By Phaedra Brotherton
In part 1 of this series, we discussed how to complete your LinkedIn profile to meet basic “all-star” status. In part 2, we reviewed how to use LinkedIn sections and multimedia tools to create an online career portfolio to showcase your experience and credentials to help build your credibility.
In the final article in this Build Your Brand on LinkedIn series, we will cover how you can gain visibility and position yourself as a publishing or communications expert by taking advantage of LinkedIn features. These tools can help you promote your expertise and thought leadership.
“Thought leadership is a way for a brand to position itself as a leader in a certain field or sector by demonstrating its values or expertise,” Felicity H. Barber says. “The key verb here is demonstrate.”
One of the best ways to attract choice career opportunities is by gaining visibility as a thought leader or expert.
In fact, for job seekers, thought leadership is one of the top ways to capture the attention of executive recruiters who prefer to approach passive candidates or those who are not actively looking. Executive recruiters are in search of the industry stars who have demonstrated expertise.
So how do you go about becoming one of these sought-out industry leaders? Lay the groundwork by taking these two steps:
- Determine what you want to be known for. Decide what your ideal job or career opportunity would be and the related area of expertise you’d like to be known for. For instance, if you’re a communications professional with a broad skill set, you may decide you’d really like to be known for your content creation and writing expertise, so when people need a writing expert, they think of you.
- Decide who you need to get in front of. Who do you want to know that you’re an expert? Who are your ideal employers, clients, and audiences? This is important so you can raise your visibility and demonstrate your expertise in a way that resonates with your target audience.
One of the best tools to help you do that is LinkedIn. Here are three ways to start promoting your expertise.
Write and publish original content. No need to have your own blog – you can use LinkedIn’s Write an Article feature. Some ideas for subjects to write about:
- Your thoughts and informed analysis about industry and professional trends
- How-to tips in your specialty area
- Best practices and case studies from your personal experience and work
- These articles become part of your profile and are shared with your connections. Members not in your network can follow you from your article, which is searchable both on and off LinkedIn. Your all-star status profile will be one of the first places interested readers will go to make sure you’re legit. To get the most out of LinkedIn publishing feature:
- Write blog content that covers the topic you’re interested in being known for. Your tips and insights from your professional experiences can compel others to want to learn more about you or to follow you as an expert. You can feel free to pull from previous blogs you’ve written or even publish verbatim, if copyright issues dictate that’s OK.
- Make sure your headlines focus on the value the reader will get out of the article. Because visuals are important, including images and photos that support the blog (and that do not violate copyright) is highly recommended.
Post regular updates related to your expertise. Another way to demonstrate your expertise by sharing information that would be of interest to your audience from credible sources and sharing professional news of interest. Some ideas to get you started:
- Articles from respected business and trade publications. Share articles related to trends and news on your industry from credible consumer and business publications, as well as top publications in the communications-publishing space and other publications you read to keep on top of trends and best practices.
- Articles or blogs you’ve written on relevant industry and professional topics. Share articles or blogs you’ve written for AM&P or other organizations that cover the topic you’re interested in being known for. Your tips and insights from these articles and blogs can compel others to want to learn more about you or to follow you as an expert. (If you’re interested in writing for Signature or Sidebar, contact Thomas Marcetti at email@example.com)
- Personal professional news. Sharing that you just won an industry award, had an article idea accepted for publication, or completed a training program can also be worthy of a post to help others keep up with what’s happening with you professionally. So that you’re not seen as being overtly self-promotional, erring on the side of sharing professional or industry news is best, but feel free to mix in some personal professional news as well.
- How-to tips. Quick tips on subjects related to writing, editing, content creation, and publishing can also be good fodder for posts.
- Quotes. Pithy, provocative, and inspirational sayings or quotes pulled from articles and credited to their source can also work well here and are very popular. Add an image for even more effect.
Participate in relevant groups. Start joining and commenting in relevant, active LinkedIn groups where you can get in front of others in your profession and industry. Some groups are more active than others, but regardless, this is a great opportunity to directly connect with leaders and influencers in your function or industry. Three major activities in groups:
- Posting information of interest, such as your updates and your links to your blogs and industry articles on topics of interest with your comments.
- Commenting on other group member contributions or responding to questions posed.
- Sharing resources and reaching out directly to group members to connect.
By sharing your expertise, you not only build professional visibility and reputation, you’ll also be giving back to your industry as you share your insights and information with others who will benefit from your hard-earned expertise.
Phaedra Brotherton, principal of Resumes and Career Strategies, specializes in working with association executives.
For a checklist to help you optimize your LinkedIn profile, click here.