbes article, to make your LinkedIn Company Page standout, don’t forget to add the most captivating picture of your non-profit or fundraising cause. Try to connect with your co-workers, including top managers and the Board. And of course, promote it by adding fresh content.

Finally, assign someone to work specifically on promoting your fundraising page. This person should regularly update the content, share quizzes and create buzz for your project.

Here are some examples of great LinkedIn Company Pages.

2. Cross Pollinate Your Network

Remember the bees and flowers? Cross pollination happens when two or several plants’ genetic material combines and brings to life seeds that have features of both plants. And of course, we know that many gardeners are using cross pollination to create new types of fruits or vegetables. Giant tomatoes or super apples, anyone?

Now imagine that your contacts are your flowers and fruit. Once you have your LinkedIn profile up and running (and Mike Allton, Social Media Consultant and Blog Coach, has created a perfect checklist to make sure that your profile looks great), you will need to begin to think like a good gardener. Did you invite colleagues from various departments, Board members, your classmates, alums, personal friends and former colleagues to join your network?

As Malcolm Gladwell suggests in his New Yorker article, cross pollination involves bringing different people who have different perspectives and getting them brainstorming. For example,Intellectual Ventures, the invention and patent spinning company, is a perfect example of how successful this approach can be.

While you can’t necessarily bring your LinkedIn contacts to one room offline, you surely can invite them to your group. Make sure that you set a minimum of at least 5 new contacts daily (I connect with 10-20 contacts daily). Your next step will be to actively engage your contacts by helping out your new friends.

3. Increase Your LinkedIn Group Involvement

Another effective way to create meaningful conversations and look for prospects is by joining relevant LinkedIn Groups. Again, there is no sense in joining a group if you are planning to forget about it the minute you join it.

Add useful links, create your own content and share it with your fellow group members. Answer their questions, and lead them to your company’s page.

After you have found a few interested leads, take them to the next level. What differentiates your non-profit from others? Think about how these new contacts can become your clients or enablers.

Some people are doing fine with just being a part of several groups. Others create their very own groups. I highly recommend this latter path. If you have your own group, you can actively position the content you need to promote. Don’t forget to invite your contacts and actively promote your group. Most of all, you can advance your fundraising project by dedicating a specific group page to it. You may connect it directly to your other crowdfunding sites such as IndieGoGo, etc.

4. Maximizing Your Efforts – Use LinkedIn Status Updates Wisely

One feature that makes LinkedIn similar to Facebook is its status update option. I usually post content 2-3 times a day due to fluctuations of interest based on time of the day or geographic location of contacts. This frequency also allows me to test various headlines and triggers for attention. Test, test, and test. As I mentioned in my earlier post, while the opinions on what the best day for publishing your LinkedIn content vary widely, Noah Kagan, the founder of the highly successful OkDork blog, suggests that the best day overall to publish content for social shares is Tuesday.

Don’t spam your contacts with heavy messaging on your fundraising project. Spice your status updates with interesting articles and quotes. Don’t forget though that your most recent fundraising project should be centrally located on your company page with the DONATE link prominently placed, so that when your prospect gets interested in you and your project, he or she can find all the relevant information.

Another useful step would be strategically using other social media platforms. For example, my LinkedIn account is connected to Twitter and Facebook, so the content promotion efforts are multiplied with the push of a button. Finally, the more followers you have, the better your chances are of being seen or heard.

5. Send a Direct Appeal to Your Followers

Once you feel comfortable about your followers, you can begin to approach them via direct messaging. Go to your Messages section and click on “New Message.” Select a group of up to 50 contacts and add your engaging message. Also, you may want to deselect “allow recipients to see each other’s names and email addresses” option.

And if you want busy people to read your emails, don’t forget to use these principles. In particular, as Dave Johnson, from CBS MoneyWatch suggests, make sure that you write explicit and detailed subject lines, while keeping your message short and specific.


Then push the SEND button.

And if you’re still not convinced, below is a story of how one simple direct LinkedIn mail campaign led to an unimaginable result.

How to Raise $200K for Your Startup via LinkedIn

It’s not only non-profits that can benefit from the effective use of LinkedIn. In his interview with Elaine Rogers, Business Training and Development Expert, Frank Hannigan, Executive Chairman of Goshido, an Irish startup software company, shared how he used LinkedIn to raise $230,000 just in 8 days!

The key to Frank’s success? He just sent out 700 direct messages to potential investors offering them a 2% stake in the company. It was a simple plan – all Frank wanted is to find 10 people ready to chip in €25,000.

Imagine that Frank had only 700 connections at the time! But he strongly believed in his investment proposition and knew that he was offering a good deal. Frank strongly believes that LinkedIn is “all about trust,” and you need to be bold and approach your contacts with your proposal.

What happened next was amazing.

Frank received an almost instant response from his first level connections and their direct connections, which helped Frank to complete his round in one week (as opposed to original plan of 12 weeks!) Was every response positive? No — some said “no, but we’ll pass the message.”

Yet in 12 months, using the combined power of LinkedIn, Twitter and traditional media sources, Frank and his team were able to raise €450,000 in total. Not bad for a simple message?

So don’t be shy about writing to your LinkedIn contacts about your cool startup, sharing some of your first successes via LinkedIn status updates, making sure that your LinkedIn Group is fully aware of your success stories, following up and inviting your contacts to social events. Be proactive and confident.

Your Major Takeaways for LinkedIn Fundraising:

1. Build a stellar Company Page (professional image, regularly updated information, link to Donate or Crowdfunding site)

2. Cross Pollinate your LinkedIn Network. Invite contacts from different sides of life: add business contacts, university alums, non-profits and foundation contacts.

3. Maximize your LinkedIn Group presence. When possible, create your own group and promote your fundraising campaign.

4. Use your LinkedIn status updates wisely. When you share relevant, useful information with your followers, your updates become effective supplement to your LinkedIn engagement strategy

5. Send a direct message to your prospects with your proposal. Be bold and decisive. You’ve done your homework, right? Then, there is only one way to find out. Ask.

Learning From Top LinkedIn Influencers: 10 Tips on How to Write a Mega Hit Article on LinkedIn


Do you ever feel that social media were created just to distract, stress, and overinflate each of us?  Struggling with content overload, and struggling to make your voice heard?  Let’s face it, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Mashable, Huffington Post and now even LinkedIn Pulse are feeding all of us with tons of “good enough” material.

Yet amid this overload, we’re seeing consistently successful articles from a small group of LinkedIn users.  Who are these people? Why are they successful? What makes their content viral or enjoyable? What makes them stand out?

True, LinkedIn Influencers have an advantage – they have a lot of followers.  They earned their trust by producing great products, starting amazing companies and writing bestselling books.

What about the rest of us, though?  Those of you who work for a small non-profit, or own a small business, or even those of you working for a corporate giant with strict policies on what you can publish. Well, I have good news for you.

You, too, can write an amazing viral article that gets you a million hits on LinkedIn Pulse.

Let’s take a good look and analyze the articles from the list of both the top 5 LinkedIn Influencers and top 5 LinkedIn users just like you who hit over 500K to 1 million views on LinkedIn Pulse in the past two years.  We’ll look at the big folks first, and the ordinary (but extraordinary) folks second.

The LinkedIn Influencers’ top 5 posts of all time are:

#1. Dave Kerpen, Founder & CEO, Likeable Local, New York Times best-selling author and speaker, comes first with his 11 Simple Concepts to Become a Better Leader.

Published on January 28, 2013, his article got over 2.6M views and 26K likes on LinkedIn, 7,396 Comments, and over 9K Tweets.  Dave’s article surpassed the posts written by some top LinkedIn Influencers, such as Richard Branson, Deepak Chopra, Jack Welch, Barak Obama, Tony Robbins and many other megastars!

The article is based on Dave’s interviews with experts (business leaders) and contains a list of 11 most important principles of becoming a better leader. His list starts with an appealing quote, and is short and concise. He uses cross links to his previous article strategically dispersed throughout.  Also, this article falls into the universally applicable theme of leadership.

What makes Dave’s post readable?

In my view, these are easily digestable facts given to a reader in a list format. Is this nuclear science? No. Is this the Great Gatsby? No. Can you create a similar article focusing on your particular expertise or industry profile? Yes!

#2. Greg McKeown, New York Times bestselling author, comes second with his article “The No. 1 Career Mistake Capable People Make.” His article gained almost 2M views and over 12K likes.

