Download: MP3 (80.5 MB)
How many of you have ever published anything on LinkedIn? If you’re anything like me, you probably think that LinkedIn is for the older generation, or the corporate stooges who want to work 9-5 jobs in office buildings. Well, guess what? We’re wrong.
Glenn Leibowitz is back to explain why LinkedIn is such a powerful blogging platform for creative professionals (and not just somewhere to host a digital resume).
Even if you’re not interested in LinkedIn, you’re still going to learn a ton about writing and publishing in this episode (I sure did).
Highlights, Takeaways & Quick Wins
- If you want to be successful as a freelancer, developing strong relationships is key. LinkedIn is one of the best places to do that.
- Having content on different platforms is a great way to create multiple funnels that direct people back to your home base (your website).
- If you aren’t ready to start creating your own content on LinkedIn, you can still build an audience by sharing content that you find valuable.
- Don’t worry about getting everything right the first time; just write, publish, and repeat.
- Ultimately the content is the most important thing, but presentation is also important. Try to make it look nice and easy to read.
- It’s worth spending a little extra time to create a catchy title for your blog post.
- Be generous with your likes and shares. Be known for someone who is a sharer and not just someone who “links and runs”.
- Write about what you know best; what you’re most interested in. You can’t spell authority without author.
- 2:14 Aaron: Glenn, you’ve done really well on LinkedIn. But as a member of a younger generation (some might call me a millennial), I have to ask; isn’t LinkenIn mostly just for old folks?
- 2:47 Glenn: I’ve got a couple thoughts about this. One, unless there’s a major advance in science, you’re going to be old someday too. Two, I don’t work for LinkedIn, but I’ve seen great results from it, so I just want to share a few thoughts about why you may want to start publishing on LinkenIn too.
Why Should Creative Professionals Be on LinkedIn?
- 3:29 Aaron: We talked about this before the show, and I told you that I’ve always kind of seen LinkedIn as a place to keep a digital resume and honestly, I don’t want to send resumes anymore. I want to network with people and get to know them and collaborate with people who need my skills. I want to attract clients instead of applying for jobs. I’m not looking for a 9-5 job, I’m more interested in taking on interesting projects and working with people I already know.
- 4:56 But it sounds like LinkenIn might actually be a really useful networking tool for someone like me, so can you go into a little more detail about how that works?
- 5:17 Glenn: I believe you would get a lot out of publishing on LinkedIn. There are two main things I want to talk about today:
- Why creative professionals should be publishing on LinkedIn
- How to get started and how you can maximize the value you’ll get out of it
- 6:00 Let me start off with the Why. Why should you or anyone else spend time creating a profile, building connections, sharing content or creating content? I’ve got four main reasons, but let me start off with one compelling reason: SEO.
- 7:38 Those first ten results on Google are really important. When someone plugs your name into Google, you want to have a spot on the first page of search results. LinkedIn has a lot of “SEO juice”; their profile pages show up on that first page in most cases. Even if you don’t plan on using LinkedIn regularly, it’s still a good idea to fill out a profile and make sure it links to the other places people can find you online or get in touch with you.
Four Reasons You Should Be on LinkedIn
1. You Can Build Your Professional Presence
- 9:52 Glenn: As of today, LinkedIn has 420 million members worldwide now and growing. I’ve seen stats that say 25% of those are active users, but that’s still 105 million people. It’s the biggest professional network anywhere, and it keeps growing. If you’re a creative professional, LinkedIn is a huge network that you should be participating in.
2. You Can Plug Into Professional Communities
- 11:38 There are a number of diverse groups and communities to participate in. It’s not just job seekers, there are many like-minded professionals looking for people to connect with and share ideas and connections and resources.
3. It Will Strengthen Relationships With Your Existing Clients
- 12:40 LinkedIn is a great place to deepen the relationships you have with existing clients. Many of your current or past clients are likely on LinkedIn, so by keeping in touch with them there or publishing (or curating) valuable content regularly, you’re staying top of mind for them. People want to work with people that they know and trust.
4. You’ll Find New Clients
- 13:59 I’ve seen a number of people build freelance businesses off the back of relationships that got started on LinkedIn. It’s not the only place you can do that, but LinkedIn is large and growing and it’s a very diverse, business-focused community. You can find people there who need your services. A lot of the people who work at some of the bigger companies have budgets that they can use to hire freelancers, so if you want to be considered for those jobs, you need to have a presence on LinkedIn.
