We could go on and on about how important content marketing is to any small business marketing plan (and we have). Not only is it a great way to establish yourself/your brand as a thought leader in your industry, it’s also a very effective SEO strategy for boosting your rank on search engines. One of the big reasons content marketing is great for SEO is that it creates links back to your website from other places – social media, other people writing and referencing you, etc. These inbound links from other domains are very valuable for signaling to Google that your website is legitimate and important.
But getting those valuable linkbacks can be tricky. Forming relationships with other bloggers who can reference your content, finding website that will accept original blog posts you write for them – it takes time and dedication. While it is essential that you still keep working on those aspects of your content strategy, we also have a short-term solution for you to jump on if you haven’t already: LinkedIn publishing.
You may recall that last March we posted about a big change to LinkedIn’s publishing platform that opened the doors for regular users like you and me to add content alongside LinkedIn Influencers like Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington. The change was rolled out slowly, giving small batches of users access at a time. If you’re a content nerd like myself, you may have been among those who applied for early access through their waitlist.
By now, essentially everyone has been granted access to blog on LinkedIn. But not nearly as many people are taking advantage of this generous content marketing gift that LinkedIn has bestowed. Why not? Well, blogging is time-consuming, sure. But another possible culprit is the fact that maybe people simply don’t know how! So to eliminate that excuse, here are 5 steps to publishing your first LinkedIn blog post:
1. Find the darn blogging tool
I’m not (very) ashamed to admit that it took me a hot minute to figure out how to actually get to the blog posting platform. To save you the time/embarrassment, here it is:
Not so hard once you see it, but the little pencil in your update box is not the most obvious gateway to the blogging area.
2. Add a great cover image
The image that accompanies your blog post – on LinkedIn or elsewhere – is key to your success. Any type of content, whether it’s a blog post, Facebook share, or Tweet, can benefit from a relevant, eye-catching image. It’s key to standing out and conveying what your post is about it a matter of seconds. Which, by the way, is all the time you have to convince someone to engage with your content in the overcrowded social space. You can create your own image, or download one (legally!) from an outside source. You could even create one by using Pagemodo’s Post Designer and downloading your image. Max size is 698 x 400 pixels.
3. Compose a compelling headline
I saw in an infographic awhile back that 8 out of 10 people read the headline of a piece, while only 2 out of 10 read the rest. So you better make the most of this space. While you might feel the need to put as much detail as possible in your headline, research by Paul Shapiro of Search Wilderness actually find that the most engaging headlines (specifically on LinkedIn) are between 40 and 49 characters in length. He also found that LinkedIn readers love a ‘How-To’ headline and dislike question-style headlines.
4. Write and format your post
Here’s the bad news: Shapiro’s research (seen on OkDork) indicated that the most popular posts on LinkedIn were between 1700 and 2000 words. If you don’t write regularly, I can tell you that that’s pretty darn long for a blog post (this one is around 1000 words). But, if you are only going to publish a blog on LinkedIn every now and then, you’ll probably be surprised at how much you might have stored up to say on your topic.
Especially important if you’re writing a lengthy post is to provide logical organization through formatting. LinkedIn’s platform provides everything you need from header styles to bold/italic to bullets and numbers. Help your reader make it to the end by breaking things up in logical chunks.
5. Publish and share!
Once you publish your post, it will be live in LinkedIn’s content bank. And that’s great, but if you really want to get the most our of your time investment, make sure you share a link to your blog on all your social profiles in order to get the maximum exposure.
That’s it! Good luck, and I look forward to seeing your blog posts on LinkedIn.