Over the past few years, LinkedIn has evolved into one of the most important social media platforms. The site boasts more than 225 million users as of this recording.
Even though much of the conversation about LinkedIn revolves around drumming up business leads or new jobs, there’s an opportunity for business writers that’s not often discussed: writing profiles for LinkedIn members.
Who in the world would pay a writer to write their profile? Turns out that many business professionals do! Not only do they pay handsome fees for this work, but it can also become a great way to build trust and land additional projects.
To learn more about this opportunity, I interviewed Victoria Ipri. Victoria started as a copywriter in 2006, and her business has evolved over the years into Ipri International, a Linkedin training consultancy providing telephone coaching and on-site group training.
The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.
What type of work does writing LinkedIn profiles involve?
Nothing gets done on LinkedIn without a profile. There are two main types of LinkedIn prospective clients:
- Those looking for leads/new business
- Job seekers
Victoria thinks there are five main qualities someone needs to be successful at writing LinkedIn profiles:
- Your own profile better be flawless and fantastic! Prospects are looking to you to make them look good and get them found. Every field should be completed and be engaging to people and the LinkedIn search engines
- You must have at least a basic understanding of SEO to satisfy the LinkedIn search engines and end up near the top of the search results for your main keywords.
There are different ways to figure out the right keywords in LI for a client (and remember to think like the person who will be searching for them).
a. Use the search field in LinkedIn and look at what other
members are using that are like your client.
b. Go to Google and type in “keyword tool”. That will take you to Google’s keyword tool, which you can then use to see how frequently people are using different words/terms in their searches.
- You must have a good balance between creative business writing and the reality of search. For instance, “content artist” sounds cool and different, but in reality nobody is using that term when searching for a writer. The trick is to deliver for multiple clients with the same or similar title in a creative and personal manner without being cookie cutter.
- You have to be a good business writer and understand modern business.
- Since you can’t possibly know every industry, your research skills need to be good also, so you can quickly get up to speed on the client’s industry.
- Finally, you need business acumen to ensure people will take you seriously and trust you with their information.
Basic elements of the LinkedIn profile
- Headline/Title – the sentence that goes next to the photo
(limited to 120 characters)
- Summary – the section on experience i.e. the resume
(limited to 2000 characters)
- Contact Information – always complete this, so it is easy for
someone to get your information.
There are no formatting options, but you can cut and paste symbols or bullets.
Since LinkedIn is used for professional purposes, most of the embellishments should be left off anyhow!
What do you charge a client for writing their LinkedIn profile?
There are multiple factors that determine the fee for writing a LinkedIn profile:
- The current state of their profile. Is it just in need of updating? Is it a complete re-write or is it non-existent?
- Foundational information the client can provide like a resume, links to websites with things written about them, a bio.
- Their overall goals – Why are on they on LinkedIn? What do they hope to accomplish?
$300 to $500 is competitive for a profile makeover. But if you’ve never written one before, a lower fee (such as $150) can entice clients to hire you. As you get some experience, raise your fees.
Bundling a resume-writing project with the LinkedIn profile is another great way to sell the service, too.
How much time do you invest in writing the LinkedIn profile?
Obviously, this will vary with the client’s needs and your ability. Victoria offers a package that includes:
- Initial pre-project consultation – 30 minutes
- 1st draft – an hour or so
- Mid-way consultation – 30 minutes
- Revisions – typically 30-40 minutes
- Emails during the process
- Final phone call to wrap up the project – about 10 minutes
On average each profile can take 3-4 hours, which means you can earn over $100/hour once you get used to the process.
Do people really understand the value of the LinkedIn profile?
It is important to make sure your client understands that creating a profile or doing a profile makeover is not going to change their business. The LinkedIn profile is very valuable and essential, but they must be engaged and actively participate online for it to work. The profile on its own does not cure anything.
What kind of deadline do you give clients?
While a profile may take 3-5 hours to write, Victoria likes to tell clients 5-7 business days. Things come up, schedules change, people go on vacation and you can’t get your questions answered. As with anything, give yourself time for interruptions.
What’s the demand like? Are people really looking for help in this are?
The demand is what you make it; you must be involved, network (online and in person) and spread the word yourself. Victoria gets lots of referrals, because she has been doing this for a while. There are over 7,000 to 8,000 people searching for someone to write their LinkedIn profile in the U.S. alone each month!
Many people don’t even know where to look or they don’t trust anyone to go into their account and upload their profile.
Can you make this your specialty? Or is it better to include it among your other services?
Writing LinkedIn profiles can be an additional service to offer to clients. You need to be expert at what you’re helping the client with, but you don’t need to only write profiles. It can be an entry point into your clients’ businesses—a way to build trust with a small, lower-risk project.
One thing’s for sure: There’s a high demand for this work, and it’s an area that is not in danger of being outsourced to freelancers who are not native English speakers.
Items mentioned in this podcast include:
- Victoria’s LinkedIn page: http://www.linkedin.com/in/victoriaipri
- Victoria’s Twitter handle https://twitter.com/VictoriaIpri
- Victoria’s website: http://www.theipriinstitute.com
- Victoria’s eBook, LinkedIn for the Clueless, will be for sale on Amazon in September. If you are a member of her LinkedIn group, The Confident Copywriter, you get a free copy.
- LinkedIn profile writer training course. This will be available from Victoria around October. Message Victoria on LinkedIn or send her a note if you want to be notified when it’s available.
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Till next time,