Again, Greg is wisely using a list of 4 steps describing typical challenges for people lacking a clear career strategy. He also perfectly uses crosslinks to his blog where he speaks about his newly coined term, “highest point of contribution.”

Aside from this, he also uses a simple graph and refers the readers to his Twitter posts.

Here we have an example of a career-related post driving traffic to his excellent blog article.

Well, guess who comes in at #3?

#3 Bill Gates, Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

With his “Three Things I’ve Learned From Warren Buffett” article Gates, garnered over 1.8M views and 11K likes on LinkedIn plus a hefty 6.6K tweets.

And guess what Gates uses as his article framework? Despite the attention people pay to his own words of wisdom, Gates uses two of the best practices I’ve been talking about – citing another expert’s opinion (Warren Buffett in this case) and a list!

Yes, Gates’ article is simple and very thoughtful. In fact, I am going to recap his advice here:

1. It’s not just about investing.

2. Use your platform.

3. Know how valuable your time is.

Very useful advice even in the framework of this article, wouldn’t you agree? I would strongly recommend reading Gates’ article here.

#4 J.T. O’Donnell, CEO, CAREEREALISM Media & CareerHMO, Career & Job Search Coach.

J.T.’s 10 Things to Do Every Work Day brought her over 1.8M views and 9.5K likes on LinkedIn, and over 4.6K tweets. And she comes next after Bill Gates — not a bad neighborhood, right?

Judging from the title of her article, you can see she’s got a list too. It’s a simple and highly focused post, just 10 things that every one of us can use. J.T. uses a nicely added trigger, though, when she adds, “I’ve never shared this list with anyone until now.”  You can experiment with this on your own blog, and if you have a good number of followers, they may be curious to know those pieces of wisdom you’ve never shared with anyone.

Finally, in the end of her article J.T. uses another engagement question via a P.S. that helps her to create an additional point of contact with her audience.  (She simply asks:“What things do you do every day to advance your career or your business?”)  Don’t forget to add this to your post as well, and track the results. The P.S. also includes a link to her blog and coaching program. I highly advise you to add the P.S. anchor to your blog post as well.

#5: Jeff Haden, Ghostwriter, Speaker, Inc. Magazine Contributing Editor, came fifth with his “Stop Using These 16 Terms to Describe Yourself.”

His article gained 1.7M views and 7.3K likes on LinkedIn, plus 4.3K tweets.

Again the theme of his article is in the highly popular “your career” topic. Yet, Jeff finds an interesting angle on this. He starts his article with a lively dialogue that really helps to attract the reader.  Then, it’s a smooth ride to…yes, another list of 16 points. Check them out, especially if you tend to “use cheesy clichés and overblown superlatives and breathless adjectives” in describing yourself or your business, or even “write things about yourself you would never have the nerve to actually say.

Summarizing the top LinkedIn Influencer posts, here are my top 5 tips to make your article stand out:

1. Use a great headline, which grabs attention.

2. Use a list format. It’s proven to bring results.

3. Cross link to popular posts and your own content.

4. Engage your readers with questions and use P.S. line to add touch points with your readership.

5. Write great content that people can use straight away.

Extraordinary LinkedIn Non-Influencers: What It Takes to Produce Top Content

Now it’s turn to move to non-Influencers, people just like you and me. I personally appreciate witnessing their success even more because they set an example for all of us. They venture into the hyper competitive niche populated by personalities like Bill Gates, famous bloggers, journalists, and industry and thought leaders.  To do so, their content needs to be prime, and needs to be something they care about deeply.

Below is the list of top-5 producing posts on LinkedIn Pulse:

#1 Kathy Caprino, international women’s career success coach, speaker & writer, comes first in this list.

Her article 6 Toxic Behaviors That Push People Away: How To Recognize Them In Yourself and Change Them won her some 2.3M views and 2.3K likes on LinkedIn!
 Her post made it to second place of top all producing posts.

A great post sprinkled with multiple cross links to bestselling books and Cathy’s own blog and business programs, it touches upon a sensitive topic that many people can relate to.  Again, choose a popular topic which evokes an emotional response, and your post will make it to the lead.

#2 Jacky Carter, Community Manager – Professional Women at LinkedIn, penned an article What Not to Say When Negotiating Your Salary.

The result – 890K views and over 2.5K likes on LinkedIn.

