The Massive Personal Branding Mistake I Discovered From Studying 16,000 LinkedIn Profiles

I had no idea I was connected to such virtual greatness over on LinkedIn.
Having recently spent a few days sorting through and organizing my 16,753 LinkedIn connections, I discovered I was connected to 115 "Masters," 35 "Gurus," 15 "Ninjas," 5 "Geniuses," 3 "Rock Stars" and even a pair of "Sensei."
Yes, those are real terms and phrases people I'm connected to on LinkedIn use to describe themselves as part of their professional headline.
And, while I'm making light of the examples above, they reveal what I believe is the "make or break" section of your entire effort on LinkedIn - your profile headline.
Next to your photo, nothing matters more on LinkedIn than the profile title or headline you use to explain who you are, what you do and the audiences you serve. In fact, it follows you everywhere you go on the platform, always appearing right below your name and photo on the site.
In those 120 characters you're given for a LinkedIn headline, you have to convey to people an immediate sense of what it is you do and whether or not you can help them achieve what they're looking for.

Clever vs. Clear

Far too many examples exist (in my own network, and likely in yours as well) of professionals trying to be "unique" or stand out from the crowd by writing clever or cute descriptions of a service they offer that also conveys a sense of authority, such as "Lead Generation Ninja."
In this example, of course, the person is offering Lead Generation as a service, and is claiming authority and expertise by calling himself a "Ninja."
In reality, calling yourself an expert (no matter how cool-sounding or hip the word choice) doesn't actually make you one.
We live in a "prove it" era of online marketing, one where talk is cheap. Instead, if you want to actually generate leads with LinkedIn, you must demonstrate expertise and authority through the content you create, the advice you give and so on.
Yes, you can still leverage trusted authority markers like media appearances, awards you've won and so on, but those can be hard to jam into a 120 character LinkedIn profile headline.
So, instead of trying to be clever with your LinkedIn headline, be clear instead.
Make it so simple that anyone scanning your headline instantly knows what it is you do and the type of service you provide.

First Impressions Are Everything

Remember, the people you invite to connect or who see your name pop up on a LinkedIn Search typically only see your profile photo and professional headline before deciding whether or not you're someone worth paying attention to.
So if you can't clearly communicate with your LinkedIn headline what it is that you do and how you help others, people will ignore you and move on in the blink of an eye.
Remember, your ideal clients and customers on LinkedIn don't care about you.
Instead, they care about themselves - Morning, noon and after dinner, to paraphrase Dale Carnegie.
As a result, your LinkedIn profile needs to be what I call "client-facing," making it clear how you can help someone else get what they want.

What Do You Offer?

Let's use my own LinkedIn profile as an example.
Professionally, I do a ton of different things, but my core focus is creating Online Courses that help Business Coaches, Consultants and other professionals generate leads, add clients and increase revenue using LinkedIn and/or Webinars.
So here's what my LinkedIn profile headline says:
Online Course Creator ("LinkedIn Riches" + "Webinars That Work") Bestselling Author | LinkedIn Trainer | Webinar Trainer
Reading that headline, my goal is for you to realize that if you want help using LinkedIn or Webinars to win new business, I'm your guy.
As another example, if you're a Business Coach who works with C-Suite executives and/or Small Business Owners, you could write a LinkedIn headline like this:
Business Coach | Business Coaching for C-Suite Executives + Small Business Owners
Using keyword phrases ("Business Coaching") or job titles ("Business Coach") that a prospect would be likely to type into LinkedIn Search increases your chances of getting "found" more easily on the platform.
It also makes it clear what you actually do, and in the case of the Business Coach example above, it even names a couple of target or niches you serve.
Think about it: If I'm a C-Suite Executive or Small Business Owner and see your name pop up on LinkedIn, and note right away from your headline that you not only offer Business Coaching, but that you focus on my specific niche, I'm much more likely to want to connect and learn more about who you are and what you do.

Make Your Headline Shine

See how this works?
It's not about being cute or clever.
Instead, it's all about clarity and speed, ensuring someone can quickly discern what it is you do and the service(s) you offer.
(In fact, I have an entire copy-and-paste LinkedIn profile template you can download right now to build out your headline and the rest of your profile.)
Don't overthink this - keep your LinkedIn profile headline simple and clear, remembering that we live in a hyper-fast, Google-ized world where people expect instant, easy and simple-to-digest information online.
If you take this approach on LinkedIn and kick your inner Ninja and Guru self to the curb, you'll much better results on the world's largest platform for professionals.



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