The Content Marketer’s Guide to Publishing Long-Form Posts on LinkedIn
August 31, 2016
As a sophisticated marketer, you’re likely familiar with LinkedIn as a marketing platform. You know your Display Ads from your Sponsored Content. Your Company and Showcase Pages are on point. You know how to grow and engage an audience for your brand. That’s all good, but are you using LinkedIn to market yourself as well as your corporate brand?
Publishing your own content on LinkedIn can help establish thought leadership and engage with a broader audience. Each post automatically shows up in your network’s feeds and gets pride of place on your LinkedIn profile.
The benefits go beyond building your personal brand, too. Posts published on LinkedIn can help drive traffic to your LinkedIn Company Page and your company website. Even better, they can help your potential customers connect on a human level with your brand.
It’s easy to get started: Just click the “Write a New Post” button on your profile and you will be off and running.
If you’re a marketer accustomed to content creation, that may seem like all the instruction you need. But LinkedIn is a unique channel with its own best practices and rules of engagement.
The following is a guide to publishing on LinkedIn, from before your first post through amplification and beyond.
1. Before the First Post
As with any new channel, it’s a good idea to do research before you jump in. See what type of post gets results, see what your competitors are up to, and make a plan. Here’s how to start:
- Follow Influencers on LinkedIn for Inspiration. They don’t have to be relevant to your specific industry, just popular. You can start with LinkedIn Influencers like Richard Branson, Guy Kawasaki, and Gretchen Rubin. Check out the Discover section of Pulse for personalized recommendations.
- Read LinkedIn Pulse to See What Gets Engagement. LinkedIn Pulse collects news stories based on your interests and what’s popular in your network, geographic location, and industry. Check it out to see what kind of posts are generating buzz, and for ideas you can borrow for your own posts.
- Commit to a Publishing Plan. It’s best to post on a bi-weekly basis. That’s the sweet spot where you’re not overloading your audience, but you are active enough to build an expectation for your next post. Once you have more than three posts, the bottom of each post will display links to your previous posts, which can lead to higher engagement.
2. Drafting Your First Post
Your posts on LinkedIn will most likely take on a different tone than either your company blog or your personal blog. Think of it as somewhere in between the two: The post comes from your personal account, so it should have personality, but you are also representing your company’s brand.
That said, don’t be afraid to court controversy, in a good way. Political statements might not be appropriate, for example (unless your brand is inherently political). But offering a hot take on a problem in your industry is a sure-fire way to get people engaged. Take this recent featured post, for example:
If you’re at a loss for subject matter, stick with what you know:
1. What advice would you give someone entering your industry?
2. What will (or should) your industry look like 5 years from now?
3. What is the biggest problem facing your industry?
4. How has your industry changed since you started?
5. How can someone get started in your industry?
6. What should anyone wanting to work in your position know?
There are no limits on word count, but the most popular posts on LinkedIn typically include more than three paragraphs.
3. Take Advantage of Repurposing and Rich Media
While it’s great to write brand new material for every post, there’s nothing wrong with repurposing content on LinkedIn. We’re marketers, after all; repurposing is in our DNA.
You could take an excerpt from a company blog post, update it, personalize it, and publish it on LinkedIn. Just make sure to include a link back to the original, for SEO purposes.
Since the visual is the new headline, it’s important to upload a compelling photo that aligns with the message of your article. For best results, cover images should be 744 x 400 pixels.
The only caveat when you’re repurposing marketing content is to avoid anything overtly promotional or too focused on the corporate brand. Keep it personal, and make sure each post is about contributing your unique voice to the conversation.
Posts on LinkedIn have social sharing built into them. They will automatically show up in the news feed of your network, and your connections can choose to share with their networks directly from your initial share.
To keep the discussion going, make sure to check back for comments and reply to each one. Ask to add relevant commenters to your LinkedIn network, so they will be sure to see future posts.
As with any content marketing asset, share your post on every relevant channel:
- Your Company or Showcase Page
- Personal Facebook and Twitter accounts
- Tweet it to @LinkedInPulse, and your post may be featured
- Encourage your co-workers and employees to share as well via LinkedIn Elevate
You can keep track of your performance in two ways: social evidence (views, likes, shares, and comments) on the post itself, and the analytics LinkedIn provides for each post:
After your first few posts, you should be able to use these tools to get a feel for your audience and increase engagement over time.
Find Your Voice on LinkedIn
Publishing on LinkedIn can boost your personal brand, help establish thought leadership, and build an audience for your company’s brand as well. Each post becomes a fixture on your LinkedIn Profile, demonstrating your skills to potential customers and employers. Join the conversation with your first post, make your voice heard, and soon you may be the one leading the discussion.
For more advice on publishing on LinkedIn and beyond, read The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing.