Your nonprofit doesn’t have to be dubbed an “Influencer” on LinkedIn (a coveted invitation-only title) in order to build online influence. LinkedIn’s publishing platform provides an opportunity to expand your reach in a major way. But since all LinkedIn members have access to the platform, it’s important to share high-quality content that differentiates yourself from the rest.
If you haven’t taken advantage of LinkedIn’s publishing platform, or even realized there is such a thing, it’s easy to get started. Go to your LinkedIn homepage and look toward the top. Do you see a pencil icon with the words “Publish a post?” Just click on that and start writing. It couldn’t get much simpler.
Any posts you publish on LinkedIn are tied to your professional profile and show up near the top of your profile, which means all your content is showcased when someone views your LinkedIn profile. As such, it makes sense to publish material that you’re proud of and reflects your best work.
Here are seven ways to make the most of your publishing efforts.
Create attractive content. Before you start posting, have a plan. What type of post would resonate with both your established audience (your connections) and potential followers? Once you determine a topic, you don’t have to write a book; in fact, LinkedIn recommends keeping posts between 400 and 600 words. Like other social networks, people want to consume information quickly.
You also want your content to be scannable—people don’t necessarily read each word online. A few best practices include:
Write a compelling headline.
Include an eye-catching image at the top of your posts.
Bold important text.
Break up longer paragraphs.
Use bullet points.
When you’re ready to and find the publishing. This is where you create your post. It’s similar to the WordPress editor or Microsoft Word. You can type or paste your text into the editor and format it right there.
Be sure to include a bio. Your LinkedIn post doesn’t have a bio section, so you’ll need to create one at the end of each post. Your bio should include a sentence or two about who you are, what you do and a link to your website or blog. Before you hit Publish, review your post and check it for grammar and spelling! But if you miss something, you can always go back and edit.
Build followers. An awesome feature of the LinkedIn Publishing Platform is the ability to earn followers. If you produce helpful, high-quality content, you can grow your visibility and reach without allowing just anyone into your LinkedIn network. It’s also smart to follow other successful publishers so you can see how they’re using the publishing platform to grow their influence.
Share your post everywhere. Once you publish it on LinkedIn, share it on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. You can also share it on your nonprofit’s LinkedIn Company Page, assuming it’s relevant. All this sharing adds credibility and encourages engagement, which sends social signals to Google’s search algorithm. Basically, the more you share, the better your content will rank in search results.
Manage your post’s comments. Once you’ve written, published and shared content, don’t stop—pay attention to the comments. If people are responding to your post, you can interact with them and begin a discussion. Here’s where you can really begin to build a following.
Evaluate the post’s performance. LinkedIn immediately starts to show you the number of views, social media shares and comments that your post generates. It’s pretty cool to see those metrics change in real time. Use them to determine how well your content is resonating with your audience, and as you build your professional content library, you can compare your posts to see which ones outperformed others.
Keep your existing blog. It’s critical to remember that LinkedIn’s publishing platform shouldn’t serve as your content publishing hub. It’s a place to syndicate and further showcase your existing professional content from your blog. Remember, you don’t own your LinkedIn presence or the content associated with it. I recommend publishing the original post to your own blog first, then publishing it to your LinkedIn profile in its entirety. You may want to vary the two posts a bit, however. Perhaps write your blog post to your specific audience or niche, and when you publish it to LinkedIn, change it to appeal to a broader audience.
The LinkedIn Publishing Platform is not an opportunity to advertise or pitch your services. It’s a platform to showcase your thought leadership insights and grow your reach. If LinkedIn likes your post, they may even feature it on LinkedIn Pulse. Another incentive to publishing high quality content!