The Key To Writing Good Content On LinkedIn

This one’s easy: Stop thinking of it as trying to write good content, and just write.

If you want to get noticed on LinkedIn – either as a company or as an individual – you need to write and publish. But when I tell people this I get push back, usually something like this:

Coming up with content is hard. We have no idea what to say in our our content should say, no one here has any ideas for content, and we are not sure our customers would like our content. “

So I will say, stop thinking content and start thinking stories. If they still balk, if  someone tells me they can’t write or don’t know what to write about, I ask them two questions. The first is:

“Can you tell me about that time you saved your customer?”

Because everyone has a story about the time they went above and beyond the call in order to help a customer with something difficult or to meet a ridiculous deadline. I usually get this really enthusiastic recitation of a story with a neat twist or lesson in it.

And when the other person is finished, I just ask them the second question:

“That is a great story, now can you write that down?”

So here is a story they can publish that makes the person or company look good, shows the lengths they will go to assist a customer and at the same time, doesn’t come across as advertising or a sales pitch.  What’s not to like?

And inevitably they will go, well that’s just the one story, now what do we do. So I ask them to tell me ten mistakes their customers are making, or ten misconceptions that their customers have. Good, there’s your next ten stories. Go get ‘em.

Some of my articles and posts do really well, and some not so much. And I have no idea which it will be beforehand. Last week I published an article on people using “likes” on LinkedIn. I thought it was an interesting topic, but I didn’t know if anyone else did or would. It has almost a thousand views and forty-six comments so far, so in retrospect, other people thought it was an interesting topic too.

Everyone who doesn’t write on publish on LinkedIn is preoccupied by how hard it is. All of us who do write and publish on LinkedIn just go ahead and do it.

Some Pro’s and Con’s of “Liking” on LinkedIn

(photo caption: “Yeah, it’s been a long day, maybe I’ll just slap a “like” on this one,” Photo courtesy Mark Johnston)

Everyone “likes” articles, posts, discussions, comments and updates on LinkedIn.  But did you ever stop to think what value that liking has? So I wrote some of my own Pro’s and Con’s down. For the purposes of brevity, I use the term
“article” as a catch all for content.

Pro: Likes are easy

Liking something takes no time at all. Click of a button, done. Which leads me to…

Con: Maybe too easy

I always wonder if likes are too easy – you can pull up an article and the option to like it is right there at the top of the screen before you have even read it.

Pro & Con: The “that’s what I was going to say!” like

You come across an article and what you wanted to say has already been nicely articulated by someone else. So either liking the article or liking that person’s comment is the right thing to do, but you still end up a little frustrated.

Pro: The acknowledgement like

Likes  are often a shorthand for “I agree with you” when they are appended to comments in particular. I use “likes” quite often when people make simple comments on one of my articles.

Con: The value add factor is low for likes

When you like an article or post, it adds little value for you. You are one of the rather anonymous like crowd. You pale beside the commenters who are adding to the discussion about the article. When I see someone has liked one of my articles, I think “thank you.” When I see someone has commented on my article, I often reply to their comments and occasionally send them a message thanking them for their comment.

Pro: Added visibility

I see many LinkedIn users who seem to employ likes as a visibility strategy. And if kind of works – authors will see those people in the list of people who liked their content. But….

Con: Too many likes look odd

So I look at someone’s activity and see all they do is like posts. No writing, no sharing, no comments, just likes. This tends to make me wonder if this is a real person or a fake profile.  

Con: Smaller opportunity for engagement

When someone comments on my content it gives me something to latch onto, and provides a possible opportunity to start a conversation with that person. Likes are kind of flimsy. I have sent thank you’s to people who have liked my content, but statistically, I can say they are much less likely to become connections.  

I suppose for me it all comes down to:

If you can, comment. If you can’t comment, like.  

 

Some Thoughts On Going Viral On LinkedIn

 

While you should publish on LinkedIn with a goal of getting engagement, there is no doubt that getting a lot of views is good for the ego. Just don’t let the Holy Grail of going viral drive you batty.  

If you have ever had an article you published on LinkedIn go viral, or even one that did really well in terms of views, it is easy to get caught up in trying to go viral again. But if the odds of it happening once are pretty low, then the odds of it happening a second time are very, very low. Note that I am talking articles that require clicks here, not the “drive by” views that posts get.

My LinkedIn articles tend to get in the middle to high hundreds of views each week. Once every every six weeks or so, one will get over a thousand views, once every three months one will get two thousands views and once I got over three thousand.

And then there is the article I published back in early 2016, over a year and half ago. It has forty-five thousand views, and is actually getting stronger, pulling in an extra thousand or twelve hundred views every week.

Every week I get an email from LinkedIn telling me the three articles that got the most views in the previous week. Almost every week that old article is on top, handily beating out the ones I have published in the past couple of weeks.   

The upside is that  eighteen months ago I wrote something that readers really liked. And apparently they still do. The downside is I have had around 80 shots at publishing new articles and replicating that success. Not so far.

But I don’t worry about it and here’s why: I have no clue why that article went semi-viral and why none of my other couple hundred articles did not. I think you can write as well as you can, hit publish and then it is out of your hands. If it goes viral, enjoy your moment in the sun. I published one article that got one hundred times the views I normally get. I don’t know what was different about that one from others I have written. I don’t know the secret.

And no one else does either. Anyone who writes that they know how to go viral is full of it. Otherwise they would be viral every time they published…and wouldn’t have to write articles on how to go viral.

And while views are good for the ego, engagement from those views is the real deal. LinkedIn doesn’t tell me who my viewers are, so I have no way to identify and contact them if I wish to. People who like, share and comment are identifiable so I can contact them. I consider an  article with three hundred views and sixty people engaging with me to be more successful than having three thousand views and thirty people engage with me.