We all want to get more attention for the posts we write, no matter if it's here on LinkedIn or elsewhere. That desire is inherent in all writers and important to many business owners that rely at least partially on content marketing.
Here on LinkedIn, there are many writers working as hard as they can to get more exposure for themselves and for other writers as well. It's a great collaboration that represents true social networking.
But it all starts with what you're writing. I'm not talking about whether you consider yourself a good writer or not, but what you are choosing to write about and how you present it.
Have you been a follower or a leader?
That's the first question you have to ask yourself and you need to be honest about it.
Here's what happens and has happened for years. One 'influencer', I use that word not as LinkedIn uses it, but as an indicator of someone people listen to, will write something like 'This is how to do SEO' or lay out how to do something else.
Then, everyone will read it and rush out to do exactly what that person said. Now a large group of people are doing the same thing rendering the advice useless since it destroys any chance of an advantage you might have had if you had created your own way to get it done.
I'm not saying don't listen to successful people in your field. But your first thought should be, "How can I do better than they did?" not "Ohh! I have to do exactly what he did to be successful!
How does that apply to writing?
Businesses like Hubspot, BuzzSumo and others do a lot of studies...
- Which headlines got the most shares and likes?
- What time of day should I post to each social network to get the most views?
- How many words should be in a blog post to get the best results?
They have a lot of studies I didn't include, but you get the idea. They try to break it down using just analytics. They come up with lists...
- The 50 Email Subject Lines That Get Opened The Most
- The 100 Blog Titles that Work The Best
These suggested headlines have blanks you are just supposed to fill in like; The 7 Best ways to Improve Your ______ or 5 _____ Tips to Get More _____.
2 Ways To Figure Out if You've Been A Follower
- You subscribe to the blogs or videos of some leaders in your industry and follow their examples to the letter.
- You've ever selected your blog post titles or email subject lines based on one of those lists or studies.
I just had to make a list.
How To Become A Leader Instead
Stop following. Take the advice offered and look for what it's missing instead of blindly following the advice. Improve on it.
Stop reading anything that tells you how to write your titles. Be original instead. Try new things. What questions do your potential customers ask you a lot? You already have titles.
Quit believing that analytics alone should be your guide. Trust your gut instincts. If you truly know the topics you are writing about, then your gut instincts may be better than any other way to move ahead of the pack.
Tell stories. People love stories. Add what you learned from the story or what others can learn from it.
Write from the heart. Don't try to be so professional that you lose your human side. Nobody wants to do business with a robot.
Be yourself and quit being afraid some people might not like you. Some won't. Accept it. Some will and they are your target audience.
There's an old saying in sales...
You can't sell everybody, but everyone can be sold.
While that applies to selling, it also applies to acquiring an audience for what you write. It means that someone who doesn't like someone else's writing about a topic may like your posts on that very same topic and vice versa.
By being yourself, it becomes easy to be original and unique. It becomes easier to write. Speaking from the heart and sharing your own emotions creates an emotion in the reader as well.
Think about the movies you really like. If a movie can make you laugh, you like it. If it makes you cry, you like it. But if a movie can make you both laugh and cry, you never forget it.
I'm not saying make people cry. I'm not saying all of your posts should be emotional in nature. what I am saying is think about who you're writing to and figure out how to 'reach' them in some way.
Establishing yourself as an expert is fairly easy, if you really are one. Making a real connection with your readers is the hardest part for most. But if you truly want to be successful at writing, it's what you have to do.
No catchy headline generated from analytics will ever replace that real connection.
Chris McElroy has been producing content for websites, blogs, press releases and more for clients over the last 20 years. View more posts here.