One of the most revolutionary social media platforms ever created for professionals is LinkedIn. LinkedIn offers a very different focus from the truncated headlines of Twitter. It also provides a distinct approach that separates itself from Facebook’s personalized statuses or Instagram’s photo experience. LinkedIn is the place where professionals can not only find jobs at their dream companies but also learn more about their niche from the experts themselves. This is one reason why you’ll want to be regularly writing LinkedIn articles in order to gain credibility within your industry.
What makes LinkedIn so unique is that you are also able to pitch your knowledge and expertise to a tailored audience. This allows you to work on growing your credibility and outreach through social posts and article content. You can also strategically post well-written and thought-provoking comments on the accounts of industry leaders to ensure your voice is being heard. Well-known author and entrepreneur Neil Patel claims that you can find LinkedIn profile-based and other types of articles excellent in boosting brand awareness or lead generation. This will allow you to bring people closer to you to discover what types of solutions you’re offering.
People base their opinion on what a person portrays. Instead of spouting off facts, you’ll want to 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 with well-thought-out and helpful content, you will be viewed as an expert in your niche.
What you must aim to become is a “thought leader” – a term which, according to Business News Daily, is only achieved with enough expertise, insight and a 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 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 an audience of a few million people who care about what you say? What steps do you take?
If you want to make the most of your LinkedIn content and becoming an industry thought leader then 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 establish what a LinkedIn article is and how it differs from a post. Next, we’ll dive into the details of a content strategy geared toward growing thought leadership. a Content strategy for thought leadership will include ways to connect with your audience, scheduling content publishing times, and how your writing style should be structured.
LinkedIn Articles vs. LinkedIn Posts
First, it’s important to establish what LinkedIn articles are. LinkedIn articles are different from standards posts that can be added to your LinkedIn feed.
The articles feature was added to LinkedIn with the intention of supporting a platform’s users with a channel where they can create and promote their own blog-like content. This allows LinkedIn users more freedom in which they can express their thoughts on a particular subject.
Therefore, articles can contain up to 125,000 characters in length, whereas posts are maxed out at 1,300 characters. Articles have greater visibility on the “Articles and activity” box on your profile. For example, your newest article remains timeless in the “Articles and activities” section, while posts are quickly replaced by your latest comments and status updates. Additionally, the layout of articles is much more engaging than the simplified layout of posts. In articles, you can use multiple images, headlines, videos, slides and more.
In this sense, the difference between both types of user-generated content is clear. If you want to quickly share something you found interesting, you make a status update. But if you want to provide detailed information and establish yourself as an expert on any given subject, then articles are your best approach.
Sounds good? Let’s begin.
Building a Strategy for Your Content
When it comes to growing as a leader, you cannot just dive in and expect to learn to swim as you go. Becoming a thought leader will require a lot of patience, and trial and error.
Regardless of how good your ideas are or how great your articles will be, they must all follow a certain strategy to succeed. You will not be catering your content for a variety of people and preferences. The goal is for your growing audience to have similar qualities and preferences from one person to the next. You don’t just want to reach people – you want to reach the right people in the right way.
Brafton.com 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 using LinkedIn articles to educate their audiences and provide value for them.
1. What’s Your Goal?
Define the goals you want to achieve after posting 5, to 10, to 20 articles. These are goals that you’ll reassess monthly, quarterly, or annually to assess their reach and level of engagement. Furthermore, you should avoid posting content just because. Patel states that you should avoid posting useless content: “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, help 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. Dump Your Links in the Comments to Boost the CTR
Additionally, you’ll want to post your links in the comments below your article. Looping your links in at the end has demonstrated equal success in terms of the article’s reach and link clicks. CTR (click-through rates) of the links placed in comments are equal to when they are placed in the article.
Add all your links to 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 be tied-up in the day-to-day tasks needed to run the business. This might be okay in the short-term, but in the long-term, you’ll want to be aware of your audience’s pain points.
Being aware of what your audiences like and what they don’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 reacting emotionally with your content without directly asking them:
- 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 covered everything in the article and comments are unexpected. Always ask readers to leave one! You can do this by asking them to follow, like or otherwise react to what you’ve created for them. Lead them to your website. On a Forbes.com article, contributor Bruce Kasanoff talks of how engagement is what matters, not just views. Make viewers become more engaged in 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 to them rather than a computer screen. Your audience will feel more relaxed when you provide clear examples and more personalized language. This can especially potent since LinkedIn is very business oriented. Practicing the Seven C’s is a first step to acquiring the ability to communicating effectively – be concrete, coherent, clear, committed, consistent, complete and courteous. Practicing the Seven C’s is an excellent way to eliminate ambiguities in your articles.
