When LinkedIn launched as a professional social community in 2003, it claimed a place in the social space that was not yet represented. LinkedIn is exclusively focused on professional B2C and B2B connections and activities.
LinkedIn’s long form publishing, originally opened to “influencers” was opened up to 25K+ LinkedIn members early this year and will continue to roll out to all it’s members.
LinkedIn has quickly become a major publishing resource with some of the best content on trends, business insights, careers, work, jobs and professional development. You can use LinkedIn’s new publishing platform to get your message out on these and related topics or simply to build your expertise and professional brand.
What makes the content unique and interesting is how personalized and specific it is to each publisher’s real life business and industry experiences.
Respect the Community Focus and its Etiquette
This community is 100% focused on people making business and career connections and learning about the most current information and trends. So, no family picnic photos, silly vacation faces or dog tricks here. (Yes, this stuff actually does show up from time to time.) And don’t use it for other more self serving activities either.
Show and Tell What You Know in Your Articles
Take what you know about business and your unique experiences and help people get better and more proficient in their work and life skills by sharing your experiences and insights. LinkedIn is a powerful collective of knowledge. For example, Alen Mayer uses the platform to share his own techniques for persuading customers to buy or use a product or services and boils these down into actionable advice for his readers.
Make Your Content Support Your Network
We build our professional network one connection at a time. Knowing the overall mix of your community can help you focus your content. Are they managers, new hires, CEO’s or seasoned sales reps? For example, business coach Jim Barger uses the platform to write about how to outdistance competitors in articles like “Smack You in the Face” Customer Service.
Use Your Unique and Individual Point of View to Set You Apart
LinkedIn welcomes and encourages the individual perspectives of its members in their articles. Whatever your take is, bring it on. This approach is what sets LinkedIn apart from other content sites. It welcomes high level industry influencers and real, regular people who have valuable expertise so that we can learn from each other.
Include Visual Accessories to Support and Enhance Your Content
LinkedIn allows for and supports images, video, charts, surveys and infographics to be uploaded from your desktop or mobile phone and placed throughout your article. These visuals can support and enhance your article flow and ideas and can keep readers engaged.
Share Advice From Specific Experiences You Have Had
We all learn through our good and not so good experiences and both have value and merit to inspire and motivate. If you have had a particular experience with a company, client or vendor that has a good story and lesson, that can make for great content. Of course, the reverse can also be true.
Share the Trends You See in Your Industry
Some of LinkedIn’s Top Infuencers offer insights and ideas about where they believe things are headed based on the trends they are seeing in their own companies and industries. You can create this kind of content too. You don’t need to be a Richard Branson a Jack Welch or a Jeff Haden to share meaningful insights about the niche you occupy.
Write About Problems Solved, Skills and Solutions Used
Everyday we face problems, challenges and situations that take specific skills, qualities and intangibles to solve. The LinkedIn community is full of business professionals just like you, and chances are they’ve experienced similar problems in their careers. Share your problems, how you solved them and the skill sets you used and highlight them in your articles. Take the example of serial entrepreneur James Caan, who took a negative critique about one of his presentations and turned it into an opportunity to figure out a better approach.
Use Humor, Storytelling and Visuals to Get Your Point Across
Liz Ryan CEO and Founder of Human Workplace, is a great example of how to use a personal style to set your content apart. Ryan writes in a conversational way as if she is sitting right across from you sharing a cup of coffee. She adds her own original, amazing art to soften the difficult ideas and adds humor to get her points across. She shows her visual storytelling in articles like “Are You Managerial Material” with images supporting her content throughout.
Always Review and Edit Your Articles for Spelling and Grammar
There is no spell check on the LinkedIn publishing platform. So it’s best to write your article in word or some other format where you have features that flag misspelled words and grammar inconsistencies. Remember, this is a professional platform, so be vigilant about making sure your content reflects this.
Attribute All Examples, Surveys, Studies and Quotes
Always link your information and source it if it is not your own. When you use surveys, studies, quotes or graphs, make sure you are giving them the proper attribution.
Don’t Make Your Content Too Short, but Just Long Enough
LinkedIn does not have a limit on word count, but suggests posts that seem to do the best are more than three paragraphs. Use the range of 500 to 1,200 words as a starting point and then research posts in your field that get good response to see how long they are.
Use Consistency to Build Your Following and Credibility
As with all brand building and content marketing growth, consistency is key. Make a commitment to post weekly, monthly or as regularly as you can. The more consistently and regularly you publish, the more you build, serve and grow your community. The most successful publishers on LinkedIn produce content consistently. And the result is an admiring audience. For example, J.T. O’ Donnell, a LinkedIn career influencer has built a loyal following because her relateable articles like You’re More Talented (and Beautiful) Than You Think, Can a Job Change Your Life?, and 10 Things to Do This Summer to Advance Your Career just keep coming.
Share Your LinkedIn Content Through All Your Channels
Share, promote and market your content through all of your media channels including your website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, emarketing, YouTube and when you are networking. Always link your LinkedIn articles back to your profile to build interest. Use publishing on LinkedIn to open the door for writing for other social and industry blogs. Don’t be shy about promoting yourself and tooting your own horn a bit. Just don’t go overboard.
Use Current, Relevant and Real Time Sources
Make sure all the sources and resources you use are the most current, relevant and buzz worthy you can find. Within the last 12 months is a good time benchmark. If you post daily then you will need to cover the news as it happens. Many publishers take the headlines of the day and create their own article spin on them, as Gerard Baker, Editor in Chief of the Wall Street Journal does in his 10 Point article template.
Create Great Headlines for Better Engagement
A great 5-10 word branded, keyword worthy article headline is magnetic. It screams “must read this”. It might not be what someone was looking for but, because of the title, they are compelled to read it. Great titles create curiosity about the content inside like “Project Management Lessons from Gandalf” and “9 Brands People Love Enough to Stick on Their Car Windows.” Who could resist?
Use the LinkedIn Help Section To Learn More
If you have a question about LinkedIn publishing that isn’t answered here, visit LinkedIn’s help section and search for more information. Just search under Professional Publishing Platform and you’ll find plenty of content to help you master LinkedIn.
Written by Deborah Shane