Thoughtful LinkedIn headlines are like cool wind blowing from Fuji.
They grab readers in the first 15.
They’re all about stories. Even if you think that your company doesn’t have a story, in fact, it has many of them. Because no matter what stage your product is at, it has the team behind it.
Some share these stories over a coffee, or keep them in mind for the good moment. But what if your brand story could be projected onto a bid screen—a marketing stage?
LinkedIn headline is the essence of your brand messaging, your personal values and aspirations. It’s such a fulfilling and amusing process to create it—let’s dive in without a further ado.
Why does a LinkedIn headline even matter?
Before we dip into how to create a good LinkedIn headline, let’s think about what place does it take in your marketing cuisine.
A LinkedIn headline is, in fact, a cherry on the pie. It’s the very top of the whole carousel. It makes a picture (brand image) complete plus clarifies your role behind the brand.
So, how to get that raw idea to spin in your head and then shape up into just one clear sentence? Some groundwork needed to be done—we described it below.
Long story short, a good headline:
- Focuses on your audience
- Tells people what you do
- Shows your expertise
- Shows your personality
- Is unique
- Is about you but indirectly points at your company
- Includes a keyword if you want people to find you
- Echoes what others in your team say about themselves and your company (in a way)
First thing you need to remember is that your LinkedIn profile is a landing page. It does include your personality touch but also serves the brand’s objective — to make your brand approachable, memorable and comprehensive to your audience.
Some people treat the term “landing page” as a green light for stuffing their pages with piles of information, forcing their readers to process too many messages. On top of that, they add emojis, visual elements, etc.
Of course, in the informational noise, it’s quite nerve-wrecking to come across a page that “vomits’ so many messages and elements.
Someone may say that the design of pages is a matter of taste (very subjective). However, since marketing is perfectly measurable, you can always experiment with approaches and see the outcome.
I believe that failing to craft a single and short message that tells what you do is equivalent to showing disrespect to your audience.
Because it takes time and effort to crystallize that message. It takes time to read more content, think more but share less. It’s much simpler to post any content because everybody does it. It’s easier to be everything to everyone or copy what your competitors do.
However, with such an approach it’s very unlikely that you will achieve some serious results.
The purpose of LinkedIn Headline
A LinkedIn headline is something people see about you in the search. It should briefly describe your whereabouts but also not be pushy or overwhelming with information.
A good headline comes from your inspiration: but before that moment happens, there is a lot of routine work to do and theory to brush up on.
First of all, a Linkedin headline is a part of your brand image (as well as your profile). If you think about it as a part of the chain, it would be placed near somewhere at the top. A headline is a summary of everything about what your brand is and who are you behind all this.
Now, since your LinkedIn headline is a part of your brand image, it won’t hurt to recap some marketing basics.
Brand image is something that lets you stay recognizable among the informational noise. As more and more content gets produced on LinkedIn for the available number of eyes and ears, a question to ask yourself would be:
How to make my brand stand out and stay in the audience’s mind?
The answer is:
- Thoughtful positioning
Steve Krug wrote a popular web usability book called Don’t Make Me Think. The idea behind it is to get readers to navigate your page without having to think too much. This way, they’ll grab only what’s essential instead of losing focus and missing all of your ideas.
Simplicity is interconnected with brand positioning. When you know who you are, there is no problem about communicating it right and in fewer words. And also, in simpler concepts and determined consistent design.
When you don’t know who you are, you’ll be confusing your readers, yourself and your team with no light upon what difference your company is trying to make and what are its values.
On the surface, it looks like this:
- Not unique
- Looks robotic
- Doesn’t communicate a word about a company or its values
Brand positioning as a way to remove clutter
Developing brand positioning can help you create subtle design, thoughtful writing and clarity.
Here are steps to come through on a way to design your LinkedIn profile along with its headline:
- Develop your unique selling point and brand positioning
- Crystallize your messaging (2-3 messages that clearly transmit your value proposition)
- Find means to convey this message (copywriting + design)
- Think about your role in the process and construct your mission
- Write your LinkedIn headline as a finishing line
- Add relevant hashtags if needed
1. Developing your unique selling point and brand positioning
There is no way you can come up with a comprehensive LinkedIn headline without understanding the value your brand carries for your customers. Your product or service may have superior value in reality, but that may not be apparent until after the purchase.
