Updated Dec. 31, 2020
If you are a LinkedIn member – and there are more than 720 million – you can be a content marketer on the platform.
About four years ago, LinkedIn opened its publishing platform to all members, allowing them to publish blogs directly and promote their content throughout the LinkedIn network and beyond.
While LinkedIn is primarily a B2B social media platform, both B2B and B2C brands can benefit from publishing on it. Executives from Virgin (including Richard Branson), GE, and Microsoft all publish on LinkedIn. Publishing directly on LinkedIn increases their reach and allows them to connect directly with their customers.
There are two main ways to publish on LinkedIn. The first is LinkedIn Publisher, in which a LinkedIn member can write a long-form article – usually five to seven paragraphs – and share it with their LinkedIn network. The second is a LinkedIn status update – a Twitter-like feature that is perfect for short, concise updates and messages.
As LinkedIn’s publishing opportunities have evolved, there are three things you need to know.
1. LinkedIn publishing is still relevant, but …
I’ve been posting through LinkedIn Publisher since 2014 and I still like its use in content marketing. But over the last few years, engagement has decreased. As you’ll see below with examples from my LinkedIn published posts and status updates, the change is significant.
From personal experience, and observation of other metrics from clients and colleagues, it is clear that short-form status updates are proving to get more comments and shares than LinkedIn long-form articles.
My content marketing strategy is straightforward:Provide content valuable to my core audience (executives and marketers). Post three to five times per week. Mix my content shares between other sources and my original content. Use hashtags (#LITips) to differentiate my content and help it become more discoverable.
Look at the analytics for one of my articles, a long-form post of approximately 350 words. I used LinkedIn Publisher to create it.
I received 170 views, four comments, and 21 “likes.” That’s average for the number of views for my long-form posts on LinkedIn Publisher.
Now compare that to a recent LinkedIn status update, which was about 30 words. It had 3,515 views, three comments, and 36 “likes” – more than 20 times the number of views as the long-form article got. (My status-update content averages between 2,000 to 2,500 views.)
That said, a content marketing plan incorporating both LinkedIn blog posts and status updates is a solid strategy. Use status updates for quick, easy-to-read messages. Elaborate in long-form LinkedIn Publisher posts about twice a month.
TIP: Use status updates to promote your long-form posts by sharing excerpts.
2. Video is available and highly engaging
LinkedIn gives you the ability to post video status updates directly on the platform. Plus, you can add video to company page updates and your LinkedIn profile. It’s a dynamic way to engage your audience and get more views of your content.
One of my clients, Kristen Cox, mastered the use of LinkedIn video and content marketing on the platform in general. At the time, she was the state budget director for Utah and a consultant. She published a 60-second video status update on a topic and referred to a LinkedIn post she has written on the topic. (She writes about efficiency in government and innovation.) It gave her audience relevant information while driving traffic to the article and deepening engagement.
Here’s an example. Kristen posts a status update:
At the end she references her full LinkedIn article:
3. LinkedIn is perfect for writing once, sharing multiple times
Do you already blog somewhere else? Share it through a LinkedIn Status post. But be sure to share it in the comments, so LinkedIn doesn’t penalize you for posting a link that takes the reader off LinkedIn. You not only have a new LinkedIn post, you’re driving traffic to your website.
Check out a blog post from Eric Marcoullier, startup and product coach, that he posted on LinkedIn. Notice he also added a hot link to his Obvious Startup Advice blog:
And here’s the blog on his website:
You can use this tactic in multiple ways on the LinkedIn platform. For instance, if you write an article on the top five things you need to know about your industry, post a series of five status updates – each with one of the points – and always link to the original article.
LinkedIn can be a viable content marketing platform
You can use LinkedIn for content marketing, but, as with any channel, the content needs to be relevant to your audience. Take time to understand the features of LinkedIn and how it can be used for content marketing. It will pay off in the end.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute