LinkedIn has long been a key resource for ‘connecting’ with fellow professionals.
However, despite the platform transcending simple virtual business card swapping, it’s still somewhat underused in terms of publishing content.
Thankfully, we know how to take advantage of the LinkedIn feed, groups and the site’s Pulse blog to offer a guaranteed audience of more than just like-minded peers; it can translate into tangible leads as well. Take a look at our guide to creating engaging content to find out how.
Why publish on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn differs from other social sites due to its professional nature. Therefore, you’ll rarely find outpourings of thoughts on your homepage feed, like “Mondays, am I right?” quips.
Given the specialist and professionally-focused nature of LinkedIn, the content publishing element is far less about personal updates. Instead, the focus is on knowledge-based content that educates potential buyers and builds trust in your brand. Moreover, it has been noted that 80% of B2B social media leads originate from LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has made it easier than ever to post content, with the central sharing box at the top of the home page allowing you to share videos, slide presentations, news, ideas or third-party content. You also have the option to ‘write an article’, which will be hosted on LinkedIn’s Pulse blog.
Pulse is the place to post your long form content if you don’t have your own website; you’ve just launched your website and are building its domain authority; you want to promote a sideline from your usual business; or just to complement the content already on your website. The blog provides a ready-made platform, reaching out to your contacts, and has a simple upload process.
If you do intend to publish the article on your website too it’s best to post it on your site at least two weeks before going on Pulse. This allows Google to index your site first, meaning it’ll rank the original on your website above the Pulse article.
Who will see your content?
If you post something on your feed, depending on individual notification settings, everyone that has connected with you has the potential to see it, plus all of their extended connections. This is because, should somebody interact by either commenting, liking or sharing something that you post, then their network will also see it. For that reason, posts that are enticing and incite a reply, such as questions, can have a wide reach.
It goes without saying that you should always be looking to create unique and engaging content on your own business blog, but it can be notoriously difficult to drive an audience to it, especially a fresh one. LinkedIn gives you an automatic platform, with global reach, to present who you are and what your company can offer.
The sheer scale of reach that you can access, simply by posting an article, uploading some intriguing pictures or starting to engage more with particular communities, is staggering. LinkedIn groups are another important tool for sharing content but in a more dialogue-based way. By signing up to relevant industry groups you can answer members’ questions, placing yourself as an expert in your field, build your network and get potential business leads.
LinkedIn also gives you the option of creating your own group. You may want to do this if you feel you can manage a group that’s more beneficial than those already in existence and that will attract a specific set of members pertinent to your business. You will then have a captive audience for your content, as well as a platform where potential customers can discuss industry issues and you can engage with them.
With half a billion users enjoying the platform, the potential for a wide audience really speaks for itself, but your content will need to stand up to the weight of half a billion eyes.
What makes great LinkedIn content?
Think about the people that will be seeing your posts. These are busy professionals that might only have a few minutes between meetings and calls, so you need to grab their attention and entice them to click with nothing more than a preview. With that in mind, focus on the following elements:
• The headline
Whether you’re writing for Pulse or linking to your website, make the headline snappy, explanatory and yet intriguing enough to make people want to know more and hear your insights. ‘How-to..’ and ‘What you need to know about…’ headings have high click rates as they indicate that you’re going to break down a complex topic into bitesize pieces.
• Word counts
There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to the perfect article length. Some topics will need talking about in far greater depth, which is where Pulse articles come in, while other issues simply need a snappy little observation so you might post them in a group. Some studies show the Pulse articles that get the most views, likes, shares and comments are those hovering around the 2000 word count. But if you don’t have that much to say, keep it shorter and to the point.
• Relevant images and headings
Online content works best when it’s broken up with visuals, such as graphs backing up what you’re saying or infographics that give at-a-glance snippets of information. At the very least you should break up your text with some relevant stock images. Headings are also important in breaking up long passages of text – make sure they sum up what’s coming next to entice people to read on.
How often and when should you post?
It might sound vague to simply say regularly, but that IS the best answer. If you start publishing insightful, engaging and enjoyable content, your audience will quickly begin to look forward to new uploads. They’ll comment, share and promote your pieces for you, as it bolsters their perceived business acumen that they recognise your writing as being worthy of discussion.
Of course, you don’t want to start simply posting for the sake of it, but by staying abreast of relevant industry news and always striving to stay current, you should have plenty of material for article writing. If you are able to post or upload two pieces a week, you should start to enjoy a decent following and tangible click-throughs to your website.
When you post will also bring different levels of engagement, and according to LinkedIn themselves, there are several sweet spots. They include Tuesday to Thursday first thing, midday and evening, with Tuesday at 10-11am also performing well.
LinkedIn can be a very effective tool for driving traffic to your website and building a greater audience. Not only is it useful for freelancers who can display their expertise, it has a lot of potential for B2B businesses who want to connect with those in a niche sector.
Whether you’re a start-up using LinkedIn for its content publication capabilities, or an established business looking to generate leads by talking directly to new customers, LinkedIn has content channels that can aid you.