I Think I’ve Cracked The Formula to Writing a Viral LinkedIn Post!

With nearly 800 million members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, so standing out in the crowd ain’t easy. Gone are the days where creating an account on LinkedIn was just another way to publish your CV for potential employers to check you out. Today, LinkedIn is a business networking behemoth where members promote themselves (and their companies) to build a following of industry colleagues, generate business leads and opportunities, and establish authority in their niche.
LinkedIn influencers enjoy unparalleled exposure to a variety of audiences on the platform, so it’s a coveted title. But to become an ‘official’ influencer (as opposed to building your own following), you have to be invited by LinkedIn. And to qualify for that, you need to have achieved some sort of serious success or already be ‘famous’ in your niche.
So, how does one achieve acclaim on LinkedIn an amass a huge following? In most cases you need to be a prolific content creator and share high-quality, engaging content that people appreciate and want to see more of. Which begs the question: What constitutes ‘engaging’ content on LinkedIn?
For a while, the secret sauce to creating engaging (or what I call ‘high-traction’) posts on LinkedIn eluded content creators and was sort of a hit and miss if you weren’t familiar with the platform’s publishing kinks. But there’s been one particular method that’s been super-successful for content creators, which I’ve been studying with interest (to add ‘viral’ potential to my own posts) and have condensed into four simple steps:
The 4-step formula to writing a viral, high-traction LinkedIn post:
1. First, begin with a killer hook in a single, short sentence (ideally a one-liner) and hit enter twice (skip one line) before typing your second sentence (apparently the white space created by the line break helps to build anticipation).
2. To ‘oomph’ up your hook even more, add an eye-catching visual that’ll force readers to SCREECH TO A HALT when they see your post in their feed, and notice it. It’s not mandatory (many posts go viral without an accompanying visual or media asset), but if you think a visual could help to reinforce the premise of your post, go for it. GIFs are all the rage at the moment, which is why I’ve used one for this post, but other popular media formats can also work (video, a document carousel, and even a great static image).
3. Type the second sentence of your post right after the ‘skipped’ line, so that the reader is forced to click the “…see more” link to read it in its entirety. Ideally, the second sentence should be the first item on a list (because reader-FOMO means they’ll want to see what the rest of the list has in store) — but questions, dramatic statements or sentences that indicate you’re about to tell a story work well too.
Once the reader has clicked the “…see more” link, LinkedIn counts it as a “view” of your post. Woo hoo! Partial mission accomplished.
NOTE: If you include a media asset with your post (image, video, document, etc.) only the first a lines of the post are visible before the “…see more” link. If you DON’T include a media asset, the first 5 lines of your post are visible before the “…see more” link, so bear this in mind when calculating how many lines to ‘skip’ (leave blank).
4. Now, you MUST provide something of actual value to the reader, not some bullshit thought that’s already pretty obvious, or which sounds “deep” but doesn’t actually say anything that’s helpful at all.
For best results it needs to be either REALLY interesting, OR entertaining, OR valuable, or ideally all three. If it’s none of those things, or if it only mildly resembles any of those things, readers won’t be inspired to engage with the post.
It’s worth noting that the level of engagement for a post is often influenced by the number of followers the poster has. The more followers you have, the bigger your reach (logically) so the more opportunity there is for exponential engagement (a.k.a. virality or ‘network effect’).
The catch is, that once a high-traction post has accumulated more than 50 (or so) comments, any subsequent comment has less chance of being seen (“too many trees in the forestt,” etc.). On the flip side, if you’re among the first to comment on something posted by someone with a huge number of followers, then your comment has a good chance of being seen by others who also want to get in on the action, and if your comment is genuinely insightful or memorable, it may even earn YOU more followers, giving YOUR future posts a better chance at increased engagement and traction.
There are also loads of examples of folks with far less followers who have had one or more posts go ‘viral’, usually because someone with a far larger following has reacted to it, shared it, etc., but also purely based on the merit of the post itself.
So, you never know with anything you post on LinkedIn whether it might ‘blow up’, but following the 4-step formula I described above seems to be working like a charm right now for native posts (that are contained entirely on LinkedIn, as opposed to posts that link to external content) that are genuinely good.
If you’ve never tried this method before, go ahead and try it! Just make sure you’re not posting just for the sake of posting. People can see right through attempts at posts they hope will generate a lot of traction, but which lack any real substance, or are an obvious (and super-cringey) “I’m so fantastic!” boast-fest.
Fun Fact: I used this 4-step formula myself (to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak) in an attempt to create a viral or ‘high-traction’ LinkedIn post. This article is based on that very post, and it definitely went viral (by my humble standards, anyway), earning thousands of views, hundreds of ‘reactions’ and loads of great comments. You might want to check it out, as it includes examples from top LinkedIn writers who used the same formula themselves (which is what inspired the post in the first place).
Screenshot of my high-traction LinkedIn post 😉
(Includes examples of other viral/high-traction posts by top LinkedIn writers)

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Noya Lizor - I'm all about creating standout content that helps businesses grow

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