There was a time I wrote articles every week on LinkedIn. It was a cathartic experience as I grew my business—writing allowed me to sit down and reflect on my journey—what went wrong, what was going right, where I saw room to improve.
What started as a selfish pursuit to release my anxiety on the screen so it didn’t hold a vice grip on my mind quickly became a selfless endeavor when I realized how my writing was impacting those who would read it.
I still remember the first article I hesitantly published a week after I quit my corporate job 5 years ago. It was called, “Why Your Parents Will Never Be Happy You’re an Entrepreneur.” I penned it after I felt all the enthusiasm sucked out of me when my parents asked, in much more pleasant words, what the f*ck I was thinking leaving a cushy, corporate salary to go fan the flames of a measly little side hustle.
I felt hurt, I felt unsure of myself, and I felt alone. So, I picked up my laptop and I let the words spill out of me onto the screen. After writing the article, I read it to myself a few times. Just the act of doing this allowed me to find empathy in what I formerly thought to be a chilly response from my parents, and realize it was out of concern and love that they were so worried about my new entrepreneurial foray. I even shared it with them after, and they remarked that they were glad I used the art of the written word to explore where they were coming from. In a word, the experience was “therapeutic.”
I sent it along to one of my fellow business owner friends who immediately said, “You HAVE to publish this. Every entrepreneur can relate to this reaction from their parents (or any paternal figures in their life) in some way.” It felt odd to share something so personal so publicly, but I decided to go for it, and I was amazed at what happened after…
Keep in mind, this was in the earlier days of LinkedIn publishing, where articles were still a hot commodity, and VERY few people were even creating status posts. An hour after I published the piece, the reactions and comments started pouring in. I felt so validated and less lonely hearing people say they had a similar experience with their parents when they started their business.
I started writing articles once a week. I’ll admit…it became addictive—the liberating act of reflection through writing, sharing the content, and reading comments from others about how the sharing of my personal journey was helping them with their own.
I started putting out a weekly newsletter with my blogs, and my email list started to grow by the hundreds. It was through engaging with this email list that I was able to sell the idea of my first online course, resulting in 7 people purchasing my beta program for LinkedIn. Writing became a way of connecting and building my audience—it became the vehicle which they came to know, like, and trust me, and ultimately the tool that helped me scale my business.
In fact, when I first started teaching that course on LinkedIn, I placed heavy emphasis on writing articles on the platform. By the time I got around to publishing version 2 of the program though, articles had considerably less reach than they did 6 months earlier, falling victim to the rise of the very popular (and still very popular) long-form status posts.
So, I took my foot off the gas (or, more fittingly, my fingers off the keys) when it came to writing articles, as I focused on scaling my business and writing long-form status posts. After all, article writing is a labor of love for me—from start to finish, I’m probably averaging 2 hours an article, and that’s quicker than most.
Here’s the thing, though. While my followers were growing on LinkedIn even as I focused on status updates over articles, the level of engagement wasn’t the same as when I was putting out much longer form content once a week. Furthermore, I was missing my therapeutic method, and I wanted it back as I had even larger growing pains than I did before. A few weeks ago, I decided I needed to focus on writing articles again, and something amazing happened…
Even though the articles don’t collect as many immediate “reactions” or comments as long-form status posts do, over time, they collect way more views (that article about my parents is still earning views every day) and the level of engagement from the audience is much more than when I only post statuses.
This makes sense logically, right? If someone is reading through an article that’s around 1,000 words (roughly the size of the one you’re reading right now) they are invested. They are sticking with the content because they are intrigued, and they are reflective. The content incubates a bit more just by virtue of the time it takes to read it. And I’m selling a lot more than I was when I was merely writing status posts. I think it’s because longer form pieces allow people to really get a feel for your personality faster than watching it unfold over a series of status posts. My hypothesis could be wrong here, but I think it’s rooted in sound logic.
Of course, LinkedIn is teeing articles up nicely again, too. Especially when you pair them with hashtags. The algorithm is helping, and I’m willing to hop in the slipstream of that momentum.
So, I write this for a few reasons. Because, clearly, it’s pseudo-meditative for me (currently writing this with a glass of red on a Saturday night and am thrilled about it); because I hope you can find some inspiration to write yourself so you can process your learning lessons; and because at the end of the day, it’s increasing my bottom line, so it’s just good business—and that is something I can ALWAYS get behind.