Writing – when you’re hoping to make a living – involves the other side of the coin: marketing. You need to put yourself and your talent on display for other people to notice. You also need to network, so you have a nice pool of potential clients and familiar friends in the industry to rely on. And most people these days tend to rely on social media to accomplish both tasks. Nothing wrong with that as long as you remain consistent with your posting. But you also want to be strategic in your choices. Do your target people hang out on the platforms you’ve chosen? If you’re using LinkedIn, the odds are the answer’s a resounding “Yes.”
The History of LinkedIn
If you’re like me, you built a profile on LinkedIn back in college. Mostly because someone attached to a career office told you to do so before graduation. In those infant years, it was THE THING for networking. And it allowed you to shortcut the whole resume creation process – provided you stayed on top of things.
But all it usually amounted to was another place to attach your friends and family. Because those were the only people you associated with and knew. And the platform wasn’t well-developed at that point, so no one really “hung out” there.
Not unless they were hunting for a job, at any rate.
The creators were determined to set themselves apart from the other burgeoning social media platforms, though. They wanted a spot that was reserved for business interactions. And since Google+ died a relatively short death, they had a clear aim at the field.
They started introducing and promoting their features:
- Features on the profile
Suddenly, they were on a solid footing to attract more attention and “foot” traffic. But because they were career and business-focused, they didn’t have to worry about direct competition with anyone else.
And that’s when they REALLY started growing.
Writers and LinkedIn
So what does that have to do with writers?
Plenty! That “business” mentality is geared toward job seekers. Which is the perfect environment for freelance writers. You can write posts and articles that are marketing in disguise. Or you can spend time engaging with potential new clients, establishing relationships that will lead you to new work. LinkedIn helpfully offers suggestions on who to connect with and who to read in your Feed! It’s the business version of matchmaking.
And while you find certain purists on the platform, you can post about ANYTHING you want and gain responses. This means sharing ideas about your writing, how things are going at home, work tips, or even funny or inspirational moments. The platform helpfully reports your engagement numbers (no additional app needed) to help you better gauge when and what to post.
When you’re ready to submit an LOI (letter of introduction), you have InMails available. How many you get depends on whether you purchase a subscription or not (and, of course, there are different levels offered). They roll over from month to month, though, so you CAN build up a nice reserve when you don’t use them.
And you can still build up that beautiful profile, complete with examples of your completed projects, so clients can read your work before they contact you. It’s the perfect introduction – minus the need to send out thousands of emails to people.
Getting Savvy on LinkedIn
Of course, there’s an art to navigating the platform.
If you want to attract the RIGHT attention and come across looking as professional as possible, you need to put in some work. That means creating a sophisticated header, writing a killer introduction, and polishing every entry in your profile. And those skills take coaching.
Good thing there are people out there willing to help! The Freelance Writers Den will be opening soon. And Mandy Ellis’s Freelance Writer Wealth Lab will also accept new candidates. Both have courses designed to prepare you to work LinkedIn like a pro. (And neither takes very long)
More importantly, they offer professional reviews of your work! That means an extra set of eyeballs scanning your work. And these are people who’ve operated on the platform for years – raking in tidy profits.
You’ll also get tips and suggestions to ensure you get the most out of the time logged in. Because – like any social media program – you want to invest your time wisely.
I credit both with helping me get my profile in order. And while nothing is permanent (I make constant updates and adjustments), having a firm foundation is critical.
The Writing Business
I started on LinkedIn out of college because I thought it was what all adults did. (Not true: my husband isn’t on the platform at all) But it’s been a boon for my content writing.
And I’ve met many wonderful people who’ve become my support network.
It’s also MUCH easier to hand people the link to my profile than worry about fussing with a physical resume. Everything anyone could need is there – with examples of my work – in a clean, aesthetically-pleasing format. And I redid the link to reference my name and profession (hint: FWD and Wealth Lab will teach you that, too!), so I’m easy to remember and find.
The time is worth the investment.
And it demonstrates that you’re serious about your writing and your career.
So if you don’t have a profile up yet, get started. You have nothing to lose!