Written By Keith Grinsted

How to Get Writing Jobs from LinkedIn

Why you should consider using LinkedIn to gain writing contracts

Launched in March 2003, LinkedIn was essentially a means for connecting executive recruitment agencies with Fortune 500 executives.

It has become an indispensable platform for connecting with business professionals, having an almost completely business focus in all its aspects. Its growth over the years has been significant and LinkedIn now boasts over 550 million members worldwide.

The gender split of LinkedIn membership is an interesting c56%t male / c44% percent female.

While originating in the U.S.A., the platform has members in 200 countries around the world, and 70 percent of the membership is now outside of the U.S.A. For example, there are over 24 million members in the United Kingdom. LinkedIn boasts something like 116 million unique users per month.

No surprise then that Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in 2016!

Whenever I speak about LinkedIn, I ask for the business people in the room to put their hand up if they are “on LinkedIn.” I then ask them to keep their hands up if they have more than a basic profile listing. There are generally few hands left up by this stage! Most people I talk to will say they set up a profile on LinkedIn, but don’t know how to use it, or have forgotten their login details. It is no wonder then that 99% of LinkedIn users fail to optimize their profile!

The great news for you is that if you do optimize your profile, you’ll be among the top 1%!

What writing opportunities are there?

I hear you asking, what writing work have I secured through my LinkedIn connections? And I stress the word ‘connections’ as it is the people you network with online that will connect you with writing opportunities. In many cases you will end up doing stuff for people you may never have met physically other than online! I forget this sometimes as people I interact with online seem just as real as if we were sitting across a coffee table. Yes, I spend most of my time writing in Starbucks, Costa, or Caffe Nero!

In 2017, when I started to promote myself for the first time on Linkedin as a writer, I was taken on by an agent in the UK, one of my existing LinkedIn connections.  He immediately introduced me to Business Expert Press in New York who were looking for a series of executive insight pieces. I wrote 18 e-books for them during the year, including one on how to use LinkedIn which I have drawn upon for this piece – http://bit.ly/2rahVYZ-BEPLinkedIn

Then at the beginning of this year, through the same connections, I secured a contract to write an exam text book for a professional institute. This was a new direction for me and I must admit I adopted Richard Branson’s advice of “say yes – then learn how to do it later!”

During the rest of this year I have secured several further pieces of work through my LinkedIn connections, including blogs and articles for websites and newsletters.

Most recently, I ghost-wrote a series of four longer e-books (around 6,000 words each) for a public speaker. We had been connected on LinkedIn for a year or two, and he contacted me having seen me ‘talk’ online about my work and writing experiences.

This was an interesting project as I needed to write in his voice rather than my own. But this was made easier by the fact he produced a regular series of YouTube videos of him talking about a specific matter. I’d write a chapter then go and watch a couple of his videos to pick up on his voice and vocabulary. I’d then go back through just making a few changes listening to his voice in my mind to see If I felt he’d say it that way.

It obviously worked as he made virtually no changes to the final pieces submitted to him! I even created cover graphics for him (something I don’t normally do) so he could list them straight onto Amazon.

How do I make it happen?

LinkedIn, as with any other networking or social interaction, is all about engagement. You need to have a two-way conversation. There is no point just pushing out sales pitch after sales pitch. People still buy from people! People want to ‘talk’ to you, get to know and understand you, then get to trust you.

One of the first things to consider about LinkedIn is that it is essentially a search engine. Just as with optimizing your website for Google, you need to be sure about what it is you want people to be able to find you for. You need to use the right words to describe what it is you do, or what it is you want to do. Please do not simply upload your CV! Other LinkedIn users want to know about the real YOU.

Connect, Engage, Promote

The key areas you are going to utilize LinkedIn are to:

Connect with people, businesses, and prospects;

Engage with them;

Promote yourself and your business

Your LinkedIn Profile – some key points

Photo

This should be a professional (or at least good quality) headshot. On mine I must admit, it is a selfie(!). But those that know me well recognise the Costa coffee store wallpaper in the background. My closest connections know I spend my days in coffee shops! Both writing and having meetings.

Headline

The bit that comes immediately under your photo, your professional headshot(!). LinkedIn automatically picks up your current job title and pops it here, but you should edit this yourself. After all, this is YOUR headline. This is what you want to be found for. It’s the first thing that will show after your name and photo in searches.

I am always changing mine to reflect what I am doing at the time, any specific projects, or just stuff I want people to find me for.

Summary

The photo, headline, and summary are the three most important aspects of your presence on LinkedIn. We all have such a short attention span these days (apparently less than that of a goldfish!), it is important to grab people’s attention immediately.

Having published a professional photo and a snappy attention-grabbing headline, you now need to follow it up with a great summary.

Please, please, please, do NOT just upload your CV!

People want to know about you, the person.

They want to know what it is you are passionate about. Though try not to use the word as it is one of the most overused on LinkedIn!

