LinkedIn has emerged as a great way for you to get your ideas in front of potential clients, to show your expertise. One of the best ways to do this is through the “Posts” function.

LinkedIn Posts – a shortcut to broadcasting your ideas

If you’re not familiar with Posts, have a look at my profile, where you’ll see several of them near the top of the page. You can create posts easily through the “Write a new Post” button near the top of your profile.

Why are Posts so important for building your professional image?

Posts appear on your LinkedIn profile, so that anyone who’s heard of you or met you, and checks your LinkedIn, will be impressed that you’re creating new ideas.

Your Posts appear in the news feed of your Connections, so that they’re reminded you exist, and do this reminding in a particularly powerful way.

Your Posts also appear in the news feed of people outside your network, provided they’re properly tagged as being on a topic for which the other person has shown interest.

Posts are a good way to show your ability to do strategic thinking, through long-form content. You can load them with graphics to help explain ideas that are hard to put into text. And you can insert links to other places on the Web – maybe a video on YouTube or an e-book that lives on your site.

Since being rolled out gradually over the past several years, LinkedIn’s Posts feature has become a stellar way to demonstrate your expertise through your profile. Some people use Posts as their main blogging platform. For example, my colleague Carla S. Shore creates blog posts that attract people to her ideas.

So how do you go about building an effective Post?

Write to a real live person

In Post #5, I went into some detail on “avatars,” or images you hold in your head, about your ideal client. You need to think of the interests, needs and concerns of your avatar in choosing a topic for your Post, and then in its content. It’s not about what you want to say – it’s about what your ideal client wants to know about.

One tip: write your Post in the form of an email to your avatar. This will help you focus your thoughts on your avatar’s needs, not your own agenda.

Pick a topic that is of pressing concern to your avatar

When you’re thinking of topics to write about, think of the issues that your avatar is facing. If your topic isn’t about something that’s pressing on them right now, they’re likely to ignore what you’re saying. Find more on this below.

Focus your writing on areas where you have credibility

Everyone can have an opinion, and this shows up in the comments section of most news sites. Sometimes, those opinions have no credibility behind them, and if it’s just someone ranting, it’s not worth reading. So be sure that you have recognized credibility to discuss the topic you’ve chosen, either through your academic credentials, your professional qualifications, or your experience (or both). That means you’re more likely to not say stupid stuff.

Develop an attractive, descriptive headline

Your headline needs to inform and persuade – inform the reader what the Post is about, and persuade them to click on it and read it. Personally, I’ve started to get really annoyed with Buzzfeed-like headlines: “This broke the Internet. Find out what happened next.” To promote a B2B professional service, you need to include keywords that your avatar will recognize as indicating that your Post matters to her or him.

Three themes to get you started

If you’re stuck on the question of what to create a Post about, here are three ideas, based on the principle above, “Pick a topic that is of pressing concern to your avatar.”

1. How to do something that puzzles your avatar

The words “how to” are two of the most powerful words online, because so many searches start with those two words. You may have done it yourself: “How to erase an iPhone” was one of my recent searches.

So, think of what concerns and issues your avatar is facing, in knowing how to do something. If you’re qualified to discuss it, list the step-by-step procedures for getting it done. “How-to” content is based on an old journalistic theme, called not surprisingly the “how-to, and it works online too.

2. Newsjacking – news your avatar can use

A second content type is “newsjacking,” which is a term from the world of content marketing. It means creating information based on a new development that will affect your avatar. Many of the clients I serve help their clients meet environmental regulations in areas such as noise impacts, and the effects of a project on groundwater or surface water. Newsjacking explains the news, analyzes its effects on your avatar, and makes recommendations on how to avoid a problem or gain a benefit. I’ve dealt with newsjacking more fully in Post #6, here.

3. Trends – developments that will surprise them
Like newsjacking, but in slow motion, “trendspotting” content looks at a slow-moving development that will affect your avatar. Sometimes, if the trend is in your world but will affect them, your avatar may be unaware of what’s going on. This means that some morning, they may wake up and discover that suddenly they can’t do business any more, because of a slow trend they didn’t know about.

You can serve your avatar by creating content that describes the trend, gives evidence that it’s real, and then makes recommendations on how to avoid a problem or gain a benefit. I’ll go into Trendspotting content in more detail in Post #22.

Your LinkedIn Posts strategy is part of your whole content marketing strategy for showing thought leadership. So work efficiently – modify your Posts into articles on your website, or as guest posts on others’ sites, maybe a speech. Consider other ways to get your ideas out there, such as video.