Writing for marketing

How to sell yourself on LinkedIn

9 minute read

Many of us are less than comfortable when it comes to marketing ourselves, but self-promotion on LinkedIn is expected.

And luckily, the platform provides multiple places and ways to sell yourself or your services (or widgets, if you are into those).

You may have heard that businesses are ‘killing it on TikTok’. Whether that’s true or not, LinkedIn is the first and still the biggest professional network, with 134.5 million daily active users. And if you understand how to make the most of the built-in tools and features, you may not need to spend as much of your precious time on other social channels.


Profile page

Probably the most obvious place to sell yourself on LinkedIn is your profile page. Exactly how to do it may be less obvious.

The ‘About’ section is your opportunity to tell readers who you are and explain what you do – but you need to have a strategy. Who are the people you most want to engage with and what’s the message you want to send them? You should optimise what you write for your target audience to capture their attention. A focused message here consists of three components: brand, business and benefits.



The American Marketing Association defines a brand as ‘a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or service as distinct from those of other sellers’.

Whether you are thinking in terms of you as an individual or a business, you have a brand. You offer ‘features’ – in other words, skills – that separate you from others. These skills enable you to add value to your target audience. Your LinkedIn profile allows you to bring awareness to your brand and help people understand who you are and how you can help.



From a business standpoint, you need to let people know what you do. Even if you are a personal brand, you are still a business of one. So you need to ensure that what you do – the products or services you provide – is clear to your profile visitors.



In addition to understanding your brand and business, your profile visitors need to know how they can benefit from your services. Put simply, you have to tell people how you can help them. If you don’t, they will interpret this on their own, and they may get it wrong.

Adding the benefits your target audience can expect from working with you is how you create a customer-facing profile. Doing so will also round out your story for your target audience. You need all three components – brand, business and benefits – working together to create a compelling profile that moves the right people from browsing to taking action.



Like on Google, you are found on LinkedIn via your keywords. Keywords are terms people will use when searching for someone on LinkedIn, such as:

  • digital marketing
  • product management
  • brand messaging
  • Certified Public Accountant.

Your keywords not only help people find you, but they also help people understand what you do and how you can help them. It’s essential to integrate relevant keywords into your profile.



The less commonly understood area for selling yourself is via content.

What people most often get wrong about creating content is the level of commitment and creativity you need to capture attention and build an audience.

Drafting and publishing a post is just the start of the process. If you don’t ‘babysit’ that post by responding to every comment for days after, you’re selling yourself short.

Treat the comment thread in your post as bite-sized chunks of stand-alone content. Your true barometer of success when writing LinkedIn content is how much conversation it generates. Your ability to consistently create dialogue with every post is how you build an audience.



It’s not enough to be knowledgeable and a decent writer on LinkedIn. You have to understand that what people are looking for is content that informs and hits in the most creative way possible.

A general lack of creativity is what killed polls. We’ve seen thousands of polls pop up in our feeds since the reintroduction of this feature in 2019. And as a whole, they’ve become predictable and boring. If you’re using a poll to jump on the latest trend or hot topic, you will be competing with hundreds of other poll authors to capture votes and engagement.

Creativity is key. An irresistible, cleverly written question is important to the success of a poll, but so is its structure. I use a binary technique: I only provide two vote options when logically there should be more. This inevitably spurs comments from people dissatisfied with ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ votes, because they’re insistent that the issue I’m probing is not black and white. Those comments provide a strong signal to the algorithm responsible for distribution to keep showing this comment-worthy poll to more people.



When people who are selling via LinkedIn lack commitment, they tend to get lazy or look for shortcuts. There really aren’t any. In fact, some shortcuts could get you booted off the platform.

Two big no-nos are automation software and (engagement) pods.

I format my name on LinkedIn as A N D Y with spaces between each letter. This means, when I’m tagged with a bunch of other folks in a clump of blue hyperlinked text, I stand out.

But the main reason I add spaces is to catch people who use software to automate their outreach. That software basically works like mail merge, by grabbing the first name field. Except when they run it on mine, I see ‘Hey A’ instead of ‘Hey Andy’ in their message. Busted. Not a great way to start the conversation, and your carefully drafted message designed to make me take the next step will be ignored. The personal touch can’t and shouldn’t be automated.

Some software will automate profile visits and allow you to set a threshold of maximum visits per day or week. This is to avoid detection by LinkedIn software that specifically looks for this banned activity. It’s not hard or a huge time suck to manually visit profiles, and you’ll never get suspended by doing it the regular, non-automated way. It’s simply not worth the risk.

