In business and in life, you are what you portray to people. Professionally, this means if you are an expert doctor/lawyer/banker/marketer/entrepreneur/fill-in-the-blank, you need to show people what makes you an expert doctor/lawyer/banker/marketer/entrepreneur/fill-in-the-blank.

You don't wait for people to ask. You take the lead. It's called thought leadership for a reason. One way to be a thought leader is to write about what you know in articles that you publish to LinkedIn.

If you don't have a blog, you might consider your professional profile your platform for sharing your thoughts and expertise. For example, in my public relations and communications business, LinkedIn makeovers and storytelling are something I do well. So I've written about both, not just here but on LinkedIn, too. People ask me how to write articles on LinkedIn, so here's what you need to know.

1. Start on your home page.

Where do you write the article? Go to your home page, not your profile. At the very top, you will see where you can share an update or "Write an article;" click on that.

2. Give your article a headline.

Before you write the article, think about the headline. You want a complete yet succinct thought, not a label. A label would be "teachers and class pets." A headline would be "How teachers use class pets to promote STEM learning."

You also want to tell the reader what they can expect to gain. Say you are a career coach and you want to write about the top mistakes people make in job interviews. A great headline might be: "The top 5 job interview mistakes -- and how to avoid them."

3. Find art for your article.

Next, I like to plug in art for my articles. Some people might prefer to write their story first, but I find having art in place gets me in a good writing groove. You might have the perfect photo, but if you don't, don't worry. To find royalty-free photos on a variety of subjects, go to Unsplash.com or Pixabay.com.

4. Write your article.

Write your article, making sure you deliver on what your headline promises. Note: Your headline might change during the writing process, and that's OK and even a good thing.

Aim for no longer than 1,000 words. As far as length, keeping to 500-700 is generally best. If you find your article is much longer, think about how you can break it up into different thoughts -- and get more articles as a result. Hyperlinks to other articles can also help you keep your word count in check. You don't have to describe a scientific or market study or New York Times story in full. Rather, you can link to outside reading for those who want to dive deeper into your subject matter.

5. Drop in subheads.

You want people to read your article, so make sure doesn't look long and overwhelming. Drop in subheads to break up long stretches of gray text. Imagine how this column would look if the different tips ran together versus being set off by bolded and numbered subheads. 

6. Edit your article.

Now it's time to edit your article. I recommend stepping away from it for a day or at least a few hours after writing. Note that you can save your article in drafts, and it won't appear to your network until you hit "publish." When you sit down with fresh eyes to edit, I encourage you to read your article out loud; that's always how I find mistakes like dropped words and grammar goofs. 

7. Publish and socialize your article.

You are ready to publish your article. Hit publish. Congratulations. But you're not finished yet. LinkedIn will prompt you to share what you wrote with your connections. Just write a post like you would when you share other articles on LinkedIn and Facebook. Use hashtags to capture the attention of those who follow certain terms like "career development" or "resumes."

8. Link your article to your profile.

You want to sure connections can always find your article, so copy and paste the link to your profile. Think of it like how you can pin a tweet to the top of your Twitter account. On LinkedIn, there are two place where you can "pin" articles -- at the bottom of your summary story and to individual jobs. Just click to edit those areas and you will see a "Media" section and hyperlink to link your article. You will see a thumbnail of the art you chose for your story. When people click on this image, they will be taken to your story. Nice, right?

Bonus tip: When clients and prospects ask you questions that are answered by your articles, send a short response and invite them to read more, linking to your past articles. And then enjoy some found time and (hopefully) new business.  

Published on: Sep 26, 2018