Decision-makers look for high-quality content on LinkedIn.

Recent data analysis by LinkedIn demonstrates that key audiences — the C-suite, executives, small- to midsize-business owners, and IT leaders — hunger for good content. In ranking the top-followed companies, LinkedIn found that reputable publications like Forbes and TED Talks were second only to big tech companies.

In addition to conveying that LinkedIn members want to learn about companies and consume great content, the analysis found visionary leaders were the most-followed influencers, a trend reflected across all demographics.

This study makes clear that if you’re a professional, LinkedIn is the place to be recognized for your expert content. But to make the most powerful impact, the right people must see your posts. Here’s how to build that audience.

Before posting, stop and strategize

Even before you begin to reach out to connect with people, make sure your profile is professional and up to date, as outlined in my previous article. This gives you credibility when prospective connections and readers click to your profile. Regularly refresh it with current work samples and accomplishments.

Now, let’s be strategic in getting that audience — use these four questions to guide you

  1. What are my main objectives?
  2. Who are the people that can help me meet those objectives?
  3. Why would they be interested in me?
  4. Where would they hang out on LinkedIn?

Find the right people

Determining your ultimate objective to posting content is key to moving ahead and finding the people who can make them happen. Whether you’re looking for more visibility, to boost brand recognition, build your reputation, or to bring in sales leads, marketers will tell you that a targeted audience will bring better results than a general one.

Getting hundreds or thousands of connections on LinkedIn isn’t that hard to do and may feel good at some level, but that alone won’t get your content noticed.

Identify your ideal reader, which is most likely the same as your target client or customer. LinkedIn is easily searchable, so clarify the specifics of the prospects you want to connect with — their companies or organizations, positions, location, and skills.

Connect personally and powerfully

Once you’ve located the professionals you want in your network, you can either send a connection request and/or follow them. If you have connections in common, people are much more likely to accept your request.

But before sending out a blast of connection requests, it’s time to answer the third question on our list — why would these people be interested in me?

Figure out what you can contribute to their world by assessing your own experience, ideas and expertise while taking the pulse of your prospective connection. Their profile is the first place to start. If you want more information before trying to connect, follow them to see what news or ideas they care about by observing their posts and comments.

Then, send a personalized invitation to connect.

“Within your invitation, personalize the message to flatter the person’s specific strengths and achievements,” says Jessica Ihle, who shares step-by-step tips on how to write someone a convincing “LinkedInvitation” in the allotted 300 characters.

She suggests pointing out something you have in common and telling them how they could benefit from the connection.

“To close you may leave some final positive words about their work or their company to keep those thoughts fresh in their mind.”

Discover a curated audience in LinkedIn groups

Along profiles and company pages, groups on LinkedIn are a great resource for connecting with a specific audience.

Joining groups in your industry and professional niche is a way to find like-minded people who’re likely to be aligned with your interests and concerns.

In his blog, renowned marketer and influencer Neil Patel marvels at how groups facilitate conversations.

“You’re given a catered group of professionals to build relationships with for free. And it’s not even hard. It’s as easy as talking about a big project with a friend over lunch.”

In groups, you can get a very good idea what content members are engaging with and think about what compelling bits you can add to the conversation that reflect your unique perspective.