How to be a Top 10 Writer on LinkedIn – the book!

After being named as one of LinkedIn’s top 10 writers for Marketing & Social and ‘Agency Publisher of the Year’ for EMEA in 2015, I asked myself a simple question. “How the hell did I manage to achieve that?” 

And my answer to that question? Write a book about it of course. It took over 3 months to pen it… long nights, lost weekends and lingering travel all played their part. The result? Almost 50,000 words, spread across 340 pages and now, for the delectation of your naked screaming eyeballs, it’s available as an analogue paperback or digital ebook on Amazon.

With over 400 million registered users, LinkedIn is (ahem) apparently quite popular. And when you consider that over a million people are now publishing on a regular basis and over 150,000 articles are being published every week then trying to stand out in this tsunami of print is really rather tough. So what can you do to make sure that your ‘magnum opus’ is read as opposed to the other 149,999 items published in the same week? Well, as a sneak peak into the new book, I have selected and summarised 3 of my top tips:

1. Writers write – not exactly rocket science but basically you need to write. And often. Writing is similar to most things in life – the more you practice the better you become. I love to write so it’s relatively painless for me. But I understand that it can be quite intimidating for some, so my advice is to write a few articles before you make your first post. Bounce them off a few friends / colleagues and then polish the pieces before you publish. And frankly if you don’t enjoy doing it then there isn’t much point in you continuing.

My favourite author, Stephen King, wrote a book about his craft called ‘On Writing’. In that book, King talks about a number of facets that have made him such a prolific writer. One of the main reasons is that he simply adores writing. In his words? Writers write. So do I. Pretty much every day, even if it’s only for 5 minutes before boarding a plane, sat in the back of a taxi or maybe even on the loo (don’t judge, you know you have done it too).

2. Be authentic – the most popular items that I have written are the ones where I have taken a stance on a subject. I put my opinion out there to be challenged and never expect everyone to agree with me. Okay so I lied a little bit there. In all honesty I actually prefer it when readers agree with me but I don’t mind it (too much) when they don’t. I kind of adopt the principles of Pareto’s Law (on the basis that the 80% will side with me, of course).

3. Step out of your comfort zone – it’s easy to ‘play it safe’ and stick to your own industry or sphere of knowledge. What is much more exciting, challenging and rewarding is when you choose to write about something that you are much less familiar with. When I have branched out into other fields such as finance, human resources or psychology then it has broadened the appeal of the piece to a much more diverse audience.

And it has worked in terms of securing more engagement in terms of views, likes, comments and shares. For example, a post I wrote about how ‘sarcasm’ is used in the work environment and whether or not it is appropriate – the response I achieved was phenomenal (over 24000 views and still rising) and from a broad spectrum of careerists ranging from acting to zoology. Seriously?

So there you have some of the basic rules. If you want to read more then please take a look at my website and/or order the book on Amazon (shameless plug). And if you don’t think that I’m worth reading then consider some of the amazing contributors / influencers for the book. In no particular order, I am forever indebted to…

Marianne Griebler, Tai Tran, Andrew Goldman, Jordan Harries, Jodi Neuhauser,Elie Khouri, Noor Warsia, Chris J Reed, Chris van Someren, David Petherick, Ian Gee, Richard Ticehurst, Anthony J James, Chip Cutter, Mike Adams and (all hail) Stephen King to name but a few.

If you don’t care what I have to say then surely you must believe them right? Right?!

So why did I write this book? Well, I genuinely believe that anyone on LinkedIn with a rudimentary understanding of language and grammar can have a decent attempt at writing engaging work. And that sentiment is echoed by Dan Roth in an interview with Forbes. Roth, Executive Editor at LinkedIn and one of the team who were instrumental in putting together the Top Voices initiative, puts it most eloquently:

“Most of these are not professional writers. They have day jobs. But they are developing expertise – these are businesspeople with a corpus of knowledge that you can now share with others along the road. I find this incredibly intriguing. Anyone can write and share and talk about what they know”

Word (apparently that’s quite cool according to my kids).

So if you want to be a Top 10 Writer on LinkedIn, I guess there is only one thing left to say…

What’s stopping you?

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Steve Blakeman is Managing Director - Global Accounts for OMD based in London / Paris. He was named by LinkedIn as a Top 10 Writer for Marketing & Social for 2015 (Top Voices) and also 'Agency Publisher of the Year' for EMEA. Please follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter