This is how and why I choose to write on LinkedIn. If you write a similar post, please use the hashtag #howiwrite
People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.
WHY do it at all? We live in a sharing economy. Writing and sharing of ideas, along with the dialog around them helps us grow. It helps us build our personal brand. There are 1 million writers on LinkedIn but over 350 million members. Tell us your secret formula. Tell us how to make that magic. Let us taste your awesome sauce. (Does that sound creepy?)
This is how I started:
1. Courage – I think fear is what keeps most people from sharing ideas. I am afraid someone will think my ideas are stupid. Maybe they will think I am stupid. There is anxiety that I will fell my tree in the forest and no one will hear it. It really sucks when my masterpiece…isn’t one.
I wrote my first post about courage. At the end of each post, I write a couple of wrap up lines on courage. It takes a lot of courage to hit publish, knowing my whole professional network may see my post as crap.
My fear of writing is real. As real as jumping off of a high diving board. Maybe I will belly flop. Maybe I’ll barely make a splash. Maybe the sharks (internet trolls) will attack me.
2. Ideas – One key mentor to my writing is Larry Beck @ SDSU. I am also inspired by a few of my favorite authors. Seth Godin, Simon Sinek, James Altucher, Malcolm Gladwell, Jim Collins, Paul Marciano.
I don’t have 70 ideas a week like James Altucher recommends . Usually my posts are inspired by something that I observe. Sometimes by something I read, including other publishers. Most of the time, I write ideas late at night when I can’t sleep. Sometimes I take mental notes in the middle of a bike ride.
3. Challenge – I love comedians. Especially the ones that make me laugh based on observations of our human behavior. I laugh because I am uncomfortable. I laugh because of the truth behind the jokes.
When I select a topic, it is often something that I find uncomfortable. Maybe it is a frustration with a long held belief (like goals or surveys or best practices). I am looking for the “why“.
Sometimes I include a personal reference for context but I don’t like to say, “you should do this because I did”. Maybe it worked but it’s a stupid idea. I try to provide some food for thought.
4. Drafts – I write everything in Evernote and usually on my cell phone. I am not endorsing a specific program. It’s just what I do. Some people email themselves, use Google docs, or a notepad.
I publish once per week but I am not the type of person that can sit down write. My A.D.D. is terrible (future post) and I would have terrible writer’s block. The anxiety would make me produce some book report sounding article. I had 30 ideas and posts before I published my first one. I have about 60 drafts right now. Some will end up in the trash. Some will be great posts. I may get it wrong.
I constantly re-read, re-write, and re-organize my posts. Sometimes I write 2 in a week, or sometimes I edit 10 in a week. Like my thoughts, it’s random. My ideas and blogs are far from perfect but I like to finish the argument in my head before I hit publish.
I copy and paste my articles in analysis software like hemingwayapp.com to simplify it. On a boring technical level, I like my posts to be about 500 words and 5th grade level or below. Then, I usually have my wife or a trusted colleague help proof it and provide feedback. Side note: This post is 3rd grade level and about 850 words.
5. Engage – Why post an article and ignore it? I love to engage with the audience. Maybe it is the hospitality in me. I love the raw emotion and feedback that comes from a comment. The dialogue helps me reflect on what I publish.
I also like to support the authors that support my posts. It builds my network. I often learn something from their writing. It’s networking!
Have the courage to find your voice and publish a post on LinkedIn. Have the courage not to care if it only gets 5 views. Have the courage to engage.
My name is Trent. I am a LinkedIn UNfluencer.
There are hundreds of articles on how to publish on LinkedIn. There are thousands more about blogging. There are countless articles on how to get more readers, the best time to post, and how to get featured. They all seem to have different theories. I don’t know what is right. I just try to write content with an authentic voice. I hope this post on how I write is a little different but with those numbers, who knows? Maybe it is almost exactly the same as another one.
My best post has around 3000 views, and my worst has less than 125 so what do I know? I am still amazed that 125 people read my writing!
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(Thanks Gary Sharpe, John White and Jeffrey Strickland for the tip on the card)
Belly flop image: Joe Raedle, Getty images
Ideas image: Faisal, Broken and Rusty Ideas – Flikr
Drafts Image: Eduardo Sanchez – Ideas Desechadas – Flikr