10 Tips for engaging LinkedIn content

January 24, 2024

Episode 53: 10 Copy Coaching Tips for Engaging LinkedIn Content

OK, here are my top 10 tips on HOW to write more engaging LinkedIn content, which comes from copy coaching (yes I did the math) almost 1,000 posts inside my Content Sprints. 

And you know what’s come up for me, now that I’ve put these 10 things in a bullet point list.  The ways we’re conditioned to show up in our upbringing, our culture, what we learned in school, these ways just aren’t the best approach in this work of driving change and building businesses. 

Actually, the ways we learned to communicate are actually drivers of status-quo thinking – they keep us showing up in a way that’s polite, nice, not rocking the boat, humble to a fault, focusing on information vs. emotion and resonance, and if I had to sum it up in one word – the ways most of us have learned to communicate keep us small.

That’s why my favorite comment is always when clients tell me they can hear my copy coaching in their mind as they write going forward, even after we’re done working together.

How you do one thing is how you do everything, and if you can be more you, more clear, more resonant, and more strategic in all of your communications on LinkedIn, that will bleed into your relationships, and your small business, and every aspect of your life. 

So, if you solve a problem for your clients that’s based in your lived experience, passion, and credibility, it’s your responsibility to communicate as powerfully as possible – so that more people can find you and be better, for it. 

Here are 10 ways to do that. Reach out and let me know which one you’re going to try first. And, if you want a supportive space to practice and operationalize these writing tips, consider joining the February LinkedIn Content Sprint, where you’ll learn to batch a sequence of 24 strategic LinkedIn posts alongside a community of peers AND get my 1:1 copy coaching on posts you write. I’ll drop the link to grab one of the 20 spots inside the show notes. OK – Enjoy the episode!

I should probably explain what copy coaching is. It’s not just editing or proofreading, although that’s part of it, it’s deeper than that. It’s asking you questions to dig more fully and clearly into the heart of what you’re actually trying to say and supporting you in shaping it into a little package of words that will drive your ideal audience member forward. 

No matter who I’m working with or what they’re talking about in their content, most of my copy coaching suggestions fall into these 4 categories.

Be more you. 

Be clear, concise, and digestible. 

Keep your ideal reader in mind.

And be strategic. 

Highlights from the podcast episode: 

The Campfire Circle podcast episode 53: 10 Tips for engaging LinkedIn content, highlights:
- How to be more you
- How be clear, concise, and digestible
- How to keep your ideal reader in mind
- How to be strategic

Be more you

Let’s start with “be more you.” What I mean by “be more you”, is so many folks think they have to sound as “smart” as possible. Meaning, using advanced jargon or acronyms that someone just learning about the transformation you provide won’t necessarily understand. Trying to show up as quote-unquote smart as possible can be a real barrier to connection and resonance. 

In fact, I just did this LinkedIn training yesterday and someone said in the chat, “I feel like other people in my field are so much more knowledgeable than me so I hesitate to show up.” 

Guess what – knowledge isn’t the end all be all. It’s more about relatability. That’s why when you go and take a tour of a college campus, the Dean doesn’t show you around. The Professors don’t show you around. A kid who’s a year older than you, a freshman, shows you around – because they are the right and most relatable person to guide you. 

So here’s 3 tips under this category to help you be more YOU so you can better relate and build trust, vs. showing up as an unapproachable know-it-all. 

Tip #1. Write like you talk. Instead of something like “have a chance to” just say “can”. Unless you actually use words like plethora or myriad, say ‘many.’ You don’t want to sound like a thesaurus, you want to sound like a human being. 

I remember back in the day when I worked in mental healthcare, there were these industry conferences where doctors or high-level professionals would spend an entire day with eachother in a small group getting continuing education. But LinkedIn is not that. It’s more like the exhibit hall at the conference, where a lot of different people with different expertise levels but a common passion for the topic comes together to try and learn, connect, and build some relationship. 

So, I want you to ask yourself before you write: how would you talk to your ideal reader in a 1:1 conversation? Maybe record yourself sharing your perspective on something and transcribe it, then clean it up into a LinkedIn post. The goal is to write like you talk. 

Tip #2 is to use active voice vs. passive voice wherever possible. Active voice sounds bold, action-oriented, and clear because the sentence is about what the subject – maybe you or the person you’re speaking to – does. But passive voice removes the subject, so the sentence sounds like something just somehow happened.  An example of passive voice would be: “Mistakes were made.” We see a lot of passive voice in irresponsible journalism because passive voice allows the writer to not assign an actor. 

We are seeing this now in the coverage on Gaza. We have been seeing this in coverage about police shootings for years. There is so much to be said here. It’s important because the ways we frame narratives and shape stories creates meaning. 

There’s likely some social impact lens to your work. Don’t shy away from using active voice, even though passive voice feels more comfortable. Name the true root causes of your work in the world, whether it’s in mental health or conservation or workplace issues, or anything really. Be truthful. That, in and of itself, makes a difference. You might also be surprised at the people who lean in more closely because you are telling the truth they know in their heart. Sure, some people will also lean away from you – but those aren’t your people anyway!

I think we are so used to writing in passive voice because it keeps us nice. And soft. It feels safe to write in passive voice. But when you actively make the switch, you will see how much more powerful your content sounds. And if you need a little practice or help here, try Hemingway Editor. You can enter your post and it’ll highlight what’s in passive voice so you can edit it up. 

Tip #3, is to eliminate what I would call filler words, or gremlin words. Yes, like the 80s movie where the cute little creatures destroyed a whole town. 

We often pepper our language with hedging words, gremlin words like little, just, kind of, somewhat. These words don’t add anything to a sentence, other than making it less impactful, less powerful. It feels nicer somehow though to say little. Or just. Or somewhat. But those words aren’t working for us, they’re just … there.

