Viral LinkedIn Post Breakdown
4 min read

Viral LinkedIn Post Breakdown

Yo! Welcome to the next episode of The Content Strategy Reeder where 3,735 creators get better at content creation and strategy in less than 5 minutes.

Last week, one of my LinkedIn posts went viral.

What’s interesting is that this isn’t a new post. I originally wrote this over a year ago, and decided to publish it again.

I was hesitant at first (am I being lazy?). But then I realized (1) my following has grown a lot since then, and a lot of people haven't seen it yet. And (2) reruns aren’t going to upset anyone even if they have read it before — I mean, I watch Fresh Prince of Bel Air reruns all the time! So even if folks have seen this post previously, they probably won’t remember or won’t care if they saw it again.

Luckily, I was right. And the post went viral:

Not bad for 10 seconds of work . And zero angry comments complaining about, You already said this before!!

Takeaway: It’s totally OK to recycle your content periodically. Take advantage of your previous work and get the most juice from that squeeze as you can.

Now that this post has now racked up nearly a million views in total, let’s break it down piece by piece so you use these tactics to create your own highly engaging content.

Note: I cannot promise your content will go viral, but these are timeless tactics that will make your content much more engaging, on LinkedIn or otherwise.

Here’s the full post with my notes breaking it down:

Here’s the main reason this post took off: it’s a first person story, which is one of the best ways to convey information.

But telling you to “tell more stories” is almost as cliche as my line above about orange juice (forgive me, won’t you?)

So instead, here are the powerful and compelling elements of my post that you can use in your content. Let’s start with the story:

  • It’s extremely relatable. Nearly everyone has been told what “professional” is and isn’t, specifically being told their personality/attire/language is not professional. So this gets my reader to see themselves in my story. Shared experience is THE barometer for relatability.
  • There’s a clear structure. There’s a clear before, an “aha!” moment — the realization that changes my perception, and the resolution. All great stories have this format because it’s easy to follow.
  • It strikes an emotional cord. Remember the last time someone said you’re unprofessional? Doesn’t sit well, huh? It triggers strong emotions like anger, insecurity, doubt, sadness, confusion (among many others). Emotions both keep your reader engaged and drive action.

OK, let’s move on to the writing tactics in the post:

1. The opening line is bold and grabs attention. “Nobody” innately draws a hard line in the sand. And it takes an opposing view of the common perception that you should fit into corporate expectations. This drives intrigue because the reader will want to know what they should do instead. (Notice I intentionally used the word “corporate” not “professional” because they are not the same).

2. The first sentence is short. This is key for stopping the scroll. It appears easy to read, so you hook in your reader, propelling the reader to the next line — which is exactly what it should do.

3. It includes the Rule of Three. I LOVE this tactic and use it all the time. There is strength in numbers (go Warriors!) but the number three also provides balance. When listing, lean on the number three. And if you're wondering, five is my next favorite.

4. I agitated the problem. Here’s where getting specific does wonders. If I had just said “it really sucked” then my reader wouldn’t have felt it at an emotional level. It would’ve fallen flat. Because no one wants to be forgettable or ignored, the two lines provided insight — being corporate isn’t helping you the way you’ve been told it does. This opens the door to my proposed solution of being yourself.

5. There are multiple examples. I didn’t just strike one cord, I strummed the ukulele on this one. If you count them, there are seven examples. I did this on purpose because (1) I wanted to add depth to my story to show this wasn’t just a one off, it’s something I struggled with during my entire career, and (2) I wanted to provide multiple ways for my audience to think “hey that’s happened to me too!” Again, all about relatability.

6. I end with the beginning. Summarizing your main point at the end is a strong way to emphasize the key takeaway you want your reader to remember, and it's especially helpful for longer posts.  Think of it as a TLDR to drive your point home for the reader before they scroll on (after engaging, of course!).

7. It inspires. My goal was to give folks confidence to be themselves at work and to empower them to be authentic (oops, another buzz word!). But I mean it. I believe people do their best work when they are empowered to be their best selves. That’s impossible when they’re conforming to outdated and unnecessary “corporate policies” and expectations.

Let’s Recap

If you want to go from a handful of reactions to triple-digit comments on your posts, tell relatable stories that elicit strong emotional responses.

Add the elements we covered today and you will immediately see a spike in your engagement. Here’s how: add ONE of these concepts to your next LinkedIn post.

Your results will take massive leaps because you have proven tactics you can rely on every time you write.After a couple times, it’ll start to become natural, and you’ll do it without even thinking about it.

Holler at you next week,

Did you learn something in today’s episode of CSR? If so, you’d make me sing “Drop It Like It’s Hot” by Snoop Dogg if you shared this link with your friends or on LinkedIn. Here’s an example from James Crisp for inspiration.