This is a perfect example of how you could use expert interviews to create your very own content. In this case, Jacky recorded an interview with Victoria Pynchon, a negotiation expert. Then she added two engagement questions and referred to information products negotiation experts provide.

Simple? Yes. Can you do it? Absolutely.

#3 Theresa Sullivan helps people connect with their true purpose.  Her article Five Lies That Could Be Ruining Your Career (and your Life) harvested 737K and 5K likes on LinkedIn.

Of course, Theresa is using a list format, with an engaging topic. And if you are curious to hear the 5 lies she’s hearing from people she coaches, here you are:

1) I haven’t found my passion / I don’t have a passion.
2) I can’t afford to leave the job I don’t like.
3) It’s too late to change direction now.
4) Pursuing my own happiness is selfish. I have a family to think about.
5) I hate my job now, but I will be happy as soon as I [get the promotion/finish the project/collect my bonus/get my degree].

#4 John White, Dynamic Marketing, Sales, and Management Executive 

John has a straightforward article everyone in the professional world would like to read:  7 Management Traits That Will Make All Your Employees Quit.

Since April 2014, over 539,000 people have viewed this article, and it’s gained 6.3K likes
 on LinkedIn.  Again, the article uses a list format, and a debatable, emotional and personal topic. John also injects some levity with recognizable images from The Office.

Nonetheless, my favorite is our #5 contender. Why? Because I know this guy personally and know his story well.

#5 Dr. Maurice Ewing, a hard working small business owner, successful entrepreneur, incredible speaker and HarvardBiz Blogger.

I first met Maurice and his family when I lived and worked in Hong Kong. Maurice led his risk management consulting business and had a life of constant travel.  Add a family on top of this and a demanding schedule.  It’s tough to be a small business owner.

Yet Maurice managed to produce incredibly popular lectures and presentations for a wide international clientele, and began writing his blog at HBR.

He stepped up to the LinkedIn platform on June 11with a clever read on Why Smart People Don’t Get Hired.  I watched his article take off — over 100K views in just a matter of hours! As of today, his article produced over 500K views and 5K likes on LinkedIn.

Why did the article produce such response?

Maurice shared that his article was addressed to “the highly intelligent, highly educated and highly skilled people that are either underemployed (i.e., working a job that does not require all of their education or skills) or unemployed. My “angle” is that over 40 years of research on IQ in psychology suggests that because smart people perform the best, they should never be unemployed. Of course, we all know many smart people that are unemployed for extended periods or underemployed for even longer.”

His article and (soon to be published book) aims to help these people resolve the dilemma.

What I appreciate about Maurice’s articles is that he always goes deep into researching any topics he writes about and backs up his points with data.  Surprise, surprise, Maurice also uses lists!

I asked Maurice what else may have contributed to the success of his posts, and he mentioned that “timing is more than anything on LinkedIn. I have determined that 4:30p on both Wednesdays and Thursdays is the optimal time to post. This is the time when most readers actually view AND read AND comment.” Weekends were a bust, of course.

So Maurice’s advice to non-Influencers is to be ready to hit your send button on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and “leave the other days for the Richard Bransons.”

While the opinions on what the best day for publishing your LinkedIn content vary widely, Noah Kagan, the founder of a highly successful OkDork blog suggests that the best day overall to publish content for social shares is Tuesday.

One of my best articles, Writing the Blog Article of Your Life: How One Idea Can Get You Hired by a Top Silicon Valley Venture Fund, was published on Tuesday, and produced a tremendous personal record for me. The second article that drove even more traffic was published on Sunday. So, my advice is that you need to experiment which day works best for your audience and your geography.  It matters if you’re hoping to reach out to just your American audience or the whole English-speaking world. 

Finally, I would add one essential tip that will help make your article a success: you need to aggressively promote your content. Without promotion, it’s highly unlikely that you will have 1M hits. Every single author I mentioned today, promoted their content like crazy. Post your article link on every relevant LinkedIn Group you’re subscribed to. Reach out to influential bloggers. Tweet, tweet, tweet. Remember, every new connection and every new like matters.

