LinkedIn Publishing Platform
The emphasis on professional development differentiates LinkedIn from other social media sites. By virtue of their Influencer Network, the website evolved from an online networking venue into a virtual town hall for professionals in all occupations. LinkedIn’s new Publishing Platform gives all of its members the opportunity to become influencers. Is it worth your time and effort? Yes and no.
1. Thought Leadership and The Influencers Program
LinkedIn created the Influencers Network with an understanding of the importance of thought leadership in any industry. Launched in 2012, it allowed members to follow the musings of industry icons, such as Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Deepak Chopra, Arianna Huffington, Mark Cuban, Meg Whitman and President Barack Obama. Within 48 hours of posting their words of wisdom, the authors received over one million page views. Who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity for that kind of publicity? While only the elite can join the Influencers Network, the Publishing Platform allows other members to publish their content.
2. The Definitive Professional Publishing Platform
Ryan Roslansky, Director of LinkedIn Product Management writes:
The valuable Influencer posts and the wide range of professional content from millions of publishers that we currently aggregate on LinkedIn are powerful, but only the tip of the iceberg. Combined, our members have extremely valuable and varied experiences; however, their knowledge and expertise has not yet been captured and shared.
This explains why LinkedIn decided to open up the publishing platform to the rest of their members: Yet there’s always a catch.
3. But Only 25,000, at First
Only 25,000 members will receive early access to the program, but they plan to extend privileges to all members in all languages in the months to come. For early access, fill out the official application form.
4. What Should I Write?
Unless you’re a veterinarian, the Linkedn Publishing Platform is not the place to show cute pictures of your cat. Focus on the direction your industry is heading, problems it needs to solve and helpful articles for novices in your field. When faced with the evil writer’s block, Influencer Daniel Roth suggests using the Law and Order approach, and choose titles ripped from the headlines. Do not try to sell your product or services. Instead, display your expertise in a manner that will make people want to do business with you.
5. Who Will Read My Content?
Ah! That’s the question. At first, LinkedIn will distribute your content across your network. It will also appear in your news feed. If your content meets certain standards, LinkedIn will feature it in their other channels, such as LinkedIn Pulse. Of course, you can always share your content on your own blog, and on your other social media networks.
6. What’s In It For Me?
If you have a large LinkedIn network, the publishing platform provides an opportunity for showing off your expertise, especially to potential employers. If your work gets published on Pulse, you get additional bragging rights, page views and reach.
7. What’s NOT In It For Me?
Simply put: money. LinkedIn Influencer and professional journalist John Batelle writes:
The platform has proven it has significant reach, and for folks like me, who thrive on attention for words written, it’s certainly an attractive place to write. Of course, it pays nothing, and LinkedIn makes all the money on the page views my words drive, but … that’s the quid pro quo. We’ll put yer name in lights, kid, and you bring the paying customers.
Leslie Kaufman of the New York Times notes:
Because writers are not paid, Influencers is relatively inexpensive to produce. Contributors are attracted by the ability to connect with a large audience of business professionals, while being only lightly edited. (Most executives say they write their posts by themselves.) LinkedIn also trades on the executives’ vanity.
8. Using the Publishing Platform to Your Advantage
If you do decide that the LinkedIn Publishing Platform is worth your time and effort, take advantage of the demographic analytics offered to authors. This feature gives you access to data on all your followers, including their locations and professions.
9. Writing Influential Content
If your analytics reveal that only an unimpressive number of people are reading your content, you need to look at what you’re writing and how you’re writing it. Lack of reader engagement is one of the biggest mistakes content writers make. Another faux pas: Subjects that only interest a limited audience. To get an idea of what people like to read, check out the LinkedIn Channels Page, and subscribe to channels that cover your area of expertise.
10. The Bottom Line
Think carefully before answering this question. Are you a professional writer, who earns your living through paid writing assignments, or are you a business person who promotes your business through content articles? Richard Branson and Bill Gates can afford to give away their content for free, especially if it promotes a positive image about their brand. Increased page views will increase awareness of your brand, and eventually increase your bottom line. On the other hand, as a professional writer, you know that most publishers seek out unique content. If you write a brilliant piece for LinkedIn, you probably will not be able to publish it elsewhere.