LinkedIn recently introduced a new feature with possibilities for your practice: long-form publishing.
Empowering users to publish content is part of LinkedIn’s strategy to put itself at the centre of news and information distribution. LinkedIn’s Pulse service already delivers business and financial news to users via their activity streams. With long-form publishing, LinkedIn is vying for more of the user-generated content currently on blogs and other media sites.
Why publish on LinkedIn?
If you already have a blog, you may be tempted to skip posting on LinkedIn. But you should do both.
There are many good reasons to own your blog publishing platform, including growing your own audience, developing an email list and building your reputation. Depending where you are in that process, LinkedIn publishing could be a helpful tool.
It’s attractive to writers 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, peers and prospects, so it makes sense to publish on the platform that has direct access to your target audience. And if you create remarkable content, it has the potential to reach LinkedIn’s wider network. Chances are, your blog isn’t followed by as many people as there are LinkedIn subscribers.
LinkedIn isn’t revealing exactly how this user-generated content is distributed on its system, but articles do make their way into notifications displayed on the site, emails sent to your connections and even to the Pulse home page.
In my own experience, I’ve published 10 articles on LinkedIn with an average readership of over 1,200 per article. Some articles have received total views in the low hundreds, typical of my average blog post. However, other articles have reached three to four thousand readers–a 10-fold increase over my average blog post.
Tips for Using LinkedIn Publishing
If you want to give LinkedIn publishing a try, here are some tips:
- 1. 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’re struggling and could use help. Readers enjoy being entertained. Give real value, and you’ll get far more out of your efforts.
- 2. Write a good headline. Most people scan an article’s title before deciding whether to read it—there is too much information out there. Your headline needs to capture readers when it appears as a notification for all of your LinkedIn connections. Be compelling.
- 3. Include at least one image. LinkedIn displays summaries of your articles in three little boxes under your basic contact information on your profile. The boxes are designed for images. Omitting an image is a surefire way to make your article less visible.
- 4. 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. Write a standard footer you can use in any article you write.
- 5. 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—you should already be doing this when you’re publishing on your blog.
- 6. Respond to comments. When someone takes the time to comment on your article, you should darn well respond to him or her in a timely manner. Even if she just says “great article,” you should thank her and take a moment to find out who she is. The real value of social networks exists in these small exchanges.
The rollout for LinkedIn publishing was announced several months back and seems to be taking longer than many expected. (If publishing is turned on for your account a 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 access turned on yet and really want it, fill in this form to let LinkedIn know you want access. Or, if you’re using it now, I’d be interested in hearing about your experience.