If you only have time for one social marketing platform, here’s a tip: Make it LinkedIn.
It’s the only social-media platform where you can say, “Hey, do you know anyone who needs a writer?” without getting blocked or banned.
Everyone is on LinkedIn to do business networking, so it’s cool.
Maybe you’re there already, and you’ve set up your profile. Hope so! Especially since Google+ died in 2018, LinkedIn has become the social platform great companies visit to search for freelance help, with nearly 660 million users.
It should only take an hour or so to set up your LinkedIn profile — easy stuff. Once you’ve got your profile up, you may wonder what you should DO to attract prospects and get writing jobs.
Content marketing on LinkedIn can be a terrific way to attract prospects you’d never meet otherwise. If you never update your status, companies and editors won’t reach out to you because you seem like you’re not active.
You need to post something fairly regularly — let’s say, at least once a week. Something interesting.
What sort of content should you post on LinkedIn? You’ll need to be intentional and do this right, to get results. There’s a key first step to decide on, and then you’re ready to impress prospective clients on LinkedIn. Let’s start there.
How to use LinkedIn as a freelance writer
Before you get all excited and start posting a lot of random topics on LinkedIn, remember to stay focused on the goal. We’re doing this to attract and connect with our ideal clients, in order to get hired.
Often, freelance writers like to post and share on LinkedIn about…writing. But that tends to attract other freelance writers, rather than your clients.
The most effective approach to content marketing on LinkedIn is to choose one top industry niche that you most want to promote right now. Then, stick with it.
Envision your target. Maybe they’re the editor of a health publication, or the marketing manager at a tech company. Get a picture of them in your head.
Now, start thinking about their top problems. What keeps them up at night? You want to create information they would stop scrolling and click on. Must-have knowledge they need.
Say, like this post one of my coaching students created to target organic farmers:
You can see how an organic farmer would want to read that, to make sure they’re following marketing best practices in their space.
Once you’ve got your target firmly in mind, it’s time to go beyond simply tossing up one-line status updates.
Here are my top seven tips for creating LinkedIn content that creates buzz and gets you hired:
1. Talk about your writing life
The key to social media is that people don’t want to be hit over the head with sales messages. They want to socialize!
Status updates are a great place to share happenings in your freelance-writing life. Examples include:
- Finished a big client project
- Changed your head shot, writer website, or logo
- Looking for sources for an article
- Got new home-office gear or co-working spot
- Have marketing or writing-tool questions
- A new piece you wrote just came out
These are all great things to share on LinkedIn. They don’t scream, “Please, please hire me.” They just quietly keep putting what you do in front of your connections. If they hear of someone who needs a freelance writer, you’re likely to be top of mind.
Remember, every time you post, connections can see your tagline (which hopefully says exactly what type of freelance writer you are). It’s low-key, free advertising that you are looking for healthcare copywriting clients, or whatever type of writing jobs you indicate.
For instance, The Renegade Writer co-author Linda Formichelli puts up notices when she lands a new client:
These slice-of-writing-life anecdotes are quick and easy to put together, and keep educating LinkedIn visitors about what you do. To take your LinkedIn marketing to the next level, consider using Pulse.
2. Get on Pulse
Did you know that LinkedIn has its own blog? It’s known as Pulse, and it’s wide-open for (unpaid) contributions.
I know, writers writing for free — it’s not ideal. But in the case of Pulse, it can be worth the occasional post, due to the platform’s large audience.
It used to be hard to figure out how to get on Pulse, but now it’s easy — just look for the ‘Write an article’ link:
Here’s the magic of Pulse: Posts you publish there get featured on your profile.
LinkedIn is in the business of promoting its own blog, yo! You can see on the left of this profile shot how the platform lays out Divya’s Pulse post with a nice fat graphic, where status updates get less space:
Even better, your most recent Pulse post gets displayed forever on your profile page. Until you write a new one. You can write one Pulse post a year, and it’ll keep making your profile look sexy, and keep getting readers and comments.
I’ve seen writers get in the neighborhood of 6,000-10,000 views on enticing Pulse posts. That’s a lot of possible clients, reading your work.
3. Get visual
Know what stops the scrolling and makes people pay attention to your content on busy social media sites? Interesting images. It’s worth taking a few minutes to hop to your favorite free-image site and locate something eye-catching.
For instance, automotive writer Neil Pope recently got a lot of readers to one of his stories by using this traffic-stopping photo:
Unusual, hm? Think about how you could stand out from the pack with your image, not just with the content you post.
4. Sharing (and commenting) is caring
One of the cool things about getting exposure on LinkedIn is that you can do it even if you’re super-busy. If you don’t have time to write content for LinkedIn, just curate the week’s most interesting posts for your target client, spin that into a quick post, and you’re done.
You’ll be surprised how much people appreciate you pulling those resources together for them. You can also get your name in front of top prospects by sharing or commenting on their work, as you see content marketer Tracey Stepanchuk doing here, with a useful piece from Forbes:
Even though you didn’t write it, your shares and comments show prospects you follow their industry, know best practices, and are on top of trends.
5. Be original
While curating and sharing others’ content can help present you as an expert writer, creating your own unique content lends even more authority.
Since all our writing clients are looking for us to deliver something that will set their publication or business apart, create highly original, must-read content on LinkedIn, to show you could deliver that for the client, too.
For instance, check out this ‘key questions’ post sustainability writer Julie Johnson put together (she gets bonus points for creating a visual version of her content).
6. Start spreading the news
If you’re annoyed that you have no easy way to capture email leads from the content you post on LinkedIn, there’s a solution.
Start up a weekly or monthly newsletter. Then, create a link that brings readers to your own writer website to subscribe and get the full edition. Presto! You’ve got contacts.
For instance, automotive writer Neil Pope just started spinning all his best LinkedIn content of the week into a newsletter:
Want to learn more? LinkedIn has newsletter tips.
Twitter may have invented the hashtag — but LinkedIn has stolen it, big-time. LinkedIn now auto-suggests possible hashtags for all your content. Use them! Hashtags create easily sortable channels to help readers find what they’re interested in.
Once you start using hashtags, you can potentially take advantage of a fun new LinkedIn feature — trending in hashtagged channels. LinkedIn editors have started notifying writers whose posts trend in a particular hashtagged category. Like this:
It’s always an ego boost to hear you’re trending — and better yet, trending means it’s more likely a wider audience will find your post, not just your connections.
Develop a LinkedIn marketing habit
Once you get going with updates and posts on LinkedIn, keep it up! Make a commitment to post at lease once or twice a week, to keep your name in front of your prospects.
What else can you do to build your audience on LinkedIn? Keep sending and accepting more connections.
Once you top 500 connections, many writers have reported, LinkedIn starts showing their posts to more visitors, and they see an uptick in inbound connection invites, too.
Try posting some useful information on LinkedIn that your ideal client would want to read — and see what happens.
Photo via Unsplash
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