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.
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.
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.
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?