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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.

The Secret to Blogging Success

The Secret to Intentional Blogging Success (Hint: It’s Not A Quick Fix)

Much is written about the art of blogging and the ways to achieve blogging success.

From the application of leading SEO techniques to the structure of paragraphs, using dot points and throwing in a couple of links, we’ve all read about those quick tips for becoming an overnight blogging sensation.

But there’s something you need to know.

Because it’s not just about structure, layout and headline. It’s about something more instinctive and naturally grown over the longer-term.

While it’s true that a blog’s readership can be improved by back links, opt-ins to newsletters and exposure on popular sites, tactics and techniques aren’t the be-all and end-all to creating a blog that matters.

The world’s top bloggers don’t reach millions of readers by employing enough white space, a few top ten lists and a daily stream of 400-word posts. The world’s top bloggers create success through time, patience, hard work and inspirational writing. The world’s top bloggers write from the heart with passion and emotion – and this is what is driving loyal readers to their sites over years, not months.

I started writing In Search of a Life Less Ordinary six years ago. After a slow start, the site picked up pace becoming one of Australia’s most popular expat sites and drawing in thousands of readers to its pages every single day. Earlier this month, I wrote a piece for The Huffington Post based on the experiences I share on my blog. The post reached hundreds of thousands of people, with up to 80,000 likes and 13,000 shares on Facebook alone.

And none of this success was achieved through an SEO quick fix or fast trick.

Create a niche

The best blogs have their own distinct, unique identity that comes from an authenticity that cannot be created overnight. The best bloggers do so with a sense of purpose that is obvious the moment you read their blog. They have a clear approach springing from a unique philosophy that they want to communicate. So what will yours be?

What will make your blog different? What experiences and projects make you unique? What authentic purpose can you bring to the table to grow long-term influence?

Stand out

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of competition but there are literally hundreds of thousands of blogs out there. It can be discouraging when nothing you do seems to work. The only way to survive is to focus on creating your own unique, high quality content.

Be the best you can be and the rest will follow. Write with passion and inspire others to share. Be creative, write from the heart, show the world that you really care.

Stick with it

Blogging requires perseverance and long-term dedication. You won’t create overnight success unless you have a radically different idea. And success built over the longer-term will bring a greater respect to your brand. It will also create a stronger blog that comes from posting consistently good content highlighting your voice and authenticity.

Businesses often struggle with the notion of blogging because it requires time and patience to build an audience and drive people to a site. But, as with any decent business, the path to success doesn’t always bring instant recognition or reward. All successful businesses are built one good decision at a time and the same is true of any good blog.

Think long-term

Create a blog for the long haul flight, not the quick domestic option. Don’t burn the blog too early on because it isn’t giving you a fast enough result. Think outside the box and consider the different directions and avenues the blog can take.

Take small steps to achieve bigger goals. By starting small, you’ll make inroads without becoming disheartened by the lack of traction you might see. Invest in your blog to achieve those future dreams. Remove distraction and think about bringing others on board who have a track record of blogging and know how to engage through their writing.

Above all else, remember the secret to blogging success isn’t a quick SEO keyword or a post’s structural fix. The key to creating something exceptional is patience and perseverance… plus a knack for incredible writing.

What are your secrets to blogging success? What have been your experiences in writing a blog?

Image credit: Secrets | Shutterstock

the_international_writer_blog_online_content_writing_truth

The Truth About Online Writing (and Why Quality AND Quantity Matters)

The age of the online piece stuffed with SEO keywords is dead, long live the genuinely well-written article.

For too long, SEO experts the length and breadth of the planet have been filling online content with keywords and phrases to ensure a particular blog post, web page or online story ranks highly on a Google search.

What’s more, content mills have reigned supreme, churning out generic and often average writing with the sole purpose of stuffing a business website with the kind of junk that search engines traditionally feed off. And often at a ridiculously low price that businesses can’t help but be drawn to.

The focus has been on keyword-driven content – and lots of it – with the result being often just what a business is looking for – an appearance near the top of a search query and the loose guarantee of plenty more work.

But those days of keywords and quantity, unimaginative prose and mass-produced content have started to ease with recent changes to Google’s search result algorithms. These algorithms are the critical things which decide how well a business places on a search results list.

The new world is a different beast altogether with Google putting much more emphasis on quality writing in preference to keyword-laden content.

While it will still reward quantity of content, the emphasis will be on quality. Lots of well-written pages will equal lots of reward from Google.

There will no doubt still be a need for the content mill and SEO expert, but Google won’t appreciate it if they stick to past behaviour, so they – and the rest of the world – will need to change.

Quality and quantity will define the new online writing world. And that should be a welcome scenario for any credible business and its talented content writers.

Do you agree that quality should come before quantity? Or should there be exceptions to this rule? Let us know in the comments below.

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