If you do one thing on LinkedIn, do this.

LinkedIn allows you to write a two-line “professional headline” at the top of your profile. By default, it will show your latest job title and company name. What a missed opportunity! People can scroll down and see that information if they want it.

  • As with all marketing, LinkedIn marketing is about objectives. In order to decide how best to use it, you have to know why you are using it and what you are hoping to achieve.
  • As with all marketing, some people won’t read any more than the headline.
  • As with all marketing, the headline can account for up to 90% of success.

When you know your LinkedIn objective, it guides what you write in the professional headline field. For example, you can express your unique personality and sense of humour e.g. “Sub-editor and proofreader with special responsibility for commas”.  You can include your call to action e.g. “Currently looking to meet Brad Pitt. Can you help?” You can include keywords to help your profile get found on a LinkedIn search (professional headlines also used to show up in the “description” field in search engine results, but no longer do).

I’ve won business just by adding the word “copywriter” in mine. That’s because all your LinkedIn contacts who have not unsubscribed from the weekly digest email (let’s face it, most people don’t because they don’t know how) will receive a message saying “[Your name] has changed his/her professional headline to…”

One of my contacts got in touch to say “Hey, I never knew you were a copywriter!” I never knew he was in marketing, because we’d originally met in another capacity (public speaking). He went on to pass me a lot of web copywriting work.

You can change your professional headline as often as you wish. I know a recruiter who writes “Expert in recruiting for Javascript programmers” when he’s recruiting for those, and “Expert in recruiting for landscape gardeners” when he’s recruiting for those. He then does some other LinkedIn activity to drive his target candidates and clients to his profile. When they see it, they think he’s the right recruiter for them.

LinkedIn expert, Bert Verdonck, includes “happy chocoholic” in his professional headline. He told me that people send him chocolate just because of this.

If one objective of your LinkedIn profile is to drive traffic to your website – and it should be – there is space to include your URL in the professional headline area.  That’s because LinkedIn has hidden your web addresses under the index card icon and the default link “company website” or “personal website”. There is only a small chance that people who view your profile will bother to click there. (Bonus tip:  you can change this anchor text to something more compelling when you choose “other” from the drop-down menu.)

Think of your professional headline more like a poster advert – a few words that will prompt people to read on and contact you. You have 120 characters to play with – go for it!

Source: I first heard this idea from Andy Lopata.

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