If you’re selling a service … like writing … you need to be on LinkedIn.
Countless success stories prove it, where business owners discovered an unknown writer and reached out to potentially hire them – just because of the great LinkedIn profile they put together.
That’s why in this article, I want to show you how to develop a compelling LinkedIn presence and use it as a marketing tool for your writing success. And to find out the most impactful actions you can take, I reached out to LinkedIn Expert Anton Volney of midastouchwriter.com.
Here are three major actions he suggests to boost your LinkedIn profile and stand out from the crowd.
Craft a Powerful Headline
If you’re a copywriter, this should come as no surprise: a powerful headline is your best shot at grabbing your prospect’s attention. It’s also the first thing users see when doing a search.
To illustrate this point, Anton shared a story about an angry young man scouring LinkedIn for an attorney. His grandmother had slipped and fallen in a public space and he was looking for justice.
Naturally, headline after headline on LinkedIn said “Attorney at Law” or some dry variation. Because those attorneys were sharing what they are.
As you can imagine, they all blended together and the young man wasn’t inspired to contact any of them.
But one attorney took a different approach. He wrote “I help Senior Citizens who’ve been wrongfully injured get the compensation they deserve.”
Guess who got this angry young man’s business?
As a writer, you have to do the same thing. And the best way to do that is by sharing your Unique Selling Proposition – which explains why a prospect should choose you over every other writer out there.
This means defining and understanding your target market along with how you can uniquely solve the problems that keep them up at night.
Being a generalist (i.e., writing about everything), won’t get you far on LinkedIn. You’re better off if you choose a target market and position yourself as their “go-to.” Just like that lawyer.
And when you do, you’ll get more responses, and you’ll be able to charge more for your services!
A Picture is Worth 1,000 Clicks
Since all a prospective client sees when searching through LinkedIn is your profile picture and your headline, you want to have a great picture there.
A professional headshot is ideal. However, if that isn’t an option, you can have a friend take a quality shot with their phone or tablet.
Either way it needs to look warm and inviting, while conveying your personality.
Beyond your profile picture, LinkedIn now has a cover photo option much like Facebook. And Anton believes it can make a huge impact on your prospects.
His recommendation? Getting an “action shot” of you in your element.
This could be a picture of you writing in an exotic location as a travel writer, giving a presentation to a group on advertising, or standing in a library reading a book on your industry. Whatever it is, it should show you looking “awesome,” natural, and in-charge.
Believe it or not, prospects will see that and think you know what you’re doing. And they’ll be more likely to reach out.
Speak in Facts and Figures
If your prospect has gotten as far as your profile, you’re doing great. Unfortunately, this is where many business owners drop the ball.
You see, it’s tempting to use your profile as a platform to list your resume and talk about your “opinions.” Essentially, how you feel about writing, your industry, etc…
However, in a market where a prospect can click away in an instant, it’s vital that you treat it like an ad, showing your prospect how they’ll benefit from working with you. And facts and figures are your best chance to accomplish that.
For example, if you’ve boosted a client’s marketing results by 50%, put that front and center. Same thing if you’ve created a “control” mailing for a company. Or have been quoted as an expert in a major publication.
Anything that makes you look good and supports your positioning works here.
Even if you’re a beginner, you can take advantage of this. Do research on how your service (content, copy, web) impacts businesses. And use those statistics to show what kind of results your work could bring.
Remember, your prospect is thinking “What’s in it for me?” If you lay out the answer right away, they’ll be more inclined to contact you.
Skyrocket Your Results
With these few simple changes to your profile, you should see a dramatic boost in your activity on LinkedIn.
You’ll get more connections from potential clients … position yourself as an expert … and have a much simpler time negotiating fees with clients. All while making your writing business more fun and more profitable.
However, in order to get the full benefits of your efforts, you also have to implement a few strategies on the marketing side.
That’s why knowing how to boost your LinkedIn profile is vital to getting the most out of the platform. You want to not only show up on LinkedIn, but also in major search engines.
So here are three simple strategies to get you noticed and show your prospects just how much you have to offer.
#1: Choose the Right Industry
You know that small section of your profile where you display the industry you’re in? What you choose can have a dramatic impact on your “find-ability.”
Think about it: If you were looking for help investing, you would most likely seek out “Professional Investment Coaches,” not just “Coaches,” right?
The same is true for writers. You don’t want to be left out when your ideal clients are searching for your services. Yet, as a writer, choosing your industry can be a little more challenging.
The temptation is to go with the “Writing & Editing” industry. After all, that’s what we do. However, it isn’t always the best choice.
Anton Volney of Midas Touch Writer believes if your focus is in copywriting, content marketing, or anything designed to help businesses, it would be better to list yourself in the “Marketing and Advertising” industry. You’ll come up in more searches that immediately showcase what you do.
Another valid option would be to list the industry you serve. For example, Nick Usborne, AWAI’s 2014 Copywriter of the Year, lists “Internet” as his industry. His specialty is web writing.
Ultimately, think about what your prospects would search for if they were going to hire you. And test a few different options to see which ends up working best for your business.
#2: Stand Up and Call Yourself an Expert
You may notice when searching through Google or Yahoo that results sometimes pop up in the search results from content posted on LinkedIn. If you click the link, you are shown the profile shot of the “LinkedIn Expert” who composed the post, and right below their photo is a “Follow” button. Talk about credibility!
Believe it or not, you, too, have the power to elevate yourself to Expert status just by showing off your knowledge. And you don’t necessarily have to be published to do so.
For example, you can keep an RSS feed of Google alerts in your industry and share articles that impact your potential clients. Give a few sentences with your thoughts on the subject, and you’ll start looking like a thought leader.
If you’ve been published or have a blog, be sure to share it on LinkedIn. You can even cross publish (with permission all around) to LinkedIn directly using the “post” feature. This could potentially get you a coveted link on the first page of Google and dramatically boost your visibility!
The key is to be consistent with whatever schedule you set. If you can manage sharing one link a day, five days a week, you’ll be in a great position to elevate your credibility.
#3: Give and You Shall Receive
You may have heard before that joining groups is a great way to get noticed on LinkedIn. Unfortunately, most writers end up doing the one thing that doesn’t help at all – they join a whole bunch of groups and then never engage them again.
If you want to get the most out of the groups in LinkedIn, you have to provide value. Establish your knowledge and authority.
You can do this in a number of ways. For starters, chime in on discussions happening throughout the group. Offer your support and professional advice. Show the other members you’re there for the group, not just your own self-interest.
You might also share relevant links within the group, sharing a news item, blog, or podcast that might affect those members.
Finally, it would be a huge benefit to offer a sample of your services, such as a written sample of web content. It’s a quick task you can do for free that could lead to more work.
Get the Most Out of LinkedIn
LinkedIn truly is a powerful tool for freelancing professionals. If you put in the time and energy to make an impressive profile and boost your presence, it will pay you back tenfold.
You’ll develop a rapport with your ideal clients … get more connections (and ultimately more paying work) than ever before … and be able to leverage your “Expert” status into bigger fees.
All you have to do is follow these tips, keep in tune with your industry, and stay up to date with new features on LinkedIn itself. Show your ideal clients how much you care and what they stand to gain from working with you, and the sky’s the limit.