by Michal Lusk, Featured Contributor
Second of two parts (See Part One HERE)
WITH HUNDREDS of millions of LinkedIn members already used to consuming content on the site, LinkedIn may be the best platform for launching a quality blog and establishing yourself as a leader in your industry. But the quality must come first if you want to attract readers, connections, and followers. I usually know after a few sentences if I would want to read other posts by a particular writer, or even if the article is worth finishing or not. I really do want to read your posts. So help yourself help me.
Devil in the Details
Yes, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and usage, often seem like they come from the devil. They probably don’t, but getting all those confusing rules, marks, and meanings correct and in the right spots is devilishly tricky, but terribly important. Missing or misusing the mechanics of writing hurts your ability to communicate and hampers your credibility. Conversely, a well written piece with excellent mechanics shows you care enough about your subject and your readers to put in the time and effort to get it right.
Some writers “get” these details, but many struggle. If you struggle, even multiple read-throughs may not catch errors. What else can you do? Know you need, and ask for, help: make sure your second or third opinion is from someone who “gets” the details and can “CYA” in that area. Keep a reference guide (even the Internet works) to spot-check rules. Or call in a professional (proofreader, that is). Your job is to write, communicating the ideas. Letting someone else handle catching and correcting mistakes can make sense.
Points for Style
Know your audience and make sure your writing style matches their reading style. With some audiences you can get away with a more casual, conversational style. But for other readers, mind your “Ps” and “Qs.” What word choice, tone, level of formality, and vocabulary will resonate with your targeted readers? Great ideas plus thorough proofreading without the right style still equals failure, so make sure your style matches your intended audience.
Once you’ve perfected your piece, you’ll want to format it attractively. Sadly, LinkedIn’s formatting options are pretty rudimentary (room for improvement here, LinkedIn). I have had trouble getting posts to look the way I want, with occasional ugly surprises. I recommend you preview your article to make sure you like the appearance before hitting publish. You can edit later, but a little extra time at this step yields a better result. And one or more photos add extra attractiveness and interest.
Develop a Writing Process and Keep the Pipeline Full
Advice on blogging abounds, as does pressure to churn out multiple articles per week. Posting several times a week works if you have developed a writing process to keep new articles in various stages of completion flowing through your article pipeline. Writing is not a static event wherein you disgorge fully formed ideas on cue. Rather, it is a process of coaxing out the words to express what you see, then revising and refining. What process works for you? How many times do you need to proofread? Who can you ask for a second opinion? How much time should you let your articles rest to gain perspective? Would paying a proofreader be worth it for you? Working out your process and knowing how many articles you want to post weekly will let you know what you need to keep in your pipeline.
None of this is new, nor is it rocket-science. Mostly it’s what I’ve learned works for my process. Please do share what works for you in the comments. Taking the time to eliminate errors and ensure your article clearly says what you want it to say in an attractive way pays off in a more professional post that boosts your credibility instead of dragging it down. You are a LinkedIn professional, and a publisher with fantastic ideas to share. I can’t wait for your next post.