Build your Digital Leadership Playbook for LinkedIn

Build your Digital Leadership Playbook for LinkedIn There’s a lot of content published on LinkedIn. Some of it valuable, some of it just noise. For business leaders, LinkedIn can be a strategic platform to create a personal brand, reinforce expertise, and build targeted connections. The question is: how can business leaders avoid falling into the […]

Build your Digital Leadership Playbook for LinkedIn

There’s a lot of content published on LinkedIn. Some of it valuable, some of it just noise. For business leaders, LinkedIn can be a strategic platform to create a personal brand, reinforce expertise, and build targeted connections. The question is: how can business leaders avoid falling into the “noisy” trap and instead deliver value and support their goals? 

Strategy is key.  

The quote from American businessman Jack Welch rings true: “In real life, strategy is actually very straightforward. You pick a general direction and implement like hell.” 

That’s the approach we like to take. We call it the Digital Leadership Playbook. It outlines the questions to answer and steps to take to determine your strategy or the general direction you want to take with LinkedIn.  

This is a long-term play for business leaders who want to deliver value and drive results from the platform. In this blog, we’ll walk you through what the playbook is and how to create one that aligns to with your professional aspirations and corporate objectives. 

What is a Digital Leadership Playbook? 

The Digital Leadership Playbook is your long-term strategy and tactical plan. A well-defined playbook helps you: 

    • Identify and communicate your core themes and expertise 
    • Engage meaningfully with your target audience 
    • Measure the impact of your digital activities to continuously improve your approach 

 The two elements it should ultimately cover: 

    1. Who you are and how you want to show up on LinkedIn to deliver value to your audience 
    2. How to apply that to LinkedIn (a platform with its own algorithm that determines what’s “valuable”) to support achieving your goals 

Authenticity: the foundation of digital leadership 

When we work with business leaders on their program, we start with a comprehensive interview. A critical aspect of delivering value and seeing results is showing up on LinkedIn in a three-dimensional way. This is the foundation of your digital leadership strategy.  

What does that mean?  

People buy from people. A business leader isn’t just a corporate spokesperson: an authentic presence on LinkedIn requires balancing both personal and professional objectives. It requires unpacking what’s important to you, finding your unique perspective on important topics, defining your voice, and understanding your target audience.

Questions to ask yourself and answer 

To lay the foundation for your authentic presence as a business leader, these are categories and sample questions we use that you can answer for yourself: 

#1 Personal insights and motivations: 
    • What drives you in your professional life? 
    • What are your hobbies?  
    • What is important to you in your personal life? 
    • Who do you admire and why? 
    • How would your peers or colleagues describe you?  
    • Reflect on a project or initiative you are most proud of. 
    • What are 5–6 words you want other to associate with you?
#2 Understanding of leadership and influence:
    • How do you define effective leadership? 
    • Can you share an experience where you significantly influenced your organization or industry? 
    • Where do you go to find trusted sources of information?
    • Do you have favorite business or leadership voices that you follow? 
 #3 Professional expertise and ambitions: 
    • What are your core areas of expertise? 
    • What professional achievements are you aiming for in the next five years? 
 #4 Corporate objectives and alignment:  
    • Describe your role and areas of focus. 
    • What steps have you taken to achieve this? 
    • How will your success be measured? 
    • What do you like about working for your company? 
    • How would you describe your team?  
 #5 Target audience and engagement goals: 
    • Who is your target audience? Are there different audiences for different goals? 
    • Do you have specific individuals or companies you need to focus on? 
    • What is the biggest challenge they face? What do they aspire to accomplish? 
    • What role do you or your company play in helping to solve these pain points? 
    • What type of engagement (i.e., likes, comments, shares) do you find most valuable? 
    • What is the key message you want your audience to take away from your content? 
 #6 Content themes and preferences: 
    • What are you passionate about and why? 
    • Are there specific topics or types of content you feel strongly about including or avoiding? 
    • What do you want to be known for? What do you advocate? 
    • How would you describe your voice? What sentiment do you want each message to share? 

Defining goals and content pillars 

After reflecting on what differentiates you as a leader, the next step is to translate this information into goals and pillars that set your general direction. This guides what you’re going to talk about and the content you’ll create in support of your goals. We often recommend 3–4 content pillars. You want to cover: corporate alignment, your expertise, soft skills, and (if comfortable) personal passions.   

Here’s how we would determine your goals and pillars: 

Step 1: Document what success looks like

Outline and summarize your objectives, detail your audiences, and determine how to measure success.  

Step 2: Find recurring concepts

Start by reviewing your answers to identify recurring themes, areas of expertise, and subjects that evoke passion. Pay attention to:  

    • Professional strengths and expertise. These are topics where you can provide deep insight and add significant value. 
    • Personal anecdotes or stories. These can humanize your content and make it more relatable. 
    • Goals and aspirations. These reflect future-oriented topics that can engage audiences interested in industry trends and leadership growth. 

Step 3: Categorize into themes

Group the answers into themes or pillars that are relevant both to your personal brand and to your target audience. For example: 

    • Innovation and technology, if your expertise lies in pioneering new solutions or technology trends. 
    • Leadership and development, if you mean to discuss aspects of leadership styles, team management, or professional development. 
    • Industry insights, if your focus is on specific industry challenges, solutions, and future directions. 
    • Mentorship, if you’re a strong advocate for mentorship or diversity and inclusion.  

Step 4: Define content pillars 

From the themes, distill specific content pillars. Each pillar represents a core topic that you will consistently explore in your posts. These can be broad or very specific. For instance: 

    • Pillar 1: Cutting-Edge Technology – Share the latest advancements, your personal contributions to the field, and how these impact the industry. 
    • Pillar 2: Leadership Lessons – Offer insights into effective leadership strategies, personal leadership stories, and tips for upcoming leaders. 
    • Pillar 3: Market Dynamics – Discuss current trends, future predictions, and analysis of market shifts. 

Spend time identifying the types of content that will be used within these themes, such as original thought leadership, third-party resources, anecdotal stories, or company materials. Really flesh out what defines each pillar and what key messages you want to get across.  

Tactics to apply on LinkedIn 

You know how you want to show up on LinkedIn and begin to build your personal brand. Now what’s the best approach to do that and see rewards? LinkedIn’s algorithm is always changing. As part of your playbook, you should identify what tactics you’ll use. In our experience, the following are high-reward tactics to employ: 

    1. Consistently create and publish valuable content that shares your unique point of view, aligned to your goals and the pillars you’ve identified, to establish expertise and inspire conversation with your audience. Ideally, we recommend two posts per week.  
    2. Engage your ideal audience through tagging, mentions, and sharing their content. 
    3. Experiment with post types and provide a mix of text-only, images, links, and videos.  
    4. Engage as often as possible (at least a couple times a week) with your audience through likes, shares, commenting, and responses to comments.  
    5. Apply test-and-learn approaches by reviewing your LinkedIn metrics monthly to see what performs well, and pivot where needed.  

For more on this, we’ve pulled together a deeper dive into the LinkedIn algorithm in part three of our Digital Leadership series.  

Bring it all together 

Overall, you want your Digital Leadership Playbook to be reflection of your professional narrative. By addressing the right questions and integrating proven tactics, you can build a playbook that is an authentic representation of yourself. Properly executed, this will reinforce your company objectives, build your sphere of influence, and grow new and deeper connections.  

Our Digital Executive Program can help you bring it all together and implement a long-term digital leadership strategy. Get in touch with us to learn more.