With over 660 million users across 200 countries, LinkedIn is one of the most revolutionary social media platforms ever created for professionals. Unlike the truncated headlines of Twitter, LinkedIn offers a very different focus. It also provides a distinct approach that separates it from Facebook’s personalized statuses or Instagram’s photo experience.
LinkedIn is not just the platform where job-seekers and professionals can find jobs at their dream companies but it is also the go-to place to learn more about their niche from other experts. This is one reason why, as a LinkedIn user, you’ll need to be regularly writing LinkedIn articles to gain credibility within your industry.
What Makes LinkedIn Unique?
As a LinkedIn user, you have the opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise with your connections as well as followers. By writing LinkedIn articles and posts, you can grow your credibility and outreach. Not only that, but you can strategically post well-written and thought-provoking comments on the posts and articles of industry leaders to ensure your voice is being heard.
Renowned author and entrepreneur, Neil Patel, claims that content is excellent for boosting brand awareness or lead generation. This means that writing LinkedIn articles brings people closer to the types of solutions you’re offering.
It is important to understand that people base their opinion on what a person portrays. So, instead of spouting off facts, focus on what you’re bringing to the table. How are you providing your followers with solutions? Are your solutions based on dedicated research and experience? By connecting with your audience through thought-out and helpful content, you will be viewed as an expert in your niche.
As a LinkedIn user, you are aiming to become is a “thought leader” – a term which, according to Business News Daily, is only achieved with enough expertise, insight, and valuable perspective in a given area. These are three aspects that allow hard workers to build experience and cultivate credibility over the long term. By developing thought leadership, you’re aiming to become someone who others – even veterans – look up to for answers.
So, what is really behind the act of becoming an industry thought leader on LinkedIn? What method will get you from where you are now to having a few thousand connections and followers who care about what you say? What steps do you take?
If you want to make the most of your LinkedIn content and become an industry thought leader, you’re in the right place. This is precisely what you’re going to learn in this ultimate guide to writing LinkedIn articles.
To start off, we’re first going to clarify the difference between writing LinkedIn articles and posts. Next, we’ll dive into the details of a content strategy geared toward growing thought leadership. This strategy will include ways to connect with your audience, how to schedule content publishing, and how to structure your writing style.
Writing LinkedIn Articles vs. LinkedIn Posts
LinkedIn articles are different from the standard posts that appear in your feed. Writing LinkedIn articles was added as a way for users to create and promote their own blog-like content. This allows LinkedIn users more freedom to express their thoughts on a particular subject.
For example, articles can contain up to 125,000 characters in length, whereas posts are maxed out at 1,300 characters.
On your profile, articles get greater visibility from the “Articles and activity” box. They remain timeless. This is different from posts which are quickly replaced by your latest comments and status updates.
The layout of articles is also much more engaging for the reader compared to the simplified layout of posts. When you are writing LinkedIn articles, you can use multiple images, headlines, videos, and slides.
If you want to quickly share something short on a given subject, create a post. But if you want to provide detailed information on any given subject, publish articles.
Sound good? Let’s begin.
Building a Strategy for Your Content
When it comes to growing as a leader, you need to plan your strategy. But don’t expect to nail it from the beginning. Becoming a thought leader requires a lot of patience and even more trial and error.
What’s important is you follow a certain strategy to succeed. The goal of your content is not to appeal to a variety of people and preferences. Rather, your goal should be to grow an audience who have similar qualities and preferences. You don’t just want to reach people – you want to reach the right people in the right way.
Brafton does a great job of showing us six awesome LinkedIn content strategy examples, in which we learn how Hays, Adobe, MailChimp, and several other companies leveraged their profiles to generate leads and expand their brand awareness exponentially. All of the large companies profiled are writing LinkedIn articles to educate their audiences and provide value for them.
1. What’s Your Goal?
Clarity is essential. Make sure your goal is defined before you start. This is something you’ll evaluate monthly, quarterly or annually to assess their reach and level of engagement. Also, don’t just write because you need to. Patel advises: “To avoid having your content lost in that pack, create content that stands out, is unique, has a distinct voice, and, most important, offers genuine value to readers.” In other words, give value to your audience!
2. Watch Your Metrics
A content strategy must involve a level of market research that is based on your ground zero – the metrics of your own posts. These metrics will evolve as you publish more content. By analyzing your post metrics, you can stay in touch with how your audience interacts with your articles.
3. Share Your Links in the Comments to Boost the CTR
When sharing your LinkedIn article with your connections, the strategy that works for further reach and engagement is, “Link in the first comment.” Sharing your link in the comments has demonstrated equal success, sometimes even more, in terms of reach and click-through rates (CTR) compared to when shared in an article.
