LinkedIn has become the defacto social platform for the professional. With over half a billion users, it has become one of the most popular social networks while maintaining a taking-care-of-business sensibility that makes it a natural place for B2B marketing and networking. While it was initially popular as only a recruiting and job searching tool, LinkedIn has made significant strides to improve another aspect of its offering: thought leadership.
Over 1 million professionals have posted long-form content on LinkedIn and more are doing it every day. Why? Because LinkedIn’s publishing platform allows users to create quality posts that are great for establishing expertise and sparking engagement with others on the platform. Here are a few tips on how you can use the content you are creating for your marketing strategy to establish yourself as a thought leader on Linkedin.
Understand the Difference Between an Article and a Post
LinkedIn does a lot of things really well, but one thing it doesn’t do well is keeping the vocabulary straight on their publishing features. If you want to share information with your following and LinkedIn at large, you have two basic tools at your disposal. The first is a post and the second is an article, although it is sometimes called a post. See the issue?
Posts are short updates that are more similar to a Tweet on Twitter or a Facebook status update. You can create one easily from the home page by simply typing into the box that says “Share an article, photo, video or idea.” Posts are great for sharing curated content and interesting things you found that you think others would also find interesting. You are also able to add your own commentary to the post so you can put the item you are sharing in context.
An article on LinkedIn is quite different. You get to it through the same box as you would use to write a post, but instead of simply writing, you must click the button that says, “Write an article.” This will take you to LinkedIn’s publishing platform. Considering that it is such a robust and useful tool, you would think they would provide more ways to navigate there, but this is the one pathway into the article writing.
Articles are more similar to blog posts and should be treated as such. Most experts suggest making them at least over 500 words long, though there does not seem to be an upper limit to how long they can be. If you have 5000 words worth of information to share on a subject, there is little reason to hold back.
Articles have other features that allow you to make them more engaging and dynamic. You can pick a featured image, create pull quotes, even add featured Slideshares, Tweets, and Instagram posts to spice up your article.
Once you have written an article, it is a good idea to share it in the form of a post. You want to get as many eyes on your article as possible. You can even share articles multiple times through your posts.
Don’t Worry About Reusing Content
One question that many people have online is about reusing content created elsewhere on your LinkedIn blog as an article. There is a concern since posting duplicate content in other instances can result in Google and other search engines downgrading your page’s rank and making it more difficult to find.
Republishing a blog post on LinkedIn will not have this negative effect on your traffic. One suggestion to help clarify things for the search engines is to include the sentence: “This post was originally published on [name of your website with a link to the original post]” at the bottom of your LinkedIn article. This will let search engines know that the original was on a different site.
Some people are also worried that if they repurpose their content on LinkedIn, they will be forfeiting traffic that they would rather have going back to their own site. In this instance, if your goal is really to just drive people off of LinkedIn and to your site, a good trick to use is a “Continue Reading” link. Instead of republishing the entire article on LinkedIn, take the first few paragraphs, just enough to get someone really hooked on the piece and make those an article. At the end of the article, include the words “Continue Reading” with a link back to your original post. This will encourage anyone who wants to finish your post have to click through to your site in order to finish it.
This strategy can have a few downsides. One of the more obvious ones is that a certain percentage of people will not click through to your site. Now not only have they not visited your site, they have not read your entire piece of content and are less likely to engage with you on LinkedIn.
Pressing Publish Is Not the End
Whether you are writing original content or reusing posts as an article, once you put them up, your thought leader journey has just begun. The strength of LinkedIn’s publishing platform is the increased amounts of engagement that happens there. As long as your post has something to offer your audience, you will begin to get likes, shares, mentions, and comments on your piece. It is important that you continue to interact with people as they begin to contribute to your post. This activity is the lifeblood of any thought leader.
If you want to take things up a level, tag other influencers in your posts so they see when you share something you think they might be interested in. It is another great way to foster conversation among the people that you most want to be talking to on LinkedIn.
As you begin to develop a cadence with the rate and subject matter of your posts, you will find your audience growing and the level of engagement increasing. This will be the way that you know your thought leader strategy is working and that you are using LinkedIn to the fullest of its potential.
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