How and Why to Write Business Blogs and LinkedIn Posts

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By Ellen Ensher
Blog writing is fun! It is a great way to cut loose from the shackles of academic or report writing and share ideas, test thoughts, start a conversation, and increase your professional visibility. And, if you write on an interesting topic you even get the “celebrity” experience of being trolled or “hated on” which might not feel good initially but will tell you that wrote something compelling enough to make someone care, even if it just mad.
These days, I am experimenting with requiring my students to write blog and LinkedIn posts. Of course, writing a blog or LinkedIn post can be very valuable to any individual whether they are just starting out their career or have years of experience. Sharing your thoughts and experiences with your network can help you build your network and allow others to learn more about you. Also, writing begets writing. I find the more I blog and post, the more readily my thoughts flow for scholarly writing as well.
One of the first obstacles one may encounter when attempting to write a post is what should I write? I recommend starting with what you know and pulling from your own life experiences in the classroom, office, or even an extracurricular activity. Writing about first-hand experiences such as obstacles you have faced like being a first generation college student or about people that inspire you can also be very interesting to readers. For me, I am inspired by leaders like Sheryl Sandberg for her advocacy in women’s career development along with her business success, Blake Mycoskie, Founder of Tom’s for his paradigm breaking one-for-one model, and Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia, Inc. because of her leadership leading a highly profitable socially aware company. In business writing, I am inspired by scholars like Bryan Dik and Ryan Duffy for their work on callings, and Kristin Neff for her work on self-compassion.
If you find yourself struggling to pull from your own experiences, you can also try writing about trends or observations in your respective industry. For example, recently in California, a law passed to make women serve on boards. You could talk about what this legislation means to you (would I like to serve on a board?- why heck yes!) Another suggestion is take topics that are popular in the news, or movies, or cultural events and find a way to tie these into a valuable and informative LinkedIn post. For example, I recently used the Birdbox movie as an inspiration for an icebreaker in class and a blog post.
Be sure to use photos that relate to the topic and that you own to stay away from any legal troubles. Also, be sure to take the time to come up with a title for your post that will clearly tell the reader what your article is all about in a way that is authentic and maybe a teensy bit “clickbaitish.” How do you get started? In the words of best-selling author, Anne Lamott the first rule of writing is, “butt in chair.” So have a seat, and start writing!