Join Daniel Roth for an in-depth discussion in this video Remembering your audience, part of Writing to be Heard on LinkedIn.
- I was talking to a CEO the other day who has been writing a lot on LinkedIn and he was frankly complaining to me, saying, "How come my posts aren't doing as well as Richard Branson's posts?" And we looked at the posts together and he was playing it incredibly safe with his topics. They were topics that his company wanted to write about. And I said to him, "As a general reader, "are these the kinds of things you'd want to read? "Would you spend part of your busy day "reading these articles?" And he sheepishly said, "No". You have to know your audience, you have to know what the readers want, you have to think about, "Is this something that someone is going to want to spend their time with?" Now, knowing your audience means knowing, sometimes you want to reach a huge crowd of people.
Sometimes you want to reach -- Sometimes you're opening a store in Mall of America and you want to get this massive foot traffic. Sometimes it's a niche. If you're a writer who just wants to talk to the medical community, if you are doing something that is just important for automotives or people in product management, you have a much smaller audience you're trying to reach. But always think about: Is this something they are going to want to read? Is this something they are going to spend a part of their day focusing on, and are they going to want to contribute their own voices to it? So one great way to think about who your audience is, and whether they are going to engage with your posts is, find out what they are already reading and talking about.
You're better off joining a conversation in progress, of being the voice that helps shed the light on something people are already struggling with or talking about or engage with, than trying to start something entirely new and bring the world over to what you want to discuss. Be part of their world rather than trying to make them part of your world. A very frequent question I get is "How long should my post be?" And my answer is always simple. It should be as long as the content dictates. Now our data tells us that if you write from 800 - 2000 words, you're in the sweet spot of getting engagement on your post.
But more important than that of thinking about those general rules is, "Am I writing to the length that my content deserves?" Sometimes you want to write really long, sometimes you want to write short, as long as you're writing about something engaging that people want to discuss, they want to be part of, they're going to stick with you the whole way. The other interesting part is, no matter how short our attention spans get, you hear a lot about people don't have time to read, and they don't have time to do anything. They want to just consume content in very short snippets. They will stick with you for the length of a piece if you have something really intriguing to say.
Or, they'll skim it, and they'll find places they want to join the conversation or pieces they want to take out of it. Long form writing really encourages skimmability. People are going to quickly -- they're standing in line somewhere, they're flipping on their phone, and they'll find the paragraph that really talks to them. So don't be afraid to write long, and don't be afraid to write short.
- Writing what you know
- Remembering your audience
- Crafting great headlines that get clicks
- Handling comments
- Sharing content on LinkedIn and beyond