Monday, March 26, 2018

6 Powerful Steps to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

by Bethany Jett @BetJett

Marketing and self-promotion can feel like a “gimme game.” As writers, we need to get our name out there into the netherworld of the internet and find ways to have people like us, friend us, and share our work. “Gimme your email.” “Gimme a follow.”

This idea of only promoting ourselves is entirely why people feel frustrated when they have to build their platform. However, a smarter strategy is to share information that your audience wants and position yourself as the person who knows where to find the answers.

If you want to be an expert, or at least, viewed as one, start sharing your credentials and knowledge. And the best place to do that is on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is not dead.

LinkedIn is not boring.

LinkedIn is not simply another social media platform that you have to monitor.

LinkedIn is your online resume and as a writer, you should be sharing yours. Once you set up your account and take the time to fill in your profile and add your education, experience, publications, etc., you can include your LinkedIn bio link in your About Me page on your website. When you write the next article, upload it with a graphic to your profile. This is a place where you can find your next freelance job, connect with other writers, and stay up-to-date with the writing industry, as well as any industry you’re working or interested in.

Here are some tips to using LinkedIn:

1. Participate in Groups
Participating in Groups on LinkedIn will make you a better user in Facebook Groups because the business-savvy individuals in LinkedIn Groups have zero time for blatant self-promotion or information that does not add value.

2. Use Groups as Market Research
Read through the threads in a Group and see 1) what people are sharing and 2) how people react to those posts.

Engage in the conversation by adding value, but don’t simply repeat what everyone else said. Have an idea or opinion (and it’s okay if it differs) but be ready to back up your comments if someone wants to explore the topic with you.

3. Test your links.
If there is a broken link, beware—you wasted people’s time sending them to a URL that doesn’t exist and they will blast you for it…several times…through the thread. It’s amazing how many people feel the need to add the phrase “Link is broken” even though the ten commenters above them also said the same thing. Don’t get link-blasted.

4. Be specific in your headline and bio.
You know this to be true: When someone asks you what you do and you answer, “writer,” you know the inevitable response will either be, “Me, too!” or “I’ve always wanted to write.”
Everyone is a writer. You need to be more specific — copywriting? Travel blogger? Journalist? Ghostwriter?

How do you differentiate yourself from everyone else who is a freelancer? Get specific and show some personality. You are not everyone’s cup of tea and that’s okay because people who are obsessed with matcha green teas rave about them.

5. Use photos.
Make sure your headshot is a current photo of you (not a flower or avatar). Take a few minutes to play with Canva, a free and popular photo-editing app, to design a custom background for behind your profile picture.

You can also add photos to your profile. Share the cover of your book or a speaking photo in your experience section. Let your profile be visually appealing to differentiate yourself from text-only profiles.

6. Start networking.
Chances are high that you have several friends who use LinkedIn, so request them as a first connection. Your first goal is 500+ first connections. Currently, LinkedIn displays on your wall how many connections you have, up to 500. Once you hit connection #501, a beautiful little plus sign appears. No one knows if you have 501 or 500,001…and that’s a lovely thing when you’re building your network if you feel like your platform numbers are small.

Want more writing industry tips? Get the Serious Writer 21 Trade Secrets and Best Practices course for free.

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Bethany Jett is an award-winning author, speaker, military spouse, grad student, homeschool momma-of-boys, suspense-novel junkie, as well as the co-owner of Serious Writer, Inc, VP of Platinum Literary Services, and occasional blogger at She describes herself as “mid-maintenance” and loves cute shoes and all things girly. Get her free #LiveBrilliant 30-day checklist here.


  1. Bethany, Thank you for the great advice. This is exactly what I needed for my new business. Thank you for all you do for writers.

    1. Thanks, Cherrilynn! I wish you all the best with your new venture!

  2. Thank you Bethany for this helpful post.

  3. I'd been flirting with giving LinkedIn a try. I was not sure if it was of value for writers. Your post motivated me to give it a try.

  4. Excellent article, tips and pointers. Online etiquette today is more important then it has ever been. Each step of the process is critical!

    1. So true! Online etiquette is a powerful thing!

  5. This is awesome. I've been reluctant to "waste" time on linkedin trying to keep up with all the "shoulds" of marketing in trying to build a platform. This was just the encouragement I needed to spend a few extra minutes in my routine to utilize this resource.

    1. Wonderful! I've found it to be so helpful to keep track of past projects and events. I hope you find it to be a great platform for you!

  6. Thank you, I need an update on my account and this will give me the right steps.

  7. Such a helpful post. I've kinda been neglecting LinkedIn, and your post explains why I shouldn't!

    1. I wish you all the luck with it! It's pretty fun to connect with other like-minded individuals in groups, too!

  8. I'm having trouble keeping up with writing two 'posts' a week (one for author website, and one for blog) and keeping tabs on fb page. I need to stay away from time on my fb feed I think. Never even considered Linkedin. I'm just a scribbler and hope to be soon published (fiction) author. How do you put that in your bio and make it look like anything?

    1. You've got a lot on your plate! You can include that you're a contributor for the author website and that you're working on a novel. Also, Google "LinkedIn bio" and pull from the examples and suggestions in the various articles. You can switch out your particular field and still use their wording!

      Best of luck!

  9. I have started using LassoIn com and it was really amazing experience. I never received any warning for using LassoIn to automate the LinkedIn marketing activity. The best part of LassoIn was that we did not have to install the software as it runs completely on cloud.