LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform: Pros, Cons and Generating more Content

LinkedIn's publishing platform: pros, cons and generating more content

LinkedIn has decided to jump into the content marketing deep end. Last month, the company announced that it’s opening up its publishing platform to all members. The Richard Branson’s of the world will no longer have the monopoly on creating long form content on the site.

As of right now, the network is rolling out access to its publishing platform slowly with only a small fraction of the entire LinkedIn user base able to create long form posts. Over the next several months, the company is promising to expand the feature to all members.

Yet another place to spend time generating content

No doubt this is what you’re thinking. Trying to stay out of the content marketing black hole can feel overwhelming. The thought of having one more place where you need to be adding remarkable insights – in long form no less – is enough to send a lot of people over the edge.

If you’re one of them, take a deep breath. There are plenty of pros and cons to publishing content in this new format. Let’s take a look at them and discuss how to approach the platform if you decide it’s a good fit for your business.

The Pros

Expand your reach

Once you start adding posts on the publisher platform, anyone can search, find, and read the posts that you’ve written without being a connection. In fact, LinkedIn makes these posts publicly available to be read outside of the network. Write something particularly good and LinkedIn may distribute it as part of their aggregated content.

Better display expertise

Interacting within LinkedIn is one of the best ways to highlight expertise on a particular subject. Up until now, the only ways to do that have been through sharing links to your own content housed elsewhere, joining in on Group discussions and adding short status updates.

Complement your brand

Think of it as another opportunity to discuss your insights into your particular niche. By differentiating it from your business blog, it can be an alternative outlet for people to connect with you.

…and now for the Cons

Too much competing content

We all know what happened with Facebook. More and more content being pumped into the pipeline means overcrowded newsfeeds. Every content marketer and business that listens to content marketers will be jumping headfirst into the fray. We will all have to find our way through the noise on another social network.

Pay to play

With more competition, getting your posts seen by a wider audience will come down to advertising as on other networks. LinkedIn has a bid based system for promoting posts called Sponsored Updates already in place.

LinkedIn Sponsored content

As you can see, they look identical to traditional updates with the exception of the word “Sponsored” in the top right hand corner.
Expect paying for a spot in the newsfeed as the amount of content increases.

Parking on rented land

Just like any social network, LinkedIn controls your little chunk of cyberspace within its borders. Creating a stash of value added content along with developing a community of followers that aren’t housed on your own website means you run the risk of losing all of it based on the whims of another entity.

Remember, you play by their rules – and, it’s definitely not a democracy.

Is adding long form content on LinkedIn worth your time?

Before you can answer that question, ask yourself whether or not spending time on LinkedIn makes sense as part of your social media strategy. While having a well articulated personal profile is a must for nearly everyone, being an active member is not.

It all depends on where your target audience spends time and how you can most effectively reach them.

If LinkedIn is one of the places to best market your skills and your business, incorporating its publishing platform may be a very good call.

Case in point

In anticipation of writing this post, I decided to see if I could gain access to the platform. After doing a search on LinkedIn’s Help Center, I found a link to apply for early access. You need to fill out a simple form with links to examples of professional content you’ve written.

Within a day, I was accepted and went about writing a post.

LinkedIn as a publishing platform

Within the course of 24 hours, this post was seen by 806 people, shared on LinkedIn 116 times and generated 41 new followers – not too bad, especially for a Saturday.

It’s clear the publishing platform is allowing me to expand my reach to more people on the network. Considering LinkedIn has been one of the most effective ways for me to grow my business as a B2B copywriter, I’m likely to spend more time on this and see how it pans out over the months ahead.

Making the publishing platform worth your while

Given the cons in creating labor intensive content for LinkedIn, you need to be strategic with your efforts. Don’t forsake your business blog. Instead, think of this as a supplement.

Believe me. I know you’re probably having a hard enough time keeping up with the blog on your website. That’s why I’m giving you some ideas to make this a little easier if you decide to take the plunge.

  • Repurpose existing content – Go through old blog posts, newsletters, downloads and case studies. Where can you extract bits and pieces? Take out the core idea and either go in a different direction or distill it down.
  • Discuss broader issues – Sometimes talking about the bigger picture can be easier. On my blog, I tend to have a narrower focus with a deeper dive into a specific issue. This leads to long posts with lots of examples and research. I’m using my LinkedIn posts to talk about more general insights into my business niche. Plus, I’m keeping the posts short and sweet.
  • Reshuffle your content strategy – Perhaps this means shifting some of the time spent on your other channels to LinkedIn. Trying to be everywhere at once leads to social media overwhelm. Being active with high quality content on one or two networks is much better than being mediocre on five.

In the end, you need to decide how well LinkedIn’s publishing platform fits with your overall social media strategy before devoting time to it. Weigh the pros and cons and go from there.

What are your thoughts on LinkedIn’s newest feature?

  • Hey great post, having access to linkedin’s publishing platform will drive a lot of traffic to your website.

  • Many thanks. Not entirely sure how much traffic will actually go to my site. I think the value is more in the recognition and displaying expertise. It will be interesting to see how it pans out over time.

  • Yes, that is true. Recognition and displaying expertise is great for longevity. It should benefit you in the long run.

  • Great post, Jen! An excellent idea on repurposing existing content. I had not thought of that. Between my site, guest blogging, Medium (soon) I was scratching my head for ideas. That gives me ideas for LinkedIn (once approved) and other places as well. Thank you!

  • Your welcome Adam! It’s hard to keep up with the content onslaught. I’ve been playing around with contributing to Medium (I’ve even set up a profile) but haven’t come up with a plan around it. Again, I’m faced with creating content outside of my own website and the drawbacks to that. Yet, for me, exposure is important. I’d be really interested to hear what you think of your experience over there.

  • Amazing content Jen! You did it again… I love your writing style, and I love how your honesty shines through while keeping it 100% professional! (I’m now signed on in the hopes to be pre-approved, let’s see where this will lead!) Thanks for all the wonderful tips.

  • I got approved on LinkedIn too. As a content developer, I do get work from LinkedIn and therefore, I will be using their blog platform but won’t publish long-form content.

    It is after a 3rd-party platform and one never knows when anyone gets booted out of the system. Before getting started, I am pruning down the contact list and group memberships…let’s see what results come from this expansion.

    All the best to your efforts 🙂

  • I am fairly convinced I want to try LinkedIn as a publishing platform and this post just reinforces that thinking. My problem is: How do I get the publishing service turned on for my account? Any tips would be appreciated, Thanks 😉