There are a lot of guides and how-to’s on standing out, making a boom, and going viral. That’s all well and good, but they all skip the “good” stage. How do you go from “okay” to “awesome” without any stepping stones in between?
Well, you don’t. You jump, fall short, and crash and burn. Not a good look for a professional in modern time’s hypercompetitive social spaces. So today we will be taking a look at what constitutes that elusive “solid” level between the average and the outstanding.
Have you heard the expression “hook, line, and sinker” before? That’s actually a great summary of the anatomy of a good LinkedIn post.
The “hook” is the opening line of your text post or article. It can be literally the first one, or sometimes the second, but no further. The hook is always positioned at the very start.
And on LinkedIn posts, when we say "hook" we refer to the text that is written before the see more button. Like here:
Its job is to grab your readers’ attention and draw them in. Therefore it has to be strong and alluring. You follow it with quality content (the “line”) and a memorable conclusion or call to action (the “sinker”). We’ll cover those further below.
Regarding the hook, there are some rules of thumb for writing a good one. First, always consider it from the perspective of your audience. If you read that kind of opening in someone’s post or article, would you want to click “See more”? Or would you decide it’s not worth your time and scroll past?
Write a hook that is genuinely interesting and engaging. Include some striking stat or attractive achievement as “bait”, and explain how you got there in your “line”. The easiest way to do that right is to do it last. It might sound counterintuitive but it’s a super effective tactic.
Write the entire post or article: line and sinker, all the bells and whistles. Then look at that content as a whole, and your hook becomes much easier to formulate. When you have the entire text in front of you, it gives you a clearer view of your key points. You can accurately choose the elements that stand out as strong openers and arrange them into a winning opening line.
Or you can use one of our 120+ hook templates with examples. This is one of them:
This is the “line” we previously mentioned. Your hook is the promise that captures your audience; the following content is what reels them in. After the reader clicks on the “See more”, you have to deliver on what the hook implied.
LinkedIn’s algorithm values consistency in engagement. If people navigate away from your posts mid-reading, the platform will deduce that your content is worthless. It will then limit your presence in feeds.
Once that happens, it’s very difficult to get back out there. You would have to invest far more effort into proving that you “got better”. Therefore it’s best to start out with genuine quality content and just maintain that standard going forward.
To put it simply, it is content that contributes something useful to its sphere. That “sphere” is part of the platform that your content fits into: the virtual space delineated by your field of work, niche of expertise, industry-centric channels, relevant hashtags, specific groups, etc.
The contribution in question can be anything, really: interesting news, fresh discoveries, new perspectives, inspirational business achievements, handy advice, tips, or tricks, or thoughtful insights in some current debate.
Remember to conclude your line of value delivery with an appropriate “sinker”: a stirring call to action, a strong summary, or otherwise memorable conclusion. Your readers’ attention peaks at the start, then steadily falls throughout the reading process.
When they reach the end of your post, their eyes and minds are tired and a little jaded. That’s why it is crucial to end on a strong note. You want to give them one final “ding!” to remind them why sticking around was worth it and to show them what they can do going forward with everything they’ve just read.
Linkedin in protecting users from bad and spammy content. And here is how their content violation funnel looks:
Whatever you post about on LinkedIn, you want your point to be obvious at a glance. In other words, your posts have to be concisely written and clearly organized.
Your best tool for this endeavor is taking a break. When you write your post, save it as a draft and let it sit while you do something else. Give your mind and eyes a break, and then return to what you wrote. This gives you a much clearer view of your content and its quality.
Go hard on your editing. Remove any unnecessary information and cut down on the fluff. It’s okay to keep some “padding” - you want to sound human, after all, not dry and robotic. But don’t go overboard. Keep your slang use to a minimum and avoid little-known colloquialisms.
Definitely stay away from any expressions that are specific to a narrow population. This includes inside jokes, culturally niche references, generation-specific vocabulary, and highly specialized jargon.
Likewise, remove any thoughts that don’t belong. While crafting a LinkedIn post your mind might go off on a tangent. That’s okay, as long as you catch it in time. If you get a related idea or see an opportunity to develop your post into a series, great! Save it elsewhere.
When your content meanders too much, your audience loses focus. They can’t follow you anymore and the meaning you wanted to convey in the first place gets lost. This results in confused readers who give up and navigate away.
This is one of the interesting ways to present your content. People love patterns, and it grabs their attention immediately. the best person to follow for this definetly Jasmin Alic
This is perhaps the single most crucial step you need to take before you post your content. If need be, leave it in your drafts for a few hours and come back to it with fresh eyes. Formatting can literally make or break your reach.
The modern-day Internet user has a pretty short attention span. People don’t want to bother with big blocks of text, lack of punctuation, and monotonous visuals.
Your audience wants content that can be consumed quickly, is easy to process, and clearly demonstrates why it deserves to occupy their brain space.
So how do you achieve that?
First of all, break down the wall of text. Divide it into logical paragraphs. Each individual paragraph should be no longer than three or four lines. From a visual standpoint, two to three lines is optimal. Four is already a lot on the eye.
If your post is going to consist of many paragraphs, consider grouping them under subtitles. Each subtitle should be a main point, and each paragraph can then be a sub-point, specific step, supporting example, etc.
Pay attention to your section spacing too. This applies to paragraphs, subtitles, list items, and even individual lines. As a rule of thumb, the space between lines should be about half a line’s worth. Include a few extra points of spacing after each chunk of text (paragraph or list).
Proper spacing achieves two important things:
- prevents our readers’ eyes from getting tired, and
- makes each section of text stand out more.
This way, you prevent your audience from wanting to navigate away, as well as make your content a bit more memorable.
