The Art of Writing LinkedIn Articles
As I talked about in the last blog, if you’re not on LinkedIn, you’re locked out. It’s the place to be for professional networking and the door to your next job or business venture.
According to one LinkedIn editor, the platform reaches “millions of executives, entrepreneurs, entry-level and exiting workers…basically the whole working world in one place.”
In addition to hosting your profile, skill endorsements, recommendations and groups, as with other social media your LinkedIn homepage contains a constant feed of news and information being shared by the people you follow known as your connections.
Like a proud parent with their kid’s report card, LinkedIn likes when you get likes and lots of views, shares, and comments. To do this, you must either post third-party content or create your own articles on the LinkedIn Pulse publishing platform.
For those who don’t know the difference between a post and an article, it’s something like this. Think of the old-timey office where you rip a page out of a trade magazine, attach a yellow sticky note or your own letterhead that says, “FYI. Great info, I concur.” Then send it to your team and have them initial after reading. That’s a post.
Now imagine you wrote the story. That’s an article. Which do you think is more impressive? One shows you’re resourceful in finding interesting topics. The other shows you can think and write for yourself.
Just Another Name for the Long-Form Post
A social marketing post or update is easy to do. At the top of your LinkedIn homepage feed, where it says, “Share an article, photo, video or idea,” click to type or paste the third-party link along with your brief comment.
For purposes of this blog, we’re talking about writing an original article from scratch, so you would click the “Write an article” button which takes you to a blank page with formatting options. Once there, you’ll compose or paste your article (usually around 2,000 words), write headlines and subheads and attach the images you want to include.
What Can We Say?
Ever get the same news story sent to you from several different sources right in a row, with the same picture and only a slight variation in the few lines of set up? The other day I had the New York Times article about Facebook’s breach of data privacy from four people I follow. There was Mark Zuckerberg’s frightened face over and over again down the scroll. Yes it’s a big story but it makes my feed seem boring and repetitive. Unfortunately, it’s getting harder and harder to find unique topics that will gain visibility for organic search and, yes please, go viral.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Here are a few thought-starters for crafting your article, culled from social media writers working with LinkedIn:
Be a contrarian.
You say tomato, I say to-mah-to. Maybe you’re a doctor who thinks vaccines are needed. Find an anti-vaccine forum and take a dissenting viewpoint. Write “In Praise of Lots of Shots!”
Rock ‘Em, Shock ‘Em
Find an old topic, and put a new spin on it. Go where nobody’s ever gone before. Something as benign as arranging your old record albums could become, “ Organizing My LPs in Order of Old Loves.”
The Useful Premise
“Personality training produces results in others therefore try it at your company.” Show why the premise matters and promote its practical value.
If you can conduct a survey or initiate a study, that raw data has real value. If not, you can find the numbers and results to support a favorite theory. Write an article that features this “scientific” finding and you may quickly find your facts receiving credit and citations.
Having a memorable voice that represents your own personality or the brand’s personality will come through your posts and articles so have fun and get creative. This KFC Colonel float may be hot air PR to some but plenty of fans will have an inflated sense of loyalty.
Format: It’s a Set Up
LinkedIn blog articles follow a pretty set format. Here are some suggestions:
- Use one big photo in the beginning: this will show up in the feed with the first few lines of the article. Then include up to 5 more pictures throughout. Don’t use video or multimedia. It’s been shown that readers find it too time-consuming in this format.
- Form small sections with creative, 40-50 character headings. Sub-division makes it easier to skim and digest. You can even call out “3-Minute Read.”
- Use headlines that have “How-To” help advice or “List” the 5 best, 3 smartest, 17 most affordable solutions you can find.
- Promote your article on all your other social networks and put the Like icon below so you can get some of that praise your LinkedIn parents want for you.
Promoting Your Article: Be A Good Influence(r)
Finally, take advantage of your LinkedIn groups to promote your article. LinkedIn will also find related members who might be interested in your subject matter. How this is done would require understanding their algorithm which, well, I certainly don’t. They do their best to broaden your base with sometimes spectacular results.
Trade secrets to industry trends are shopped and swapped every day in LinkedIn land. Some of the best minds in business are sharing, commenting, debating and reporting observations of corporate comings and goings. It’s time to take advantage of the platform’s Pulse publishing. LinkedIn marketing allows an individual to author, format, post and distribute original articles under their byline. This has the potential to increase not only internal LinkedIn distribution, but also attract organic search. If you want some long-form LinkedIn posts written, please get in touch. When it comes to coming up with great marketing content, we like to think we put the art in articles (and the link in LinkedIn!)