When LinkedIn added a blogging platform (a.k.a. long-form posting) as a way to keep members coming back – they changed the mindset of those who only visit LinkedIn when something major happens in their professional lives. Influencers, who were selected by LinkedIn, published thousands of posts that were viewed millions of times. These days, you no longer need to be an official Influencer to make your content visible via this platform. LinkedIn has made long form publishing available to all members. It is a significant step in transforming the profile from an online resume into a comprehensive personal branding platform. The LinkedIn blogging feature allows you to:
- Increase your visibility
- Demonstrate your thought leadership
- Remain engaged with your network
- Expand your network to those who become interested in your content and point of view
LinkedIn blogging is extraordinarily efficient not only because it helps you achieve all four of those branding efforts in one step but also because of the sheer size of the potential audience, now totaling 330 million professionals. On the other hand, according to Expanded Ramblings (a clearinghouse for digital marketing news and stats), this massive audience size means there have already been over a million LinkedIn blog posts. To use this feature effectively, you’ll have to stand out from the myriad others who do what you do. The blog medium is ideal for this because it allows you to take a stand and share your point of view.
Here is the five-step process for making the most of this powerful feature:
1. Develop your strategy. As with all things related to your personal brand, blogging with LinkedIn requires a plan if you want to maximize your impact. Consider these elements:
Topic. Know what you want to be known for and stay focused on that topic. Strong brands are known for SOMEthing, not 100 things. Practice the three Cs of branding. Clarity – be clear about who you are. Consistency – always be true to your traits. Constancy – always be visible to your target audience.
Format. Will you use mostly text, or a combination of text and images? How about video? How will you apply headers and subheads to organize your content?
Frequency. Choose quality over quantity, but commit to regularity. Even if you decide to post only once or twice a month, stick to it. It will build recognition and memorability with your audience. Winning brands don’t go into hiding.
Style. Identify your writing style. Is it funny, structured, snarky, warm? Stick to a consistent style so that when your readers see one of your posts, it will be written in a voice they have come to expect and enjoy.
Length. There is no limit to the length, but LinkedIn suggests posts that are at least three paragraphs long. Find the right balance; you need to deliver more depth than a tweet but fewer details than War and Peace.
2. Create compelling content. Before you start posting, prepare a few blogs that have a long shelf-life – meaning their content will be relevant for a long time and is not tied to a current news story or trend. This will give you a supply of valuable content, making it easy to maintain momentum with your followers.
Choose a striking title. It’s the gateway that helps readers decide if they want to read on.
Include an interesting photo. Images increase views.
Take a stand. Have a point of view and be willing to share it – knowing that not everyone is going to agree with it. Being wishy-washy will not truly engage your readers.
Involve others. Get quotes and resources from others and include links to others’ content in your posts. This enriches your post while building relationships with other authors, which increases views.
Add glitz. You can easily incorporate images, infographics and other multimedia like videos to reinforce and expand your message.
3. Make it visible. When you are ready, it is time to start posting in accordance with the schedule you established. The research I have read from several different sources indicates that Thursday, Sunday and Tuesday may yield the most views.
To post, just click the “share an update” icon on your homepage and you can start typing – or you can cut and paste your content from MS Word. Your posts will appear in your profile.
4. Promote it. Promote it through your activity feed and to all relevant LinkedIn groups you belong to. And remember to promote it via other social media – Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Let people whose quotes you have included join in the promotion activity by letting them know as soon as it posts. And engage with your readers by respond to their comments and reaching out to connect with them.
High-quality, relevant posts are organically distributed through feedback such as views, likes, comments, and shares. Highly popular posts even make it into LinkedIn Pulse, which matches the right content with the right LinkedIn members.
5. Measure it. You can view stats related to all of your posts (from your profile page) to determine their relative popularity. Determine which topics get the most views and which posts have the most social actions – shares, likes, etc. Use what you learn to refine your strategy, creating the most brand value with the least effort.
You now have access to one of the best personal branding tools for increasing visibility, nurturing your network and demonstrating your thought leadership. What are you waiting for?
This article was written by William Arruda from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. SmartRecruiters is the hiring success platform to find and hire great people.