Why & how to create a great LinkedIn Profile Headline
The job of a headline is to grab people’s attention, stimulate their interest in something enough so that person reading the headline is almost compelled to act so they can learn more.
Some of the best-paid writers in the world are headline writers. Newspapers and magazines live or die on the strength of the headline on their front page.
A good headline will have readers clicking that link
A good headline will have readers picking up the paper or clicking the link without even thinking about it. These are the first key steps in a purchase.
A bad headline just does not register with the reader. The worst thing in the world happens. The publication gets ignored.
All the brilliant articles between the covers remain unread. All the advertising remains unseen. All that effort, time and money wasted because of a headline that did not do its job. If it is your LinkedIn Headline that is ignored, then that really good profile you took ages to put together never gets read.
You can see now why the headline writers get so well paid. Everything rides on their success. If you do not like pressure, then it’s not the job for you.
You see headlines everywhere, on papers, magazines or blogs and of course on LinkedIn profiles. The rest of this article focuses on LinkedIn Profiles but the principles can be applied to all headline writing.
Headline Headlines everywhere
Your headline on LinkedIn is very important, it appears everywhere.
You see it when you
1). Read a shared post or article on LinkedIn
2). Do a LinkedIn search and view the results
3). Receive a connection request from somebody (and others see yours when you issue a connection request)
4). View somebodies LinkedIn Profile. It is accompanied by your name and your picture.
There are some things you need to know to write an effective LinkedIn headline
- You need to know your audience, who is the headline for
- You need to know what your audience wants
What about ME you might ask, is the headline not supposed to be about me, it’s my LinkedIn Profile….
Well unless you are selling to yourself the answer to that question is NO.
You need to understand that people do not really care about you, but they do care about what you can do for them.
Your headline needs to be about what you can do for your prospects.
If you can quickly show you can make their life easier / more profitable / less stressful with your headline, then your chance of getting that click is much better.
Consider these two headlines, which do you think will attract the most attention
John McGarry CEO of Webworks, Social Selling Strategist & Certified Sales Consultant for Linked Selling
I help B2B Sales professionals find & connect with their ideal prospects online, then book appointments offline.
Both are accurate but certainly, the second has been much more productive for me.
The second headline does a few things
- Identifies who I am targeting “B2B Sales Professionals” If this is you then you can easily see this is about you. I have your attention.
- I have talked to a lot of B2B Sales professionals and I know they are always looking to connect and network with key decision makers, their ideal prospects and this headline lets them know I can do that for them.
- But no there is more. I then help deliver concrete offline appointments. Again, this is exactly what B2B Salespeople want, off-line appointments.
The first headline implies all of this, if you took the trouble to visit the Webworks site or the Linked Selling Site then you would see that this is what we do but who in this busy world is going to go to that much trouble.
If you know what people want then give it to them straight, do not have them jump through hoops just to get to it.
A simple formula for writing a good headline is
I help [ insert who you help here] to [insert what you help them to do here] and [ add added benefit in here]
Don’t get me wrong, once the headline reader has established you are of potential use to him or her they will next seek proof that you can do what you say. At this point, they will be interested to know I am a Certified Sales Consultant for LinkedSelling.com.
This information should be included in the normal body copy of the article or post you are writing, just not in the headline.
Successful Connection Requests
If you use LinkedIn to connect with prospects, then the headline is crucial to people accepting your connection requests. When you issue, a connection request the target will see your Name, Picture and your Headline.
Often, they will not bother looking at your full profile, they will decide Yes or No based on those three factors.
I will assume you do not have two heads and the picture is not of you out on a Friday night a bit the worse for wear. Your name is not really something you can change so it is only the headline that offers room for flexibility depending on your needs.
When running a LinkedIn campaign for clients I may be issuing hundreds or even thousands of connection requests on their behalf. I always keep a record of connection requests issued and accepted.
If I am not happy with the percentage of people who accept my connections requests the first place I look Is at the headline. Normally I can solve any issue by tweaking it. ( The other important place to check is the script sent with the connection request but that is for a different blog post )
If I am targeting 1000 prospects with connection requests, I am looking for a success rate in the range of 40% – 60%. This can vary depending on who and what job title or seniority I am targeting. I have seen many times an acceptance rate in the range of 20% – 30% jump to between 40% – 60% after working on the headline.
Not to have made these changes would have resulted in hundreds of potential connections not been accepted and built upon and so lots of potential business opportunities missed.
Establishing Expert Status
When running LinkedIn campaigns for clients I post in LinkedIn on their behalf.
- into their new feed
- into any LinkedIn Groups they are joined
- into LinkedIn Groups they own and manage.
What I post is content I know will be of interest to the people they have connected with. This content is not normally written by my client. I find the content in blogs and websites on-line.
By doing this consistently I ensure my client’s connections are constantly seeing my clients name, photo and headlineassociated with useful information he or she is looking to share with them.
Even if they do not read the article shared with them they still see your headline.
Multiple touch points like this can build up awareness and trust for my client. Properly executed this will ensure prospects will start to see my clients as experts in their field. Not just that but also as people who take the time to share useful information with their connections.
Now if you do not, believe me, serendipity would have it that when writing this post I had one eye watching a video from David Kerpen the bestselling author of “The Art of People” and all round major LinkedIn Influencer. In this video, he talked extensively about the importance of the headline in an article. David will not start on the main part of the article until he is happy with the headline. You can catch that video here
So please review your LinkedIn Headline, ask yourself, will it appeal to the people who can make things happen for you and your business. If not change it.
If you are looking to drive sales using LinkedIn you may be interested in a free LinkedIn Strategy Session I offer. During this session, you will certainly learn and understand if and how LinkedIn can be used to drive your business forward.
Book this session by clicking here