Friday, February 17, 2012

Internet Marketing Tip: 10 Tips for Writers Using LinkedIn

Last weekend, I wrote a post, "Internet Marketing Tip: Over 7 Ways to be More Effective on LinkedIn," which seemed to resonate really well with other LinkedIn users.

However, I've noticed that there are a lot of people who "want" some things, but they are not positioning themselves to get them.
For instance, I keep meeting and seeing writers on LinkedIn who want jobs or gigs as writers, but they are not putting themselves in, what I see, as the best position.

How should Writers Use LinkedIn?

Definitely more than Twitter and possibly more an Facebook, LinkedIn can be an incredibly effective tool for writers looking for JOBS or WRITING GIGS.

Here are ten (10) different suggestions for WRITERS using LinkedIn.

  1. Pick a Niche.
  2. Modify Your Headline
  3. Have Your Description SELL How You Will Help
  4. Add Important Links
  5. Emphasize Writing in Your Experience
  6. Post Writing-Related Events
  7. Join Groups
  8. Find Opportunities to Volunteer
  9. Endorse Other Writers
  10. Ask Connections What It Takes to Recommend You
1. Pick a Niche

Do you really KNOW who you really are?

"I'm a writer."

First of all, not all writers are the same.  There are many different types of writing:
  • Fiction
  • Creative Writing
  • Advertising Copy
  • Sales Copy
  • Articles-Event Coverage
  • Instructional (Technical, Parenting, Cooking, etc.)
  • Book Authors
I'm sure that I'm missing a TON of different more types of writers.

Just keep remembering to ask yourself an important question.  Who makes MORE money, a General Doctor or a Specialist?

You probably already know that the Specialist makes more--a LOT more.

Why is that?  Because you don't want a General Doctor working on your HEART.

Even though writing is much less critical, finding a Specialist makes it easy for you to make a decision.

Make it easy for OTHER people to pick YOU, the Specialist.

What is YOUR specialty?
  • What type of writing do you do?
  • What industry or product can you represent better than anyone else?
  • What can you explain better than anyone else?
  • What do you describe that people want to read more than anything else?
Define your specialty for yourself, and other people will know to CHOOSE YOU.

2. Modify Your Headline

A TON of people simply have the same headline as their Current Job Title.

First, this is a waste, because it is redundant.

Many people understand that LinkedIn is a social media platform.

However, many people overlook the fact that it is a DATABASE.  Do you realize that LinkedIn has its own Search Engine, too?  Many people use LinkedIn to try finding specific people.  The HEADLINE is one of the key things the LinkedIn Search Engine uses to help other people FIND YOU.

So make sure that your Headline includes WHAT you do so that people will find you, but make it somewhat intriguing, too.

FAIR: I saw one headline read, "Writer at xxx"

WORSE: I saw another headline that read, "Owner, xxx Entertainment."  THIS guy WRITES SONGS, he's a songwriter.

Don't let that be you!

BETTER: I would suggest something like, "Emotion Provoking Song Writer - Country, Rock, and Blues - Amazing & Unique Talent - See Videos"  There may be better out there, but this (a) clarifies WHAT you can do, (b) allows people to find you via a search, (c) appropriately brags about you, and (d) calls for action to learn more about you via "See Videos."

3. Have Your Description SELL How You Will Help

I see many people type in these long, boring descriptions of what they will do.

BORING BUT USUAL: For example,
"I'm a professional writer.  I have over 10 years of experience in marketing communications and publication management in multiple industries. I hold a bachelor's degree in communication arts with an emphasis in professional writing and is also a nationally published freelance writer and editorial consultant.

With articles appearing in numerous magazines across of a variety of subject areas, I also write, edit, and design publications for small businesses across the nation."
If you didn't know this person, would you even finish reading this description?  (Did you even finish reading that description here?:)

Me, neither.

BETTER - I PROMISE: I would suggest something more like this.
"I can get HUGE positive publicity for your business by writing award-winning articles for you and get them published at several magazines throughout the country.  You know how I know I can do that for you?  I've done that for others--not just one time, either.

Your business will look more professional, too.  My editing skills and experience will ensure that you will not be wrongly represented by poorly edited publications."
Some of you "real writers" might put together better examples, but what was the main difference?

Problem: The 1st one was all about ME.

Solution: The 2nd one was all about solving problems for THEM -- by using ME.

Focus on how you will BENEFIT a company...and do it quickly.

4. Add Important Links

So you're a writer, huh?

LinkedIn makes it easy for you to PROVE that you're a writer--and a darn good writer, too!

It's amazing how many people claim to be writers on LinkedIn, but they do not have any evidence of it.

LinkedIn lets you add 3 Links to your Profile page that describes you.

At the very least, you should have a link to
  1. Your Sample Writing Portfolio
  2. Your Ongoing Blog
Do not worry about either website looking professionally fancy.  If I'm hiring a writer, I don't care about your website skills.  I only care about your writing ability.

People need to see your work.

Few people like to "buy before they try."  As a writer, there is not ANY reason you should put people in that situation.

