Posts

Update LinkedIn Headline

Why You Need to Change Your LinkedIn Headline… Right Now

Your headline is wrong.

If I could offer you one piece of advice when it comes to LinkedIn, one thing that you should fix up immediately, an action to take care of right now, it’s to change your LinkedIn headline.

There are over 475 million professionals on LinkedIn so it pays to stand out and get noticed. Your profile headline is your golden ticket to showing up higher in LinkedIn search results, attracting greater numbers of profile views, and showcasing your personal brand.

So why is your headline still so bad?

Part of the problem is LinkedIn. It automatically lists your current job title and employer as the default. And you continue to stick with this tried and tested, safe and sound option.

I’m yawning just thinking about it

As an interesting individual with an entirely unique story to tell, why do you still seem content to describe what you do, who you help, how you help them, your social proof, your worth, by referring to yourself by your job and the company you work for alone?

Why don’t you want to make full use of LinkedIn’s 120-character headline to give yourself a powerful headline statement about your true value to a business or employment prospect?

Maybe you don’t know how to. Or perhaps you just don’t realise how essential your headline actually is.

Change LinkedIn Headline

Your headline is the first thing someone sees when you pop up in their search results – no lengthy summary, no great detail about your recent experience, mainly just you and your headline.

In a world of distraction and increasing online noise, one search-optimised sentence is all it takes to grab people’s attention on LinkedIn and stand out from the crowd. If you truly want to generate leads, attract new customers, and grow sales, you need to change your LinkedIn headline… right now.

Here’s how to tread the path to headline greatness.

1. Brainstorm industry-specific keywords to change LinkedIn headline

Nobody really cares that you’re the ‘Marketing Director at John Smith Supplies’. What they do care about is how you’ll help them fix their problems or business issues.

You have 120 characters, including spaces, to grab their attention, show them what you provide, and how best you can serve them so sit down and brainstorm some of the most compelling keywords to reveal your expertise, focus, the target audience your serve, the benefit to your customers in using you.

Take me, for example. I’m a ‘Writer’. I work with ‘Finance’ clients. My offerings are generally ‘LinkedIn’-focused. And I have ‘International’ experience. As you can see, I’m starting to build my base keywords but I need to do much more.

A quick LinkedIn search reveals some example LinkedIn headlines that only include job title and company.

2. Add your specialty – use adjectives and get creative!

Keywords alone aren’t great without some focus and a bit of wordsmithing. Being a ‘Writer’ doesn’t give you a reason to hire me so I need to spice it up and look at my specialty. Instead of ‘Writer’, I could say that I’m a ‘Professional Business Writer Specialising in Personal Finance’. I might say that I have ‘Proven International Expertise’ or that I’m the ‘#1 Ranked LinkedIn Profile Writer in Australia’ (as long as I can prove that, which thankfully I can!).

Consider also adding adjectives to give more ‘wow’ to the headline – words like ‘Energetic’, ‘Gifted’, ‘Inspirational’ or ’Dynamic’ can really make a job title pop. Also try using creative suffixes to describe your work such as ‘Advisor’, ‘Champion’, ‘Specialist’, ‘Innovator’ or ‘Advocate’.

3. Give more detail about what you do

Rather than leave your headline with job and specialty, go a bit deeper and use short phrases to talk about what you’re responsible for or try to expand on how you help your target market. Consider phrases like ‘Driving Customer Excellence as Operations Manager’ or ‘Connecting Employers and Employees Through Effective Engagement Strategies’.

As a Writer, I might look at my own profile and include ‘Boosting Personal Brands Through Powerful Writing’ or ‘Creates Compelling Content to Drive Leads and Opportunities’. Obviously, you don’t have a lot of word count to play around with but you should be able to squeeze something in.

4. Incorporate your passions

Don’t try to outline your bucket list but you can talk to future desires or personal passions that would lead a potential employer to look deeper – some of my clients even opt for activities they pursue away from the workplace, such as sports or even non-profit roles, to give their headline greater personality.

Taking my headline as an example again, I might say that I am an ‘Online Content Enthusiast’ or, if I was working in Retail, I could say that I’m a ‘Champion of Retail Excellence’. It’s about giving more insight into you as a person and what you stand for and believe in – in other words, what your mission is at work and in life.

