LinkedIn recently introduced an important new feature: long-form publishing. Now, all account holders (paid and free) can publish articles on LinkedIn.
Empowering users to publish their content on the LinkedIn site is part of a broad strategy to position the business networking site at the centre of news and information distribution. LinkedIn’s Pulse news service already delivers business and financial news to users daily via their activity stream. And with long-form publishing, LinkedIn is vying for more of the user-generated content that is currently finding its way onto blogs and other media sites.
Why publish on LinkedIn?
Why publish your articles on LinkedIn when you already have a blog? The best answer is: you should do both.
There are many good reasons to own your blog publishing platform, including growing your own audience, developing an email list, building thought leadership, etc. Depending where you are in that process, LinkedIn publishing could look like a very helpful tool.
LinkedIn may be attractive to content creators because of the nature of its audience and reach. For most professionals, the few hundred connections you have on LinkedIn are important to your business: they are your clients, your peers and your prospects. Publishing on LinkedIn will make your content readily available to these high-value members of your network. And if you create remarkable content, it will reach a wider audience on LinkedIn than you might be able to reach on your blog.
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In my own experience with LinkedIn publishing over the past several months, I’ve seen promising results. The total number of views some articles have received is in the low hundreds, while other articles have reached three to four thousand readers. LinkedIn is not revealing exactly how this user-generated content is distributed on its system, but it’s clear that good articles can make their way into notifications displayed on the site, emails sent to your connections and even to the Pulse home page.
Tips for Using LinkedIn Publishing
If any of the foregoing has convinced you to give LinkedIn publishing a try, here are some tips worth following:
- Write for your reader, not yourself. In other words, don’t publish marketing drivel. No one wants to read all the reasons why they should do business with you. People have real questions that need answering, they are struggling with issues and could use some help. Readers enjoy being entertained. Give real value, and you’ll get far more out of your efforts.
- Write a good headline. Everyone scans before reading because there is too much information out there. Your headline needs to capture readers’ attention because it’s also how your article will appear in the notification for all of your LinkedIn connections. Be compelling.
- Include at least one image. LinkedIn displays summaries of your articles in 3 little boxes under your basic contact information on your profile and those summaries are designed for having an image. Omitting an image or choosing a bad image is a sure fire way to make your article less visible.
- Put a footer on your article. At the end of your article, write a few lines about who you are and what you do. Add an HTML link to your website, or even your blog, so your LinkedIn readers can connect with you on your site. Once you write a footer for one article, you can paste onto any subsequent articles.
- Use HTML style formatting. LinkedIn’s publishing interface is rudimentary, however, it does include some styles. Most important for search optimization is to use HTML tags for sub-headings in your article – same as if you were publishing your article on your WordPress blog site.
- Respond to comments. When someone takes the time to comment on your article, you should darn well respond to them in a timely manner. Even if they just say “great article”, you should thank them and take a moment to find out who they are. It is in these small engagement opportunities that the real value of social networks exists.
The roll-out for LinkedIn publishing was announced several months back and seems to be taking longer than many expected. You’ll know if you have publishing turned on for your account because a small pencil icon will appear next to the paperclip icon in the “share an update” field at the top of your profile.
If you haven’t got LinkedIn publishing turned on yet and really want it, you can apply for early access or send me a note and I can try and help.
Or, if you are using it now, I’d be interested in hearing about your experience.