- 15:50 Aaron: I believe that there’s a shift towards remote work happening right now. Companies no longer have to hire in their local area, they often have their pick of the best workers in their country (or even the world), since working remotely has gotten easier in the past decade.
If you want to be successful as a freelancer, developing strong relationships is key. LinkedIn is one of the best places to do that.
- 16:28 Glenn: LinkedIn is great because it’s both global and local. You can work with people on the other side of the world, but there’s also probably people in your town that you’ve never met before who are using LinkedIn.
Develop Your Skills and Build Relationships
- 18:06 Aaron: The only reason I was successful as a freelance podcast editor was because I took the time to get to know some people and build relationships with them. Those friends eventually sent work my way because they knew that I was good at what I did. It’s not enough to be good at what you do, you also have to been known for it.
- 18:48 LinkedIn is social network focused on business. There are a lot of people on Twitter and Facebook just putting out a ton of noise, while LinkedIn is meant specifically for businesses and professionals. This makes it a great place to build business relationships.
How to Get Started With Publishing and Growing an Audience on LinkedIn
- 20:11 Aaron: So we’ve established the benefits of being on LinkedIn. How does someone like me start publishing content there?
- 20:31 Glenn: There are three things you need to do, and I call them the 3 C’s of building a successful network on LinkedIn: Connect, Curate, and Create.
- 20:48 Glenn: Create new connections and get to know your existing connections better. You can also attract followers and follow other people. I’ve found that my audience has grown quickly on LinkedIn and the engagement levels are higher there than on other networks. It’s also a good idea to direct people back to your website or email list with links on your profile.
- 22:47 Aaron: Yes, always point people to your website and email list. If you don’t have an email list yet, now’s the time to start one. I’ve been publishing blog posts on Medium lately, and I make sure to link back to thepodcastdude.com to encourage people to signup for my email list.
Having content on different platforms is a great way to create multiple funnels that direct people back to your home base (your website).
- 25:15 Glenn: Even if you aren’t ready to write blog posts on LinkedIn yet, you can still share links to other content on the web that you find valuable as a way to get your feet wet, get active, and build a presence. Just share links to blog posts, videos, or podcasts that you like. I’ll often share links to my own content that lives on other platforms and I get a lot of traffic because of it.
If you aren’t ready to start creating your own content on LinkedIn, you can still build an audience by sharing content that you find valuable.
- 29:04 Glenn: This is where things start to move faster and get more exciting. LinkedIn started publishing content written by it’s “Influencers” four or five years ago. Two years ago it opened publishing up to the rest of its members, so now anyone can hit publish on a blog post on LinkedIn.
- 30:08 Last year, one of the the editors said that a million people had contributed a post to LinkedIn, and there were 130-150,000 new posts each week. So a lot of people are participating, and I’ve built a large, engaged audience (and not just on LinkedIn) by publishing consistently there. I highly recommend trying it out.
Tips for Writing on LinkedIn
- 32:25 Glenn: 1. Spend some time studying what others are writing on LinkedIn. Read several dozen posts by others writing about topics you want to write about. Study those carefully to see which ones did well and try to analyze why. Look at the top 10-30 posts in a given day to see which ones rose to the top, and try to figure out why.
- 34:24 2. Keep your posts short — try to keep them under 900 words if you can. Many more people are reading on smartphones these days and in general don’t have a lot of time. They want to read and get value out of a post quickly. Don’t go on and on with a wall of text.
- 35:32 Aaron: Formatting is really important. I try not to have paragraphs that are longer than 3-4 sentences. I also avoid having too many single-sentence paragraphs unless that sentence is important and needs to have an impact. You need to break up the longer paragraphs and use sub-headlines, or some of your readers will start to skim and lose focus.
- 36:53 Glenn: 3. Be consistent – don’t just publish here and there for a few months and then quit. Aim to publish at least one post every 2 months, then ramp that up to one post per month, and then ramp that up if you have the capacity to do that and you see the impact. But keep publishing and build a reputation for consistency. Smart small and work your way up.
- 39:57 Aaron: If you’re new to blogging, you’re probably overthinking everything. You will get better if you show up and publish regularly. If you need proof of that, go check out my very first blog (ever). I’ve improved so much over the past five years because I keep showing up.
Don’t worry about getting everything right the first time; just write, publish, and repeat.
- 43:30 Glenn: 4. Break up your post with sub-headlines, graphics and quotes; make it more visually appealing for the reader.