Summarizing what we learned from non-Influencers just like you and me, here is a list of top 5 strategies that worked for them and surely will work for you:

1. Go deeper into your content. Make it a valuable piece of advice by mining data and using examples of success.

2. Experiment with your publishing days. See what works. Publish. 

3. Evoke people’s emotions – find the theme which matters to your readers.

4. Aggressively promote your article. Post links to your article on relevant LinkedIn Groups, Twitter and Facebook. Share your content with your friends and colleagues. Reach out to top bloggers and LinkedIn Influencers. Every single connection helps you to make a leap to 1M hits.

5. Enjoy the process. 

Do you have your own tips to make it to 100K+ LinkedIn views? Please share your comments.


Andrey Gidaspov
 is a published author, international business expert, and a passionate “dot connector.” He is passionate about connecting people and ideas, creating new social ventures and helping non-profits find new funding streams.

Follow him on Twitter (@AndreyGidaspov) and check out his blog ( for more useful tips on creativity, fundraising and marketing.

Other articles by Andrey you might enjoy:

Writing the Blog Article of Your Life: How One Idea Can Get You Hired by a Top Silicon Valley Venture Fund

UnBound Human Potential: How Richard Luck and Sarah Mullens Created The Coolest Social Venture in Richmond

Ignore Skeptics: 4 Tips on How to Make Your First Startup a Million Dollar Success

One Skill Every Visionary Leader Needs to Master

From Superman to Bill Gates: How One Lecture Inspired an Entrepreneur to Dream

Set Your Song Free

Fundraising on Steroids: How InMail, Phone Calls and Multipliers Can Help You Reach Your Fundraising Goal This Year

3 Simple Steps to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out

Learn, Share and Replicate in 2014


ClockIn just six hours the New Year 2014 will hit the East Coast, and set a new beginning for all of us. While I’m sure that many of you have already set your top three professional and personal goals for 2014, I wanted to share with you just what worked for me in this past year.

You will also find the top three business articles and quotes which ignited the most interest from my LinkedIn contacts in December 2013. I hope you will find this helpful in your business or social project. So here you are:

My Top 3 Social Media Gems

  1. LinkedIn InMail
  2. LinkedIn Status Updates
  3. Twitter

In my business development and fundraising efforts, LinkedIn has been the most effective tool to find new leads, develop business partnerships and maintain an active business network.

The following two LinkedIn tools made it all happen:

InMail: If your goal is to connect with top contacts in your industry field, my tip is to go for the cream of the crop. You need to get decision makers’ attention. Don’t waste your time with managers who won’t be able to make a decision. Research CEOs and VPs in organizations you want to reach out to.  Once you’ve done your thorough research using LinkedIn’s advanced search function, your next step is to connect them via InMail. A thoughtful InMail message to a target contact in the field you’re interested in will absolutely guarantee a positive response. As you receive your first responses, make sure to follow up with an email or phone call.

LinkedIn Status Updates: Be a thoughtful content navigator. Curating content saves time for your business contacts and brings them real useful resources. By sharing insightful articles, interesting business news and inspiring quotes, you make a soft connection with your contacts and your contacts’ connection. For example, my 45 updates in December pulled 6,948 views and 33 likes.

I received a number of comments from my connections of how much they appreciated the content I shared. And I hope you will be helpful to your contacts too. Big warning though – don’t abuse your content captain’s role. If you start sharing too many silly jokes, charades, or old recycled news, you will quickly become irrelevant. You might as well move back to Facebook. I usually push the ‘hide’ button so that I never see these updates.

Twitter: While Facebook did not produce many leads for me, Twitter has been very helpful in delivering a healthy stream of new leads. These two social media channels, however, are far lower on my list than LinkedIn.

My Top 3 Quotes Shared on LinkedIn in December 2013:

337 Views – “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.” –Sheryl Sandberg

311 Views – “If you can’t be the poet, be the poem.” ~ David Carradine

287 Views – “If we’d asked the public what they wanted, they would have said, ‘faster horses.'” ~ Henry Ford

My Top 3 Articles Shared on LinkedIn in December 2013:

217 Views – “If You Want to Change, Don’t Read This,” by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, published in HBR!

215 Views – “Get More Email Opens and Clicks Using Behavioral Targeting,” by Jon Miller!

194 Views – “Why Self-Discipline Will Make You Unstoppable,” by Dan Kennedy!

What do you think? Do you have similar results in your social media channels? I hope to learn from all of you in the coming year.

I wanted to finish this year with a quote from Frank Herbert, “One learns from books and example only that certain things can be done. Actual learning requires that you do those things.”

Happy New Year 2014 – And Let Us Do Great Things!

Learn This Simple Way to Reach Your Fundraising Goals (It’s Easier Than You Think)


Right before Thanksgiving, I was invited for a business lunch in a cozy Alexandria restaurant. It was a rainy Wednesday: the traffic was slow, there was no parking, and I ended up six minutes late. I hate being late, so when I finally parked the car on a street across from the restaurant, I sprinted across huge puddles to the building.

A gentleman, whom I met via LinkedIn, was all-forgiving and accommodating. “Sorry, I always try to be punctual,” I said. “Not to worry, not to worry,” said my host. “Let’s have some food on the table and enjoy conversation.”

Well, the food was fantastic, and the conversation took its fruitful turn – of course, we were talking about fundraising. My counterpart came from another city, but he had incredible experience in business development and fundraising. After we traded stories of good ol’ international experiences we’d had, we transitioned to the realities of fundraising. No one said that it was supposed to be easy. And there is a plenty of stress involved. Yet success is closer than you might think.

What he said was marvelous advice. “When you’re looking into funding sources, be it a foundation or the corporate social responsibility department of a Fortune 500 company, who do you think makes the decision? Is it some amorphous foundation, or is it  people? Of course, it’s people who make that decision for the foundation. It’s actually just one person whom you need to talk to. To be successful, you need to find out exactly what drives this person, and make sure you connect with him on a personal level.”

Simple? Yes, but profound. People make these decisions, and the best way to connect with people is not through email, but in real conversations. Whatever your situation is, I’m going to help you discover how to find your magic source. And the secret is to be razor-blade specific about your concrete target. Let’s see some examples.

Laser-focus your way to success

Squint your eyes and look at your computer screen. Do you see how the picture becomes vague and foggy? Now look at the word “foggy” carefully. Do you see that two letters “g” look like number 9? That’s focus on a specific feature.

That is your first answer – be very specific in what you are trying to do.

Let’s imagine that you’re trying to find partners for your first U.S.-China social engagement project, which helps high school students work together and learn about social engagement and entrepreneurship. Where should you look first if you have no existing partners whatsoever?

You will need to take your magic lens and be very specific. What U.S. and international foundations support social projects for high school students in China? What organizations in the U.S. fund social entrepreneurship programs in Asia? What U.S. companies do business in China and have social engagement as part of their corporate social responsibility ethos? Do these U.S. companies have representative offices in your state? How about a Washington, D.C. or NYC office?

Once you’ve identified these organizations, go ahead and create a list of concrete people in charge of departments responsible for funding these projects. Where do you find these people? After you’ve done your excessive search on Google and Bing, your next step should be LinkedIn. Find out how you are currently connected with these people. Do you have common contacts? Do you play tennis or golf on the same field? Or maybe, they like rumba? Every detail matters.

The best course of action, though, is to find out where these people are going to speak next. Perhaps there will be a conference in your town next week? Or maybe they’ll be attending your favorite trade show? Write down your information and make sure that you have a plan.

What’s next?

Now go and get them.

Find them at these events, and meet them. One well-known networker shared that he has two favorite spots at these conferences, right near the stage when the person is leaving the podium, and the entrance door.

The trick is not to just show how firmly you can shake his hand, or how charming  your smile and your little elevator speech are – those words that she’s going to forget in the next five seconds.

The point is to make her remember you because you care. Show your passionate belief that your non-profit’s expertise is going to make all the difference. The truth is that we are all human, and genuine expression of the simplest idea can become that magic element that delineates success from failure.

So do your super-specific homework.

Google your target organizations. LinkedIn your top target contacts. Bing the next conference or trade show they will attend. Get yourself in front of this person. Perform a wonderful one minute verbal beauty. Believe what you’re saying. Make sure that you get this person’s business card. Shake his hand nicely while looking him straight in the eye. Promise to follow up shortly. Follow up immediately after. Set up a meeting with this person. Write a special handwritten note (not on a CVS card please!). Prepare yourself for the win.

After that you can do your powerful presentation, finalize your impressive sustainable proposal, and request the dollars that you need to make it happen.

I promise you, if you follow this approach regularly, you’re going to build your pipeline so rich and diverse that your rainy day fund will grow like wheat.

P.S. Whatever you do, make sure you follow up.

