52 Tips After Writing on LinkedIn for 52 Weeks
Best practices for upcoming writers on the platform
Today marks the 52nd consecutive Monday that I’ll be posting on LinkedIn.
I’d had a LinkedIn profile for ages, but never really bothered to use it actively. Exactly a year back though, I decided to do a random experiment. I took one of my own Quora answers and posted it as a status on LinkedIn. Just to have an apples-to-apples comparison of impressions.
It was a random Monday in August 2019, that I got hooked. Ever since, I’ve not missed a single Monday of publishing a piece on LinkedIn.
In 52 Weeks, through 52 posts, I generated close to half a million views on the content I published. Additionally, I managed to grow my LinkedIn Network by 2900%, from 300 followers to 9000+ (and counting).
The best thing that came out of this one-year journey is something completely different, my writing skills have become immensely better. There were so many things I was not aware of, which I discovered during my LinkedIn writing journey.
52 Strategies From Each Week I Wrote
1. Explore your “why”
My first post on LinkedIn was a random coffee-house experience. The next few were related to my job. It took me a while to discover my why: what was driving me to post every Monday. I wanted to tell others what I wish someone had told me. After I knew this, writing and publishing became much easier for me.
2. Envision & understand your target audience
Who are you writing to? What kind of audience is interested in reading your post? Is your post excite them? Does it provide value to them? Would they share it? Be ridiculously curious about your target audience.
3. Content is still the king
LinkedIn, like every other platform, has a rule of thumb: unrich content never gets rewarded. Make your content interesting, engaging, and something which can add value. Good content forms the foundation of every post.
4. The first line is crucially important
99% of LinkedIn Users would come across your content while they’re scrolling down their feed. The other 1% of fans might go to your profile to find new content. If the first line isn’t intriguing enough, the rest of the post won’t be read.
5. Learn the brain-dumping technique
First, dump everything out of your brain in a rough draft. It doesn’t matter if it makes sense or not, or if the punctuation is right or not. This is the piece that you work with and enhance further to develop into a post.
6. Understand: the first draft of everything is shit
Even after editing, you simply might not like what you’ve written. Maybe you wanted to say something else entirely and it did not come out right while articulating it. Don’t worry. As Hemingway advised, “Kill your darling.”
7. Try to tell a story
The best writers I see on LinkedIn are always trying to tell a story. They understand that stories are more engaging than plain vanilla content. It’s one thing what you have to say, an entirely different thing how you say it.
8. Passive voice is boring
Consider these two sentences: “My manager does not trust me,” vs. “I am not trusted by my manager.” Passive voice is boring and complex. Always try to write your post in the active voice.
9. Enunciate when you’re done
Imagine yourself at a dinner table with your LinekdIn connections. Or the subset of your target audience. Try reading out your post out loud to them. Are they listening to you? Or are they still inside their phones?
10. “1300 characters” only
The LinkedIn Status is not meant for blogging. It does not provide an infinite space for your infinite thoughts. You need to learn to say more with fewer words. It’s an art and comes with practice.
11. Do not create your own unique hashtags
This is a common mistake I witness. People believe that LinkedIn readers would be interested in following their own, unique, and creative hashtags. That never happens. Use common and meaningful hashtags instead.
12. Use a relevant image
A picture still says 1,000 words. And since there’s already a word limit on your post, better add these additional 1,000 words in the form of an image.
13. Use whitespaces effectively
I’ve abandoned reading so many posts on LinkedIn, just because they caused my eyes to strain due to lack of whitespace. Your content should be readable enough and whitespace, although eats up a character, really help.
14. SEO matters
Some keywords are superior to others. Some topics get discussed more than other topics. You don’t have to be an SEO expert to write on LinkedIn. Understanding a few basic principles would be helpful though.
15. Do not over-use emoticons
Some people these days are turning LinkedIn into WhatsApp. It’s good to express emotions, but you need to understand every writing platform is different. LinkedIn and emoticons simply do not go hand-in-glove.
16. Understand: virality on LinkedIn can be engineered
Before hitting “post,” seven out of ten times I could tell if my post would go viral or not. Content virality is not accidental or coincidental, rather engineered. It’s a science in itself rather, which should be read about.
17. “Do you agree?”
If you write “agree?” at the end of your post, chances are you’ll receive higher engagement in terms of comments. It’s a very basic psychological hack that writers use on LinkedIn as a pseudo call-to-action.
18. Never try to “prove a point”
LinkedIn is not meant for debating. The best posts are never those which try to state a fact or point, but rather, express the writer’s own point of view over the topic of discussion. A personal story does the same trick.
19. Find your own writing voice, eventually
If and when you start writing regularly, you will find you have developed your own writing voice. It would be something very unique to you. Once discovered, you must stick to it. It will help you establish your identity on LinkedIn.
20. Do not stick to one style of writing
I follow a famous writer on Quora who only writes answers in bullet points. It becomes boring after a while. Do not restrict or bound yourself. Keep innovating, but maintain your unique voice along with it.
21. Choose your niche, or don’t
Some of the most successful writers on LinkedIn only write about a particular niche. Many more successful ones, write about anything and everything. Choose what rings a louder bell with your “why.”
22. Understand: step one is knowing what to write about
If you sit for an hour and decide to publish a LinkedIn post, chances are you’ll fail to. Many beginners make this mistake, something I did too initially. Knowing what you want to say comes way before publishing or writing it.
23. Understand: everything is content
From the 1,000 skips you did today, to the appreciation you received from your boss, to the dishes you washed at night, there is content in everything. You need to train your brain to see it that way.
