Last year, LinkedIn lowered its age limit, introduced a bundle of new mobile apps and put the finishing touches on its updated design. In 2014, LinkedIn’s biggest news thus far has been the platform’s intention to roll out long form publishing to all members.
As announced in February, LinkedIn gave publishing access to 25,000 members with the intention of extending it to all members over the next several months. What does this mean for ambitious professionals? To become the next VIP of LinkedIn, you’ll need to publish your heart out. Today I’ll show you how to do just that, and then some.
First, you and I should have seen this coming.
LinkedIn’s Influencer Program was a Sign
Started in fall 2012, the Influencer program was a definitive first step in LinkedIn’s affirmed focus on quality content. Hidden at the bottom of LinkedIn’s February announcement were a few juicy statistics about the platform’s 500 original influencers. Specifically, the combined experience for Influencers falls slightly short of 13,000 years! It’s no wonder nearly 300 million members count on LinkedIn for elite knowledge and thought leadership.
For professionals, LinkedIn’s recent leniency with its publishing feature promises to provide ample opportunity for members to strut their proverbial stuff. However, it’s important to view it as a chance to let your creativity and experience shine through instead of using it as another platform on which to share your latest vacation photos.
Is LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform Just a Regular Blog?
Not quite. LinkedIn’s recent updates suggest that extended publishing should be treated more like a velvet rope where only the best dressed content gets in. As Daniel discussed in a previous post, writing for a professional audience is different than creating content for your clients. It should educate, engage and entertain your readers while providing useful details, like case studies and credible statistics. In order to do it well, you’ll need to avoid making career-damaging mistakes.
An Etiquette Lesson from LinkedIn
With LinkedIn allowing members access to long form publishing, more opportunities will arise to make a mistake that is then shared with the entire world. One poor decision can lead to utter ruin. As an example, take the story of Kelly Blazek. Until she decided to send a less-than-professional email response to a connection inquiry, she was respected member of her community and an established leader, being that she helps manage an online job bank in Cleveland, Ohio.
Thanks to a momentary lapse in etiquette, Blazek’s demeaning response to a LinkedIn request became viral almost instantly. The former “Communicator of the Year” found herself writing apology letters, holding press conferences and attempting to put the broken pieces of her career back together. Blazek is a prime example of what not to do on LinkedIn.
The fact that the world’s most prominent professional network is now allowing all members to publish content will help mistakes, like Blazek’s, gain even more attention and public backlash. My advice? Don’t be a Blazek.
How to Rock Your LinkedIn Network with Content
If you want to create content that rocks your network, focus attention on LinkedIn’s recommendations for publishing great content.
- Beyond your network – When considering topics for LinkedIn posts, looking beyond your network is just as important as understanding your current audience. Since published content will likely be shared with others outside of your network, having a general grasp of your audience’s audience and their interests is a good game plan.
- Authenticity – Though you’re writing for a professional audience, an authentic voice is still essential. Let your personality show through while providing helpful information.
- Media, media, media! – There’s nothing that states once a person joins LinkedIn they become a robot. Regardless of their professional standing, members of your network are still human. They still respond more to images, videos, and presentations than written text. Always include a variety of media elements in your content.
- Focus on expertise – As mentioned earlier, LinkedIn’s publishing feature will allow professionals to let their experience and creativity shine through. If you plan to use LinkedIn to provide thought leadership, write about topics closely related to your area of expertise.
- Be generous – To gain the attention and admiration of your audience on LinkedIn, generosity with content is essential. This doesn’t mean each post should be a thesis (which may deter some readers), but it does mean your content should be at least three paragraphs of relevant information.
4 Publishing Perks Courtesy of LinkedIn
LinkedIn’s recent change of heart provides professionals with a few irresistible perks. For those who want to take their personal brand to the next level, LinkedIn’s tools make it easy.
- Stats – By accessing your post archive on LinkedIn, you’re able to view stats related to your content. Posts that receive more views and interaction are more likely to get distributed across multiple networks. Furthermore, LinkedIn may even take the best content and distribute it on trusted sites outside of the platform.
- Mobile – Along with most other large companies, LinkedIn is riding the mobile wave. To prove it, they’ve already released multiple mobile apps to snag the attention of users on any device. For aspiring publishers, this means your content’s reach is extended to the all-important mobile user.
- Social sharing – LinkedIn’s generosity extends to social media. Kudos to the team at LinkedIn! They made it simple to promote content on Twitter and Facebook directly from the publishing tool.
- Insights – As you accumulate feedback and your content begins to spread across the web, you’ll gain valuable insight into your audience and the ability to discern which type of content garners the best response.
Welcome to VIP Status
Though you may not be there yet, you’ll soon graduate to LinkedIn VIP status by putting the tips in this blog to practice. Now, what tidbits of genius have you been holding back from the world? Save your best content for LinkedIn!
In what ways do you think LinkedIn’s publishing feature will elevate your personal brand?
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