April 23, 2022

The Anatomy of a Viral LinkedIn Post

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In this week's issue, I'm going to break down the opening to my most successful LinkedIn post of all time.

If you've been on LinkedIn for a long time, you've watched the platform morph from a professional "resume" site to a place where creators are building 7-figure businesses.

If you're on Twitter, but not LinkedIn, you'll be interested to know that people like Sahil Bloom, Nicolas Cole, Dickie Bush, and Jack Butcher are actively producing content there daily.

But writing on LinkedIn is much different than writing on platforms like Twitter. And when creators start writing, they often hear crickets.

On February 21st, 2022, I sat down to write a LinkedIn post with the sole intention of seeing if I could produce something viral.

Note: My goal is never to go viral. But I thought it would be fun to try, and see what I learned.

In today's issue, I'll show you how I thought about constructing the post and the results.

Let's dive in.

Start by thinking "How can I stop the scroll?"

One of the significant differences between LinkedIn and Twitter is how content comes across in your feed.

On Twitter, it's mostly short Tweets of 280 characters or less. That means you can skim your feed and pick up Tweets that are interesting or relevant to you pretty easily.

LinkedIn, however, has a 3,000-character limit, with 210 of those characters appearing "above the fold" (what I'm referring to as the "opener").

After reading the opener, people choose whether to click the "see more" button, or keep scrolling for different content.

Below is a picture of the space "above the fold" with the "see more" button encouraging people to continue reading.

That means a LinkedIn post is a lot like a Twitter thread. You have 210 characters to get people interested in the rest of it.

To ensure that people read the opener of your LinkedIn post, I'd recommend using 3 short lines, with spaces, as it provides a format that's easy to read.

You can see I used this formatting in the post below. 3 written lines, 2 lines of space to create easy readability.

But lines and spaces don't make a post go viral. The written content does. Let's take a look at it.

Line 1: The scroll-stopper

The first line is more important than 95% of the rest of the post. It must be excellent if you want people to read your LinkedIn content.

So for the first line of this post, I chose what I call a "relatable enemy" and then "threw rocks" at it.

My hope was that the reader would stop scrolling to join me in throwing rocks at an enemy they can very much relate to.

For example, I know a of my audience doesn't like their 9 to 5 jobs. So I chose The 9 to 5 as the relatable enemy in this example.

Next, we need a negative word to get the audience leaning in, in glee. Here's what I came up with:

The {{RelatableEnemy}} is {{Negativity}}

The 9 to 5 is getting pummeled.

This line should elicit a positive response from the crowd because we're talking negatively about a relatable enemy.

Line 2: Flip The Script

Once I have the reader past the first line, I need to take that positive feeling the reader has and accelerate it by painting a picture of life without the "enemy".

Life with the hero!

So, I flip the script.

I choose the hero (the opposite of the enemy) and tell them that the hero is gaining ground.

You see this a lot in politics when a political candidate starts by telling the crowd their opponent is weakening (like our line about The 9 to 5) and then flips the script to talk about how their own candidacy is gaining ground.

This usually whips the crowd into a frenzy. I'm doing the same here.

The {{Hero}} is {{StrongPositiveStatement}}

The great resignation is growing faster than ever.

Line 3: Gasoline + Teaser

The last line in your opener must take the frenzied reader and hook them into clicking "see more".

So I pour gasoline onto the fire by telling the crowd that "I love it".

That I love seeing their enemy get beat down. That I relish the weakening enemy in favor of the strengthening hero. That we're all crushing the enemy together and gaining ground.

And after pouring gasoline, I lob a simple teaser question, "Why?".

And I {gasoline}. {TeaserQuestion}?

And I love it. Why?

At this point, we've tarnished the crowd's enemy, championed the hero, and whipped them into a frenzy.

The question "Why?" is simply used to get them past the "see more".

And it worked.

This post has 4.766M impressions, 50,583 engagements, 1,444 comments, and has been shared 1,589 times.

I turned this opener into a template that I can use reuse often:

The {RelatableEnemy} is {Negativity}

The {Hero} is {StrongPositiveStatement}

And I {Gasoline}. {TeaserQuestion}?

For every post that I create that performs well, I analyze the post, turn it into a template, and reuse it multiple times.

Note: If you're interested in growing an audience on LinkedIn, networking with other creators, and using the platform to build some extra income, check out my course, The LinkedIn Operating System. Join 30 LinkedIn Top Voices & 15,500 students who rate it 4.98 out of 5 stars.

Thanks for reading. See you next Saturday.

Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

1. ​The LinkedIn Operating System:​ Join 16,000 students and 30 LinkedIn Top Voices inside of The LinkedIn Operating System. This comprehensive course will teach you the system I used to grow from 0 to 465,000+ followers and $4.7M in income.

2. ​The Content Operating System​: A multi-step system for creating a high-quality newsletter and 6-12 pieces of high-performance social media content each week. Join 7,000 students here.

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