Ever read such posts on LinkedIn?
If you have been active in the last few years and have been following some influencers, my bet is, you would have.
There is an Indian marketer out there who is writing in exactly this style and selling courses to help you gain millions of views on your LinkedIn content as well. I don’t like that person’s fake smile.
But you have to give it to him when it comes to those engagement stats he openly boasts of.
Ever since Buzzfeed published an article on this type of content calling it ‘Broetry’ in 2017, marketers have been copying it left right and centre.
Let’s look at why does it work, the way it works.
Hook! Story! Call to action!
The essence of the scheme is the classical AIDA model.
Catch the reader’s attention with an emotional outburst or a question or a mega claim.
It should be interesting enough to make the user click the ‘See more’ button.
Weave a story that explains the why of the initial catchy phrase.
Close with a memorable quote or a question to get people to start commenting.
How Does It Game LinkedIn?
Getting the reader to click on the ‘See more’ button is essential because that gives LinkedIn a signal that this is some high value content that is getting engagement.
Same goes for the call to action in the end. LinkedIn out of all the social media platforms, gives large weightage to posts with lot of initial comments. This initial engagement will help pump it up to more reader’s newsfeeds as a viral post.
How Does It Game Readers?
“Don’t overestimate your readers’ intelligence. Be known for one or two adverbs.” – Josh Fechter
Consider this post.
The idea of the para breaks in the middle of a thought,
Is to leave the reader hanging,
Gasping for the end.
At the same time…
Individual sentences create a mini value bomb/reward in the users mind,
Making them feel good for having completed reading one sentence.
Try and recall some great speakers.
Barak Obama and his long pauses.
They kind of do the same, isn’t it?
For those of us, who have ever read teenage girls fashion magazines or been reading short form listicle content from entertainment blogs and websites, this supposedly third grade style of writing for dummies might not seem so unfamiliar.
But that, it is has seeped into the short form content of social media platforms like LinkedIn is a big credit, to the insights of anyone who was visionary enough to realize the similarity between the short form entertainment blog content and social media posts.
Most people hate reading long paragraphs on their mobile screens.
People on social media have remarkably short attention spans.
Most people view social media content on their mobile screens.
Yet, LinkedIn rewards long form text posts.
So what do you do?
You increase the speed at which people are able to read.
How do you do that?
You turn long form text post into easily digestible short sentences.
“I failed. I got fired and lost it all.
But then, after a few months of hard work, I succeeded.”
Is there a LinkedIn feature to block these types of posts?
This is what Sam Parr, Founder of The Hustle wrote in his own LinkedIn post that received over 3000 likes and 281 comments in 2018. For many LinkedIn regulars, this feeling is real.
Writing an entire post as a series of short sentences and the overt usage of para breaks would make grammar Nazi’s pull their hair.
But according to Houston Golden, co-founder of BAMF Media, Broetry is an art. So you can bend the rules.
Just like in poetry, you are not trying to be grammatically correct all the time.
You value emotional reaction of the user over language rules.
In 2017, the LinkedIn development team famously acknowledged that this engagement hack was leading to skewing engagement towards certain influencers who were already famous.
So much so that Josh Fechter, the other co-founder of BAMF Media (and supposedly the father of Broetry), who rose to fame with millions of views on his posts, was banned for gaming the platform with like this.
LinkedIn made changes to its algorithm so as to normalize engagement for other content creators who were creating more relevant content.
They started calculating ‘Dwell time after click’. The time someone would spend after having clicked on the ‘See more’ button. Returned back to scrolling the feed immediately after having clicked such engagement baits would signal a low value content for the platform.
However, a quick glance at posts from that famous Indian LinkedIn coach who claims millions of views, will reveal that broetry has not died. In 2020, this practice continues to form a staple diet of many of the successful marketers.
You can see more and more of such posts infiltrate onto your Facebook feeds.
Facebook groups now allow your content to be formatted with Bold and italics. Another shot in the arm for broetry writers. And the engagement these posts get proves their point.
It won’t be long before the top magazines and media outlets make it a staple diet of our society.
Handpicked for you: B2B LinkedIn Marketing
So far, I have 3000 followers on LinkedIn and I get a few thousand views on my average LinkedIn post that I try to address in the copywriting style I was brought up to appreciate. Grammatically correct and not shying away from three line paragraphs with occasional usage of decent vocabulary.
But now I have decided to give this method a try in the next few months on my own posts.
Let’s see what kind of results can I gain with this experiment.
If you found real value in this Hashtag article, ping the editors and let them know.
They might give me another opportunity to get back to you with my results.
Zain is a trainer at Digital Vidya and conduct digital marketing workshops for startups and entrepreneurs.