So, share all your links in the first comment after the article and make sure to tell your readers that they’re there. You can also use a catchy call-to-action at the end of the article as a reminder.
Connecting with Your Audience
Many businesses that are marketing online don’t connect with their audience. If it’s a small business, then it’s easy to get tied-up in your day-to-day business activities. This might be okay in the short-term, but in the long-term, you’ll need to be aware of your audience’s pain points.
Being aware of what your audience likes and doesn’t like is the first step to solving their problems and giving them the information they want. You don’t need to be your own marketer to handle this. You can easily begin to gauge an audience by measuring reactions to articles.
The following is a small list of ways to get reactions from your readers. By doing any of the following, you’ll be more in tune with how your audience is engaging emotionally with your content without directly asking them:
Add a Call-to-Action
Make the most of your copywriting talent and add a call-to-action (CTA) at the bottom of every article! It doesn’t matter if you have covered everything in the article and contributions are unnecessary. Always ask readers to follow, like, comment or share what you’ve created for them. Ask them a related question or to share their own insight. Ultimately, though, you want to lead them to your website. In a Forbes article, contributor Bruce Kasanoff talks about how engagement is what matters, not just views. Keep viewers more engaged with what they read by asking for interaction.
Talk to Them Personally
Replace impersonal words with personal ones. It’s much more reassuring when a reader feels like you’re talking with them rather than at them. Your audience will feel more relaxed when you provide clear examples and more personalized language. This can be especially potent since LinkedIn is very business-oriented. Practicing the Seven C’s is a first step to communicating effectively – be concrete, coherent, clear, committed, consistent, complete, and courteous.
Don’t Be Afraid to Interact with Commenters
Don’t share the article and be gone. Let them know that you’re there. Read their replies and respond. This is not only an effective CTA, but also a great way to enhance the quality of interactions and bond with your LinkedIn connections.
Pro Tip: Thanks to LinkedIn’s algorithm, an article becomes more popular as it receives more comments. So, don’t be a lone wolf on this highly-populated social media platform.
Get Comfortable Using Information from Other Articles
However, there should be a healthy balance between external information and original content. Remember that you want to project your own voice, and this can only be done by performing your own research, speaking of your experiences and outlining your personal results and accomplishments.
Don’t Go Overboard When Talking About Yourself
It can feel right to beat your own drum since it’s your profile. But when you talk about yourself too much, you can become an unlikable figure to a large proportion of your readers. In an insightful short article in The CEO Magazine, writer Genevieve Muwana explains that there are better ways to show confidence in a subject than by bragging – such as “…a conversational speaking style, a splash of unique personality and a touch of enthusiasm.”
There’s a Right Way to Post Your Content
If writing LinkedIn articles was just a matter of setting up the copy, clicking “publish” or “post” and waiting for the likes, comments, and messages to flood in, this guide (and every single one similar to it) would be unnecessary. But it’s not that simple, of course.
In the real world, every single parameter involved in the submission of a social media post can cause significant effects on its overall performance. Added to the fact that there are hidden algorithms in place to ensure that you get just enough reactions to not call it a failure, but not enough to name it a success either.
In truth, even the simple and straightforward act of putting content on your profile requires a level of expertise that you need to develop over time.
There are certain factors to consider when maximizing how you post your LinkedIn articles:
Set a Schedule for Your Articles
Every audience is different and has its own behavioral patterns. You should have an idea of when your readers are most likely to be online after posting a few articles and viewing the activity. Post your content when your readers are mostly online. Make sure to set reminders or find a post scheduling tool to help you do this.
Distribute Your Content Efficiently
Share your LinkedIn article on other social media platforms. Think of it as diversifying your portfolio. Post the article on your Twitter, Facebook, personal blog or Medium account if you have one. By doing this, you can expand your reach so those who don’t use LinkedIn can stay connected to you – or find you!
Use the Right Hashtags
This is important if you want your visibility to be at its highest when posting. While many people will come across you having searched for your title or name, others will find your content by following a hashtag. Hootsuite offers plenty of insight on how to correctly use hashtags on LinkedIn. For example, it explains that #you #don’t #need #to #hashtag #like #this. Make sure to use hashtags that are big in your niche and not just popular on the platform. Location hashtags can also be efficient if you’re aiming at a limited geographical area.
Take Advantage of an Expert with Many Followers
The experts in your niche are a channel for you to distribute your content and improve your reach, even though they might not know it. Pick an expert who has a lot of followers and comment on their posts often to push high-quality comments to as many people as possible. Don’t make any grammatical mistakes and try not to be controversial, but not boring or neutral either – just be authentic. You may even get a reply from the expert, which will pique the interest of other commenters.
Watch the Engagement on Each Article
Having the power to look back and see what errors were made in your initial stages will guarantee you a higher percentage of success later on in the game. Ryan Stott also talks about how his study that analyzed followers versus view rate demonstrated that, on average, 21 percent of a user’s followers will actually click through to an article posted on the user’s profile. He also goes on to reveal that his study helped him conclude that the engagement rate of an article (i.e. likes, comments, and shares) is also around 21-22 percent of the number of followers and that the lowest engagement rate is typically around 18 percent when users are active.
Reference Your Article
Finally, during social conversations related to your article, don’t miss the chance to reference it. Like a compass, guide your audience to read it. This way, you will get more views for your content and raise awareness about what you’re doing in your industry.
Writing LinkedIn Articles as a Leader
All the tips above are useful if you’ve already got content. But what if you aren’t necessarily ready to execute your marketing strategy and the writing isn’t ready?
No article produced by a thought leader in any industry can be good enough if it isn’t well-researched and written to a level that a professional expects to see on their LinkedIn feed. This is especially true if you’re in a more technical-leaning industry.
But fear not: you don’t have to possess the writing skills of Edgar Allen Poe or the technical vocabulary of Stephen Hawking to write well. Writing LinkedIn articles like a thought leader is about knowing the best ways to communicate your message. You’ll also want to provide your readers with a solution to their problems. After all, what you want to create is content that helps and enriches those who read it.
If you want the best results from your articles, it’s time to start considering these five points:
1. Capture Attention Quickly with a Great Headline
This is what every article on the internet counts on – turning the head of the reader towards its content. How do you accomplish this, though? Pretty simple. Have a clear, concise, and informative headline. No splashy headlines or clickbait.
Once the reader gets past the headline, make sure the article is actually informative and not a repetition of what they already know. Most importantly, link the article to your profile. This is especially important if it can answer the questions posed by future clients. It’s also a great way of leveraging your content for the best growth as a thought leader.
2. Balance Your Article with Images
There are few things more boring than reading a wall of text without any eye candy. If your article doesn’t have images, graphs, tables or infographics, then it might not be read. The average person just doesn’t want to read through blocks of text to understand what you’re talking about. It’s in your best interest to provide them with pictures that describe what is being said. You could also use a good header image to open up the article, and any graphs or tables necessary to demonstrate any results or data.
3. Split Your Article up by Using Subheadings
Don’t hesitate to give detailed information in your article. But avoid extremely long blocks of text. Apart from balancing articles with images, use subheadings to avoid inciting boredom in your readers. Split up your article into sections that highlight important terms and suggestions.
4. Bullet Points and List-Type Articles Are Lifesavers
It doesn’t matter how old and how cliché they may seem – articles based on “5 Things That…”, “3 Ideas for…”, “Top 10 Ways to…” and “9 Mistakes Made by…” are still the most effective way to get views and engagement. People like numbers: it’s just the way they find writing easier to digest. A list article, no matter the number of points it offers (or if they’re an even or odd number), is always a great source of traffic for your profile.
5. Long, but Simple to Read
It may seem counterintuitive but apparently, these are three excellent tips to ensure you receive more views: write long articles, fire up your connections and followers with your articles but avoid using complicated lingo.
Writer Paul Shapiro assessed 3,000 LinkedIn blog articles and found that articles around 1,500 to 2,000 words and beyond were those getting the best results in terms of LinkedIn views. He also discovered that the articles with a score on the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease Test of 80 to 89 (AKA, easy to read for an 11-year-old child) were the ones that got the most engagement. Plus, readers were happier when the writer kept it simple.
In conclusion, effective writing can be hard. Gather your resources. Do adequate research. Then, start by creating an attention-grabbing headline, have a well-written and informative article, balance with pictures, and keep your choice of words simple.
Getting Started on Writing LinkedIn Articles
If your intention is to become a thought leader, first work on having an all-star LinkedIn profile. Then, consider and plan your content strategy based on this ultimate guide. On what subject do you want to be seen as a thought leader? When will posting bring the most value to your audience’s feed?
It might seem daunting, but do not fear. The most important step isn’t any of the previous tips. Instead, it’s simply getting down to writing LinkedIn articles. It’ll seem difficult to start, but the most important thing is to just do it, get your first one published, and it gets easier from there.