Textio brings inclusive writing guidance to LinkedIn, and Seattle startup bounces back after pandemic

An example of a LinkedIn post shows suggestions for more inclusive language provided by Textio while the post is being written on LinkedIn. (Textio picture)

Seattle-based advanced writing startup Textio has always strived to help people communicate better where they do their jobs, be it in Gmail, Outlook, or elsewhere. Now Textio brings the opportunity to where people often talk about their workplace: LinkedIn.

Textio announced on Tuesday that its writing instructions for corporate customers can now be integrated into Microsoft’s corporate social media platform.

The move builds on an expansion of Textio’s product offering from last fall, when the company picked up on the events of 2020 and increased awareness of diversity, equity and inclusion. Features have been added to Textio’s core platform to help companies and brands choose the right language on their websites, blog posts, internal communications and elsewhere.

“The expansion into LinkedIn’s social media directly reflects the fact that not just one or two people writing official communications represent a company,” Textio CEO Kieran Snyder told GeekWire.

“I think when people are looking for jobs or want to rate a company, they are increasingly looking to all social media, especially in the professional area that represents the organization,” she added. “And that could be something your employer branding team writes, but it could also be something your 10,000 employees write about how they feel about your company every day.”

Textio is integrated directly into the LinkedIn user interface. The instructions – highlighted words or sentences and suggestions – help users orient themselves by the inclusiveness of their posts, as the above picture shows.

“The idea is that every time I post on LinkedIn now or comment on another post on LinkedIn, I have that level of support and the opportunity to change what I write before I post it “Said Snyder.

Textio CEO Kieran Snyder. (Textio photo)

The expansion of who Textio hopes to reach and where has only been underscored by the social justice issues of the past year or more. The nearly 7 year old startup originally focused primarily on the hiring and recruiting process and the language used in job postings. And Snyder wasn’t sure if companies were targeting further communications outside of the hiring process, if companies would respond and substantiate their DEI conversations.

She was pleasantly surprised.

The last four quarters were four of the strongest six in the startup’s history. The company has more than recovered from the challenges it and many companies faced at the start of the pandemic. Textio started in 2020 with 293 customers in its larger trading company segment and today has 676 customers, and the trend is rising.

“It’s definitely been a good year and I think it wouldn’t have been if we hadn’t built into what people need to get out of the pandemic,” said Snyder. “If we had just stayed where we were two years ago, I don’t think we’d see the same upswing.”

Textio was founded in 2014 by Snyder and Jensen Harris after the two previously worked on productivity tools at Microsoft. The company, which raised $ 41.5 million, laid off a significant portion of its team at the start of the pandemic and has now returned to just under 100 employees.

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Snyder, who was CEO of the Year at the 2021 GeekWire Awards, said Textio is “hiring quite a lot right now,” but the startup no longer has its own office space in downtown Seattle. They have adopted a completely detached mindset, hiring in eight different states, with nearly half of the hiring in the past 12 months being outside of Washington state.

“We are a microcosm of what many companies have experienced, namely a challenge in the first half of the year and then a recovery. The strong focus on equal opportunities and inclusion was also important to us internally last year, ”said Snyder, adding that the hiring from a distance did important things for Textio’s own diversity and representation.

“Personally, I believe this is the next wave of justice work,” she said. “At Textio, we’re looking at how we can reinvest some of the cost that we would have needed for the physical space on our team to make the remote really great.”

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