Looking for LinkedIn tips to help you connect with prospects and land more freelance writing clients?
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know LinkedIn is a force to be reckoned with.
The business networking and social media platform has over 700 million users. And it’s the first reliable third-party impression most people will get of you.
Do a quick Google search for “your name.” It’s OK. I’ll wait…
Google “your name”
Even if you own “YourName.com,” your LinkedIn profile is in the top-five results, and likely in the top three results, for a Google search for your name.
Now you’re probably wondering…
What LinkedIn tips could help me stand out as a freelance writer and get more clients?
Let me put on a pair of my signature orange-framed glasses and talk straight.
I’m Phil Gerbyshek…author, speaker, sales pro, small business coach, and LinkedIn tips expert.
And if you want to to connect with prospects in your niche, generate inbound leads, and book more freelance work, LinkedIn can absolutely help you make it happen. Ready? Let’s go.
1. Pump up your LinkedIn profile
Your profile is the first impression people get of you, when they’re looking for you on LinkedIn.
Does your LinkedIn profile show off your niche skills as a freelance writer?
If it does, that’s fantastic. If it doesn’t, marry those two up. You want prospects to know you’re the writer in their niche as soon as they see your LinkedIn page.
This is one of the best LinkedIn tips I can give you, and you can literally give your profile an update in just a few minutes.
While you’re at it, give your LinkedIn headline an update.
Nobody hires a writer because they’re the CEO, president, or founder of a company.
- Is your headline benefit focused?
- Is it all about you?
- Or worse, does it just say, you’re a generic freelance writer?
Find a way to make your LinkedIn profile help you stand out
It doesn’t have to be all business.
For example: I’m primarily a business consultant. But I also like pinball, podcasts, fine wine, and coffee.
It’s a great way to get prospects to:
- Like, and
- Trust you, and
- Show off your personality. FYI, I own 15-plus pair of brightly-colored glasses. Orange happens to be my favorite.
Other LinkedIn tips to to improve your profile:
- Use a current photo with your profile. One that’s been taken in the last 18 months or so. Have you gained or lost weight? Lost hair? Changed your look and style? Use a current photo of yourself.
- Create a custom header graphic. Something besides the boring-blue LinkedIn background. It’s another opportunity to show off your personality. You can even make one for free with Canva. Another one of my important LinkedIn tips…If your writer website has a color scheme or branding, make your LinkedIn background similar. Consistency matters.
- Include your contact info. Name, email, website, phone number.
2. Brighten up your summary statement
In your summary statement or About section, you get 2,000 characters to get your point across. My Linkedin tips for this, start with:
- A 5 to 7 paragraph outline about who you are, who you serve, and what you do.
- The first paragraph should set up why anyone would want to connect to you. Some questions to consider to help you…
- Who do you work with?
- What kind of writing do you do?
- Who are your ideal clients?
- Do you write memoirs or fiction?
- Do you write business books or self help books?
- Are you a ghostwriter, or do you just write articles?E
- Each subsequent paragraph should talk about the other things that you do, and how that benefits your ideal client.
- The last paragraph should be simply why and how to contact you. If people want to work with you, make it easy for them to reach you. (I even invite prospects to call or text me.) If you think prospects want to get a sample of your work, the last paragraph is a good place to direct them to that, too.
- Include key phrases. Repeat the key phrases you want people to find you for (e.g., tech freelance writer, healthcare freelance writer, science freelance writer). Don’t stuff your summary with key phrases, but use them enough to show up when prospects search for a niche writer.
Think of your summary statement as a resource for people NOT as a bullet-pointed resume.
3. Use rich media to show off your work
It’s a great way to get portfolio samples in front of prospects and show off the type of writing you do. You can include:
- Videos of testimonials or recommendations from your clients
- PDFs of work samples
- Links to projects you’ve worked on
- Images or screen shots of projects, results, metrics, or social proof that shows your writing skills and ability to help clients get great results.
4. Use the ‘Experience’ section to highlight your writing skills
Most people look at the Experience section on LinkedIn, and think they need to provide a resume-style chronological history of all their jobs,
Don’t do that, OK.
Use it to show off the various types of freelance writing work you do. For example:
- List every client you have here, along with the niche skills and experience you bring to the table.
- Identify every type of writing you do with a separate entry. (e.g., case study writer, white paper writer, ghost writer, blogger, etc.)
- Spotlight your top 3 skills (e.g., blogging, content marketing, interviewing, etc.) for every client, and ask your connections to endorse them. It’s another one of my LinkedIn tips to help you optimize your profile, get found, and connect with prospects and clients.
Here’s how Carol does this:
5. Post videos on topics your prospects are interested in
Sounds scary, right?
Here’s the thing…video is one of the most effective types of content you can share on LinkedIn.
Yes, yes…I know, you’re a writer, not a public speaker, trained actor, or TV news anchor.
But it’s the best way to connect with potential clients, to:
- Show off your personality
- Provide tangible proof you’re someone they’d like to work with
- Help prospects find out if you can relate to their business, customers, and pain points
If you’re an iPhone user, you can use Apple Clips. Apple Clips transcribes your video, adds the captions as you speak, and makes it very sharp. You can also:
- Edit captions after you talk.
