Secrets of LinkedIn’s Top Voices: What You Can Do to Make Your Writing Stand Out
December 12, 2016
Every day on LinkedIn, we see professionals taking to their keyboards to make sense of the world. We now have more than 3 million unique writers on the publishing platform creating 160,000 articles per week. Today we spotlight the must-know writers of 2016 with our second-annual LinkedIn Top Voices list.
Here are steps you can take to start writing on LinkedIn now—and just maybe we’ll see you on the LinkedIn Top Voices list next year.
Write What You Know
Plumb your professional world to come up with topics. What tricks do you employ every day that make your work life easier? What failures have you had along the way that helped turn you into a success? What inspired you to do what you do? Use the details from your life to help others be better in theirs.
This approach has been wildly successful for many of our Top Voices, such as Michelle Chaffee’s takedown of the healthcare system from her experience as a cancer patient or Joah Spearman’s struggle (and eventual successes) after getting rejected from Y Combinator or Katie Martell’s decision to leave her “real job” to become an independent consultant.
Make It Timely
Readers are looking for timely content that’s relevant to them today. The more you offer your take on what’s happening today, the more of an impact you’ll have.
Many of our standout Top Voices articles this year came in direct response to events that were taking over headlines: topics like Brexit and the economy, Peter Thiel’s war against Gawker, the insensitive language Macy’s used to announce a major layoff or discussions of race in the workplace.
In order to keep an audience engaged, shorter and frequent is better than long-winded and sporadic. Some 66 percent of our Top Voice authors published at least once a month, and most of those people published an average of four articles per month.
Get your thoughts out there and let your commenters help you craft your next big idea. Find something that works and keep iterating on it. Don't wait for perfect, and don’t feel like you need to write the next great American article. On average, articles by Top Voices writers were just over 800 words.
Pay Attention to the Headline
A great headline carries a lot of weight: It can draw in readers who might otherwise skim and move on; it can help keep you focused while you're writing (some writers will come up with the headline first before writing a word of the article); it can give search engines valuable information.
One rule to remember: Clear beats clever; use puns, jokes and numbers sparingly. And don't try to trick people by offering a headline that doesn't pay off in the text; there's no better way to anger your readers and stop them from coming back.
Keep the Conversation Going
Write to start a conversation instead of to collect pageviews. The real power — and one of the things that really sets LinkedIn apart — is in the quality of the comments. You get feedback and engagement from real, non-anonymous professionals across the globe.
As two-time Top Voices honoree Lynne Everatt says, “If a stranger likes my writing enough to write a note about it and share their thoughts, that’s the pinnacle of external engagement.”
Share the pieces widely with your own network and across social — Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, whatever is right for your audience — and respond to other members in the comments. In fact, honorees on the Top Voices list respond to comments on their articles 10 times more than the average member. It keeps the conversation going! Use those exchanges to spark ideas for future pieces—it’s a virtuous cycle.