Change LinkedIn Headline

5. Describe your accomplishments

You only have 120 characters but you can still find space to talk to your achievements and accolades, if you feel comfortable doing so. As a sales professional, use keywords to convey some of your results. If you’re in the field of education, how many years have you been teaching and at what levels?

With my own headline, I might say something like ‘5-Year Huffington Post Blogger’ or ‘Regularly Featured in The Telegraph’. It’s not about being overly salesy but, instead, building social proof and showcasing your true value.

6. Icons give impact

You’ve no doubt seen the keyword-driven headline with the bright and bold icons – stars, ticks, diamonds, even crowns or coloured bullets. I’m a big fan of the icon because I feel that it really does make the headline stand out and catches the reader’s eye if done well and in moderation.

A simple Google search will reveal potential LinkedIn icons to use or look at LinkedIn profile headlines that you like, then copy and paste the icon from the individual’s headline onto your own (and also onto your Experience headlines lower down in the profile). For the more conservative user, consider simpler punctuation marks – the vertical line character or ‘|’ is a popular choice. And feel free to regularly change the headline to keep people engaged. Here’s how mine currently looks – it’s by no means perfect but it does ensure that I rank for the right keywords and search terms.

7. Avoid cheesy, overused keywords and statements

Are you really a superstar or guru? Can you honestly lay claim to being a marketing legend? Don’t oversell by incorporating cheesy keywords that cannot be backed by hard evidence. And try to avoid the overused cliches such as Strategic, Creative, Innovative and Entrepreneur. I hate the use of Entrepreneur. Everybody is a bloody Entrepreneur. Believe me, you’re probably not an Entrepreneur and, if you are, try to find another way of describing yourself and your abilities. Please.

So there you have it. Now it’s time to change your LinkedIn headline.

Think of your 120-character headline as a snapshot of your broader LinkedIn profile and give a great first impression that encourages the visitor to want to learn more.

Use descriptive keywords and catchy phrases to demonstrate your offerings and the target market you serve.

Show people that you understand their industry, you can help them, and that you’ve had success.

Create one powerful keyword-rich sentence to grab the reader’s attention and make it easy for them to understand who you are, what your work is, and the value you bring.

Over to you.

How does your headline stack up? Still got work to do or well on your way?

**IMPORTANT UPDATE** We’ve just released a series of training webinars to help you maximise your time on LinkedIn. Instead of wasting time trying to figure out how to use LinkedIn effectively, learn from the professionals with our one-hour LinkedIn training webinars and get the leads and opportunities that matter most.

Register here –> theinternationalwriter.com/training-webinars/

LinkedIn Training Webinars

About the Author

Russell Ward is the Founder and Lead Content Writer at The International Writer, a content writing and training agency creating powerful online content and providing customised LinkedIn training to boost a personal or business brand, build authority and drive influence.

LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes

LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes: 5 Blunders You Should Never Make

We’ve all done it. Shared the update we immediately regretted. Put up a profile photo that wasn’t quite right. Invited someone to connect without tailoring the invite and got an abrupt “Who are you and why are you trying to connect with me?” response. Classic LinkedIn etiquette mistakes.

While some of these faux pas may not seem all that bad, others can be damaging to your online reputation and career aspirations if you continue to make the same mistakes over and over.

LinkedIn continues to evolve at a rate of knots and it can be tough to keep up with the many updates and modifications. But one thing remains consistent: the basic, common sense principles of old-fashioned etiquette will always apply. LinkedIn is a professional social platform that you should interact on as you would in a real-world, face-to-face setting.

So whether you’re building a personal or business brand, looking for a new job or simply wanting to nurture a burgeoning online network, try to avoid these five etiquette fails that could make you look unprofessional and out of touch.

1. Don’t invite every single person to connect

While it’s tempting to sit on your smartphone and invite everyone on your ‘People You May Know’ list to connect, it will come across as spammy and verging on the socially weird. Of course, reach out and connect with a wide range of people to build your network over time, but do it skillfully, have a reason for doing so, and with something valid to offer that potential connection.

LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes

It might be that you saw something they wrote and you wanted to connect to take the discussion further. Maybe you work with somebody who recommended a mutual connection. Perhaps you share a past career experience or cherished client.

There’s nothing wrong about connecting with strangers, but try to make sure your requests are targeted and of value – and personalise them as much as possible to make the recipient feel more open to the invitation.

2. Don’t update your entire network with every move you make

When you update your profile, a notification is sent out to your network advising them that a change was made if you leave your network notification setting turned on. This can be a great way of informing people that you’ve changed role or that something significant has happened to your business or career – and it can lead to increased profile views, which is no bad thing.