So, how are you going to make people find interest in what you offer? How are you going to communicate about it?
Brand positioning is the act of designing your product and image to occupy a distinctive place in the mind of the target market.
It enables you to find a foothold in the marketplace and outrun competitors— an amazing tool if implemented smartly.
How your product can fill a niche in the marketplace can be found only by thorough competitive analysis.
Find your brand’s story
Even in your LinkedIn headline and summary, your audience wants to see something that will incite an emotion within them. What makes something trustworthy is how easily we can understand it. Humanizing your brand through storytelling is the most powerful way to make it feel approachable and friendly.
Maybe you don’t feel like your company has a story. However, it probably has a lot of them. Think about:
- How you created your product
- Why do you work for this company
- What’s the difference you want to make with your product
- What makes your colleagues unique
- What’s the real outcome you’ve got
- How did you help your customers
- What values do you share with others in your company
There is something inspirational about the way team members describe themselves tying their achievements to their company.
If you have some impressive results, why not share them instantly?
2. Crystalizing messaging
If you’ve come through the brand positioning procedure, which includes placing your brand on a perceptual map along with your competitors and defining its differentiation point, the next step is to craft your message or position statement. It can be as simple as:
Of course, the whole process is more complicated, but we won’t overwhelm you now with all the details. If you want to understand brand positioning fully, read this book.
3. Find means to convey positioning message (copywriting + design)
When you know your message and how you want your brand to be perceived, you can choose how you will implement this message through your:
These two tools will represent your brand in the digital space. They must reflect your positioning statement. For example, if you say that you help creators to get paid for their work in an easy way (like Gumroad does) — then it should be reflected in your design and the way you communicate.
To keep you on the same track, they put illustrations on their website that highlight their points.
Illustrations support their position and turn Gumroad from just some platform for creators into a friend. That’s how brand humanization looks like in practice.
They supplement their points with evidential facts. Everything they communicate about is about their audience—creators and about how easy it is to start using the platform and earn money (their position statement in bright colors).
MailChimp also has a thoughtful positioning and history of rebranding.
4. Think about your role in the process—your mission
When you and your team have implemented positioning in design and texts, you can start wearing your LinkedIn profile in your brand’s colors.
Ben Chestnut and Dan Kurzius are co-founders of Mailchimp.
David Cancel is a founder of Drift.
Tope Awotona is a founder of Calendly.
How nice is it when a thoughtful brand image finds its way into different channels. Social media is a perfect place to boost your brand awareness.
Ok, now it’s time to finally create your LinkedIn headline.
5. Write your headline
You may ask, why did we have to go through all those steps if it’s just one line?
Because, as we mentioned before, you can’t expect big results from the ‘let’s-put something-and-see-what happens’ approach.
A LinkedIn headline is only powerful if it’s cohesive with your brand values but also reflects who you are.
What’s your role in your company’s achievements? Are you a product manager? A VP of Marketing? Are you a CEO or a guy who has bootstrapped the whole thing along with a couple of like-minded people?
Whoever you are, think about skills that you apply at your work that let you achieve results.
Go through these questions and give answers:
- What am I doing at my work and why?
- Why did I choose this niche?
- What difference am I trying to make with the help of my product?
- What are the biggest results I’ve achieved?
Encapsulate your thoughts about yourself in one sentence.
Make it as short as possible.
- Add relevant hashtags if you want people to find you
- Add keywords if you want people to find you in search
But don’t shift to keyword stuffing.
A LinkedIn headline is a very useful tool for those who use LinkedIn for lead generation, establishing brand awareness or boosting personal brand.
It rarely works if you just put something in there and wait for the tailwind. A good LinkedIn headline is a summary of your brand’s values and your personal mission behind your company.
Also, a LinkedIn headline works in conjunction with a whole LinkedIn profile, including its summary, your photo, background picture, and your activity. That’s why treating your profile as a landing page that reflects your usp (or positioning statement) is a wise way of turning your profile into another tool for promoting your brand.