Did you know that there are 11 key areas of a great LinkedIn profile?

Once you know whom you want to attract via your LinkedIn profile, creating the right content will be a lot easier. If you’re a business owner, entrepreneur, CEO or part of a sales team, you’ll find these top tips for your LinkedIn profile are very different to regular articles you’ll find on customising your profile.

And for good reason.

Since 2009 LinkedIn has come a long way from being the recruitment tool it was originally designed to be. Although the majority of people now perceive it as the powerful business development tool it is, few have updated their profiles with this in mind. As a result plenty of excellent business opportunities have been left untapped as the profile adds nothing to the buying journey of the prospect.

In this article we’re going to cover the 11 key areas of a great LinkedIn profile and how to approach each one.

1. Headline

The headline is probably one of the most important parts of your profile in terms of attracting visitors. After someone has seen your photo and read your name, their eye will naturally go to the headline and it is at this point they’ll decide whether to visit your profile.

A good profile:

  • Provokes curiosity
  • Starts a conversation
  • Gives a good overview
  • Includes key search words
  • Says something personal about you

2. Summary

Probably one of the most important parts of your profile but don’t be fooled that someone will read it from top to bottom. Poorly laid out it can instantly create the impression of being unprofessional and long chunks of text will feel like too much work.

Traditionally people have written their summary as they would on a CV but this isn’t the way to engage your prospect. Remember no body cares about you until you become relevant to them. Carefully outline the problem yousolve to spark the curiosity of a prospect and have them saying ‘oh that’s me’.

Outline the solution you provide, why you do it and why you’re the expert with a strong call to action.

You only have 2000 characters including spaces, so you have your work cut out.

A good summary:

  • Speaks directly to your audience(s)
  • Outlines your prospects problems
  • Educates the prospect and raises awareness for your solution
  • Establishes your credibility as an expert
  • Shares why you do what you do
  • Ties all the loose ends together

3. Rich Content Media

With limited space on your profile RCM is the perfect way to add more content and bring your visual brand into your profile. Consider the buying journey of your prospects and the questions they will need answered during the research stage. Create RCM that provides this information and establishes you as their trusted adviser.

The reality is, most buyers don’t know how to buy. They don’t know what questions they should be asking. Help them by providing valuable insights that will aid them in making the right decision.

  • Include testimonials, interviews, presentations, book exerts, examples of work, visuals of products
  • Provides a valuable inside view of the company and allows your prospect to spend time with you building ‘know, like, trust’
  • Educate your prospect on how to buy a service like yours
  • Add a call to action

4. Experience

Just like you would adjust your CV for the job you’re applying for, you’ll need to do this with the experience section of your LinkedIn profile. This will be a lot easier if you’re absolutely clear on the outcome you want from your profile.

Consider your prospect and what they are buying from you. For them to choose you as their provider what skills and experience will you need todemonstrate? For example, it is common for prospects to want to know you understand their industry, so make sure you outline industries you’ve worked in, topical issues at the time you created results, such as after the financial crash in 2008 as this sets the stage and puts your results into context.

  • Tell the story of how you come to be doing what you’re doing today
  • Establish your credibility
  • Give an insight into who you are and what motivates you
  • Provide the viewer with a knowledge of the industries you’ve experience in

5. Education

Make sure to include everything including courses you’ve attended (there is a dedicated section for this). The courses you’ve taken will justify why you’re an expert and demonstrate your dedication to keeping yourself up to date.

If you’ve been very successful but only have high-school education you can get away with not using this section at all. If the rest of your profile is impressive, no one will notice its not there.

  • Justify why you’re the expert
  • Put extra clout behind what you have to say
  • Let people know you have a training in a particular strategy or methodology

6. Projects

If you’ve worked on a project with others that demonstrate your work and the types of assignments you work on, include them here. If you’re a freelancer working with lots of companies it worth using Projects rather than adding them into ‘Experience’. You can also change the order of sections on your profile so you might want to feature projects ahead of the Experience section.

  • Provide a unique insight into your interests and affiliations
  • Let people know what’s front of mind
  • Draw attention to activities or events people can get involved in

7. Voluntary Experience

This is another chance to demonstrate your experience and what you care about.

  • Gives an insight into what you care about and hold important
  • Increases the visibility of the charity
  • Lets people know how they might collaborate with you

8. Advice for Contacting

This is a fantastic section for telling your prospects the best way to get in touch with you. Often people won’t feel comfortable calling unless you invite them and put context around the conversation you might have. If you offer a complimentary session or an initial chat it’ll put people at ease. Catch your prospect while they are motivated to find out more and provide your phone number. You might not respond to their invitation to connect right away, by which time they will be caught up in something else.

  • Let your prospect know the most appropriate way to get in touch with you
  • Help manage your prospect expectations as to when you’ll likely reply
  • Put some context around an initial conversation so people feel more confident to reach out.

9. Interests

You are more than just your business so provide an insight into who you are and what you enjoy. This helps build rapport and accelerate trust as when you first meet someone it always best to talk about something other than business first. If your profile features an interest like ‘Falconry’ your prospect will be curious and you have a subject you can talk about.

  • Adds personality and makes you a 3-dimensional person
  • Allows your prospects to build ‘know, like and trust’ with you
  • Can provide common ground to establish a new relationship

10. Publications

If you’ve written a book, an eBook or have been featured in a magazine you can provide a link using this section. Mixing your book with magazine articles will be confusing as they don’t provide the same weigh as it other, so choose which you’ll run with.

The key to doing this well is to consider the journey of your prospect; what is their most pressing question and which is the easiest thing to say ‘yes’ to? Order your items in this order. A book they can read online should go first and items they buy should go second.

Again you may choose to put this head of your experience and after your summary, but only do this if you have 1-2 clear items that are call to actions. Too many and you’ll confuse and overwhelm your prospect, plus it can look untidy.

  • Drive extra traffic to blogs publications you’ve been featured in
  • Feature your book, news articles you’ve been featured in or reports you’ve written

11. Publisher

This is your opportunity to blog on the platform and get added exposure, though don’t be disheartened if your readership stays low. There are various algorithms involved and the key is to write for your prospect and your network.

The content should be unique to anywhere else on your blog or web. This is your chance to express your views and unique take on an industry. Expressing your opinion here will create a lot of engagement so make sure you have a good call to action at the end (a call to action is never a sales pitch!).

  • Share your unique take and point of view
  • Allow you to get on your soap box and find like minded people
  • Authentically post in groups by providing valuable content that starts a conversation

I hope you have found the quick summary of each section useful. There is a great deal I could say about each one but we’ve not got the space. If you have any questions please just leave them in the comments below.