Where the updates fall apart are when you don’t turn the setting off and start to fill your network’s feed with constant notifications of new positions, new schools, new headlines, new everything.

LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes

But these things aren’t often new – you might have simply changed a word or phrase here and there, but your network is being bamboozled with the updates. You’ll start receiving endless “Congrats!” from people about some minor change and you could be informing employers of potentially damaging career updates.

3. Don’t be a persistent social media pest

As with any social setting, nobody likes to be pestered. What’s more, nobody likes to be pestered when they have only just met you. To be admired and respected, you need to be authentic in your approach to your network and the actions you take on a regular basis. For a start, don’t ask people to endorse your skills and never tell them that you’ve endorsed their skills so they should now endorse your own. It’s just plain creepy.

When it comes to your network, don’t make connections just to get hold of an email address so you can then bombard them with marketing messages. It’s called permission marketing for a reason and a LinkedIn connection doesn’t equal permission to send marketing emails, ever.

Finally, never, ever, ever send messages confessing your passionate interest or undying love for a new connection. It happens. It horrifies me. It isn’t Tinder. Please stop.

4. Don’t send spammy, generic messages

As LinkedIn grows, so do our inboxes. Sometimes you’ll receive a message that adds value to your life, but often it will be a random series of paragraphs that make little or no sense to your work or life. What’s worse is when you thank someone for connecting with you and they immediately hit you up with a sales spiel right out of the local car dealer sales handbook. It feels plain wrong.

If your goal is to target sales professionals in the textiles industry and you want to reach out to 50+ people in your network then, of course, you’re going to create a message template that you can use for each message. And we get that. But try to personalise each message you send to the extent possible.

LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes

Study the person’s profile and look for the ways in which you can authentically start a dialogue with them. Include a shared reference, something that brought you to this person, even a comment on an article they may have recently published. Whatever you send, make sure it is tailored, relevant and of value. And never send group sales-focused messages – you’ll enjoy a string of angry responses if you do.

5. Don’t over-share and post little of value

With so much content out there to share, it can be tempting to publish everything and anything. LinkedIn is a social network and we are supposed to be sociable on the platform, but it is a professional network where the etiquette rules are quite different to the likes of Twitter or Facebook – in other words, keep the overly-personal shares out of this space. You also need to watch the frequency of your posts or you’ll run the risk of being seen as a nuisance.

Whether it’s a blog post or news feed update, you should always have a strategy in the back of your mind for posting and a schedule that doesn’t overwhelm or infuriate your audience.

Try to avoid posting more than one newsfeed update per day and carefully consider the kinds of updates being shared – are they relevant, interesting, unique and shareable? Tick these boxes and you’ll be well on your way to influencer status.

Ways to avoid LinkedIn etiquette mistakes

It’s not all bad and there’s hope for us all. LinkedIn doesn’t have a firm set of rules when it comes to good etiquette and much of what I’ve mentioned is common sense.

Rather than run the risk of infuriating your network, connect with people you know, or you can offer value to and build a healthy relationship with.

Ruffle feathers no more by updating your profile on a regular basis, but by selectively switching the notifications on and off as appropriate.

Placate any pet peeves by behaving in a non-pesty kind of way – endorse those you know and respect, never bombard with emails, and look elsewhere for love.

Beat the angry responses by tailoring your messages and connection invitations in a personal yet professional way.

Instead of frustrating, excite and appeal with high-quality content that is shared once per day and is relevant, of interest and doesn’t waste your readers’ time.

LinkedIn is an incredible networking resource so make proper use of it without upsetting your network and hurting your brand.

What have I missed? What other etiquette rules are there or what behavioural annoyances would you include on this list?

Boost Your Online Brand

There’s Still Time to Boost Your Online Brand!

It’s hard to believe the end of the year is already fast approaching. Are you close to achieving your career goals? Are you hitting your numbers and enjoying better business results?

If not, there’s still time to market yourself on LinkedIn and enhance both personal and business brand with a professional LinkedIn makeover.

Wherever you are in the world – whether it’s time for a Spring clean or an Autumn clean-up – The International Writer is offering a 10% discount on our best-selling LinkedIn Profile PREMIUM Package until October 31*.