24. Manufacture a process for capturing content
Mine is keeping my eyes and ears open. And using Google Keep. Whether it’s a new thought while taking a shower, or a conversation overheard in the offic, I capture everything I find interesting on the app. Some use a pen & paper.
25. Have more purple cows in your content
A bunch of white cows grazing in the field is boring. A purple cow in between the white ones is extremely interesting. Try to embed more of these in your posts to stand out from the crowd.
26. Create a library of content ideas
I already have the ideas for my next six posts on LinkedIn. They are one-liners sitting in my Google Keep app. Content generation is an everyday process. Keep storing whatever ideas you get and want to write about.
27. Maintain a content calendar
The ones who post frequently know how crucially important it is to be consistent. A content-calendar is like going the extra mile. I have mine with the exact dates for future posts.
28. Understand: the best content comes from experiences
All my posts that went viral have one thing in common, they are my own unique stories, something that only I can write about the way I did. Whenever you run out of ideas to write, think of your own experiences.
29. Pre-decide your writing frequency
Some people publish every day. I post every single Monday. What matters most is remaining consistent with posting. Pre-deciding on your posting frequency can provide a better structure to the entire publishing process.
30. Do not write and publish on the same day
LinkedIn posts are different from tweeting. What’s on your mind needs to be thought of, drafted, articulated, enunciated, edited, re-edited, and then posted.
31. Abandon your draft, come back the next day
Many times, your mind can trick you into believing that what you’re writing is fantastic. If you come back to it the next day, you get a fresh perspective over what you’ve written. Quite often, it turns out to be sh*t.
32. What time you post, matters
I usually post in the mornings. I want my connections and followers to read my post as the very first one on LinkedIn. By being consistent, I am also inducing a habit in their subconscious of expecting my post on Monday mornings.
33. Engage with your readers
Reply to every single comment on your post. Send connection requests to the relevant who like your status and are not in your network yet. Have meaningful private message exchanges if you want to.
34. Beginners: request your connections to share your content as much as possible
This is important, to spread the word and reduce the turn-around-time for you to establish yourself as a writer on LinkedIn.
35. Leverage “who viewed your profile”
This LinkedIn feature lets you know who’s recently viewed your profile. My profile views surge astronomically every Monday (the day I post). You might want to add relevant ones in your network by sending them a connection.
36. Be respectful towards everyone, even haters
There’s a good chance that some of your posts might offend a certain audience so much that you receive hate comments. Never react to them. Either you can choose to ignore them or use the block option.
37. Connect with other writers and storytellers
The search feature on LinkedIn can help you easily find them. You can even apply filters to specify your search. Add them to your network if you think you can provide value to them and vice-versa.
38. Take consistent feedback
Not all that you write will be amazing. Writing is a craft one can only get better at. Who better to take this feedback then fellow writers on LinkedIn. Incremental feedbacks help you improve upon your craft.
39. Study the post analytics thoroughly
The “View Post Analytics” on LinkedIn is awesome. It gives you three broad segmentation of your readers: Company, Title, and Geography. Analysing this data can help in understanding more about your readers.
40. Understand: not all impressions are the same
Getting 50 likes on a LinkedIn post is great. But if most of them are coming from first-degree connections, it means your content did not spread much. Judge the quality of your post from the impressions from second and third-degree connections.
41.Refurnish your post on other platforms
Keep leveraging all your social profiles like Facebook, Insta, Quora, and Medium to attract more viewers to your LinkedIn posts. The views from non-LinkedIn users matter as well.
42. Work on your LinkedIn profile
Add a good professional picture. Get some recommendations. Edit your “About” section. Many new readers might be intrigued to visit your profile after going through your content.
43. Have a catchy profile headline
It appears every time someone is scrolling down your content or reading it. A catchy profile headline might just make a person stop and ogle at your content, even if the first line of the content was not that engaging.
44. Understand: writer’s block is a myth
I cannot say this enough. Have you ever run out of thoughts? Or things to say? Whenever you feel you’re running out of ideas, simply write down what’s going inside your head. You might come across some excellent new content.
45. Understand: readers matter more than you
There are so many things I want to write about on LinkedIn but don’t. Why? Because I know my target audience. And I know it would be of little to no importance to them. While writing, you need to keep thinking from their shoes, instead of only from yours.
46. Do not dive into the sea of motivational porn
Every other post on LinkedIn is about either motivation or success. Many self-proclaimed “gurus” abuse the platform to repeat the same things that everyone has heard of. Step outside this sea before you drown in it. There are many other things to write about.
47. Never publish daily, even if you write daily
Are you fascinated when you open your fridge and see the light turn on? No! What if the light turns on randomly? Only once in a while and not every time? Would your fascination increase? Daily is boring. Period.
49. Understand: it’s a marathon
Many of your posts are not going to go viral. Some of them are going to be shitty. You’ll run out of things to write about. You might want to simply abandon the whole thing. But understand. Writing on LinkedIn is not a race. There is no winner. It’s an ongoing process. It should become a part of you.
50. Never ever plagiarise, ever
It aches my heart to see so many people on LinkedIn simply copy-pasting viral posts of others. Just because plagiarising on LinkedIn is not a punishable offense (yet), does not give you the right to do it out in the open.
51. Be professional
Whatever you do on the LinkedIn platform has to have a certain level of professionalism attached to it. Even if you’re trying to crack a joke or take someone’s case, do it subtly and professionally.
52. Enjoy the process
You should eventually reach a stage where creating these posts gives you more joy than publishing them. A successful writer on LinkedIn never wants to maximise his followers, he wants to maximise his writing, and enjoy it at the same time.