They want to know what you can offer them, why they should connect with you.

Some Other Tips

  • Emphasize your professional skills by ensuring you cover, under your job roles, what it is you do.
  • Use metrics to show how effective you have been.
  • Promote any projects you have worked on. They give you a fantastic opportunity to show you have delivered against time, resource, or budget constraints.
  • If you are published online, then make sure your LinkedIn profile links to them. I link my profile to my Huffington Post UK blog, for example. It all adds to building your gravitas.
  • If you’ve won any awards or honours, share them. Don’t be shy, this is your shop window with over 550 million potential passers-by!
  • Showcase any certifications you have or industry-related achievements.
  • Make sure you mention any professional memberships you have. Some people may want to connect with fellow members. A straightforward way to build your connections. This is applicable with groups too.
  • Having mentioned groups, do highlight them. I, for example, always mention my Charity UK group, which has the largest charity-related membership worldwide on LinkedIn.
  • Make mention of any language proficiencies you may have. Multilingual opportunities abound on LinkedIn.
  • Tell everyone about your interests. This may come out in your summary if you get across what it is you are passionate about.
  • And finally, let people know what causes are dear to your heart. Once again, it is an opportunity to connect with kindred spirits.

Remember the know me… like me… trust me… process of networking with people and developing valuable connections. And it’s not just the people you know that are valuable, but the people they know too!

One final tip…

From my early days in advertising, I have used the mnemonic AIDA. You may well have heard of it. It is helpful in focusing what you write.

Attention – grab their attention to find out more about you

Interest – arouse their interest in you, the person

Desire – get them wanting to connect with you

Action – tell them how to connect— message, email, phone, text

 


About the author

Keith Grinsted MBA FRSA has been involved in social media since first becoming a member of the early business networking site Ecademy in 1999. He now has over 20,000 connections and 19,900 followers on LinkedIn. Keith also runs the largest charity-related group on LinkedIn – Charity UK – with 32,000 members. Keith trains business owners on how to make the most of LinkedIn in their businesses. He reminds networkers, whether online or offline, that networking is all about sharing and exchanging information. Keith is The Olderpreneur and helps people aged over 50 set up in business.   www.theolderpreneur.com

keith@worldbizxchange.com

 

Finding Paid Freelance Writing Work Using LinkedIn ProFinder

Your Comments:

  1. Nj Giteere says:

    Great and informative post! Thank you. Trying to look for ways to differentiate myself from other great African writers. Shall implement these changes to my otherwise routine rhythm that hasn’t yielded much thus far. Thanks for sharing!

    • Keith Grinsted says:

      Hi Nj
      Thanks for the comment.
      Forget about the other writers. Be yourself.
      Everyone is great in themselves. Weall have a unique insight on the world. We have all experienced different things.
      Be genuine and be yourself. get in touch if you need help.
      Have a great day.
      Keith

  2. Iyk Mezu says:

    This is very insightful. Thanks for sharing and enhancing our knowledge.

  3. Daphne Gabriel says:

    I have been writing and blogging in local news papers, community projects, church and creating policy on committees.I am excited to add my talents to clients on LinkedIn who want to stand out as a difference in persuasion.

    • Keith Grinsted says:

      Hi Daphne
      Great to hear that you are getting yourself out there. The big thing is to get stuff published online so it is easy to point people toward and easier for people to find you.
      Also, I don’t know if you are getting paid for the stuff you do but don’t undervalue yourself.
      One trick if you are doing stuff pro bono, is to send them an invoice for the full value of your time but with a 100% discount!
      It just reminds people of the value of your time.
      Have a great day.
      Keith

  4. Bonnie Porter says:

    This was helpful and I hope to set up a profile. It would be wonderful to get some jobs, especially if bands need song lyrics or if advertising companies need slogans or jingles. I also would like to write Children’s Books, short stories, etc.

    • Gregory Pastoll says:

      Hi Bonnie, I am interested in what you have to say about writing jingles. Do your composing talents run to doing the music for other people’s lyrics? I ask because I have written several children’s musicals, two of which have been performed. I write the lyrics too. However, I can’t write music, and am always looking for someone who might be interested to collaborate in doing this. If this sounds interesting, contact me.

    • Keith Grinsted says:

      Hi Bonnie
      Thanks for your interesting comment. The fact that Gregory has responded makes my point about engaging online. If you don’t put it out there no-one knows you are there. We only need one lucky break!
      If you need any help with LinkedIn please give me a shout.
      Have a great day.
      Keith

  5. Kimberly Ferguson says:

    Hi my name is Kimberly Ferguson and I write poetry on cards,shirts, books. I have three books on Amazon. I just created Christmas cards everyone loves them. I have been writing six years but my books are not selling. I need a paid job. I am starting college next month and am a single mom of a seven year old. Thanks

    • Keith Grinsted says:

      Hi Kimberley
      Thanks for your comment.
      Wow, sounds like you are busy.
      I came across a tee shirt company in UK where you can sign up for your own tee shirt selling shop and create your own slogans. That would be a way for you to monetise your slogans.
      Also, LinkedIn is a really good place to get yourself out there, but don’t forget twitter and facebook too. I have my LinkedIn set up so that whatever I post there automatically goes on Twitter and subsequently picked up by facebook. You can use stuff like Buffer for free to schedule posts for the next day.
      Let me know if I can be of assistance.
      Have a great day.
      Keith

  6. Tapas K Chakraborty says:

    Sounds interesting.

