I’m wrong a lot. I’ve actually created a “humble list” of times I’ve been colossally wrong about predictions or other things for when I find a little too much swagger in my step. In this case, it was a bunch of assumptions I made when Linkedin first announced their publishing platform in 2014.
“Why would I want to put my best content there when it could be helping to build my blog?” I’d wondered.
For clarity, by the way, I’m referring to writing articles on Linkedin that stay there attached to your profile, as opposed to the usual “post” you can add that’s similar to Facebook.
From a straight onsite SEO standpoint it seemed better to keep the good stuff on my own sites. Even when several people in my network started publishing on Linkedin I rationalized it that they didn’t have blogs, so it made sense for them. When thought leaders became prevalent by publishing there, I rationalized it that it made sense for them because they were people like Tony Robbins and Richard Branson. Hell, they could publish anywhere.
But eventually after reading enough Quora articles reinforcing the concept of trying things, and after see the platform grow, I decided I needed to at least try it. After all, you can still dislike it afterward but say so from a position of having used it rather than ignorance, worst case.
I was surprised at how many immediate benefits there actually are.
Publishing To A Massive Network
One major advantage of Linkedin publishing is that you’re putting your work in front of a massive audience — people you don’t even know yet. The same could be said for blogging in general and being found by strangers on Google, but here’s why it’s different.
Aside from looking for work, a big part of why people sign into Linkedin is networking ideas and talents. People want to connect and (like on Twitter) seem hungry for new articles, new ideas, new information. You’re pitching to an audience already interested in what you’re offering.
Contrast that with SEO blogging and Google. Sure, people are searching for things related to what brings them to your blog, but the aim seems different. And it’s easier to share on Linkedin because the reader is already on Linkedin. Anything readers like or comment to will immediately be seen by others on that network.
Your piece will even end up in #Pulse.
Linkedin also helps promote your work.
When you publish anywhere else, it’s on you to promote it. Maybe you use email lists, other social media channels, etc. and maybe you even have a lot of success with that. If so, great!
But you can still reap the advantage of having someone else promote your material. Anything you publish on Linkedin is sent as a notification to anyone following you. As I understand it, anyone you’re connected to is automatically following you, and people that aren’t connected to you can also elect to follow you.
If you have a big network and a lot of them are on Linkedin every day (or regularly), chances are good that they’ll see you’ve posted something and check it out. Chances are also good they’ll be in an article-reading mindset since they’re on Linkedin at all, which is not always true with email.
But how much of a difference does that make?
I just recently started using the publishing platform so I don’t have big numbers on follower count or how many massive shares I’ve seen. But in a way I think that makes me a good example, and here’s why.
It’s pretty standard in blogging to understand that there’s often a big ratio between readers and comments on that blog post. Unless you have a big subscriber list and the bulk of readers are people that already know and trust you, if your traffic is primarily new readers from Google you might need thousands of hits to get comments on the post. Less than that, it’s a crap shoot.
Blogs like Neil Patel’s are a good example of this. He’s a solid writer that gives a lot of great information out for free, has a huge following, and his site gets a ton of traffic. But some of his blog posts, however great, get less than 10 comments. That’s not a knock against him at all, but just how blogging goes (and hey, some of his posts have tons of comments).
Compare that to a few articles I published on Linkedin. I got maybe a few dozen views in the first week or so, but each one of them got some interaction and I had several people reach out with connect requests.
When I’d written on those topics before on my blog it took significantly more eyes (and more promotion) to get that kind of feedback.
In marketing speak, you could say that Linkedin published articles have a higher conversion rate. Maybe that’s different if you have a booming blog with millions of readers from all over the world, but that’s not most bloggers.
Easier focus on quality, less on marketing.
There’s so much noise in the digital world that to make it in blogging you have to know a fair bit about marketing and SEO, and it certainly helps if you love social media. Maybe you can do all these things, but a lot of folks just want to share ideas without having to jump through all kinds of hoops to get someone to read them.
This is again where Linkedin publishing is valuable. Whether you’re a marketing person or not, if you can craft a catchy headline and write a solid article, and if you do that consistently, you can build a following on Linkedin. You don’t need SEO to find readers there; you only have to provide value and be conversational.
And hey, as someone that does a lot of SEO writing on a regular basis I can tell you this. It’s nice to be able to just write what I feel sometimes without adhering as strictly to a mental checklist.