- Copy your captions as text to your clipboard. Then use it to create a blog post, LinkedIn post, or content for your website.
Anyone know of an Android app that works like Apple Clips?
The truth about videos + engagement on LinkedIn
If you’re doubting my LinkedIn tips about using video to connect with freelance prospects, here’s a little case study.
- Engagement for writing an article. Recently, I wrote an article that got 10 likes and less than 50 views. Not very much reach.
- Engagement for posting a video. The same week, I recorded a 90-minute video that got over 50 likes, and some 2,500 views. Much better.
6. Post LinkedIn status updates to start conversations
It’s a really easy short-form content strategy to start conversations with prospects.
A few things to keep in mind…A LinkedIn status update should NOT link back to your:
- Product/service, or anything like that
Why? It’s too salesy. When you do it right, a LinkedIn in status update gives you the ability to go offline to sell with LinkedIn instead of on LinkedIn.
Try it. It’s a great way to connect with the people, and get more likes, comments, and shares.
Here’s an example of a status update:
7. Use #hashtags on your LinkedIn posts
LinkedIn offers searchable hashtags for content discovery.
While I’ve never seen LinkedIn say how many hashtags you should use, my experience and the people that I’ve used keep their hashtag usage to a maximum of 4.
So how do you use these 4 hashtags?
Use one hashtag in your status update. Pick one that has something to do with the topic:
Pick something personal. So for me, I would use #PhilGerb + a #hashtag for my status update.
Why? A personal hashtag gives you the ability to track all the times your article gets posted.
You can also use it to go back and see shared and tagged content. (More LinkedIn tips…sharing is the most sincere form of flattery.)
You can also use hashtags to show off your personality or add something whimsical to your post. For instance:
Sometimes you can use the fourth hashtag for something that’s trending or popular.
If you’re writing article on a specific topic, you may also notice that there’s some news you wish to connect to. Use that hashtag
Better content is getting seen more if you have a great headline that draws people in. Just like a blog post. And if you use up to four hashtags in the status update, you can maximize your findability.
Some of the most popular trending hashtags on LinkedIn right now include:
8. Give and get LinkedIn recommendations
They’re the social proof we can give and get on LinkedIn from working with someone.
Do this right, and it can be a great way to reach more people, including freelance writing prospects.
It’s at great way to show off your writing prowess with the clients you work with.
And you know what?
When you give a lot of LinkedIn recommendations, you’ll get recommendations in return that will help you build a pile of social proof.
Here’s how to leave a recommendation:
- Go the person’s LinkedIn profile page > More > Recommend
- Write your recommendation, and submit it
Besides giving lots of recommendations to get some in return, you can also ask your clients for LinkedIn recommendations.
Think of it like the modern version of the old-school letter of reference, and just ask:
Hi [First Name],
I enjoyed working with you.
Would you write a LinkedIn recommendation about working with me?
You can even provide some tips, highlights or details, you’d like them to mention to make it easier.
LinkedIn Tips: For an even bigger impact, include the keywords or phrases you’d like them to use. It’s another way to optimize your profile on LinkedIn, and it’s gold.
Here’s how to request a recommendation:
- Go to the person’s LinkedIn profile page > More > Request a Recommendation
9. Make LinkedIn connection requests…the right way
One more trick from my bag full of LinkedIn tips, make connection requests.
But not the spammy-begging-for-a-favor way or the anonymous-I-don’t-even-know-you way.
Beware of the LinkedIn connection-request default
Before you start clicking and sending connection invites, ask yourself:
- Is there something I can do to help this person?
- Why would this person want to connect with me?
- How would it benefit myself and this person to connect on LinkedIn?
If you can answer these types of questions honestly and positively, send a LinkedIn connection request. But don’t just click and send. Why?
The default message on LinkedIn is no message
That’s a horrible way to connect, and expect it to get someone to know, like, and trust you.
FYI, this kind of message doesn’t work either:
“Hey, Phil, I see that you’ve got lots of typos on your profile. For $200, I can make your profile better.”
Do not do this, OK!
The right way to make a LinkedIn connection request
Take the time to show off your writing prowess and your powers of observation. Before you send a LinkedIn connection request:
- Study their profile. Think about sitting right across from them. Maybe even look them in the eyes, and imagine having a conversation. Look for something interesting that stands out. You can do this in just three to five minutes.
- Write a customized comment about an accomplishment, post, something they’re proud of, or something you have in common…people, colleges, work experiences, etc.
- Offer some insight, tip or useful information that might help them with their work. Or ask a question (but never anything salesy, pushy, or condescending).
Leverage LinkedIn to land more freelance writing clients
Want to connect with prospects, grow your network, and land more freelance writing clients?
LinkedIn is one of the best places to make it happen (It’s also where I hang out a lot.) Use these LinkedIn tips to move up and earn more.
Looking for more LinkedIn tips to land freelance work? Let’s discuss in the comments.
Phil Gebyshak is an author, speaker, sales pro, and small business coach. He’s also a LinkedIn marketing expert who likes pinball, podcasts, fine wine, and coffee.