- Don’t be afraid to interact with commenters. You want to let them know that you’re there. Read their replies and provide feedback for them. Freelance workplace Upwork does this, and more. They allow commenters a chance to be featured on Upwork’s next blog piece. This is not only an effective CTA, but also a great way to enhance the quality of interactions. Pro Tip: Thanks to LinkedIn’s algorithm an article will be more popular the more comments it has. Make sure not to be a lone wolf on this highly-populated social media platform: you can get very far by “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you” in terms of engagement.
- Feel free to ask them a question in the last paragraph of your article. You do this by sharing your own experience and opening up so they feel they can as well. Many people are excited to provide their own insight on certain subjects. Allowing them to answer on your post gives them the opportunity to also increase their own visibility across LinkedIn.
- Make yourself comfortable using information from other articles. There should be a healthy balance of outside well-sourced 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.
- Finally, don’t go overboard when talking about yourself. It can feel right to beat your own drum since it’s your own profile. By talking about yourself too much you can become an unlikable figure to a large proportion of your readers. In an insightful short article on The CEO Magazine, writer Genevieve Muwana explains that there are better ways to show confidence in a subject than by bragging – “it is enough to have effective body language, a conversational speaking style, a splash of unique personality and a touch of enthusiasm.”
There’s a Right Way to Post Your Content
If article writing was just a matter of setting up the copy, pressing “publish” or “post” and waiting for the likes, comments and messages to come flowing in for hours, this guide (and every single one similar to it) would be unnecessary… However, it’s not just about that. Not in a million years.
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 onto your profile will require a level of expertise that you will develop over time.
There are certain factors to consider when posting articles on LinkedIn that you cannot ignore. In the following list, we’ll provide you with important aspects that you need to consider when maximizing your LinkedIn articles:
- Set a schedule for your posts. Every audience is different and possesses 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 at consistent hours and hours that your audience prefers. Make sure to set reminders on your other social media accounts to do this, or source out a post scheduling company to help you do this.
- Distribute your content efficiently. You’ll want to link to your LinkedIn article on your other social media platforms. Think of it as diversifying your portfolio. Post the article on your Twitter, Facebook, personal blog or Medium if you have it. By doing this, you can expand your reach so those who don’t normally scan LinkedIn can stay connected to you – or find you!
- Use the right hashtags if you want your visibility to be at its highest when posting. While many people will come across you by having searched for your title or name, others will find your content by having spotted it while following a hashtag. HootSuite offers plenty of insight on correctly using hashtags on LinkedIn. Among these, 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.
- 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. Try to take advantage of an expert’s account that has many followers. You can 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. You can even get a reply from the expert, which will pique interest among the other commenters.
- Watch the engagement on each article and plan your next moves accordingly. 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 vs. 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 rates of an article (i.e., likes, comments, and shares) is also around 21-22 percent vs the number of followers and that the lowest engagement rate is typically around 18 percent when users are active.
- Finally, if you’re on other social media channels, funnel people towards your article. This is then just distributing your article link in a mention. You’ll want to use it as a regular reference in terms of a cornerstone subject and guide your audience to read it. Maybe make it so that your followers, viewers or listeners will want to go to this article. This way, you will get more viewers on your content and raise awareness about what you’re doing in your industry.
Writing LinkedIn Articles as a Leader
All of these tips can be 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 news 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 a Stephen Hawking to write well. Writing like a thought leader is about knowing the best ways to communicate your message. You’ll also want to give the reader a solution to their problems somehow. 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:
- Capture attention quickly with a great headline. This is simply 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. A headline should be clear concise and informative. No splashing headlines or clickbait. Once the reader gets past the headline, make sure the article is actually informing them and not telling them something 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. In any case, these and similar tips appear on an Inc.com article by Amy George, check it out!
- Use images, but don’t overdo it. There are few things more boring than reading a wall of text without any eye candle. If you 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.
- Split your article up in subheadings. As much as you can find it comfortable to go on for ages and ages, firing endless value at your readers in long succession. Split up your article into sections that highlight important terms and suggestions.
- 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. QuickSprout.com talks about how list articles, no matter what 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. Don’t miss out on this excellent method of reaching your audience.
- Keep your articles on the long side, but keep them neutral and simple to read. It may seem counterintuitive but apparently, these are three excellent tips ensure you receive more view: avoid writing short articles, fire your audience up with your content and use complicated lingo in each of your articles. 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 average 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 overall, and readers were happier when the writer kept it simple.
In conclusion, read up on the online resources and studies that explain how effective writing works. You can’t go wrong with data science.
Writing, distributing and engaging.
If your intention is to become a thought leader, work on your LinkedIn profile. You’ll want to consider your content strategy based on this guide. This will help you stand out from the competition.
However, do not fear – the most important step isn’t any of the previous tips, but instead simply starting to write. Yes, indeed, the hardest part of everything surrounding LinkedIn articles is just getting it done. It’ll be difficult but rewarding to push out your fist LinkedIn article.
Can you pull it off? We’re sure you can. Find it in yourself to start solving problems. Bring value to your audience’s feed today. You never know – you may find yourself delivering conferences to thousands in five years from now.