LinkedIn opened up their publishing platform to all users in the beginning of 2014, and since then more 2.5 million posts have been published, including 27 posts from me. With more than 320 million users, you would think that publishing on the LinkedIn platform would build your reputation as a thought leader while generating a ton of views and engagement, right?
Is LinkedIn Publishing Worth It?
I have enjoyed using the LinkedIn Publishing Platform and find it easy to use. I also like how the posts tie directly into my LinkedIn Profile and can be discovered by anyone who views my profile.
However, I have some reservations about the ultimate reach my posts are getting on LinkedIn. Of my 27 posts in the last 18 months, only two have been "picked up" and promoted to a wider audience on LinkedIn. One post on appreciating your employees generated 12,885 views, 764 Likes and 105 Comments while a post titled "Did You Do Your Power Pose Today" generated 10,617 Views, 126 Likes and 50 Comments. But it has been nearly a year since I had a post promoted on LinkedIn.
Even with over 1,500 Followers in my network, my other 25 posts have averaged about 100 Views and 2 Likes. This does not seem like much visibility and unless you are one of the named LinkedIn Influencers or one of your posts gets promoted, I would guess that your results are similar to mine.
Why is Visibility So Low?
My premises for the relatively low visibility of LinkedIn Posts include the following
- Too much content - There is a lot of content posted every day on LinkedIn in the form of status updates from individuals, company pages and sponsored posts. LinkedIn statistics say that more than 40,000 posts are added to their publishing platform every day which means that it is hard for even good posts to get much notice. Published posts are not grouped into any easy taxonomy or topic, so many posts get buried or lost in the noise.
- LinkedIn is not a go-to content source - I don't know what the actual statistics are, but my belief is that many people are not using LinkedIn in the same manner as I am. I am in the habit of checking LinkedIn every day and have a routine where I scan my newsfeed, see what the companies I am following have posted and view any notifications or connection requests. But I feel that I am in the minority in this regard and even though you can do a quick LinkedIn scan in less than 5 minutes, I believe that most people don't take the time to visit LinkedIn let alone perform any daily scanning ritual.
- No easy way to discover my content - The LinkedIn newsfeed provides a list of posts from your network and followed companies on the day they are posted. One of my followers would have to see my post in their newsfeed or notifications on that day, and I have no way of reaching others on LinkedIn unless my post gets promoted.
How Do People Discover My Posts?
While thinking about why visibility is so low, I decided to think about the problem from the angle of how people actually discover content on LinkedIn. People can discover my content by viewing a status update, checking their notification flag at the top of LinkedIn, by visiting my LinkedIn profile and through the periodic LinkedIn email that provides network updates. When someone visits my profile, only the last 3 published posts are displayed and a "more" link has to be clicked to see the other posts. I also post links to my LinkedIn updates in other social media channels like Twitter and Facebook which can also point people back to LinkedIn.
My two questions have to do with how people will discover what I have published on LinkedIn after the day I publish the post. I know from my blogging experience that many of my posts have quite long tails and that they are still receiving views more than 5 years after I originally wrote them.
- How do I find old posts on LinkedIn?
- Is Google indexing the posts and can they be found via a Google search?
Actually, I answered the first question myself when I just "discovered" that you can search specifically for Posts using the search bar at the top of the LinkedIn screen. When you select Posts from the drop-down Search menu, only posts are displayed in the results and you can sort the results on Relevance, Date or use the advanced options to search for specific authors or date ranges. While it's great news that you can search for old posts, it is not so good if your post is deemed to be not so relevant and is buried deep in the list of results.
As far as my second question, I Googled the specific title of several of my posts and was pleased to see that the LinkedIn version of my post was generally in the top three results. I generally cross post my posts to my social media blog and sometimes to another site such as Social Media Today and Slideshare, and these sites would usually appear above the LinkedIn version. What I don't know is the impact of any long tail impact of my posts as LinkedIn does not offer an easy way to track views or other metrics like I get with my Wordpress blog.
So, my questions have been answered (sort of).
Comparing LinkedIn to Other Publishing Platforms
If you have a post that relates to a specific industry or targeted audience, then you will probably get more traction with your content by posting on an industry-specific site. Most of my posts fall into the social media space, and I have been fortunate to twelve articles published in Social Media Today over the last several years.
For example, I published a new post at the beginning of May on both LinkedIn and Social Media Today. I have included a comparison of the results between both platforms below. The Social Media Today version of the post has received over 1,100 interactions in less than 3 weeks (shares, likes and tweets) and the Slideshare presentation embedded in the post has been viewed over 19,000 times. By comparison, the version published via the LinkedIn publishing platform resulted in just 68 views and 4 likes. If I had only published this post on LinkedIn, it would have been like the plant that didn't get any water and it would have died a slow (and very quiet) death.
What Are My Publishing Suggestions?
I have a couple of suggestions for those who want to publish articles to build up their reputation as a thought leader and subject matter expert:
- Continue to publish on LinkedIn - I like the idea that the LinkedIn posts are tied to my profile and having posts in your LinkedIn profile does show your interests and can establish your thought leadership. Being in the habit of writing and sharing your expertise will set you on a path towards being a thought leader in your industry. As far as what to write, you should write about things or topics that interest you or that you are passionate about.
- Find and use alternative platforms - To get the most traction for your reputation, you will need to find and use alternative platforms for publishing your content. Look at the top sites that are followed by your industry and see if they accept user-generated content. Some sites will accept nearly all content, and others are more selective in what they accept. And then just be diligent and resourceful about getting your content published.
- Cross post your content - You should also cross-post your LinkedIn content to your primary social media channels like Twitter and Facebook. If you have a personal blog, you should also re-post the content there as well.
- Check your stats - It is also important to regularly check your stats to see what posts or topics are successful for you and which posts did not perform as well so you can make adjustments for future posts.
Good luck on your publishing career and building up your reputation as a thought leader.