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Use LinkedIn Publishing to increase your exposure and to grow your followers

Estimated reading time: 5 mins

If you’re not using LinkedIn Publishing, you’re missing a great opportunity.

One year ago, I applied to become an ‘early adopter’ of LinkedIn Publishing. Already, LinkedIn had gathered some of the most influential people around the globe to publish their wisdom through their InFluencer program. When I finally got my chance, I jumped at the opportunity and wrote several posts. Within a couple of months I had gathered over 1,000 followers.

Take a look at my posts.

Now anyone can publish on LinkedIn. It is an awesome platform for creating a voice that could be heard throughout the world. What’s really great about this platform is that it is very easy to use. No technical skills required. Just ideas.

Where to Start

Easy. Go to LinkedIn.com and take a look above the updates, where you will see a box that contains ‘Share an Update’ with a picture of a pencil and a paperclip. Click the pencil. Now you’re ready to publish.

li-write-a-post

What to Write About

I could go on about how the world is your oyster and that hardly any subject is off limits, but I would be lying if I told you that approach forms a sound ‘content strategy’. Instead, focus on the subjects that you are passionate about, have strong, informed views about and can hold an audience. But you don’t have to limit your subjects to your industry. In fact I write about a variety of subjects: employment; legal practices; financial services; IT; communication; management; being effective; money; and one post about how to inspire people. I do it with purpose. My goal is to develop a network of contacts at all levels of the organization, across many industries, as these people can become customers, suppliers, partners, employees and employers. You might have a more targeted goal – so your content could support that.

I’ve found that, whatever subject I choose to write about, I must come at it from an interesting and (if possible) a unique perspective to engage people. Be conversational – it’s tempting to write like a text-book, but this will just bore your readers. And keep it professional.

My mistake when I first started was to ‘preach’. Although my content was a mix of facts and opinion, it didn’t add a great deal of new thinking to the subject. It didn’t challenge. Now I take a different approach, and that is to be contentious. I create an argument – one which some readers will agree with, and some that won’t. Being totally right is being totally boring.

Don’t be afraid to make a mistake

You can edit a post at any time. You can delete a post at any time. So don’t be afraid to give it a go and get your content out there. I revise posts a number of times after I have initially published it. I have also taken down several posts that didn’t hit the standards I have set for myself. At first, you’ll have a handful of followers at best, so use these founding posts to hone your approach, tone and message. You can always delete them later on.

Promote your content

LinkedIn has the tools to promote your content, and you don’t have to spend a penny. (LinkedIn does enable you to sponsor posts, for a fee, but this isn’t required.) Firstly, you can share your posts in relevant groups. And keep it to relevant groups – sharing content in irrelevant groups could get you on a blacklist, so choose carefully. Check the policies of the group before you post in there. I’ve been burned.

The next tactic is to invite readers to comment. I do this at the bottom of my posts. This is important as when somebody comments, your post is exposed to the connections of the commenter – propagating your content. When somebody does comment, reply with expedience and consideration. This boosts your ‘engagement’, and it also propagates your post again to your connections.

You can also promote your posts by linking them from other sources, like facebook, twitter, pinterest, etc. and from a forum post. In fact, why not link to your first LinkedIn post from one of my forums? Be my guest!

The Headline

If you don’t have a headline that attracts attention, your post won’t be read.

li-your-headline

I’ve heard some people suggest starting with a headline. And then I’ve heard some other people suggest that this should come last. I do both! I start with a headline that frames the content as I write it. This is useful as a check-back to make sure that my writing is serving the purpose. Once I am done, I will revise my headline to give it pizazz.

A dull, boring headline wastes the effort you’ve put into the content. I’ve suffered from this many times and learned the hard way. Some of my best content has been hidden behind a dreadful headline. Now, I round off my posts with a headline that I think has the best chance of drawing attention. I might use one of these kinds of formats:

  • How to [do something], Like a Pro
  • [Number] ways to [do something] that you didn’t think possible
  • [Number] awesome ways to [achieve something]
  • Why you keep [failing something] – and what to do about it

Get the picture?

Talking of pictures…

Adding an image helps to bring your content alive and it also appears in a nice thumbnail next to your updates. I spend time to find the right image that reflects my headline and content. In a few cases, I have drawn my own image.

It’s a long game

Don’t expect to be an overnight success. It takes time to build a following. Even though I’ve been doing this for a year now, I am still getting started. Some posts are disappointing. Some really rock. This post has received more views and comments than the rest of my repertoire put together. I’d like more comments on all my posts – much more (want to help? Then go right ahead.) You’ve got to consider this as an investment – but what’s the return?

  • I receive great feedback from people I am connected with. They have told me that I speak with authority and they enjoy my updates
  • Number of connections from high-profile contacts within appropriate markets is significantly up
  • Profile views up by 550% from last year
  • It has helped me increase my list of connections to over 1,200, worldwide, in America, Europe, Asia, Australasia and Africa
  • Best of all – sales and recruitment has accelerated

Are you ready to start publishing?

Be brave – give it a go. It will be well worth it. Still not sure? Then please leave a question by adding a comment below, or start a conversation in one of my forums.

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About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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