Just use the promo code – 10percentoff – when you order the LinkedIn Profile PREMIUM package here to take advantage of this offer and work with me, one-on-one, to stand out and drive opportunity.

*includes complete LinkedIn profile rewrite, brand questionnaire, phone interview, one-hour online Review & Strategy session, plus 30 days of email support.

Microsoft to Buy LinkedIn

Microsoft Buys LinkedIn (and What This Means for You)

Earlier this week, Microsoft Corp. announced that it will buy LinkedIn Corp. in a $26.2 billion deal, which led to a 47 percent jump in LinkedIn’s shares and will see Jeff Weiner stay on as LinkedIn CEO.

Read the LinkedIn CEO’s thoughts on the announcement here >> LinkedIn + Microsoft: Changing the Way the World Works Microsoft to buy LinkedIn.

For LinkedIn, this represents a huge opportunity to take the business, which already has some 433 million members, to the next level. According to Microsoft, they will be able to “accelerate the growth of LinkedIn” centred on fully connecting the world’s professionals.

LinkedIn will keep its brand and independence but build on its current offerings by closely integrating with key Microsoft products and services.

A letter from Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, confirmed that the organisation wants to reinvent ways to make professionals more productive while at the same time reinventing selling, marketing and talent management processes. Nadella added that:

“If you’re not on LinkedIn, join up now and start using and learning more.”

So what does this mean for you?

There has never been a better time to build your profile on LinkedIn and get ready for the major changes and improvements heading this way.

To take advantage of LinkedIn and boost your online presence, make sure your profile is correctly set-up and fully optimised for search and new business and networking opportunities.

Nurture your network of connections, get active and get noticed.

Put your best foot forward.

Reap the rewards, both now and when the merger begins to deliver results.

At The International Writer, we can create a powerful new LinkedIn profile for you or overhaul an existing one. If your profile already shines, we can help with enhanced company pages and thought leadership blogging, while we’re about to release a comprehensive suite of online, self-paced LinkedIn training courses.

Discover more about our work here >> LinkedIn Packages.

Blog & Content Packages

How to Blog on LinkedIn (When You’re Not a Writer)

If your goal is to improve your online presence, as well as that of your business, and establish yourself online as a thought leader – to show authority and drive influence within your industry – then LinkedIn is an ideal place for promoting your personal brand and networking with your peers.

One of the best ways to showcase knowledge and expertise is by publishing blog posts on LinkedIn’s blogging platform – or Pulse, as it’s now known. A social hub for professionals looking for professional advice, you can use Pulse to drive a focused business readership to your thought leadership efforts.

The advantages of using LinkedIn Pulse are that both your connections and followers get to see your published posts and often the reach is greater than on any business blog – plus you can drive traffic to your business website through web links and calls to action.

Engagement can shoot up through comments on posts, giving you the chance to take the conversation with commenters offline and grow those relationships. Pulse is a great way of showing who you really are and building your profile – you become the trusted advisor who has something useful to say.

But here’s the problem – what if you’re not a writer or blogger and don’t know where or how to start?

We’re all told that we need to write more content to boost our profile, but what if you have a phobia of writing? What if you’ve never published anything online before? How do you know what to write and whether your post will be any good? Our worst fears might be realised if we publish something terrible and end up looking like an idiot rather than expert.

If these sound like your fears and you’re unsure where to begin or what to do, follow these five simple steps to becoming an online influencer through LinkedIn Pulse:

1. Identify your purpose for blogging and make a decision

First, you need to understand why you want to blog – is it to increase brand visibility and promote your business to a much wider audience or do you have something important to say?

While most people share updates and some will have a go at improving their profile, taking that first step to blogging is a whole new ball game. The key is making a commitment to sharing your know-how, then following it through. Once you figure out your purpose for blogging, make that decision to get started.

2. Understand what it is you want to say

What are you going to talk about and how often you going to say it? Are you going to write about an aspect of your industry, which might appeal to a niche market but probably won’t drive significant reach, or are you going to write on broader topics – sharing your many years of business experience on topics such as employee communication, sales excellence and project management hacks?

A combination of both is best – and a focus on quality, insightful writing that will start a conversation. Always repeat the mantra – is it useful, interesting, audience-friendly and unique? Aim to write fortnightly to start with, then adjust based on audience response and your own workload.

3. Know your target audience

There’s nothing worse than writing for the wrong audience – they won’t respond and your post views will tank. Determine your ideal reader (customer, colleague, employee?) and ensure your blog posts are professional and business-focused.

