Salespeople, Here’s Your Quick and Easy Guide to Writing a LinkedIn Article
March 21, 2019
Editor’s Note: This guest post was contributed by Robert Knop, CEO, Assist You Today.
More and more LinkedIn users are writing articles and using the platform to share their knowledge. Posts on LinkedIn are a great way to provide value to your connections, and help establish yourself as a thought leader.
But many LinkedIn members are still sitting on the sidelines. I’ve suggested posting LinkedIn articles to many of my connections. However, some are reluctant because they are afraid of putting themselves out there (or afraid of corporate compliance). I gave a friend of mine some tips recently, and I thought I would share them with you as well to make it easier for you.
Step 1: Have an objective in mind.
We are not writing for writing’s sake. Your 10-page “X-Files” fan faction is great, but it’s not necessarily right for LinkedIn. Think about who your target audience is, and what you want your personal brand to be. What do you want to be to that audience? A trusted partner? A disruptor? Answering your objective will help you determine what you want to write, as well as how you want to write it (e.g. challenging vs. helping).
Step 2: Write your article.
This is 95% of the work. Pick a topic you that you know a good deal about and will accomplish your objective. Then, write a few paragraphs about it. Remember to keep your target audience in mind — what do they know about this topic already? What information would be helpful? Where do you need to push the envelope?
Step 3: Make it easy to read.
Your article doesn’t have to be War and Peace, and in fact, should probably be less than 1,000 words. A majority of LinkedIn articles are read on mobile devices, so keep that in mind when you are writing — keep it short and get to the point quickly.
Nothing is more challenging to read on your phone than 20-line paragraphs. Keep paragraphs to three to four sentences maximum.
Break up your copy with bulletpoints, callouts, or in a list format, so it’s easier for users to read. Many readers will scan the text and look for signals to stop like bolded text, bulletpoints, callouts, or numbers.
Step 4: Make it compelling.
This is a blog post, not a dissertation, so find ways to keep your readers interested like quotes, embedded video that tells your story, or an image that illustrates a point you’ve made such as this one from ComScore about mobile device usage:
Step 5: Provide a summary
Give readers two to five key takeaways at the bottom of the article. If the reader is simply scanning the article, this may be the only thing he/she reads, and that’s okay. They will have gotten the gist of the article, and you will have accomplished your objective.
Step 6: Have a call to action
You don’t have to have a giant, toll-free number inserted 10 times into your article. However, you do want to give the reader the ability to easily follow-up with you. I usually add this to the end of the piece.
Don’t go too far, though, and have a link every third word about great pieces you have written before (see how annoying that is). I find it frustrating to read an article that is 50% promotions about previous articles.
Step 7: Don’t overthink it
I wrote this article in 20 minutes. Again, it’s not War and Peace.
- Make sure it makes sense
- Make sure it sounds professional
- Correct grammatical issues
- Find an image
- Post it!
(Note: If you are in financial services, you should add “run it by compliance first” to that list).
Don’t ask 15 people to edit it before you post. Remember, if worse comes to worse, LinkedIn has an “edit article” button, which allows you can make changes to the piece after you post it.
Step 8: Find a key image
Each article has an image at the top of the page. Yours should represent your article, and also be eye-grabbing. Images of people usually tend to grab people’s attention.
Another, more risky route is to use something that people don’t normally see. I once used two apples for a post because I was talking about the need for an apples-to-apples comparison when measuring data. Nobody clicked on it. I don’t recommend using an apple image!
Step 9 : Ensure it’s findable
Use keywords that people search for on a regular basis to increase your viewership. To compare keywords, I use Google Trends. You should also use a title that gets people interested.
Step 10: Think of a lead-in
When you post a LinkedIn article, you have the option to write a lead-in just like you do when you share someone’s else’s post. Use this to write something that will entice people to read the article (but stop short of sounding like click-bait).
Step 11: Tell people about it
Sometimes your articles need a bit of a push. Everyone has strong advocates in their networks. Energize your advocates by letting them know you posted a new article and ask them what they think. Your frequent engagers will be happy to like/comment/share your piece. Offer to share feedback on their work as well — it's only fair!
And to implement Step 5, here’s a summary with the key Takeaways from this post:
- Have an objective
- Write about something you know
- Make it easy to read on mobile
- Don’t overthink it
- Tell people about it
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