Anyone with a LinkedIn account will soon be able to increase his or her personal and/or professional reach by publishing blog posts on directly on the platform, but without much control over who views them.
Everyone Can Blog on LinkedIn[tweetable alt=”#socialnetwork @LinkedIn announced that it will open its #blog platform to all” hashtag=””]LinkedIn recently announced that it would soon open its blog platform to all users.[/tweetable] According to a recent article on TechCrunch, this feature, currently open to about 25,000 English-language LinkedIn users, will be made universal in the coming months.
Previously, only registered “Influencers” were given permission to post long-form entries, as TechCrunch outlines. In 2012, LinkedIn expanded its “following” feature to give users the opportunity to follow companies of interest as well as certain individuals identified by LinkedIn as leaders in various sectors. The number of “Influencers” was originally 150 but has since grown to around 500.
It will soon be possible to follow anyone with a LinkedIn account. Though some users have already been granted access to this feature, it will be introduced to the rest of the LinkedIn community in the coming months. Under this new system, following is also not limited to the user’s network, as posts are searchable within and outside of LinkedIn.
Pros and Cons of LinkedIn Blogging
Great Jakes, who tried blogging on this new platform in June, found that [tweetable alt=”#blog #posts by @GreatJakes on @LinkedIn saw a greater readership than on his own site” hashtag=””]posts on LinkedIn saw a much greater readership, compared to those on its own website.[/tweetable]
Having a high number of readers, however, does not necessarily mean that the right people are being reached. In fact, in Great Jakes’ first publication on LinkedIn, 24 out of 25 comments were by people who clearly fell outside of their target market.
Additionally, Hubspot points out in its blog that while users technically own everything they publish, publishing rules and methods are subject to change at any time without notice, leaving publishers with no choice but to readjust.
Great Jakes noted that its second blog post received significantly fewer views because LinkedIn had (for no clear reason) promoted only the first blog post in the arbitrary categories of Marketing & Advertising and Social Media. Despite a smaller audience for the second blog post, however, the publisher found that it received a lot of traffic from its own network.
One of the main difficulties presented by publishing on LinkedIn is that it does not indicate exactly who read which piece — Great Jakes’ findings are the result of targeted research and analysis.
LinkedIn Is Best at Using LinkedIn Networks
It seems reasonable that LinkedIn would do a good job at promoting users’ content within their LinkedIn networks. Great Jakes’ second post received 518 views in two weeks on LinkedIn, compared with 281 views on its own blog in nineteen weeks, thus earning it more followers.
As LinkedIn seems to be in the process of developing this feature, publishing solely on this platform might still be a risky venture, especially since some of the numbers and followers the platform generates can be misleading. On the other hand, it seems to be a great place to publish for increased exposure, both to the user’s own network and to those outside it.
What to Publish
The gamble seems to be between promoting a site’s blog posts through LinkedIn and cross-posting the same content directly onto LinkedIn.
LinkedIn does state in its Rights and Responsibilities that it “discourages and may disable posts that self-servingly advertise a service, business, political cause or other organization or cause that does not benefit the broader LinkedIn community.” Even so, the most engaging blog posts are unlikely to only “self-servingly advertise” in the first place.
Looking at the results of Great Jakes’ experiment, LinkedIn seems to be programmed to promote its own material (posts directly on LinkedIn) over links to foreign material. This means that it may be preferable to publish engaging, insightful posts — which are more likely to be shared — than short promotional posts.
The higher the number of people who connect with a post, the more likely it is to show up in users’ searching and browsing. Many sources now, including Social Sales Link and The Four Hour Blog, recommend interactive blogging. At the very least, this means inviting comments, but other forms of interactive blogging may include surveys, private responses and videos.
The Need for a Home Base
LinkedIn still seems to be a place to expand one’s network rather than a place to base it. As demonstrated above, the platform’s numbers can be misleading and its content distribution methods uncertain.
On his or her own blog, a user can fashion interactive features including email lists to extend interaction with readers beyond the blog post.