By now, you know that LinkedIn is important for your career. More than 90 percent of all recruiters use the site to find and vet candidates, and more jobseekers report finding jobs through their network of online contacts than by any other source. In short, if you have a career (or want a career), LinkedIn is the place to be.
And while LinkedIn has always given members the ability to “strut their stuff,” so to speak, with enhanced profiles, status updates and groups, the site recently made a change that gives professionals and jobseekers the opportunity to share even more of their knowledge and insight.
From Influencers to Publishers
For the last few years, LinkedIn has offered the Influencer program, in which a select few leaders in various industries were invited to publish blog posts on the site. Members like President Barack Obama, Tony Robbins, Richard Branson and Meg Whitman posted their thoughts on everything from entrepreneurship to inspiration to advice for career and life. It was a unique and accessible way for the average person to learn more about what makes some the most successful individuals of our time tick.
Earlier this year, though, LinkedIn took the Influencer program one step further, and opened the publishing platform to all members. Now you don’t need to be the CEO of a multinational corporation to share your genius with all of LinkedIn — you just need a LinkedIn profile and something to say that can help other users in their careers.
Publishing on LinkedIn is simple. When you log into your account, you’ll see a box where you can share a status update, much like on Facebook or Twitter. Click on the pencil icon that appears in the box, and you’ll be taken to a page where you can add your content, including images. Once you’ve finished writing your post and added appropriate images and a compelling title, hit the “Publish” button and your brilliance will be shared with millions of other LinkedIn members. If you’ve linked your other social media profiles to your LinkedIn account, you can automatically share your posts with all of your other followers as well.
Once your posts go live, it’s easy to keep track of how many times it’s read, liked and shared. As with any other publishing platform, the more that people read your work — and it resonates with them — the greater the level of exposure you get. However, even if you don’t make it to the front page of LinkedIn’s Pulse (the section of the site where content is curated and promoted), whenever someone views your profile, they can easily see all of the content you’ve posted. When you’re trying to build a reputation within your industry or impress potential employers — or simply connect with other like-minded individuals in your field — your LinkedIn posts may prove to be invaluable.
So, What Do I Write, Anyway?
The first thing to realize about publishing on LinkedIn is that it’s highly focused on business and career-related posts. This is not the place to share the recipe for killer enchiladas or your thoughts on the latest episode of a favorite television show. It’s also not the place to share your thoughts just because you can. Everything you post must have a purpose.
LinkedIn readers are looking for compelling content that is actionable and applicable to their careers. That doesn’t mean you’re limited to how-to’s or advice articles though. Consider sharing your views on news or developments in your industry, sharing your own experiences (and what you learned from them) or your predictions for the future. Remember that your audience is largely professionals who are looking for information that will help them do their jobs better and succeed in their careers — what can you do to help them?
It’s also important to remember that your audience is busy, and doesn’t have time to read your 2,000-word, navel-gazing opus about how you finally decided on a college major. Be concise, and use lists, graphics, images and other easy-to-digest formats to keep your readers’ attention. And of course, pay attention to grammar, spelling and punctuation and double check your posts before publishing. Nothing will kill your credibility like a poorly written post.
There are a number of advantages to publishing on LinkedIn. Not only do you have a ready-made platform with a built-in audience, saving you the trouble of designing your own blog, you can also improve your own reputation. LinkedIn profiles and content tends to appear high up in search engine results, meaning that publishing quality content can help improve your overall online reputation. So if you have something to say, don’t hesitate — click on the little pencil and let the world see how brilliant you really are.