3 Simple Steps to Boost Your Non-Profit’s Annual Fundraising Goal This November


people92November is here. It brings anxiety:  just two more months before the New Year. And less than that until Christmas.  So how is your annual campaign going?

If you are a fundraiser, every single morning you are hearing from your own reflection in the mirror: “show me the money.” Your image will remind you that foundations are ignoring your proposals, high net worth individuals are escaping from you on their yachts, and even the mighty Kickstarter may not provide an immediate relief.  It’s not as bad as the Obamacare web-site, but it’s getting close.

What are you supposed to do in this environment?

Well, whether you are almost there with your fundraising goal, or looking for miracles to happen, there are THREE simple ways to dramatically increase your outreach to new leads and prospects, so you can make that fantastic leap forward just before your board begins to wonder – where is that development director?

1. Use LinkedIn InMail to advance your fundraising goals

If you think that LinkedIn is just a recruiters’ paradise, think twice. Today LinkedIn is the de-facto leader among the professional social media platforms.  Every second a new customer signs up to LinkedIn to be a part of the robust 200 million+ network of professionals all over the world.

In fact, LinkedIn is what you make it.  It can serve as your workhorse, your Cadillac or your rocket ship.  You just have to know some navigation rules. In my fundraising experience, the best results have been achieved by signing up to its paid service. This service provides you with InMail, a laser-sharp tool that can tear down the walls of mistrust and bring easy victories. The InMail service offers you the chance to approach any LinkedIn subscriber with no prior connection to you.

Just imagine — you can get past the toughest gatekeepers in the world!

In my own practice I was able to connect with funders and build an entire partnership network in a different country by using InMail alone. Moreover, simple but targeted messages through InMail helped me to raise funds and nurture new relationships.

How? Very simple — just follow the steps below:

a) Do a LinkedIn research on key funders in the area you’re interested in.

b) Select 10 solid leads and take time to learn about their professional backgrounds and affiliations.

c) Make sure that you take serious note of any existing connections between these target individuals and your connections.

d) Once you feel comfortable with each candidate, draft your short message.

e) Do not forget to include your core request in the first paragraph, i.e. “I’m contacting you with an opportunity to (offer).”

f) Follow up with another email, or better yet, a phone call after 4 days.

g) Invite your counterpart to an off-line meeting at Starbucks or Caribou, if you’re in the same area.

For more information on optimizing your LinkedIn profile, check out my other articles.

2. Regularly call your current donors and donor prospects

Another great way to engage your current donors is to call them. This rapidly vanishing skill of two or more humans speaking to each other is essential to any fundraiser, whether she’s 20 or 50 or 80 years old.

I refuse to believe that a simple phone call to a current donor may be a challenging task. Knowing personally what cold calling is, I’m so happy when I’m able to call an existing customer just to ask him – how have you been, old sport? (Gatsby’s talk is in fashion these days, you know).

You can make your phone call more effective if:

a) You learn as much as you can about your counterpart’s donation history.

b) Thank the donor for his continuous support of the organization.

c) Surprise the donor with some exciting initiative that only she can help advance.

d) Make sure that you leave room for other ideas and projects that the donor might be interested in supporting.

e) Make it simple for the donor to donate by providing handy information about the easiest way to donate for the project.

3. Maximize Your Engagement With Multipliers and Partner Organizations

“Friends should be friends,” sang Freddie Mercury, and he was exactly right. If friends can’t help us in difficult times, what are the friends here for? Your friends can be any non-profit or business organization that can align with your organization’s goals or may benefit from a joint effort.

For example, various chambers of commerce, trade associations, and local business clubs can serve as multipliers to your non-profit.

I always follow a win-win approach, offering partnering organizations access to resources or connections that might help them in reaching their goals.

For example, if you know of a service or product produced by a small business in your area which may help your stakeholders or clients resolve their needs or challenges, connect them with your circle. Make sure that you include their offering in your brochure or newsletters. After all, if your newly built connection benefits from interaction with you, the next step will be an unexpected referral to a potential donor or funder for your organization.

Finally, don’t forget to visit your local chamber of commerce and meet with its management team. Find out about the latest events and volunteer to help with the organization. This will not be unnoticed, and there’s a healthy chance that at the very event you helped to organize, there will be that one “lucky” encounter where you will achieve your goals in a single handshake.