As a speaker, author, writer, trainer and coach in the Social Selling arena, it’s pretty easy to get people interested in a system of processes and strategies that leverage social platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter to build their businesses.

I mention all of the ways Social Selling works to help fill the funnel, take prospects through to the close, and gain referrals from one’s network and current client list. Interest levels climb even more.

At some point, I tell them about LinkedIn’s Publishing platform. Let’s just say eyes begin to glaze over. I then mention that it’s pretty similar to blogging, but it has a defined purpose: to position yourself as the “go-to gal/guy” in your industry of profession by sharing tips, insights and thoughtful commentary. I also tell them that publishing on LinkedIn is a part of a fully well-rounded Social Selling strategy.

I’ve completely lost them at “similar to blogging.”

unPublishers: Busy Businesspeople

Writing can be very hard for a lot of people. For some, it’s not the difficulty that puts them off; it’s the time required. I definitely get both points. I’ve been writing professionally since college, and it can still be hard for me. There’s no doubt it can be time-consuming, too. Trying to convince people who don’t write for a living—and who have high-pressure jobs to boot—that publishing on LinkedIn can help significantly increase their businesses is a challenge.

Thus, the “unPublisher” was born.

Simply put, an unPublisher is a businessperson (salesperson, marketer, Social Seller, etc.) who actively shares published articles from other sources on various social platforms, including and especially LinkedIn. I’m emphasizing “actively,” as it’s key to this strategy.

It’s All About the Share

When people usually share content from other publications, they only publish the URL of the original article. There’s no comment, no notes, no… well… nothing else. And more often than not, the content itself leaves something to be desired. It looks something like this:

This share just doesn’t “do” it, on a variety of levels.

unPublishers, on the other hand, enhance and even expand the content. Hopefully, the share is good enough to start a conversation with her or his followers, connections, and so on. The more people conversing about it, the better. I get very excited when people start talking amongst themselves in a share, too.

An unPubliser post has three requirements:

  1. The article or content in the post itself must be highly relevant to the unPublisher’s connections, followers, and audience.
  2. The unPublisher must contribute additional content that expands or enhances the original article, including:
    – Calling out or highlighting an important point in the article;
    – Summarizing the main takeaway(s) of the piece;
    – Challenging a point, the overall conclusion, etc. in the article.
  3. The unPublisher must acknowledge and engage with those who care enough to take the time to comment, even if it is just a “Good point, [NAME]!” note. (I’ve even answered questions put to me by people making comments in my newsfeed posts.)

The second item is crucial in this process, as its where you lend your “voice” to the article or content that you’ve shared. You build your own (and your company’s) brand in this requirement. That’s why your content needs to be thoughtful and insightful.

By fulfilling all three of these requirements, you’ll be providing content that others will find genuinely valuable and will brand you as the expert in your field. A side effect, hopefully, will be that your connections will share your content within their own networks, spreading your expertise even further.

Performing these three steps is easy to do on most social platforms, except for Twitter. Since Twitter has a 140-character limit (for now, hopefully), you may not be able to expand or enhance the original story. Just do the best you can.

Here’s an example of what I envision a proper unPublisher post looks like, and is what I based this strategy on when I created it:

This, in my mind, fulfills all three requirements of a unPublisher post.

Easier than You Think

With the unPublisher strategy, you can draw from most any publication or blog for your content. (Just make sure that the content you share isn’t available to paid subscribers or anything where one needs to be logged into something to see it.)

Any of the major platforms that offer timeline-like functionality—Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and others—make sharing especially easy. You can copy-and-paste in the Web address of the article in question, and type in your comments or observations. The Facebooks, LinkedIns, etc. even publish a preview of what the article looks like, which helps draw attention to your unPublisher post.

It Still Takes Some Time

As you can see, committing to the unPublisher strategy will take time. But tools do exist to help with this strategy. I use a combination of two tools, and I pay for the Premium versions of both (Free versions are available). Other similar ones are available, of course, but these are the ones with which I have the most experience:

Buffer is a content scheduling service that is used to pre-schedule news updates for five networks: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. The scheduling offerings available are wide and varied, and should be able to fulfill your needs. I’ve used it for a couple of years now, and thoroughly enjoy using it.

Feedly is a news and content article aggregator that has powerful filters to bring you the types of items you would want to share on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and so on. I really like it because the Pro version (paid) directly interfaces with Buffer, which makes “stocking” my Buffer quick and easy. If you have your Feedly filters set up correctly, you can set up an entire week’s worth of articles to publish on LinkedIn (and the other networks to which Buffer feeds) in about an hour, once a week.

Be careful, though: I’ve noticed that some publishers that are in Feedly now require that people log into their sites to see their content. I’m not saying that’s wrong; I’m guessing, though, it likely would tick off a connection of yours who clicks on an article that you’ve commented on, but is instead dumped at the door of a login firewall. (It would definitely grind my gears.)

Still Try to Publish

Even though you’re now (hopefully) mentally signed-on to be an unPublisher, I recommend that you should try to write some blog articles for publication on LinkedIn. It’s a part of Social Selling for a reason.

Remember that one of the integral parts of your Social Selling strategy is to have a well-stocked Profile that promotes yourself and your business as the “go-tos” in your industry. The best way to do this is to offer content that contains genuine tips and advice about what your products/services. Plus, all of that content has your name on it, branding you as the expert.

Just from a visual standpoint, your Profile would look something like this, with your Posts in a very prominent position:

Think of this area as a big-ol’ spotlight for your highly relevant content that helps potential and current clients in their respective businesses. As a bonus, I can almost guarantee that most of your competitors will not have anything here. They’re missing a valuable expertise-building opportunity; you won’t.

As you can see, it takes just three articles to fill up that block area. I’d suggest trying to write those first three articles as soon as you’re able, then writing new ones every four weeks to six weeks. You can always hire someone to do the writing, too. Either way, you’re still an unPublisher while you’re writing a piece every once in a while… if at all.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.