As a natural extension of your formatting efforts, you have to make sure they show up properly for anyone viewing them. As you already know, LinkedIn exists as both a website and a mobile app.
That means your content will be showing up in several different browsers and on several different screens of the various mobile devices. Take the time to make sure it will look good in all cases.
You can use dedicated extensions like AuthoredIn that let you preview your posts. This is a great functionality which LinkedIn doesn’t natively provide. Test the way your formatting displays in the app, in different web browsers, and on different screens.
The most important advice we can give you here is to prioritize the app. Sure, the desktop experience is important, but the bulk of LinkedIn’s user base accesses the platform on mobile. If your content is formatted well for the app, it will be formatted well in the browsers too.
Since screens don’t have a tone of voice, you have to find a way to add some dynamics to your posts. (Well, text-to-speech software technically has a voice, but you definitely don’t want your content to sound so stiff!)
The most effective way to do this is to utilize bold and italicized text. These are simple, straightforward methods that anyone will instinctively understand. Both bold and italics are associated with different kinds of emphasis.
Boldface type is generally viewed as stronger, more serious, and more grounded. Use it to draw attention to keywords, important numbers, names of key stakeholders, important dates, locations, etc.
The italicized type comes across as more emotionally charged and potentially more urgent. It is traditionally applied to things like quotes and dialogue. Use it to point out key statements, titles of relevant publications, important interview answers, and the like.
In general, we can summarize these two methods of emphasis in one rule of thumb: bold for objective information, and italics for human moments.
You can also use emojis and symbols to emotionally charge your posts. They fall under a different set of best practices though, so we will talk about them in a separate section.
We mentioned objective information, so let's expand a little on that. Depending on your specific industry and niche, numbers could be your best friends on LinkedIn. After all, even if it is social media, it is tailored to professionals.
Whenever you can, offer your audience some quantified insight into your business. Share your improvements in percentages. State specifically how many employees performed commendably this quarter or how many items of your product were sold this season.
Likewise, share statistics that matter to your field of expertise. This includes more than just niche-specific stats. If your industry has an impact on the environment, on social issues in your area, on your country’s global reputation etc. point that out.
Professional audiences like to see specific, measurable progress. They want clear-cut reasons for why they should care about your story. Take advantage of that and show your business in numbers.
If your company launched a campaign for a cause, promoted a new line of product, hosted an event, or such, quantify those achievements. Appeal to the goal-oriented, ambitious, no-nonsense demographic on the platform.
Bulleted lists in LinkedIn posts come in a few varieties. There are the traditional bullet point designs that your word processor gives you by default, but you can also use:
- check marks, checkboxes, and cross-marks
- stylized numbered lists
- geometrical symbols like triangles and squares
- bullet-like emojis, e.g. stars, comets, arrows, etc.
They are minor differences that mostly come down to style choice, but you should still be careful. Little nuances like that can drastically change the undertone of your post’s message.
For instance, arrows will list the steps in a process, stars will imply energy and celebration, and so on. If you are going to use a non-traditional bullet design, take care to select the right one for your context.
These are the most common uses of bulleted lists in LinkedIn posts:
- listing achievements
- presenting new product features
- tracking milestones
- introducing solutions
- giving examples of do’s and don’ts
- providing instructions, etc.
In addition, learn about how to properly utilize bullet points in your LinkedIn posts. Remember that their purpose is to summarize text. These lists are the perfect place to apply the clarity and conciseness we talked about before.
Make each bullet no more than one or two lines long. Use short sentences. If the point is becoming long, consider separating it into a few smaller sub-bullets.
Since bulleted lists stand out from the rest of your text with a clear start and end, you want to make them effective. This is similar to writing hooks and sinkers. Place the two best points at the start and end of the list.
You want to start with something important or intriguing. Make your audience want to read the whole list. Then finish with an impactful point to make a list more memorable on the whole.
Finally, consider the most modern formatting trick: emojis and symbols. These are the most expressive elements of any LinkedIn post. They are vibrant, attention-grabbing, versatile, fun, and add a lot of energy.
There are a ton of categories to choose from, so you are guaranteed to find an emoji for any meaning you would want to convey. That said, pay attention to your audience’s sensitivities. This means general appropriateness and political correctness.
Generally speaking, emojis are appropriate in casual, friendly interactions. They aren’t so much in a strictly professional context. Consider whether using emojis in each particular post will help or harm your reputation.
If you are posting a happy update, celebrating a milestone, or starting a casual poll, they’re okay. Choose some vibrant, attention-grabbing icons and make your post stand out.
If your content is meant to be highly serious, like an industry article, you might want to skip them. There are still many people who might judge you as being immature or unprofessional for using emojis in your serious posts.
If you’re posting something that’s neither here nor there, emojis could be okay if they are carefully selected. Use more neutral ones, like office items, general symbols, and such.
So, let’s review. Before you can graduate into viraldom on LinkedIn, you have to achieve a consistent level of quality over an extended period of time. After all, it’s a professionals’ platform, and professional people value consistent results.
The way to achieve that is to master the basics of making good posts, and then apply them to everything you publish on LinkedIn. These basics include:
- strong hooks,
- clear, concise writing,
- valuable contributions,
- user-friendly formatting,
- optimization for different displays,
- showcasing quantifiable achievements
- emphasizing key points in different ways,
- utilizing bullet points, symbols, and emojis.
In addition, construct your posts in a way that evokes emotions. People like content creators to whom they can relate. The more you humanize your brand (both business and personal), the more followers you gain and the stronger their loyalty. And when you have a solid loyal community, viral reach becomes much more achievable.
PS: If you want to make text lists follow some pattern like the bullet points, check our free LinkedIn tool: Text staircase generator.