There are a number of key worries that people have as they start to post on LinkedIn and what to write about, whether they will have enough to talk about and how best to communicate their messages to their readers all come high up the list … effectively, what sort of posts should they write. Well, posts can take many shapes and forms according to the author’s inclination and the readers’ preferences – I think the skill comes in matching the two as closely as possible.
To help you in your deliberations, here’s a list of 16 possible types of posts that you could look at to develop the conversation through your posts – they won’t all be relevant for every post, update or even article that you publish but they should help to spark some ideas on ones that would be most applicable for you.
1. Foundation Posts
Foundation posts – sometimes also referred to as “Pillar” posts – are the core content areas that your posting activity should be built upon and they focus on the key subject areas that you want to communicate to your connections and potential prospect. Given their importance, they are likely to be longer than other posts, quite focused in the content and, more often than not, will contain tips or practical advice centred around your main topics.
These are posts that you’ll want to spend a bit more time on and which people should want to refer back to and share, time and time again. The version that you publish on LinkedIn as a post may well be a synopsis of the full article, given the 1300 character limit, but should contain a link through to the full article … perhaps added in the 1st comment if we are to play the algorithm a little!
2. Expertise Sharing
No doubt a familiar type of post for those solopreneurs and/or consultants among us, but equally important for small and large businesses alike. These posts will demonstrate and share information on important topics relating to your expertise, with each post focusing on a particular aspect of that topic.
The subject matter is likely to be of direct interest to your readers and should have primary goal of developing or reinforcing the confidence and trust that they have in your abilities. These don’t need to be “Thought Leadership” pieces, although they could be, but they should deliver value to the reader – do remember though that you don’t always need to be breaking new ground. Your potential clients will be at very different phases of their development and so things that are second nature to you may still be new and exciting to them.
Lists remain one of the most commonly referred to types of posts and hence a very good way of getting a lot of information over in a short space of time. People can dip in and out as they see fit, so these are also the type of post that often gets referred to and shared across social media and beyond.
There are lots of ideas about how long lists should be and it will depend on your preference – long, all encompassing lists have great reference value, but equally shorter “snackable yet valuable” posts are fabulous ways of delivering content to interested yet time poor readers.
4. News Delivery / Reporting / News Breaking
Posts are a great way of sharing news and information and, because of their immediacy, also for reporting on breaking news stories. Unfortunately, few of us are able to be on the spot when we get a scoop but we are able to share news and information that we have found with our connections. It again shows that we are on the ball when it comes to our specific area of expertise and inspires confidence that we are the “Go to Person” in that respect.
While you could simply share a link or story as is, if you want to develop the relationship you have with your connections, try to add your own perspective and comments to it when you write about it. Use the text area to explain why it is important and why the reader should sit up and take note
5. Guides / Instructional
Although not right for everyone, a “How to” guide is an excellent way of passing on information and creating something which has the ability to get real engagement. While sharing information in anecdotal form is great, sometimes you just cant beat a clear guide that’s easy to follow from someone who has been there, done it and got the T-shirt to prove it. Think of it like instructions on putting together a piece of furniture from Ikea (hopefully with all the pieces there) and make your “How to” guides the definitive ones for your specialism.
Dependent on what your topic is, the power of video is undeniable particularly if you are showing something practical, so think about whether a text based post or a video – or a mix of the two – would be the best format. If they are short, then you might post as a ‘native video’ which LinkedIn currently favours, but for longer ones, linking back to a nicely set up Channel page on YouTube or Vimeo can be really effective.
6. Link Baiting
A post which is designed primarily to attract attention and incite people to read and comment – this might be a post with contentious or provocative content aimed at getting a reaction from readers or might be one based on humour. In essence though, its sole goal is to provoke a reaction and generate comments and engagement.
These types of posts are getting lots of airtime currently on LinkedIn but work best once you have built up your audience so that you have a dedicated group of people who will chip in and thereby share the post to their connections as a first step. Once you get initial momentum then results can be really good but do intersperse these with other more information based posts because these don’t communicate much about your skills / services and why I should take note.
7. Surveys & Polls
Facts and figures lend weight to an argument and by using figures from a recent survey or report and then adding your own commentary, you can get your message across with up to date information to support it. LinkedIn’s own figures talk about a real uplift in views where headlines contain facts so if we can tap into our desire to have figures at our fingertips then these an be really powerful.
