By Tracy Williams – Olmstead Williams Communications
LinkedIn long-form posts are an important tool for positioning yourself as an industry thought leader. Sometimes called the “Wall Street Journal” of social media, LinkedIn can be highly influential. Using the platform to its full advantage has been shown to boost visibility on search engines by more than 25 percent including bumping up your Google PageRank. Other reasons to take LinkedIn seriously:
- 500 million users
- 10 million active job posts
- Data on more than 9 million companies
- Among largest search engines with 5 billion annual searches
- 71 percent of professionals cite LinkedIn as a credible source for professional content
- Niche channels to target – Ex. LinkedIn Technology Channel has 21 million followers
- Opportunity to be shared on LinkedIn’s own channel: editors monitor the 150,000 weekly posts to spotlight the best on one of their channels
Building on the ideas for establishing an industry thought leader in our January 2017 newsletter, we offer the following tips to maximize the value of your LinkedIn posts.
- Look for hot topics: Tap into big issues, trends or regulations affecting your industry. Address the industry’s pain points and lead the conversation. Get ideas from industry trade publications and what other leaders and influencers post. Scroll through social media and search for keywords and popular hashtags. Brainstorm what fresh perspective you can bring to the table If you’re stuck, check out this list of the most memorable articles of last year, put together by Caroline Fairchild, senior news editor at LinkedIn.
- Keep it concise: Writing short is the hardest thing to do, but LinkedIn Editor-in-Chief Daniel Roth says 800 to 2,000-word articles are “a sweet spot for engagement.” The ideal LinkedIn post is crisp, concise and shareable. Articles that are broken down in numbers or list form perform better, such as Richard Branson’s first LinkedIn post from 2012, “Five top tips to starting a successful business.” Of course his name sells but your expertise can too.
- Craft a provocative headline: Of all the elements of a good post, an impossible-to-ignore headline has six to eight words and teases the article. Using numbers like “Five tips…” or “how-to” style headlines let the reader know it will be a quick and easy read. Once you have your post drafted, re-read it. Try several possible headlines and select the one that best suits the post. Vary headlines when promoting across other platforms to test which your readers prefer. Invest the time to create a great headline.
- Increase engagement 90 percent with a photo: As LinkedIn contributor Joshua Miller cites this fact in his piece on how to find the best images for LinkedIn, “the ability of visual stimuli to communicate and influence is undeniable and inescapable.” A powerful header image will lead to more clicks on the actual article.
- Share: Success is in engagement: clicks, likes, shares and comments. That’s the goal when being “social.” Cross-promote your posts on other social media channels and make sure there are links on your website and in the company newsletter. Go through the comments and see how other people react to your article. Be open to feedback – there may be tips that will improve your next article. For a better chance to have your post featured in one of LinkedIn’s channels, share it on Twitter and tag @LinkedInEditors.
LinkedIn articles can take your thought leadership to millions of people, and you can do it from your desk. Your LinkedIn commentaries can be re-purposed for speaking, webinars and bylines in industry trades. Start posting.
Tracy Williams is CEO and founder of Olmstead Williams Communications. Technology, life sciences and professional services businesses rely on OWC to drive brand awareness and revenues. For more information, visit www.olmsteadwilliams.com.