Back in March 2020, I was very active on my LinkedIn trying to engage my network.
Soon I realized the engagement numbers weren’t moving at all.
I spent some time looking at the best marketer I knew, Dave Gerhardt, and studied how he did it. And I learned that it all came down to copywriting skills - which I sucked at. I was determined to get that fixed.
Why you need to brush up your copywriting
When you look at the best influencers in the world and how they drive thousands, if not hundreds, of engagement, it is always: can you relate to people quickly?
Most of us are still used to the traditional form of communication - broadcast a message, people like it or leave it, and we carry on.
Then social media came along, and it became all about speaking directly to your audiences and have this two-way communication. Now, everyone is a marketing channel.
And the best form of communication is still text, believe it or not. That’s where copywriting comes in.
But a lot of us don’t take copywriting seriously because it is not easy to spot that you’re not good at it. As long as you can write, you can always produce something. But are people reading it? That’s the billion dollar question.
Dave Gerhardt’s copywriting tactics on LinkedIn
If you spend enough time in the marketing world, you must know Dave Gerhardt. He was the VP of Marketing at Drift and now CMO at Privy. He is amazing because he is very different from the other marketing leaders. And you know he is good by looking at his engagement metrics.
So, how does he write on LinkedIn?
- He writes like he talks
- He is talking to a very clear audience
- His opening line is very short (8-16 words)
- He tells a story (even a personal one)
- He shares users’ success stories
- He uses bullet points
- He focuses on one hashtag only
- He injects personality and talks about unrelated things
- He posts consistently
- He speaks the annoying truth
Let’s look at each one with details!
He writes like he talks
To a lot of us, when we first write marketing copies, somehow we always go for a commercial, robotic type of tone as if that is the golden standard.
Dave doesn’t do that. When you read his words, you feel that he is talking to you like a friend on the phone.
He is talking to a very clear audience
We all get greedy and want to speak to a lot of people at once. Dave focuses on marketers and he makes it very clear. Funny enough, by doing this, he naturally attracts other people.
His opening line is short (8-16 words)
I love to look at his 1st line. The shorter (<10 words), the better. Because no one gives a f about your writing so you only have the 1st line (likely 0.3 seconds) to get their attention.
He tells a story (even a personal one)
We all love reading a story because we’re nosy and we want to find out what happened. Daves always writes as if he is telling a quick bedtime story to his kids.
He uses bullet points
No one has time, so let’s cut to the chase. Removing words is key in good copywriting.
He focuses on one hashtag only
Are you thinking of using hashtags to bring in views & engagement? It is not quite sustainable and Dave doesn’t care about that. He is persistent on one hashtag only: #marketing.
He injects personality and talks about unrelated things
Big one. If copywriting is #1 important, personality is #2. Have some swags and differentiate yourself from the rest. Dave is genuine and fun, and you just want to be his friends.
He posts consistently
To keep an active presence, Dave tweets at least once a day, and posts on LinkedIn every other day if not everyday.
He speaks the annoying truth
Here comes the best way to resonate with your audience - get on the same side! Dave points out annoying things he faces in his life/work and it feels like a friend telling you over lunch, so you jump into the conversation. 3,106 reactions and 723 comments!
Bonus: writing well is not enough on LinkedIn
This is not from Dave, but I must bring it up because I see quite a lot of people writing better yet still don’t get the engagement they want.
You want to dedicate time to:
- Remove irrelevant Linkedin connections
- Clean up your feed by “Unfollow XXX”
- Now you only see relevant connections & your target audience
- Add or follow more target audience
- Interact with their posts genuinely
By doing this consistently, you’ll start seeing results coming back to your posts.
How I improved my engagement results
After I picked up these tactics from Dave. I put them into practice and saw my engagement numbers go up and up. Within 5 months, I was able to achieve 5-10x growth on my regular LinkedIn posts.
If you're craving more copywriting tips, check out this chapter from my Building in Public guide.