I often get asked how to write a blog post that will be successful on LinkedIn. A corresponding question: what does successful mean on this blogging platform?
I’m not going to give you a formula, because there’s no one perfect way to succeed.
However, successful LinkedIn blog posts share a number of qualities. LinkedIn is a platform built on interaction, and so it should come as no surprise that when you measure success on this platform you are really measuring interaction: views, likes, quality comments, and quality conversations.
With your post, you’re reaching out to your audience, and if you’ve done your job well that audience should be reaching back to you.
How to do this?
- Read other LinkedIn blogs.
A good novelist reads a lot of novels, and a good blogger should read other blogs. LinkedIn recently published a list of “Top Voices” for 2015. The list features 90 bloggers. Ten are influencers. The other 80 are top performers from eight Pulse channels. This is a great resource for anyone interested in blogging on LinkedIn.
When looking at the writers on this list, remember that these people aren’t just good with words. They have been successful at working within the constraints of LinkedIn, tailoring their writing to this platform, and using the platform to advantage.
- Know your message, and understand your audience.
Why are you blogging? When you think about your goal, what you are trying to say, and who you want to say it to up front – before you start writing – your blog posts are stronger and tend to be more effective
- Draw your audience in with an engaging headline and solid introductory sentences.
A good beginning is literally the difference between being read and not being read. Your headline should be clever but also informative – let people know what you are writing about.
Try to keep the title to 45 characters, because in some places your blog post title will be truncated at that point. If your title is longer, put your most important keywords at the beginning.
Likewise, only 100 characters of your blog’s text is visible when people are deciding whether they will click through to read it. Make sure those first sentences pack a punch.
- Educate and entertain.
Like you, your readers are busy people. They want to learn. So share useful information – tools, tips, advice, lists, or how-to guides.
They will be happier and more engaged – and share your blog post – if you can be amusing too. You can see how that works in “RIP: Millennials Kill Annual Performance Reviews at GE.”
- Tie your post into current events, if possible.
Anytime you can tie your writing into timely, real-world events that will increase readership.
You can go deep, as in “The Joy of Warren Buffett’s Letter to Shareholders,” which has more than 42,000 views and 890 likes. Or you can go edgy, as in “If We’re Being Candid Here, There’s a Good Chance Your Company Is Sorority Racist, Too,” a clever take on Chris Rock’s Oscar monologue, which has more than 470,000 views, 2814 likes and more than 600 comments.
Your entire post doesn’t have to be about the current event: you might simply use it to draw readers into your particular narrative.
- Consider keywords.
You’ll want to decide on keywords for your blog – terms that readers might be searching for. I recommend using one key phrase per blog post, but you could include one or two other phrases that are important for you. It’s important to not get too keyword-focused. Real people are reading your post, and they matter more than search bots.
- Pay attention to how you measure success.
You’ll want to analyze your own metrics so you understand to understand your blog’s success and how you are improving. That gets us back to views, likes, quality comments, and quality conversations.
But you should also think about how you personally measure success.
Barry Enderwick, one of LinkedIn’s top voices in “Marketing and Social,” sums it up nicely when he says he measures his blogging success in “thoughtful engagement. The more people leave smart comments or questions, the better. I want people to benefit from my experience. Otherwise I would just keep a journal.”
Ultimately you should be true to your message, your audience, and your purpose for sharing your views on LinkedIn. It’s not about following a strict formula. It’s about understanding the best way to get your message across and finding strategies to make that happen.