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

A sample LinkedIn post shows suggestions for more inclusive language provided by Textio while the post is being written on LinkedIn. (Textio Image)

Seattle-based augmented writing startup Textio has always sought to help people better communicate where they do their work, whether it’s in Gmail, Outlook or elsewhere. Now Textio is bringing the capability to where people often talk about where they work: LinkedIn.

Textio announced Tuesday that its writing guidance for enterprise customers can now be integrated with the business-focused social media platform owned by Microsoft.

The move builds on an expansion of Textio’s product offering from last fall, when the company seized on events of 2020 and the heightened awareness around diversity, equity and inclusion. Capabilities were added to Textio’s core platform to help companies and brands pick the right language on their websites, blog posts, internal communications and elsewhere.

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

“Increasingly I think when people look for jobs or they’re looking to assess a company, they’re looking at all social media, especially in the professional sphere that represents the organization,” she added. “And that could be something your employer brand team writes, but it could also be something your 10,000 employees are writing every day about how they feel about your company.”

Textio is integrated directly into the user interface on LinkedIn. The guidance — highlighted words or phrases, and suggestions — helps people orient around the inclusivity of what they’re posting, as the image above shows.

“The idea is that any time that I am now posting in LinkedIn or making a comment on somebody else’s post in LinkedIn, I have this level of support and I have the opportunity to change what I’m writing before I publish,” Snyder said.

Textio CEO Kieran Snyder. (Textio Photo)

The broadening of who Textio hopes to reach and where was only emphasized by the social justice-related issues of the past year or more. The nearly 7-year-old startup was originally focused primarily on the hiring and recruiting process, and the language used in job postings. And Snyder was unsure when it targeted more communications, outside of strictly the hiring process, whether companies would respond and back up their DEI talk.

She was pleasantly surprised.

The last four quarters have been four of the strongest six in the startup’s history. The company has more than rebounded from the challenges it and many companies faced at the start of the pandemic. Textio started 2020 with 293 customers in its larger commercial enterprise segment and today has 676 and growing.

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

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

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Snyder, who was CEO of the Year at the 2021 GeekWire Awards, said Textio is hiring “quite a few people right now,” but the startup no longer has a dedicated downtown Seattle office space. They’ve embraced a fully remote mindset, hiring in eight different states, with nearly half of its hires in the last 12 months coming from outside of Washington state.

“We’re a microcosm of what a lot of organizations experienced, which is challenge in the first part of the year and then rebound. The strong focus on equity and inclusion was important for us, internally as well, over the last year,” Snyder said, adding that hiring remotely has done important things for Textio’s own diversity and representation.

“I personally believe this is the next wave of equity work,” she said. “What we’re looking at at Textio is how do we reinvest some of those costs that would have been about physical space back in our team for making remote really great.”

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Startups Augmented writing Kieran snyder Linkedin Textio