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How to Become a ‘Thought Leader’ On LinkedIn

By Rory Witt    |    August 14, 2017

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Becoming a thought leader will help you in your job, business, relationships and overall life. These types of individuals are always doing something new or innovative to make themselves more likable and their companies more successful.

But how do they do it?

Some people will say it’s just good luck, but there’s more to it than that. In fact, there’s kind of a science to it

Below, you’ll find three of the most important principles you can integrate into your life to become a thought leader on LinkedIn:

Produce Quality Content

Today, with so many publishing platforms, anyone can call themselves a writer. In many ways, this is great. After all, expressing your ideas and insights online provides you with freedom of expression.

The social web allows you to offer your thoughts, opinions and ideas in nearly real-time, but should you always take advantage of this opportunity?

If you want to be a thought leader on LinkedIn, the answer is no.

To succeed on this platform, you’ll need to leave behind the 140-character spur of the moment posts you might have grown accustomed to. LinkedIn’s audience wants—and demands—much more than this. As a matter of fact, the articles the perform the best on this social network are 1,900 to 2,000 words. The average user on LinkedIn craves long-form articles that’ll help educate them, and they want their articles to be well-written, too.

Good writing is all too rare today, and if you can crank out writing that’s grammatically spot-on and written with style, you can set yourself apart as a thought leader.

If you want to start improving your reputation on LinkedIn, the first step is to improve your writing prowess. For individuals already running at maximum capacity, this is where hiring a good copywriter comes into play.

Provide Real Value

Now that the importance of good writing is established, it’s time to discuss what you should write about. Here, it’s common to feel overwhelmed by pressure, but you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Creating an entirely unique piece of writing has it benefits, but you don’t have to be 100 percent original all of the time. Instead, you need to follow the right people, news sources and websites. As you consume media from these outlets, you’ll start to hear what influences in your industry are talking about.

More importantly, you’ll start to learn how they talk about the issues that matter.

Once you have a better understanding of what’s going on in the space, you’ll be more easily able to create thought-provoking articles. Oh, and all of the upfront work you do will come full circle. As you write your content, you can take advantage of the SEO-boosting benefits of external linking by referencing the sources that informed your piece. 

Another way to provide real value is to use formats that are well-received by LinkedIn users. Professionals on this platform want to read about how they can better themselves and/or their businesses. One of the easiest ways to provide them with this information is to write your posts in a “how-to” format.

In these types of posts, use a clever title, and make sure to include about five subheadings that emphasize your main points.

In addition to utilizing the power of the how-to article, you can also use a list-based article to improve your performance on LinkedIn. Create a click-worthy headline, and then give your readers spatially organized information that’ll allow them to grasp the most important parts of your message quickly.

Make It a Two-Way Conversation

Some thought leaders might be power hungry, but this is often the exception to the rule. The majority of these individuals educate others and give them beneficial information for free.

Why does this matter, though?

To be a real thought leader, you need to stay connected to your work long after it’s published. You need to acknowledge your readers and interact with them—instead of dominating the narrative.

Conversing with your followers shows them that you’re not just a brilliant savant who’s separated from everyone else in the industry. You’re a listening, understanding and caring individual that wants to connect with others.

In order to maximize the amount of two-way conversations you have on LinkedIn, post updates on a regular basis. Here, you can use more short-form writing that’ll help your connections stay in touch with you and learn from you differently than they would from only reading your articles and long-form writing pieces.

Nearly every day, you should post an update to LinkedIn that provides your followers with value, and then you should engage with the people that connect with your post.

Don’t be like this meme … Make all of your updates and posts diamonds.

Take Advantage of Automation

Reviewing some of the top leaders’ profiles on LinkedIn, you might ask yourself if they ever sleep. These users are so active on the platform, any logical person would assume that they sit behind their computer screen all day, just counting down the minutes until they can post again.

Luckily for their circadian rhythms, this probably isn’t what’s happening.

Instead, these leaders have tapped into the power of auto-share tools. Whenever relevant content is created in their network, their LinkedIn automatically reposts it to their profile.

Knowing about this tool, you might be tempted to automate other aspects of your LinkedIn, and this is a worthy cause. It would be foolish not to mention that “too much of a good thing” does apply here, though.

The more you automate your LinkedIn, the higher the likelihood you’ll end up doing more harm than good.

For example, if you automate your LinkedIn to send the “Congrats on the new role! Hope you’re doing well” message, your network will soon realize that it’s not really you doing the work. Once they’ve figured this out, they’ll be less likely to interact with your content, as they won’t know if it’s really coming from you or not.

Do You Have What It Takes?

Knowing what you know now, do you think you can do it? Can you become a thought leader on LinkedIn? 

Pssst, want to know a secret? With enough hard work, you absolutely can.

Better yet, you don’t even have to do it alone. If you’d like a little help improving your LinkedIn performance, a skilled marketing agency can help.

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