Over the past few months, you might have noticed a new kind of notification on LinkedIn that lets you know whenever someone from your network has published a blog post. These posts are stored directly on LinkedIn, so reading them is a pretty seamless experience. When you’re done, you’ll notice that there’s an endless stream of other content in the left column. Some of these posts are from LinkedIn Influencers – big-name CEOs, celebrities, policymakers – but others are from regular LinkedIn members.
This is part of LinkedIn’s grand plan to get people to stay on the platform and engage with it. Right now, most people treat LinkedIn as a job-finding website. If they don’t need a job or they’re not tidying up the resume, there’s no real reason to visit it. LinkedIn Groups provided some form of engagement but, as we’ve discussed, these groups have more or less become spam factories.User engagement is a big problem for LinkedIn. A report published a few months ago showed that less than half of LinkedIn members engage with brand pages (although anyone with a company page probably didn’t need a report to tell them that).
But that doesn’t mean you should completely ignore LinkedIn when trying to build awareness around a new product or report. By opening up the publishing platform for all users, LinkedIn is trying to keep users around. And the people who are engaging with LinkedIn are far more qualified than a hundred random Facebook fans or Twitter followers. They’re likely using LinkedIn for business intelligence already and, with the new publishing tools at your disposal, it’s possible to reach them.
Interesting Content = Engagement
Since LinkedIn made it possible for anyone to publish blog posts, I’ve experimented by publishing some posts that originally appeared here on the March blog. I wanted to see if these posts got more traffic and what kind of engagement (if any) occurred. My first post on LinkedIn, “Hot, Flat, Crowded: Alcohol Delivery Apps and the Startup Landscape,” received 61 views. On the March website, the blog post got a total of 152 views… and counting.
These are the things I noticed.
Compared to organic posts, LinkedIn posts have a very short shelf-life.
The initial burst of views for each of my posts came and went. My most popular post on LinkedIn, “Is Native Advertising Useful for B2B Brands?” received 91 views. Interestingly enough, it only received 55 views on March’s website. Better yet, it got “Likes” from five contacts who aren’t in my network and one comment from someone who wasn’t in my network. In that regard, LinkedIn offered me the opportunity to reach an audience that probably never would have seen the piece otherwise.
Even if the traffic isn’t as high, LinkedIn offers an outlet to reach a brand new audience.
The advantage to creating truly intriguing content is that LinkedIn provides a very easy way for people to keep in touch with anyone who they find particularly inspiring: they can send a message, connect with them, or “follow” the writer so they’re notified about future posts. But that still begs the question: should you actually give LinkedIn great content that would otherwise help boost search engine optimization, traffic and potential leads for your website?
If you don’t have a call-to-action, don’t post.
The goal of every LinkedIn blog post should be to urge people to click a link to your website. Otherwise, you’re giving LinkedIn content for free and expecting nothing in return. With each of my blog posts on LinkedIn, I included a link to one of March’s eBooks, “The Evolution of PR, Content Marketing and Blogging.” That helped prompt downloads, potential leads and newsletter contacts.
Without a next step, a post on LinkedIn will just be a dead end. While you shouldn’t sacrifice your blog traffic to chase after LinkedIn engagement, the site does offer a way to easily reach a new audience. So, while you may not want to publish every post on LinkedIn, it’s worth the effort to try just a few and see what happens.
This post was first published by Blaise Lucey on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.