For me, gremlin words just happen when I talk. Again, it’s all conditioning and training and living inside systems that shape us this way.  But when we write for LinkedIn, we can edit those filler words out after we write it. Don’t try to edit as you write, just get the thing out and then edit afterwards. This will make your content more clear. 

And that actually takes us to our next sort of category, which is … 

Be clear, concise, and digestible. 

So all these next 3 tips have to do with being clear, concise, and digestible. I’m gonna go a little faster here because we’re only at tip 4 out of 12 right now, go figure. 

Tip #4 is to make meaty paragraphs into scannable points that are easier for someone to skim and absorb. That means, plenty of paragraph breaks or white space. Not after every single line but maybe more than you think.  It doesn’t mean your content is gonna show up as broetry. I promise.

It’s just tough to read a brick wall of text – it can contain the most interesting content possible, it could be the follow-up to Iron Flame, I don’t care, if it’s just a solid brick wall of text, I’m probably not going to read it. At least on LinkedIn. 

Next, tip #5, is that each sentence’s job is to get the reader to want to read the next sentence. And often we’ll belabor a point. We’ll say the same thing three sentences in a row in three slightly different ways.  It’s probably not necessary. Just share what needs to be said. After you’re done writing – NOT DURING – editing while you’re writing is a surefire way to never finish a post – but after you’re done writing re-read and use this as a gauge: is every sentence necessary to the meaning of this post and what I am trying to convey or inspire my ideal reader to do. 

Next, tip #6, is that not everything has to fit in one post. I remember copy coaching a post in the last Sprint and I remember thinking, lovingly, dang this could be a chapter in your book. A LinkedIn post is not an essay or a memoir or a newsletter. This is actually a golden problem though, because you can take a teaser of the long piece you want to write and use that as your LinkedIn post to drive people somewhere else, like maybe your email list, to read the full thing. As far as how long is too long, that’s up to you. I have clients who post stories that are 400, 500 words long and it does great. I have clients who post one sentence and it does great. The key is to know your audience and provide value throughout. And – that takes me to the next batch of tips, which are all about: 

Keep your ideal reader in mind.

Tip #7. You’ve probably heard that if you’re trying to speak to everyone, you speak to no one. I think Seth Godin first said that. But how do you make sure your content is speaking to your ideal reader? The answer is to get hella specific. Super, freakin’ specific. 

This is going to feel uncomfortable at first. But honestly, this is where the magic happens. So much of my copy coaching suggestions, more than half probably, are to get more specific and to drill deeper. A checkpoint you can use to gauge if your LinkedIn content is specific enough is to ask yourself, could this post be for anybody? Let’s say you run a group coaching program for managers at high-growth startups. And that’s your person. That’s your ideal reader. That’s who you help.  If you re-read your post, would those managers know that your support is tailor-made and intended for them? Or could it be geared towards anybody – a lawyer, a college student, etc. Your content should include signs or signals that are recognizable to your person. That could be terminology or lingo that would be relatable to them, common issues and experiences and milestones they face – that you share in language they use – in their own words. 

An easy way to think about this is to re-read your content and add: like,  X, Y, or Z after you describe something. Or, “you can tell by A, B, or C.”

And in those spaces, add specific examples that they will relate to. If this isn’t quite, check out the link in the Show Notes where I actually copy coach 5 real LinkedIn posts. It’s just a Loom video but then you can see what I mean in practice. For example, I suggested to a service provider who works with busy nonprofit professionals, instead of saying “nonprofit leaders are busy.” – paint a picture of what that looks like. Give a specific example – like having to stuff 1,000 Avery nametags the night before the gala. And don’t be afraid that your specificity excludes people or that you’re turning people away by being specific. You will never alienate your ideal, dreamy people by being more specific, clear, and descriptive, you’ll only draw them in. Even if they can’t relate to that exact example, they will get that you understand their world.

Tip #8. Use you more than you use I in your content. You’re speaking directly to the reader. Even if the story you’re sharing is about you, it’s really about the reader and their experience of it, and how it makes them think differently. 

Tip #9. When you’re sharing content, say something. A lot of people are nervous about showing up on LinkedIn because they don’t simply want to add to the noise. So don’t. Say something of value. One way to ensure you’re doing this is before you start writing, be clear about what it is that you want your ideal reader to DO after they read it. What’s the main point that you want them to take away – what do you want them to do – what do you hope they will gain? Start there and after you write the piece, ask yourself if you accomplished that goal. 

Finally, #10. Be strategic. 

Now, you don’t always have to be. Share something off the cuff. Share a timely news article and your hot take. Have fun. Find play. 

And, if you have a small business, you likely sell a service or a program. You might have launches throughout the year, or periods where you sell more actively. Or if you’re a nonprofit, you’ve got periods where you fundraise or community build. We’re still in January 2024 but most likely you know roughly when those periods are going to be for the year, or at least for the next quarter. So, share a strategic sequence of content that nurtures your person into being ready to take action when those launch periods take place.. That’s what I love so much about the LinkedIn Content Sprint – batching your content in a strategic sequence helps your posts tell a cohesive story, that brings people along a journey that builds trust and resonance. 

Building relationship through content takes time, but it builds rapport that will grow your social impact business. Your LinkedIn content builds community at scale. And that’s why I’m all about it!

So, which of these tips are you going to implement first? I’d love to know. And, I would love to support you 1:1 in practicing these tips in real time, inside the February LinkedIn Content Sprint. Registration is open until Jan 31 or until all the 20 spots sell out. Check out the link in the show notes to join us or learn more. 

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