Many business owners and professionals understand the importance of developing authentic, regular content on LinkedIn to build a personal brand and be seen as a leading authority or thinker in their field.
But most people struggle with developing engaging, valuable content quickly and easily.
In a previous article I gave some tips for businesses looking to outsource some of their content writing, in order to ensure it remains authentic and on-brand. If you are having a go yourself – which is always preferable – here are some questions you should ask to ensure your article hits the mark.
1. What are you all about? Pick your themes.
Consistency of brand message means regularly writing on the same or similar topics, approaching them from different angles. For example, I regularly write about personal branding, but I may use different case studies to highlight different points about what is required for effective personal branding, and the difference this can make to people’s professional lives. I also discuss my approach to solving common problems with regard to personal branding.
Sticking to a handful of topics allows you to send a very clear message about your area of expertise, who you work with, and how you can help these people. If you are interested in a wide variety of topics, you may feel compelled to write about them, but being clear on your purpose for building content on LinkedIn will help you maintain some focus on important themes.
2. What does your ideal audience want to read? Think ‘WIIFM’.
I’ve worked with some clients who are very talented writers but don’t necessarily write effectively on LinkedIn. They may be very strong in another context, such as academic writing or writing business documents – but the purpose and audience for these are very different.
On LinkedIn, you probably want to connect with a prospective client, or people who can open doors for you… or perhaps you simply want to influence people to think differently and make change! You need to demonstrate what you know and what your unique approach or thinking is around topics that are of direct interest to them, within your field of expertise.
You also need to keep in mind that people don’t want to be sold to on LinkedIn; if they stop their busy day for a few minutes to read your article, they should be rewarded with helpful, interesting information they can use.
Finally, people want to engage with your material. Your readers are human beings, and human beings respond to context, stories, emotions and concrete examples. Give your advice a tangible anchor and make it come to life, with some great anecdotes or examples from your experience.
The single best piece of advice I can give you for articles that work is to read over your writing and ask: What’s in it for them?
3. What’s next? The call to action.
While people don’t want to be sold to, they do want to know how they can seek further help from you, if they like what you have to say!
Consider including a gentle call to action in your articles, particularly if they are not directly published on LinkedIn but on a website or blog, then shared as a link (more acceptable since a website is seen as a place to ‘sell’, but LinkedIn is not). If you are choosing to write directly on LinkedIn, rather than pepper your paragraphs with annoying, blog-like links back to your website, consider including an author bio at the end of your piece, with links to further information there.
4. How will you build credibility over time and stay fresh in your readers’ minds?
So you’ve written one or two great articles and received a little bit of interaction on LinkedIn… great start. But if you leave it there, your articles will have little effect.
Some of my top tips for making your finished articles work hard into the future:
- Don’t post and forget. Re-post your articles a few times over a few weeks, using different intro lines.
- Ensure your connections are relevant to your content and share directly with certain people for whom the content is highly relevant, as well as sharing publicly (but be careful not to direct-share or tag the same people in every time, as you will start to annoy them!).
- Ten articles in March, then nothing until September? This does not make for great thought leadership! Aim to post articles once or twice a month on a regular basis – brainstorm some topics in advance, then schedule it in. Consistency is key.