Solving The “I don’t know what to write about on LinkedIn” Problem

“I don’t know what to write about.” is one of the two objections I get when I talk to people about writing content for LinkedIn or elsewhere.

If you are one of those people, here is an exercise that will help. Take out a pad and pen, or open a new document on your laptop. 

Answer these questions. Take your time. 

1) What is the specific problem that your product or service solves for your client?

If you can’t answer this one, your problems are bigger than not knowing what to write about! 

2) What issues do your clients face?

What do they need to do that they can’t do now? Or what they want to do, but they don’t have enough information to tackle it yet. Note that the answer to these questions may be as simple as “increase sales by 5%” or as complex as “address new market opportunity.” 

3) What is their current solution? 

How are they addressing the issues in question number two currently? 

4) Why are they unhappy with it?

This is the “gap” question, and it is critical. What is your prospect’s perceived gap between where they are now and where they would like to be? 

5) What information do they need?

In order to close the gap, they need to do something. The information they need may range from something as simple as “how do we get a little bit better at what we are already doing” to something more open ended like “is it possible to close the gap?”

6) How do we reduce the fear of making a wrong decision?

This is where we come in. We are in possession of the information they need to feel comfortable with the decisions they are making. In the end, it’s all about risk. And your customer wants to know how they can lower the risk of doing something.

7) What kind of information will help the client?

What specific information can we provide that will help them in their decision making? 

8) Is it targeted at a specific personna?

Who does your information target? The user, the buyer, the technical influencer? You may need to tailor your content for the specific audience you have in mind. 

9) How does this content help me reach my business goals?

What specifically does providing this content do for me? Provide credibility? Proof that they belong in the funnel? Proof they don’t? 

10) Does this information help the client?

Sanity check: this had better help the client and not just help me!

And another thing: At the top I mentioned two objections I always get. The other objection is “I don’t write that well.” Which is b.s. Everyone of us can tell stories, it’s in our nature as human beings. A lot of my work with my clients is helping them see that they have a lot of good stories that their prospective customers would find interesting and educational. 

For all you reluctant writers and publishers ut there, repeat after me: 

“This isn’t’ rocket science.”

Have a process.

Work the process.

Get feedback.

Adjust the process.

Repeat the process.

 

The Curse Of Second Guessing Yourself

 

This is for anyone who writes or has considered writing on LinkedIn. When I talk with people about publishing on LinkedIn, this idea comes up a lot. 

When I publish an article, a post or one of my newsletters, I want to educate and inform the people that read it on how to more effectively use LinkedIn, or at least to get them to question how they are using LinkedIn. 

Probably the biggest question I ask myself after I finish writing something is “Is this good enough?”  

Often I will look at what I have written and say to myself “this one seems pretty thin” and wonder whether this is something I really want to publish. Then I go ahead and publish it anyway and the article I questioned will get a pile of views and drive a ton of engagement. 

It took me quite a while, but eventually I figured out that I was fighting my instincts. My instincts, my gut feeling based on having written and published hundreds of posts and articles about using LinkedIn, and having reviewed the feedback each and every one of those had received, my instincts were telling me that this was a good post. But the “intellectual me” was overthinking things and thinking that this post or article was mundane. I was forgetting that my readership doesn’t live and breathe LinkedIn all day every day like I do. 

It is way too easy to overthink this stuff. When I am sending an outreach message, I ask myself what the other person wants, and how can I show them that I can help them get it? I don’t have exotic tricks and word games and closing techniques and hokum like that. There are best practices to follow in order to get your message opened and read, but it really is that simple. 

So today’s message is: It’s simpler than you think.

There’s a reason you have a gut instinct – it’s based on your experience.

Go with that instinct.

It may not be correct or the best move all the time but you will save a huge amount of time and angst in letting your instincts guide you. 

The obligatory disclaimer: I do not work for or have any association with LinkedIn, other than being a user who pays them for his Sales Navigator subscription every month.

Want more like this? I publish a weekly email newsletter on using LinkedIn effectively for Sales and Marketing. Each newsletter typically contains two to four articles, it’s free, and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/

How I Decide Whether To Publish LinkedIn Posts Or Articles

Back in the day, it took a lot longer to write a post or an article. 

 

Most people I speak with have an “either or” attitude as to whether they should Post or Publish Articles on LinkedIn. I think this is the wrong way of looking at it. 

The way I see it, you should look at the strengths and weaknesses of each format and figure where they fit within your overall strategy. 

First of all what are the key characteristics of posts? 

  • Posts have a limited shelf life – they are part of your activity feed and disappear over time. LinkedIn says they are visible for ninety days
  • Posts also have no real formatting options, unless…
  • you can do a document post, which effectively embeds slides in your post. 
  • Posts tend to be short. The limit is 1300 characters, which is 200 words or thereabouts

And how about Articles?

  • Articles have more formatting options. It’s more like blogging.
  • Length limits realistically don’t exist for articles. I have seen 40,000 and 120,000 mentioned as the limits. There aren’t many people who are going to write seven or ten thousand word articles on LinkedIn.
  • All of your past articles are saved and can be retrieved and viewed by visitors to your profile, or readers of your current article. LinkedIn says they save articles for two years, but I have articles that are going on five years old that are still there. 
  • Articles can be found by Google. I have been fortunate enough to have three of my articles show up at the top of Google search results. This has resulted in tens of thousands of views, hundreds of comments, and several  work contracts. I receive LinkedIn notifications every week about likes and comments on articles I wrote three and four years ago.

Note that from having published hundreds of posts and articles:

  • Engagement is a wash. I find a good post will get the same engagement as an article and vice versa. 
  • Views are counted differently for each and shouldn’t be factor in your decision 

While I articles can be used to increase my reach (those ones Google likes has people constantly discovering me) their main purpose is to showcase my expertise. And while posts will demonstrate my expertise, the main purpose there is to increase my reach. 

With all of this in mind, when I am going to write on LinkedIn, what form it takes is usually guided by one simple observation: 

Articles educate, posts start conversations.