Your writing portfolio should be easy enough to create, even if it is just a page containing links of articles you've submitted, press releases you've written, websites containing sales copy you wrote, or even just documents you loaded into a document sharing website.

It's even better if you have some testimonials to connect to your writing, but at least provide samples.

The blog is important, because as a business owner or hiring authority (of writers), I want to know that you continue to write, even when you don't "have to write."  This will keep your mind and your skills FRESH.

If you do not know how to start a blog, I suggest that you use Blogger (  Follow the directions; it's really easy to start.

If you need help, let me know.  I will help you (create the blog--not write it for you :).

Prove that you're a writer.  LinkedIn makes it really easy--just add your links!

Don't be the "writer" who does not show any PROOF of his or her work.

5. Emphasize Writing in Your Experience

UMMM...OKAY:  When describing their previous jobs, many people want to brag about ALL of the different
  • tasks they were responsible to complete
  • things they had to coordinate
  • people they had to lead
  • things they wrote
  • accomplishments they achieved
  • promotions they got
Did you even NOTICE anything about writing?  It's in there, but IT'S NOT OBVIOUS.  (You were distracted by the OTHER non-related JUNK!)

If you are trying to get a job or a writing gig, EMPHASIZE your WRITING experience.  If I'm looking for a writer, I don't care about your management skills.  I don't care that you used to have a high ranking position.  I don't care that you generated sales...unless I'm looking for a Sales Writer.

Tell me (and the rest of your world) about your writing.  We don't need to know about everything else, until we decide we want to get to know you.  (Some of us might not even really care, even then.)

6. Post Writing-Related Events

Did you know that LinkedIn lets you POST EVENTS?

Besides creating a post, they let you actually post an Event.  Not only can this event be found within LinkedIn, but it also be found on Google (or any other search engine).

What types of events should you post to LinkedIn?
  • Public Opportunities to Share Writing Samples
  • How-to Style Writing Demonstrations
  • Writing Seminars
  • Author Book Signings
  • Book Store Events
  • Your Upcoming Writing Releases
  • Your OWN Talks and Demonstrations
There might be even more events that I would post, but I am pretty sure that you are getting the idea.  As a writer, I want people to associate ME as "The Writing Guy (or Girl)."  I want to make my LinkedIn page as a REFERENCE that people can use for ANYTHING involving writing.

NOW...When I tout my book, article, or whatever else I have written, it just seems natural.  I'm not simply SHOUTING things about myself.  I'm just posting another writing event, which you'd expect from "The Writing Expert."

Where would I post writing events on LinkedIn?
  • LinkedIn Events
  • My Groups (See #7. Join Groups)
I would post it nearly everywhere.  Though it's not the focus of this piece, I would post these events on other places, too, but this post is about how I'd use LinkedIn if I were a writer.

7. Join Groups

LinkedIn allows you to join and create Groups.  As of this writing, I have never created a Group, but my logic allows me to understand some benefits of it, but I am not qualified to write about that right now.

I am talking about JOINING LinkedIn GROUPS.

As a writer, there are two (2) types of LinkedIn Groups I would join:
  1. Writing Groups
  2. Non-Writing Groups
As a social media platform, I would use LinkedIn to communicate with contacts I already have (as LinkedIn Connections) and develop new contacts (as LinkedIn Connections).

Writing Groups: Within Writing Groups, I want to do several things.
  • Connect: I want to connect with other writers to get ideas.
  • Learn: I would like to see and understand experience from different writers.
  • Showcase: I would create opportunities to show my work and talent.
  • Seek Help: I would look for other writers who want to endorse my writing.
  • Be Found: I want to be in a place where people who are "looking for writers" might go to find me.
Non-Writing Groups: Some people might wonder why I suggest that we join Non-Writing LinkedIn Groups.  As a writer, I would have a few objectives here.
  • Demonstrate my writing ability (I have less competition here! :)
  • Meet Business Owners and Job Hiring Authorities
  • Meet and Impress People who know....Business Owners and Job Hiring Authorities
Most people tend the "hang with their own," but you can separate yourself by joining LinkedIn Groups (and other groups) of UN-like people.  These are probably the people with the best chance of needing what you have to offer...your writing!

8. Find Opportunities to Volunteer

If you have a lot of work or have a TON of business, then you do not need to volunteer.  (Although, you might find it to be valuable, still.)

Why would I consider volunteering?  I can't pay very many bills that way!

At some point, I will write a long article, if not write an entire book about this, but for YOUR purpose (as a writer), think of "volunteering" as "marketing."

If you're not busy "doing," then you should spend your time marketing.

How can I volunteer as a writer?

There are many different things you can do to volunteer your writing services.

Guest Blog: You can post a blog in--not only your own but--another person's blog.  That person has a different reading audience than you do.  When people like what they read, quite a few people will look for other things written by the same person.  They might visit YOUR blog and possibly become bigger readers.

BONUS TIP:   This is a REALLY good idea to do this for someone who has a lot of people who read his or her blog.  This can give you great exposure!