If you plan to write for your peers, show them how they can get better at what they do. If you’re writing for clients, current or potential, don’t give them the hard sell – talk to them about the issues they face and ways to fix them, whether it’s through the work you do or not. Give them business advice and industry updates or insights first.

4. Outsource your writing to a professional

If you’re time poor or inexperienced at blogging, then it makes sense to engage a content writer. A professional will work with you to develop your thought leadership ideas, draft the articles in line with preferred style and voice, while using relevant keywords, catchy headlines and appealing images.

A professional will also edit and proofread the piece, then publish it for you on Pulse. This not only frees up your time for the work of running your business but ensures that someone with digital content skills can get your first few blog posts off the ground.

5. Learn from the professionals then jump in yourself

Once a content writer has published a few posts for you and you’ve been part of the content creation process, seen how it’s done and figured it out, then it might be time to try writing a blog post yourself.

With increased confidence and a growing audience, you can build on the work of your contracted writer and start to write from the heart and with conviction about issues and topics that matter most to you and to your reader.

If you’re ready to promote yourself as a true industry expert and start blogging online, LinkedIn’s Pulse platform could easily be the best way to maximise your online efforts to drive visibility and customer engagement – and all with fairly minimal effort.

If you’re still unsure where to begin, let’s have a conversation about getting you started blogging on LinkedIn today.

The one LinkedIn setting you probably forgot

That LinkedIn Setting You Probably Forgot To Change

The point of being on LinkedIn is to get noticed and make connections, build your network and then choose how you want to work that network – seek a job, do business or build influence, among other things.

Getting noticed requires you to have a powerful, persuasive profile – one that tells a story about who you are, what you do and how you can help me.

Getting noticed also relies on active engagement and, for many of us, this means searching other people’s profiles and company pages for potential business connections or job opportunities.

When you do this, you’ll start to see the number of views to your own profile grow as people return the favour. Before you know it, the connection requests increase and the inbox messages grow – and all because you looked at a bunch of profiles.

I market my own business by exploring contacts I think could become customers. I view their profiles before reaching out to make the connection, either via a request or InMail. That’s the thing about human behaviour – when someone sees that you’ve stopped by, they look back out of curiosity and investigate who you are. It’s a “you looked at my profile, now I’ll look at yours” thing.

And, BOOM, you’ve got them.

Because your profile is of course fully optimised with a killer headline and compelling summary revealing your experience and the ways you can help them – your products and services.

Before you know it, a message or email follows because they like what they’ve seen and they want to know more.

There’s nothing weird about revealing your profile to a person you’ve visited on LinkedIn. It’s how the platform works, otherwise why else would we have public profiles?

Imagine contacting a company about a possible job and you see their CEO looking at your profile only days later? Or sending an email to a potential client then you find one of their staff checking you out? You get a better sense that they’re interested in you and it might drive you to follow up.

But it’s all a waste of time if no-one can see what you’re doing in the first place. If your profile viewing actions go unnoticed. If you’re getting little or no response.

Ever wonder why your profile views stutter? Your profile ranking fails to climb? Ever wonder what you did wrong?

Here’s the thing. You probably made the one LinkedIn setting mistake they never told you about – you forgot to turn on your visibility in the account settings.

You might as well not even exist. You left your profile settings on ‘anonymous’ and nobody knew it was you looking at their profile.

The default on LinkedIn is that your profile information isn’t shared with other people when you look at their profiles unless you want it to be. However most of us are interested in growing our personal brands and actually WANT this information to show when we visit other profiles.

You need to change your visibility settings fast and reveal your photo, name and headline so others can see that you’ve viewed their profile.

It’s easy enough to do.

  1. Go to your Account Settings in the top right corner of your profile.
  2. Select Privacy & Settings: Manage.
  3. Click on ‘Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile’.
  4. Select ‘Your name and headline (recommended)’.
  5. Save changes and you’re done.

You need to ensure your LinkedIn settings fit with your business and personal goals. One way to achieve this is to become more visible on LinkedIn to make you more effective and better positioned for future success.

So change those settings today and don’t make the one LinkedIn mistake that could cost you in the long run.

As part of our LinkedIn Influencer Profile Writing Packages, we check to make sure your settings fit your purpose for being on LinkedIn. We help you show up as an expert or authority in your field – and get noticed fast. Get in touch at [email protected] to learn more.