How to use storytelling for better LinkedIn posts with examples

When it comes to getting more interactions on long form LinkedIn posts one simple tip beats all others time and again: Tell a story.

We know this advice to be sound and effective but what does ‘tell a story’ actually mean?

While we don’t mean start every post with ‘once upon a time’, there are a few out-of-the-box writing techniques you can use to give your content more coherency and subsequently, more engagement.

What results can you expect?

These tips can help you bump your interactions from 0 to 10, or from 30 to 100. It all depends on the level you’re currently at, how often you practice these techniques, and what you learn from social media content analytics.

In this article we’re going to first outline a quick and effective way to structure your LinkedIn posts, then take a look at a few universities doing great work for inspiration.

Feel free to steal and reuse this LinkedIn post format:

1. Start with a hook

From the first words of a 300 page novel to the tagline on an advertisement, the hook is your make or break moment. It has to lure your reader in, not give too much away and be an accurate foreshadow of things to come.

The best advice you can get about writing your opening lines comes from Ernest Hemingway:

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.”

Once you have your truth nailed down, refine it until it looks and sounds succinct. Take a look at this example from Words On Blog founder, Will Campbell.

“It took me 3 years to run for 20 minutes.”

2. Tell the story

Before you start tapping away at your magnum opus, you will need to consider your target audience. Yes, even LinkedIn posts have target audiences.

The next challenge is to take a few paragraphs telling the story of your post. Don’t be afraid to write as you would talk (in fact this is encouraged). You can always go through at the end and edit.

Be on the lookout for aspects of your story that touch upon universal emotive themes such as challenges, love, human interest, kindness or healing. If your particular subject matter does not lend itself well to these universal topics, find the most relatable angle for your target audience and focus on it.

You don’t want to waste your reader’s time, but a bit of scene setting goes a long way. Don’t drop your reader straight in at the ‘wow’ moment, rather build to it gradually through relevant pieces of information.

3. Highlight the lesson

Telling a nice story is all well and good, but at some point you want your reader to come away with something. Common practice is to combine the delivery of your lesson or takeaway with the climax of your storytelling. The classic LinkedIn example being:

‘I walked into the interview and the interviewer was the person I shared my lunch with the day before.’

While this does have a certain mic-drop quality, we advocate clarity over creativity. Conclude your story and then state the moral element in a separate sentence. This technique is liberally used across LinkedIn and also in the world's most famous collection of moral storytelling, Aesop’s Fables:

"If you had as much sense as you have beard, old fellow," he said as he ran, "you would have been more cautious about finding a way to get out again before you jumped in." Look before you leap.

The Fox and The Goat

The only difference being these days Aesop would most likely have written ‘Agree?’ at the end.

4. Apply it to your audience

This is often overlooked with many LinkedIn posts from individuals and universities alike. By referring to your social media strategy you will know who exactly your LinkedIn platform is for. Whenever you draft a post, make sure your target audience is at the front of your mind.

Make sure your audience feels involved and invested in your story by stressing relatable aspects or organically tapping into the current trends or concerns of that audience group.

5. Finish with a question

We poked fun a little at this above, but you really shouldn’t just write ‘Agree?’ at the end of your post. This is lazy and looks like you’re seeking validation. 

Be more confident in your message and show you’re open to new points of view. A few good questions to get your audience’s mental gears turning could be:

Are there any other points I’ve missed?

Have you had experience with this?

What’s your take on this?

Try to stimulate conversation naturally. Don’t force it with one word questions. If you were speaking to a room full of people, what would you say to get them out of their shells?


Telling a story within your LinkedIn posts is a simple and effective way to garner more engagement on your posts. We all try to order our experiences into context and continuity. Retaining information is that much easier when it comes in the form of a narrative.

Be sure to practice these techniques each week, learn which posts have generated the best results via your social media analytics platform and keep developing more storytelling content in that direction.

Need help building out your LinkedIn content strategy? Words On Brand are here to help.

Now, let’s take a look at four universities telling incredible stories on LinkedIn.

Staffordshire University

Overcoming adversity.

University Of East Anglia

Showcasing the kindness of strangers.

Sheffield Hallam University

Supporting young entrepreneurs.

London South Bank University

Sharing student’s personal journeys

Get Words On Brand
Today is the perfect day to bring your digital strategy on brand.
Let's get going