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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 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.

Compelling Business Content by Shutterstock

How To Create Business Content That People Will Share: Lessons From Upworthy

Ever dreamed of writing a blog post that strikes a chord with hundreds, if not thousands, of people?

It’s the kind of content that’s instantly shared across social media, snowballing as traffic is driven to your website in even greater numbers, while generating incredible new leads.

I’ve written hundreds of posts – some do well, others less so – and nothing beats seeing the social sharing icons tick over as your audience immediately connects with the topic – and passes the post on.

So what’s the secret to social sharing success?

I recently met Sara Critchfield, Editorial Director of Upworthy, at her Vivid Sydney talk, entitled On Media, Marketing and Making People Care. Upworthy is the world’s fastest growing media company and one that challenges the rules of traditional media to put out content shared by millions of people every week.

Upworthy posts videos only, no text, and focuses on sharing content that “most people” will like.

And it works.

The organisation’s website currently pulls in 50 million unique visitors per month from publishing an average of seven pieces of content per week.

It’s all fascinating stuff but what can your business really learn from Upworthy’s success at putting out business content that people want to share?

Appeal to your audience

Make sure your business content – blog posts, articles, news stories, web pages – is compelling and grabs the reader’s attention.

Sara says this is the only kind of content that Upworthy distributes. Nothing is published that is dry or boring. Upworthy’s aim is to curate content that is meaningful, engaging, inspiring, gripping – and is subsequently shared by millions.

Focus on the packaging

Your online content needs to be packaged the right way. If it isn’t, then it doesn’t matter how good or well-written it is, it simply won’t be shared.

Upworthy places a major emphasis on headlines and images, spending hours tweaking and refining the key things you’ll first see when you jump onto social media. And, once you click it, they’ve got you.

Share on the right networks

Which social networks are the best ones for your business? Is Twitter the right place to announce a new service or should you focus on Instagram as the launchpad for your latest product?

Upworthy optimises everything it does for Facebook, says Sara. If you want to be where most of the people are, this is where it’s at. And, while Facebook isn’t for everyone, she believes that you have to figure out what works best for you.

The final point to take away: remember that if you do want your work to go truly viral, you need to write the kind of content that not only your clients or friends will share, but that their friends – and friends of friends – will also share.

If you’re interesting in learning more about how best to optimise your business content to get it in front of as many people as you can, send me a note via the contact page and let’s talk.

Have you found success in sharing online? What tricks or tips did you employ?