  7. kaycee githinji says:

    I trust in having this work for I have a skill of typing faster and I’ll be entrusted in all my dealings.Thank you

    • Keith Grinsted says:

      Hi Kaycee
      Thanks for your comment.
      Beware, speed isn’t everything!
      Don’t allow speed to get in the way of quality and creativity!
      People want to read good quality, creative writing, they are not bothered with how quickly you wrote it.
      Have a great day.
      Keith

  8. Jess Vaughn says:

    Thank you for this insightful posts. I have a full LinkedIn profile but it is lacking the pertinent info that may get me work as a writer. I must implement some changes / updates immediately.

    All the best,
    Jess Vaughn (aka Adrienne Ijioma/LinkedIn)

    • Keith Grinsted says:

      Hi Jess / Adrienne
      Why the two names?
      I took a quick look at your LinkedIn profile.

      In your headline, you say you are an author at Amazon Kindle. That does not really differentiate you as there must be thousands who could say the same. This is your headline so it needs to make people want to read on.

      In your summary, you start off writing in the third person and then switch to the first person after the first para. And have you tried to read that first sentence/para out aloud?

      You are a creative writer so show it in your summary. This is all about why someone should connect and engage with you. Include some links to your work if you can.

      Hope that helps.

      Have a great day.

      Keith

  9. Frankie says:

    Hi Keith,
    For my first time out on LinkIn I am doing pretty good with connections. Directors, CEO’s And music people. I guess my questions or thoughts are this; I’m in there I’m sure with a couple of hundred if not thousand copywriters, writers and just plain Jill. Do these kind of people just link up for numbers or is there something different? See I was told that when big wigs link ups like I have it’s just for number totals, but there name alone should carry more than linking up with a small fish like me, right? what’s your take on it?

    • Keith Grinsted says:

      Hi Frankie
      Thanks for your comment.
      The two key things to remember are…
      1- optimise your profile
      2- engage

      You need your profile optimised to ensure people are finding you for the right things and you are getting across who you are and what you can do for people.

      The engagement bit is critical. Yes there are people who are collecting numbers. I myself have 20,000 connections and 20,000 followers. But that means I have a greater bank of people to call upon and engage with. My posts normally get between 1,000 and 1,500 views for example.

      People still buy from people and engagement through posts and messages is the way to achieve the classic ‘know me”like me”trust me’ of all networking.

  10. Dorcas Chelimo says:

    First I must say thank you for this beautiful and very insightful piece of advice. I joined LinkedIn sometime back am quite active too. Am a beginner in writing but I have several poems and short stories I have written. So, I don’t have works that I can attach to my bio or links to add. Currently, I do book reviews on Online Book Club( OBC). Please advise on how I can grow. Thanks.

    • Keith Grinsted says:

      Hi Dorcas

      Thanks for your positive comments.

      I have just sent you a connection request on LinkedIn.

      Just taking a quick look at your profile on LinkedIn I see there is plenty you can do.

      You say you are a journalist on LinkedIn and above that you are a beginner in writing. You also say you do not have work you can add to your bio.

      The simple answer is to post on LinkedIn. Then you have material posted online that you can provide hyperlinks to.

      You need to build the profile summary section to tell people who you are, and why they should connect with you.

      You then need to post regular stuff on LinkedIn. You can link what you write to your Twitter profile. Most of what I write on LinkedIn falls under 280 characters so it goes in full on Twitter. LinkedIn does all that for you.

      My posts generally get between 1,000 and 1,500 views with the occasional one getting 2,500+ views.

      Articles get a lot less but LinkedIn provides a platform for you to showcase what you can write. Then use those links elsewhere.

      It is all about posting original stuff rather than sharing what others have written.

      And engaging. The more you write, the more you engage (as I am here in responding to your message) the higher your profile.

      I hope that helps?

      Have an exceptional week.

      Keith

  11. E W says:

    Hi,

    I found your linked in advice really helpful and have since updated and enhanced (I hope) my profile.
    I have been a freelance writer for 15+ years, working from home as I have a large family (8 kids – really!). I love writing fiction, feature articles, news for kids and anything in between. Most of my work has been published – I can’t afford to write for a hobby. I want to try to get into the field of copy writing/editing as I would like to be able to have a job with more steady pay. I know that there are online courses for this but they are expensive. Does one really need to complete a course in order to get into this field?
    Thanks in advance,

    E. W

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