When some people (especially newbies) realise how vital it is to get comments on their posts, they will join a pod which manufactures fake engagement. Pod users agree to comment on each other’s content, usually for a fee.

This kind of manipulation – though frowned upon by LinkedIn – won’t get you suspended. It will damage your reputation though. And don’t assume that your scheduled comment support will go unnoticed. Pod comments are usually easy to spot because the people who provide them truly don’t care about your content – and it shows. ‘You rock!’, ‘I love this post’ and ‘100%, my friend’ are the kinds of superficial, bland, non-sequitur statements that pod users spray. Great content doesn’t need propping up.


What and why?

So what should you post on LinkedIn? Before I answer that, there’s another question you should ask first, which is: ‘Why should I post content on LinkedIn?’

Ultimately, content reinforces your positioning and messaging, while at the same time builds credibility and trust. Digging into these ideas more, there are three specific reasons you should post on LinkedIn:

  1. Building awareness

    The content you post will help build awareness of your brand. Specifically, who you are, what you are about and how you add value.


  3. Proving your expertise

    ‘Thought leadership’ is one of those buzzwords that gets batted around a lot. But put simply, thought leadership is you demonstrating your expertise. It cements your credibility by showcasing your knowledge and thoughts about a particular topic.


  5. Demonstrating cultural fit

    Whether business owner, job seeker or simply someone trying to build a presence, everyone looks to LinkedIn to create options and open doors. Your content helps others determine what it would be like to work with you. If you’re looking to get hired by another business, the content you post can help them determine if you are a good fit for their team or project.


What then to post on LinkedIn? The simple answer is content your audience will be interested in reading. Remember, the point of posting is to demonstrate your relevant expertise, which means posting content that matters to your target audience. It never means posting content for the sake of posting content.

To ensure your content aligns with your brand and demonstrates your expertise, stay focused by considering themes and the topics that align with those themes.



Content themes are broad by design but will help you maintain a consistent message. It’s easy to blur the lines about your brand by posting content that is not relevant.

Selecting a theme helps you narrow the focus, so you stay in your lane and become known for your specific expertise. When selecting a theme, a good place to start is with your skill set. Pick a skill and think about the different topics you can write about.



A topic is the subject of a post or article. Your topics should fall under one of your themes and highlight your expertise in a given area. Topics are also the individual stories you can share to demonstrate your expertise.

Topics can include:

  • something you’ve learned
  • something you’ve taught
  • a problem you’ve solved customer conversations
  • something you agree or disagree with in your area of expertise
  • a subject relevant to your audience.

This is obviously not an exhaustive list, but topics can literally be about anything – as long as they fall under your theme.


Give more

Finally, when selling yourself on LinkedIn, it’s important to give more than you get.

Let me explain. When someone comments on your content, you should be thankful and responsive. Don’t wait too long to add your reply, and comment in a way that makes conversation easy. Before you add the comment, read it aloud: does it sound like you? Will whoever’s reading it appreciate what you’ve contributed? Will it make others click on one of the reaction buttons?

You can give even more by going to your commenter’s ‘Activity’ section, finding content they’ve written and adding your own comments. What you’re doing here is strengthening a new bond. If you take this approach with as many active commenters as possible, you’ll quickly build an audience.

You can go further still. If the person runs events, register, comment on the event post and try to attend the live event. Connect with people who consistently comment on your content and offer to introduce them to specific people in your network that you think they have something in common with.

Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, wrote about giving people you network with ‘small gifts’. By this, he meant thinking strategically about how you can move beyond good intentions to actually doing something to help the other person.

You can’t do this without knowing that person well enough to help, so spend the time to get a good understanding of what they may need. What are their values? Their priorities? Ask the right questions and then provide customised assistance.

Ultimately, selling yourself on LinkedIn (or anywhere) is really about showing – and proving – what you have to offer.

If your team is looking to level up their posting on LinkedIn and beyond, have a look at our Writing for social media course outline. We can adapt the content to fit your needs, so get in touch if you’d like to chat with the team about running a tailored session.

Image credit: Abel Justin / Shutterstock


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Andy Foote

LinkedIn coach

Andy is a LinkedIn coach specialising in content strategy. He has developed and tested multiple LinkedIn techniques which maximise results for busy professionals looking to get the best results from the LinkedIn ecosystem.

Andy created his 'Optima Blue' community in January 2023 to share best practices and provide solopreneurs and business owners with LinkedIn visibility, support and insights.

A lawyer by training, his professional experience includes recruitment, HR consulting, career transition coaching and teaching. He has worked with a wide variety of clients in many different industries, globally, over the past two decades.

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