This post was originally my 40th on the LinkedIn Publishing Platform post. After my first 20, I wrote a review of what I’d learned from posting long-form content on LinkedIn, so now, with another 20 under my belt, it seems like a good time to re-visit and share my further experiences. While everyone’s still establishing what works best – what sort of reach to expect, times to post, etc. – hopefully these notes might provide you with a bit more perspective on the platform, and its benefits.
Getting on The Pulse makes a significant difference…
Over my 40 posts, my averages are as follows:
These are pretty good numbers, and are in line with the engagement stats I’m seeing from other bloggers on LI. I’ve found that LinkedIn members are more likely to comment than some other platforms (9.5 comments per post), and that’s great, as each comment generates a notification via the commenter, highlighting your piece to their connections and followers as a result. My best performing post was viewed 18, 371 times, which is pretty amazing, and while hitting a number like that is rare, it’s always possible given the size of the expanded LinkedIn network. But even if I remove that extremely high result from the stats, my engagement figures are still solid:
I’m pretty happy with those figures, and they’ve helped me reach a heap more readers and make connections based on my content. But, as the sub-heading suggests, getting on LinkedIn Pulse is the key to maximising LI publishing reach.
For those who don’t know, LinkedIn Pulse is effectively the news section of LinkedIn. If you’re able to get your piece on The Pulse, your potential exposure is huge, as your piece will be featured in the top stories of that day, shown to every person who’s interested in the specific channel your piece is chosen for – for instance, if you get on the ‘Social Media’ channel, the audience is every person following ‘Social Media’ topic group among LinkedIn’s global user-base. With 300-million+ members worldwide, that’s a pretty big potential pool, so getting your content featured is a major boost. How much of a boost, you ask?
A 200% increase in views, almost 300% increase in Likes (and each ‘Like’ expands the reach of your piece to that users’ connections) and a 230% increase in comments. Getting your content on The Pulse is major, and over time, my results indicate I’m getting better at working out what resonates with LI audience and what’s more likely to be picked up.
So how do you get on The Pulse?
The items I’ve had featured on The Pulse are mostly about the philosophical approach to social media and the adaptation of the medium for business. These pieces are not as technically focussed as I might write for a specialised social media site – for example, the last five posts I’ve had featured on The Pulse are:
- A piece about how automation has benefits, but social media takes time and dedicated effort to create a genuine, trusted presence
- A piece looking at the rise in big data and how all businesses should be considering how they can use the data available via social media to better target their marketing
- A piece looking at assessing whether social media is right for your business by assessing your specific audience needs
- A piece looking at Facebook’s crackdown on clickbait and how it might affect brands
- A piece on the value of creating genuine connections with clients via social platforms
These posts are looking more at the approach to take to social media, as opposed to the how-to. It’s these more conceptual pieces that I’ve found resonate better with LinkedIn’s professional audience, looking at business structure and the part social media plays within wider company goals, as opposed to a step-by-step or in-depth analysis. As it is a professional site, content relating to professional development, career and business process have more relevance – people go to LinkedIn to talk business and get business advice, something worth remembering when you post.
The other form of content I’ve found effective is news – translating the latest industry news from your sector into how that applies to business. The Facebook crackdown on clickbait is an example of this – I’d read about Facebook’s move and seen some of the discussion and I thought it wasn’t being represented clearly, none of the pieces I’d read really broke down what the change might mean for marketers. So I took that approach. This is also how I chose the topic for my most viewed piece, which was about Twitter’s new mute option, and it was interesting to note in the comments that some people weren’t even aware of the Twitter change. If you know your industry, then you have a view on how changes are going to affect people’s approach. The audience on LinkedIn may not be as tuned-in to the specifics, they’re not reading all the things you are, so writing an explanation of how such changes tie into business practice may resonate with LinkedIn’s readership.
Also, humourous posts don’t tend to do that well. Either that or I’m not very funny – but I’ll stick with the former for now.
To re-publish or not…
I’ve re-published some of my content from other sources on LinkedIn. I’m not sure how I feel about it – I’d prefer to keep it fresh, but definitely I’ve not seen any audience reduction from this practice, re-published posts have performed just as well as original content. The audience on LinkedIn is likely to be more diverse than that of other platforms you post on, so the potential danger of cross-contamination (hitting your connections with the same content over and over) is not a major concern. There’s always the possibility that Google could penalise one or the other if it detects duplicate content, but my understanding, based on this explanation from Matt Cutts, is that this is not the type of duplication that’s of major concern to The Big G, so should be fine – it really comes down to your personal view.
So what are the benefits of LinkedIn Publishing?
