As a writer, you may be quick to disregard LinkedIn assuming that it’s for those who work in the corporate world only. But the professional business networking site, which has been around for nearly twelve years, has over 300 million users and shouldn’t be underestimated as a tool for writers.
Why is it important?
- HR managers and recruiters spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, this is one of their main resources for finding new talent and informal recruitment via social media is becoming more and more popular.
- It’s like an online resume, Facebook, forums and a recruitment database all rolled into one!
- Rather than having to send people your complete resume, you can just share the URL to your LinkedIn profile with them – this makes it much easier for sharing in other areas too, eg in your email signature, business card, other social media platforms and other marketing collateral etc.
Why is it important for writers?
- It’s a great way to share blog posts and articles that you have written (or have been written about you) much like you can on other social media platforms.
- It’s an effective way of scoring freelance writing gigs. Read: 10 Ways Writers Can Use LinkedIn to Find Freelance Gigs
- It helps with your SEO and your general ability to be found on the net.
- It’s another great way to of promoting yourself and your work digitally.
- Often marketing agency personnel use LinkedIn and if they see (and like) your profile, they are likely to approach you for freelance work.
- Sometimes LinkedIn networking groups can extend to real life networking events, writing groups or book clubs.
- Other people share useful links and resources for writers.
- You can also follow industry related companies, such as publishers, authors, writers’ centres etc and see their updates.
How to maximise your profile:
- Make sure you stand out from the crowd. The best way to do that is by highlighting your work – let your skills, experience, awards and recognition do the speaking for you.
- Ask people to write your references/recommendations. Two to six is a good, readable number but make sure they are specific and the person who has written the reference writes why they are recommending you and what project you specifically worked on together.
- Have an up to date professional headshot. “You’re seven times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have one. Like a house that’s on sale, the assumption is that if there’s no photo, something’s wrong.”
- Ensure it is a hundred per cent up to date.
- Keep your profile informative but succinct and readable. Long winded stories don’t belong in your LinkedIn profile.
- Ensure your contact details are current and accessible. A potential writing client will not bother if they cannot find your website, email or phone number easily.
What to avoid:
- Do NOT put a sexy headshot.
- Putting too many statuses and clogging up people’s newsfeeds is also a “no no”.
- Remember it’s a professional networking site not a social networking site such as Facebook, so keep the baby/dog/renovation photos away from it.
- Don’t spam people.
Here are some more useful articles regarding LinkedIn for writers: