Want thousands of connections on LinkedIn and new leads in your inbox? Posting original articles effectively on LinkedIn can do all of that and more.
Publishing on LinkedIn is like any other tool — it’s not very effective if you’re not using it right. Unlike a power saw, after publishing 160 days in a row, I do know how to use LinkedIn. Before you start taking advantage of LinkedIn to build your network or business, here are 12 things that every post you publish should have.
1. A Cookie in the Introduction
This may be hard to believe, but writers can tend to be a little long-winded. You can publish a beautifully written article with a lot of value for the reader, but if visitors move on to a different website before reading the introduction, you’re missing an opportunity to connect with your audience.
Give something in the beginning to keep the interest of your readers and to provide a short story and introduction to lead into the piece. This can often be a surprising statistic or a preview of what they will learn if they keep reading.
Not only do we connect with images (they are worth a thousand words you know), they help break up text in an article to make it easier to read. Use an attractive and relevant header image, and find pictures to add into the base of your article.
Tip: If looking to create your own images like I did for the header of this article and many others, use Canva. Canva is pretty much the greatest thing ever for creating your own pictures and images.
3. Proper Formatting
Honest mistakes and formatting errors happen, but they quickly drive away readers and make you look like you don’t know what you’re doing. When posting on LinkedIn, anything you copy and paste will need to be looked over carefully before you publish. Common errors include numbered lists all appearing as the number one and extra line spaces before and after images. Check your article carefully before and after publishing for errors and edit them quickly.
4. Footer with Links
Publishing on LinkedIn instead of building an audience on your personal blog or website is a risk. You can’t earn revenue from ads or directly sell products with your LinkedIn profile, but you can carefully provide information using a post footer. By providing links and additional information after the base of your article, you can lead readers who do want that info to a website or social media page.
5. A Piece of the Author
Insert relevant stories and information about yourself that will relate with the reader. In the introduction, I shared that I’ve posted every day this year while using it to validate the information in the article. Taking your personality out of your writing is a big mistake. Make sure to use who you are in your writing, like you would in an introduction at a networking event. After all, this is a networking site.
6. Targeted Audience
If you aren’t specifically targeting an audience with your posts, you’re playing a guessing game. It can work in your favor, but it can also leave you with a post with 20 views and no likes or comments. Trust me on this one, I have written many posts where I focused more on providing value than who I was providing value to. Because of this lack of direct focus, I failed to connect with a specific audience, and barely reached anyone at all.
When coming up with ideas for an article, visualize a specific person you want to write to. For this article, I’m targeting a corporate professional or business owner who has marketing experience but is not an avid writer. They are looking for ways to get more active on social media and have considered blogging.
7. Relevant Tags
LinkedIn allows authors to add three tags to every post. These tags help readers find your article and also helps LinkedIn’s algorithm select your post to follow a similar post that someone has just finished reading. Pick the tags that your desired audience is searching for. For this article, I chose LinkedIn marketing, content writing, and publishing as my three tags.
Is your article something your audience will want to share with their network? It can be hard to gauge, but by picking attractive titles (covered below), formatting correctly and using images, readers will be more likely to pass it along to their followers.
Every article you write is fighting for someone’s attention. You have to battle distractions, video clips, music, unopened emails, and, of course, other content and articles. If you aren’t offering something unique, why will someone care about what you published?
Give personal insights, stories, research you’ve conducted and other unique information that the reader is unlikely to find anywhere else.
10. Attractive Title
Titles are the curb appeal that either welcomes a new reader in or scares your audience away. I used a number in my title to let potential readers know that this is a list-based article (also called a listicle) that they can skim for one or two new pieces of information.
While my goal is to always provide a full article packed with content goodness, the chances of every one of these points being unfamiliar to the reader are very low. Providing a list article, and marketing it that way with the title, tells them that they can save time and skim in seconds before deciding whether to read more than just the title.
11. Value to the Reader
Articles that lack value to the reader will hurt your credibility. There’s a reason most people don’t read press releases; they push sales and marketing messages instead of providing useful information. Before you click publish, make sure you have provided takeaways that will help your readers. One thing you’ll notice in this article are links to other articles and websites that readers may find helpful. This is providing them value.
12. Call to Action (CTA)
Everything you write should have a next step, also referred to as a call to action. A call to action should also be something of value to the reader, like downloading a whitepaper or case study, but it can be as simple as asking them to share your article or comment below.