LinkedIn has long been the most professional of social media platforms — if you can even call it that. And its move into content curation with Pulse (previously LinkedIn Today) and publishing through its Influencers program shows that the company is investing and interested in how content can be used as a business — and branding — tool.
Yesterday, LinkedIn announced it opened its professional publishing feature to 25,000 members. Eventually, it plans to allow every user to publish articles on the platform. The content will be distributed to each individual’s network, appearing in the person’s news feed, and it could be featured in LinkedIn channels if the content meets certain standards of the algorithm.
LinkedIn is no longer just a platform for making connections to add to your virtual Rolodex. It’s becoming a destination site for professionals to read industry updates and publish their own ideas and insights to spark discussions.
If you’re looking to start down the publishing path on LinkedIn, then there are a few things you should know to take full advantage of this new feature.
1. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and projects a professional image.
Before you begin publishing, you need to review your profile. Update your summary, upload a current photo, and make sure your experience section is accurate. When you begin publishing content on the platform, readers will naturally want to learn more about you: After my first article was published, more than 400 people viewed my profile. It’s important that your profile conveys what you want people to know about you. Get started by checking out KISSmetrics’ LinkedIn marketing guide.
2. Focus on growing your network.
Getting your articles in front of your professional network is one of the selling points of posting on the platform. This doesn’t mean that you should ask anyone and everyone to connect, but you should spend some time considering whom you haven’t yet made a connection with. It’s also a great opportunity to reconnect with past clients or colleagues.
3. Create a strategic plan for publishing.
Many people will jump into writing without first considering why they’re publishing on the platform and what subjects they should cover. Consider who your audience is (your connections or potential business partners and clients), which topics you are passionate about, and how this content could provide some type of professional benefit. Approach publishing on the platform strategically, and create a plan for writing on a regular basis. Readers appreciate consistency and a thoughtful approach to publishing.
4. Write with quality, not quantity, in mind.
This content will reflect your brand and your company’s brand, so it’s important to remember that quality content is king. Create value for your network by discussing key trends and providing action steps. Help them do their jobs better. Also, be sure to have someone proof your work. Grammatical errors or overtly promotional content will destroy your credibility. Check out LinkedIn’s publishing platform help section for best practices guidelines.
5. Don’t let writing barriers prevent you from using the platform.
Not everyone can write like the masters, but luckily, this isn’t a place where perfect prose is required. However, you should remember that your writing is a reflection of your knowledge, expertise, and personality, so enlist the help of others if putting pen to paper isn’t a natural skill. I use our team of writers and editors to help develop and polish my content. Even the best writers should have someone who can provide constructive feedback.
6. Get involved in groups.
Maximize your publishing efforts by posting discussion questions surrounding the article’s topic in relevant groups or asking for feedback on your point of view. Clicking the “publish” button is not the last step. You need to involve others in discussions of your articles.
7. Reward your readers through interaction.
LinkedIn’s platform has a very engaged user base, and your content should incite others to ask questions and provide their own point of view. Be active in these discussions, and thank those who provide insightful commentary on your articles.
8. Be consistent to create a readership.
At the minimum, you should publish at least three or four articles so your professional profile provides a comprehensive view of not only your experiences, but also your expertise and personality. However, LinkedIn is a great platform to build a professional brand. Publishing content on a consistent basis will help you build a network of followers and readers who look forward to reading your next article. Remember: Investing in content is a long-term commitment, not a one-off tactic.
9. Use LinkedIn’s publishing platform as part of your overall marketing strategy.
You shouldn’t put a stop to all your other marketing and branding initiatives because of this new feature. Publishing content on LinkedIn should complement your current thought leadership or content marketing strategy, so take the time to consider the unique features and audience of the platform and how you can best take advantage of this opportunity.
As part of the alpha test, I have been using the LinkedIn publishing platform for around two months. It has once again proven that targeted, quality content can be a catalyst for creating a dialogue within your professional network. By opening up this program to more LinkedIn users, the company has given members the ability to create more than just connections — they can build real relationships through content.
Post by John Hall