- 43:57 Aaron: Unsplash is a great place to get free, high-quality photos for your blog posts..
Ultimately the content is the most important thing, but presentation is also important. Try to make it look nice and easy to read.
- 44:22 Glenn: 5. Headlines are everything. OK, maybe not everything, but they are extremely important. This is something the editors and popular writers have emphasized to me when I’ve spoken to them about writing on LinkedIn. I’ve talked about the importance of clear headlines many times before, but some people still don’t get it. You could have a great blog post packed full of value, but if you don’t have an interesting or catchy headline that makes a reader want to click, they’re going to pass by.
- 45:43 Aaron: I published a post on Medium last week called Want People to Remember You? Set Huge Goals for Yourself. That wasn’t the first title I came up with; I decided on that title after thinking about what I wanted people to takeaway from the post, and what kind of people I thought might be interested in reading it.
It’s worth spending a little extra time to create a catchy title for your blog post.
- 53:47 Glenn: 6. Don’t forget to be social. LinkedIn is a social networking community, so don’t just treat it as a free billboard space. Don’t just sell your wares constantly without interacting with the community. I see this happen far too often, sometimes even by very talented and successful entrepreneurs. They drop links to their content or latest product and then even when people leave positive comments or like what they share, they don’t acknowledge it at all or respond. This is runs counter to the whole purpose of LinkedIn and will ensure that you don’t get much out of it. Read, like, share and comment on other people’s posts as well, and they might notice and remember that and return the favor.
Be generous with your likes and shares. Be known for someone who is a sharer and not just someone who “links and runs”.
- 55:14 Aaron: I like to see a little bit of behind-the-scenes and personal interaction along with all the content. I find it hard to connect with someone if they never share anything personal. And if someone says they enjoyed your thing, take three seconds to say thank you. It might mean more to them than you realize.
Just Freaking Start
- 1:01:15 Aaron: Before we go, I want to share this advice with anyone thinking about getting started with writing and publishing on LinkedIn or anywhere else; just start. Don’t wait till you feel like you know how to do everything right because you never will. Just start doing it and it will get easier the more you do it.
- 1:03:10 Glenn: It’s tough. Even two years later, I still wonder if anyone will like my headlines or posts. I’ve had some success with it, but even if you only get 50 or 100 views on a post, that’s still something. Those are real people reading. Just do it. Just get started.
Connect with Glenn:
- 1:13:12 Garrett Mickley asked: Would it be a good idea to keep my website content game design related, while making sure my LinkedIn content has to do with the business end of game design?
- 1:13:26 Aaron: Publish about what you want to be known for. If you want to be known as a game designer, publish things related to that.
- 1:14:01 Glenn: Don’t overthink it. Don’t try to make everything corporate-business related or stuffy and boring; just write and share things you’re passionate about.
- 1:14:41 Aaron: Be authentic. Be genuine. Write about stuff that you care about, because your goal should be to attract other people who share your specific interests. Don’t try to reach every single person on a platform; write for a very specific kind of person, a person who is like you.
- 1:15:39 Glenn: The posts that come out most quickly and easily for me are the ones where I’m just writing about what I know best, what I care about most.
Write about what you know best; what you’re most interested in. You can’t spell authority without author.
- 1:17:56 Garrett asked: Sean frequently talks about building your own platform, but I also hear about writing on Medium and now LinkedIn. How do you decide what goes where? Do you post the same things on all three but re-write it (to avoid duplicate content)?
- 1:18:41 Glenn: I’ve talked to the editors from both Medium and LinkedIn about this, and here’s what I do. I write most of my blog posts using Medium’s in-browser editor, but I publish on LinkedIn because there’s a larger audience there. A blog post I publish on LinkedIn will get far more views and engagement than it will on Medium. I’ll still publish on Medium, but I get more results from LinkedIn.
- 2:21:00 Medium is nice, it seems to be more suited for the more creative, techie types. It’s definitely less corporate than LinkedIn. If that’s your audience, then publish there first, but I would recommend publishing on both platforms for maximum reach.
- 1:22:40 Aaron: I’ve found that the more I write, the more I have to say. So write a blog post, publish it, then rewrite it for a different platform if you want to, but you aren’t going to run of out things to write about. And I’ve said before that you should keep a list of topics that you want to write about. Anytime an idea comes to you, write it down somewhere in a notebook or a list app like Reminders. Don’t try to keep all those ideas in your head. Your brain is for processing, not storage.