I wanna be a LinkedIn guru

You see it all the time. People on LinkedIn dishing out sage advice to millions (or tens – not tens of millions, just tens) of professionals, who all have their own (different) agenda. And, they’re not listening.

There are people on the platform (Simon Sinek, Gary V) who have built an audience for this type of content. Even our own Stephen Bartlett (think Social Chain and soon to be a Dragon on the Den). But, they are few and far between. For most people it falls on deaf ears.

“Who are you?” everybody shouts in their head when they read the posts. Who are you indeed?

The thing is Gary V, Stevie and Simon have actually got themselves a reputation for being successful before they started venturing onto LinkedIn (although I think Simon Sinek is somebody who is successful just for talking about what a successful business looks like – bit of a strange one that).

And their pearls of wisdom are often not earth shattering and sometimes not even correct. It doesn’t matter; they come from somebody seen as successful and so they are correct. It’s their opinion and they can back it up because they can point to their success.

If you want people to take notice of you, you need to have a reputation. If it’s the general professional classes (as LinkedIn-ers like to believe they are – yes I’m on there as well), you need to be a Richard Branson, Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos. It’s easier for them to tell people that this is how you are successful or this is how to run a business and people will listen – they’ve got the T-shirt so to speak.

So how do you break into this world? Just like everybody else – get yourself a reputation for being successful. But don’t try to start on LinkedIn.

Focus on the industry you’re in. If you’re an established business, you already have a degree of success. Look at your business and pick out the areas where you are really successful. These are the things you should be talking about. You have automatic authority. Nobody can really argue with you. They can disagree with your opinion on something. But it’s yours and you have the success argument to back it up.

And where to talk about it? In your space, where you and your industry hang out – no, not TikTok. In and around the media and events attended by people in your industry and the industries you are serving. Makes sense. If you’ve got something to say that will help your customers or enlighten the industry in general about the best way to do things, why wouldn’t people be interested?

Because it’s boring? Maybe, but that’s just a question of presentation – either in the way it’s written, the way it’s presented on stage at a conference or the quality of your video or podcast content. And it’s eminently fixable.

We have handled PR for loads of businesses over the years that people might describe as ‘boring’ or ‘uninteresting’. But what they do and what they offer is anything but boring to the people they serve and who need what they’re selling. Especially if it makes their job, easier or quicker or – and here’s the big one – more profitable.

Now they’re listening.

And when you’ve established your reputation on this platform, you can start to extend your reach on to others, because you’ve earned it. You have a reputation to take with you.


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Categories: Opinion PR Branding