View counts and ‘Likes’ are all great, but what are the actual benefits, the real results you can expect from using the LinkedIn Publisher platform? Here are the main benefits, as I see them:
- Increased exposure across the LinkedIn network. This is major for professionals as you are getting exposure to hundreds of millions of potential business contacts. Few sites would be able to offer the exposure LinkedIn can, and it’s unlikely you’ll have the same potential reach on your own blog. It’s a great way to increase your profile and visibility, and to highlight your expertise in your industry.
- Increase the profile of specialists within your business. We all know that people trust other people more than they do brands. As social media becomes more prevalent in business circles, it’s also becoming increasingly important for companies to have a human face, people that potential clients can connect to, rather than a logo. LinkedIn publishing is a great opportunity for brands to highlight their experts, to get them to post on the platform and build their professional profile. Those internal experts are also likely to be connected to your clients, providing a great opportunity to help customers stay in touch with industry trends and changes – what better place to get that info from than your business, your experts?
- Improve your LinkedIn profile to help you stand out from the pack. It’s great to have a library of posts directly linked to your profile. It’s an immediate reference point for anyone who wants to know what you do, a professional gallery that makes your profile stand out and can differentiate you from others in the field. And maybe, with that extra element, you’ll finally be able to take your LinkedIn profile from ‘All-Star’ to that next level, that little sliver of white just at the top of the bubble (note: you can’t, ‘All-Star’ is as high as you can get).
- Boost your visibility and ‘findability’ on LinkedIn. This is more of a prediction, though one I’m fairly confident of. At the moment, LinkedIn will show people matches for keyword searches based on several factors – profile completion, for example, is a significant one. I suspect that in future, your LinkedIn Publisher posts will also be factored into that search. If you have a heap of posts, all about a particular topic or area of business, and a reasonable follower count or like average, that’s probably a good indicator of your authority in the field, right? Google uses backlinks and some 199 other factors to assess search relevance, LinkedIn, with all that new data linked to your profile from your Publisher posts, will likely find a way to correlate that info back to you. Having a good LinkedIn Publisher catalogue could eventually see you rank higher for search terms related to your industry. It’s not happening yet, but I suspect that at some stage this will come into play.
Really, it depends on your purpose, but writing on LinkedIn is a great way to increase exposure and build your personal brand – if you want to be seen as an expert in your field, LI publishing is a great opportunity.
When I first wrote about LinkedIn publishing, I hadn’t seen many posts on best practices and such. Now, there’s a heap of them – this one by Henley Wing and this one by Gregory Ciotti, both from Social Media Examiner, are great and break down a more data-based approach to posting times and length. I recommend you check them out if you want to be more informed about LinkedIn Publisher best practices. For me, my best tips are:
- Include a brief bio/summary at the end of each piece. Originally, I did this to ensure I could connect Google Authorship, but it’s good practice to have your contact details readily available where you can. Ideally, you should also include a call to action (admittedly, I’ve not done this myself, but I plan on improving it in future).
- Always include an image. How important is it to include an image? I’ll put it this way – how many Pulse posts do you see that don’t have an image? Always include an image – even if it means you have to work out Photoshop for yourself (Canva’s a good option if you find this a challenge)
- Write well. Easier said than done, right? More operatively, re-check your work, edit, leave each post a couple of days before re-reading, if you can. The quality of your writing matters and it will play a part in how wide your content gets shared. It’s worth taking the time to double-check and to correct anything you’re not 100% happy with or sure about.
- Like your own posts. The height of ego, right? I’m not sure this has a huge impact, but I’ve been liking my posts a day or two after posting them. My theory is that when you first publish, it shows up in your followers’ news feed – ‘Andrew Hutchinson published a new post’ (as an aside, some people have expressed their annoyance at these updates clogging up in their notifications tab – you can disable them, as explained here). When you like the post again a couple of days later, your followers get a second notification – ‘Andrew Hutchinson liked…’, boosting your exposure and maybe getting a few more people to check out your work. I have no statistical evidence to prove this is effective, but it’s a working theory.
So that’s it, my (slightly long) summary what I’ve learned from LinkedIn publishing. I must say, I’m a big fan of publishing on LinkedIn. While I don’t see it as a replacement for other blogging practices – as in writing on your own blog or guest blogging – I think it’s a great compliment to those other processes, and an amazing vehicle for personal branding. With the connected world putting more emphasis on each individual voice, you need to take every opportunity to make yours stand out, to differentiate yourself from the crowd and highlight what it is you’re passionate about and knowledgeable in. LinkedIn publishing is a great way to do just that.