Your LinkedIn feed is probably covered in promotion announcements, notifications about colleagues winning awards or posts about people quitting their job to pursue their lifelong dreams. It seems like an alternate reality. And, if you think about it, it is. Every LinkedIn user leverages the platform to get you to perceive them the way they want you to. With every post, like, or comment, they promote their personal brand.
Now, that’s not always a bad thing. While some people are flashy, others silently use LinkedIn to their advantage. Slowly, they become respected in their sphere of influence and eventually become known for something. The way they do this is by writing LinkedIn articles. This piece gives you 8 steps to writing killer articles on LinkedIn that people will read, respect you for, and reshare.
There are obvious benefits to writing fantastic LinkedIn articles, like demonstrating professionalism, getting a new job, and influencing others. But no matter what your aim is, you need concrete steps to get you there. Below, we outline 8 steps to penning a great article.
First things first, think about your goals and your audience. Are you looking to show off your expertise? If you’re hoping to become a thought leader in a certain industry, consider publishing your interesting一maybe even controversial一takes on a niche topic. Link to blogs written by leaders in your space to draw attention to your article.
Do you want to be offered a new position or project? Tailor your piece to catch the attention of a recruiter or client. HR professionals are constantly updating LinkedIn searches with new keywords, and clients are often looking for people with specific skills. Try determining what phrases those audiences might be keeping an eye out for and weave them into your writing.
Maybe you simply want to expand your network. The focus of your article should pique the interest of the network you’re attempting to grow. If they are in a particular industry that you’re not a part of yet, speak about your research so far, or how you plan to transition into that area. By using certain hashtags, more people will start to see your article and potentially reshare it, increasing your chances of impressing and influencing others.
For your piece to be memorable, it needs a cohesive, clear message. What do you want your audience to be thinking or doing after they read your article? To help yourself stand out, it helps to add a consistent theme in your posts. After a while, you’ll start to be known for something and build a personal brand.
“Just start writing” is easier said than done. Many of us struggle to put pen to paper because we’re afraid that the outcome won’t be good. First drafts may not be pretty, but once you have at least something to edit, the article will start to flow. Try writing out phrases and jotting down bullet points in no particular order. After a while, you’ll see how different ideas start to fit together.
Once you’ve managed to get some notes down, create an outline. It should have a rough format of introduction, body paragraphs (where the meat of your message will be), and conclusion. Slot each of your short snippets into sections of your outline. At this point, you can remove some ideas that don’t quite fit, or identify areas where you might need to do more research.
If you truly have writer’s block, ask yourself a few questions. What’s something you’ve learned in your career that would be beneficial to share with others? What are some fascinating trends in your industry right now? What’s going on in the world? Keep a list of these questions and your answers so you can refer back to them later if you experience writer’s block in the future.
Remember to emphasize your main point as early as possible in your article. Let’s face it, most people are skimming articles. If you don’t let your audience know what you’re writing about early on, they’ll likely skip over the rest. Even the most diligent readers will get bored waiting for your punch line. So state your main point right at the top.
Ever judged a book by its cover? Writing a compelling title is no different. You need to hook in your audience right away with a concise headline that gives a sneak peek as to what you’ll be discussing in the article. Don’t be too sensationalist, though, as that can turn people off. A few questions that might spark a good headline are:
Spending time perfecting your headline can really pay off. A catchy title should spark someone’s interest enough to convince them to read the full piece. Remember to revisit your headline after you finish writing and editing. It will likely need tweaking based on what you ended up writing.
One of the best editing tricks is to leave your writing for several days. When you return to it, editing will be a breeze. You’ll find so many more spelling and grammatical errors with fresh eyes. Next, read your piece aloud. It sounds comical, but it actually works. You’re essentially acting like your reader would, stopping where the text gets confusing. This also helps you spot redundant or even irrelevant sections.
Then, ask a friend or colleague for candid feedback. Besides asking them to highlight any errors, ask them for suggestions on how to make your argument more cogent and persuasive. Another strategy is to use a tool like Homer. Homer identifies difficult sentences, long paragraphs, and even the rhythm and cadence of your writing. It also points out passive voice and overuse of adverbs to make sure your piece is in great shape before publication.
Last, but not least, ensure you’ve included a call to action at the end of your article. This could be as simple as asking readers to leave a comment. Most people ask their readers to connect with them on LinkedIn, follow them to read more articles in the future or check out their website or blog.
Formatting matters a great deal. You may not realize it, but when you look at a page, your eyes are scanning for ways to help you read the text. Sub-headings are like mini-headlines, so pick ones that are descriptive, interesting, and short.
Numbered lists or bullet points are good for laying out questions or observations一as shown in step #3 above. If you’re writing a piece that’s more like a case study, it’s a good idea to include quotes to illustrate your point. Many readers like hearing another person’s direct opinion.
Don’t forget to include links to any statistics that you cite as well. Add visuals to your piece as well. You can find art on sites like Unsplash.com, and as long as you cite the photos correctly, you can use them for free. Even better, add media that you’ve produced, like videos.
Now your piece is ready to go! But don’t just post it on your personal LinkedIn page. Even if you have a lot of connections, that only gives you so much reach. Add hashtags that are pertinent to your content so that people searching for certain terms will stumble upon your piece. Pin your article to your profile so that recruiters and potential clients see it whenever they come across you on LinkedIn. Email your colleagues about your new article so they can post, too.
Now comes the fun part, analysis. LinkedIn automatically tracks the number of views your article gets and the amount of times your article was reshared. If you double-click into those features, you can find out who is reading your work. LinkedIn will share their location, job title, and company, and will also reveal how they found your article (if not through LinkedIn).
If you’re getting the attention you want, use that to your advantage! Connect with someone who commented on your article, choose your next speaking event based on a location that popped up frequently, or contact websites for backlinks. Read articles that viewers have published and leave thoughtful or useful comments. This engagement usually prompts them to continue liking and commenting on your future articles.
If you’re not engaging the right audience dig a bit deeper into why. Perhaps you can use different keywords, test out different messaging, or find other ways to modify your content so it produces the outcomes you seek.
Even if you socialize your post, not everyone will see your article. View that as an opportunity to reshare your post with a slightly different angle. Maybe there were other keywords you wanted to hit on that you didn’t mention initially. Make a few adjustments to your article, republish it, and then make a new post hitting on your new points.
It sounds silly to reshare something you’ve already posted, but LinkedIn rewards people who use their features often. As such, articles get far more views than posts and LinkedIn keeps your analytics available for 2 years. What is more, LinkedIn articles are indexed on Google. This gets you even more exposure with free SEO.
So let’s recap. Writing eloquently about a complex subject can garner you clout, deeper relationships, and even new job opportunities. If your article resonates with your audience, they’ll feel compelled to share it on their feed, instantly expanding your reach and potential. Make a point to reshare your post with a fresh perspective, using bullet points, sub-headings, and block quotes to break up your article into manageable pieces.
But before you hit that publish button, make sure your essay is in tip-top shape. Nothing is more embarrassing than an essay filled with passive voice, boring sentence structure, or surplus adverbs. Homer is an online platform that automatically distinguishes between active and passive voice, detects surplus adverbs, and finds redundant words. Homer is also a wonderful way to identify patterns in your rhythm, giving you ideas on how to add variety to your sentence structure. Overall, using Homer can help your articles really pop.
And no pressure, you can try Homer for free! Sign up for a trial today.