Alternatively, why not run your own poll in your post (has to be relatively short of course) or via a link to an external site and gather information from the people you really want … opinion of the people in your connections and target audience. The internal Poll application on LinkedIn disappeared many moons ago but SurveyMonkey as an external option is a good way to get people’s thoughts.
8. Article Reply
So you’ve seen something that caught your attention on some one else’s feed or website and perhaps even left a comment on it but you want to expand on that. The length of comments is limited on LinkedIn (though more than enough for most) but sometimes you may want to expand on those initial thoughts and embellish with images etc.
Great, write a post which references the original but then goes on to either develop and expand on the points it makes, or to counter them. You can then reference the original to engage with the author and, if you wished, also go back and edit your original reply and link to your own post.
Never get abusive or personal, but if you write about something that really bugs you and you believe is worth sharing, then this can come over very powerfully in a post. It adds to the 3D view of you, the person, and helps tell your connections or prospects something more about you. Hey, we also like a little bit of Victor Meldrew, letting off steam now and again.
10. Industry Commentary
You are going to be well placed to pass on information about what is happening in your industry and how events are likely to effect your connections and other players in it. So make sure that you become the person that people turn to when they want to get informed opinion about what’s going on by delivering posts which report on developments in your industry.
Clearly, you will quite possibly be aware of what’s going on in any case because those are the circles you move in, but I also find that a simple tool like setting up a Google Alert for certain relevant keyword phrases is also a great way of listening to what is being talked about and reported.
11. Conferences / Exhibitions / Seminars
A great way of getting across information and sharing with a larger audience is to take information from a conference and report back via a post or series of posts. This could be your own conference or one that you are attending as a delegate – beforehand, highlight that you will be there (and willing to meet up no doubt) and then feed back what you found interesting or particularly useful.
If you are in a position to also comment on say the keynote speakers, highlighting a couple of key takeaways for you from their talk then that again allows you to associate yourself with those ideas and will also be of great value to those who were unable to attend in person.
12. Company Specific
There may be some specific news about your company which will be of interest to your readers, perhaps new capacity, extra staff or additional clients, all of which reflect favourably on you and your business. A constant stream of these might be considered unimaginative and prove boring, but the occasional one thrown in adds to the information pool your readers have about you.
There are actually loads of things going on that would be of interest though and don’t forget that social elements (charity events, local meetups etc) also provide a different side of you and the business, so are also worthwhile. Just be careful as to whether these are posted from your Personal Page or from the Company Page (and then liked / commented on by you and others) as this will give a different feel in each instance.
13. Press Releases
While not to everyone’s taste, a post can also an excellent distribution method for formal information as well as being the platform for conversation and relationship building. Don’t use it simply as a Press Release conduit, but if you believe that it is relevant and interesting to your readers then there is no harm in putting PR information out through this route as well.
A recent additional to the functional side of LinkedIn means that you can also add a document to a post – simply text on a page doesn’t work wonderfully well from a visual perspective but does allow people to download it which can have its benefits.
14. Links / Signpost Post
There’s always going to be information that you have unearthed during the course of the week that you’d like to share and is useful to your readers, but which doesn’t suit a full post on its own. So create a post with a series of links to articles, information sources, new stories etc. with just a short one line commentary on each.
You might also use it as a recommendation type of post by linking to other people rather than to posts – LinkedIn is all about people at the end of the day so, like the old trackback in blogging of old, this will usually elicit a positive response from them, hopefully opening some new doors and definitely helping to spread the word!
Reviews can take many forms but are really good ways of creating value and, if they are favourable, positive reactions both up and down the chain. This might be of a book or white paper, or perhaps of a service or product which is relevant to your connections allowing you to give your own opinion on it and then open it to the floor and get your connections’ opinions as well. Of course, as they give them they will also distribute the content to their networks as well which has great value too.
16. Video or Podcast
It’s become really easy to integrate either podcasts or videos clips into your posts and they are also a great way to offer something a little extra to your readers. Ideally make them your own but you can of course embed videos from sites like YouTube that you believe would be beneficial. If you put commentary around them, potentially captions and a transcript for your own, then you’ll take the value on the post up a notch as well.
Of course, a post doesn’t need to fall into just a single category this one, for example, is clearly a list post but I would like to think also falls into the area of expertise sharing. At the end of the day, focus on what will appeal to your readers (you could always ask then what they are looking for!?) but hopefully you’ll find some ideas here to be going on with!