Articles:  You can write articles for someone who has a magazine.  If one of your Connections has a newspaper, offer to write a column--especially if that person's newspaper has a decent amount of readership.  These can be
  • Editorial Opinion Pieces
  • "How to" Explanations
  • Event Coverage Write-Ups
  • Event Promotions
  • Book or Movie Reviews
There are probably a lot more than this short list.  What other ideas do you have?

Websites: You can write someone's sales page.  You can write the content on their Home Page, or you can write the content on another Page about a specific topic.  I would make sure that I am allowed to show my work as examples to other people.  Plus, you might learn a thing or two about websites, but that would just be a bonus--not your main goal.

Press Releases: Besides articles, you can simply announce upcoming events.  You can show off your skills to write compelling headlines or ability to write using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques.  You also get a chance to show off how well you can endorse people and venues hosting the event (in the "About Us" section."

Advertising Copy: Write an advertisement for a business owner that you know.  What is great about this is that you can (a) show off your work and (b) tell people how many people responded to your ad that you wrote (# of visitors, sales, # of callers, etc).

There are all sorts of ways to keep building your portfolio, and you might get some recommendations, too.  (See #10: Ask Connections What It Takes to Recommend You)

9. Endorse Other Writers

I wrote a post about that was non-Writing specific (Marketing Tip: Recommend People Who Deserve It), but there are some specific twists I would add if I as a writer.

Not only is it a "nice thing to do," but endorsing writers endears you to people.  It makes you seem generous, but it also gives you a chance to show off your writing.

If you endorse enough other writers, do you not think that some of them will be thinking of you when different opportunities come their way that are not their core business.  (For example, a mystery book writer is not often looking for newspaper column writing opportunities.)

If I was a writer, I would look to endorse people for
  • their writing ability
  • their reliability (ability to meet deadlines)
  • how much I enjoy working with them
  • how much they help other people
  • how well they explain things
  • their passion about writing (or even a specific topic)
Again, I want people connecting me as "The Writing Guy (or Girl)."  The more writing connections I have, the more likely I will be considered to be Mr. Writer (or Ms. Writer).

10. Ask Connections What It Takes to Recommend You

As a writer, I want two (2) things:
  • People to Read My Stuff
  • People to Tell People to Read My Stuff
Summary: As a writer, I want people who read my writing to tell people to read my writing.

I suggest that you make yourself clear: I am trying to EARN your endorsement.  (Please, do not OBLIGATE people to endorse you.  That is in bad taste, and their endorsement will be lukewarm.)

If you feel like you've legitimately earned their endorsement (recommendation or positive testimonial), ask that person what it would take.

Many people never even consider giving an endorsement.  When you ask, most will just say, "Okay."

Many of these people are not writers, and they are not "sure what to say."

Then WRITE it for them!  Well...write down what you think represents how they feel about you.  Send it to them, and ask whether it is okay for you to use that as their endorsement of you...from them.

If they "OK," then you have a custom-made endorsement without them feeling the pain.

Sometimes, you might even offer to volunteer to do work (See #8: Find Opportunities to Volunteer) so that you can earn a LinkedIn Recommendation or an endorsement.

At previous employers, if you know you did a good job for the person, just ask.  Again, some people are uncomfortable about the "formality" of writing a recommendation or are too lazy.  Make it easy for them, and write it.  Get their permission to use that recommendation.

If you are not comfortable asking for a recommendation, simply ask, "What would I have to have done better to have earned your recommendation?"  If they say, "Nothing," then you know to ask for one.

Get recommendations...when you know you've earned them.  (If you have not, don't put people in that awkward position!)

I cannot guarantee your success as a writer, but I know that if you do these things, you will be well ahead of all of those other writers who do NOT do any of these things.

Seriously, separate yourself and get that writing job or gig.  Good luck!

Like this post?  Other posts you might like are
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  1. Hi Chris,
    I typed, "Why Do I (A Writer) Need to Join LinkedIn?"
    And your terrific article popped up.
    Great advice and tips.
    Hmm...I'd best get started.

    1. Wow, Tracy! What an incredibly kind comment. (It's certainly a fresh breath of air from the usual SPAM comments that come to our blogs. :)

      It seems like you have a well-developed website. It's well-designed, showcasing your skills as an artist--almost looking like a quilt.

      I like the last post on your blog. Those pictures of your dog are adorable...except for that vampire looking one. That was just plainly funny!

      From what I can tell, YOU would benefit from using LinkedIn Groups, especially the author sections. For instance, there is a group, just for Children's authors, which matches some of your target market.

      Thanks, again, for writing that wonderful comment, Tracy. Good luck selling your books and your greeting cards.


Hey there! Thank you for taking time to read my post and share your thoughts with me and my other readers. I'm always tickled when I get a non-SPAM comment. Honestly, sometimes I'm even okay with some borderline SPAM.

Let me know if you would like for me to address a topic by sending me an email at

Thanks, again. I look forward to seeing you soon.