Creating compelling content can be a serious challenge for business owners, but content creation is only the beginning. Once a piece of content has been published, distributing and promoting that content becomes the next, and often bigger, challenge.
One way for business owners and marketers to address this challenge is by using LinkedIn as part of their content marketing strategy. Many think of LinkedIn as a great place for professional networking, but using LinkedIn for content distribution can actually be an even more effective strategy for increasing your connections, traffic, and influence.
5 Ways to distribute your content on LinkedIn
There are 5 main LinkedIn channels through which you can promote and distribute your content:
1. Updates through your personal profile
2. Updates through your business page
3. Posting links to content in relevant LinkedIn Groups
4. Publishing your content on LinkedIn Pulse
5. Paying for LinkedIn sponsored updates
The first three channels allow for shorter, more targeted sharing, while the fourth is ideal for distributing longer, more meaty content. The fifth allows for highly targeted and nearly unlimited reach, but at a cost per view or click.
How can you use your personal and business page updates to promote your content?
As you likely already know, LinkedIn allows you to create both a personal profile and a business page. Most business owners choose to have both, as each has their own distinct advantages. A major benefit, for instance, of having a business page is having the ability to post sponsored updates (which aren’t available to personal users).
A distinct benefit of having a personal profile is the ability to publish long-form content (more on this in a minute). Currently, business pages are not able to publish long-form posts from their page.
Using your personal profile, you can also join or create industry groups; some will even allow you to share and promote your content, getting your blog posts in front of a targeted audience.
However, the main ways you’ll promote your existing content is via your status updates. LinkedIn recommends the following best practices to get the highest levels of engagement:
· Focus on sharing industry insights, company news and new product and services information. These tend to receive the most engagement.
· Include clear calls to action in your posts, particularly if you want to entice users to click through to read content on your site. Updates with links receive an average of 2x the engagement of those without.
· Post regularly for optimal reach. Companies who post 20x per month reach 60% of their followers with at least one update.
Sharing links to your content via your status updates should be part of your content marketing strategy; however, the real power of content distribution on LinkedIn is through creating long-form posts. The rest of this article will focus on this strategy.
Using LinkedIn’s publishing platform to distribute your long-form content
Until last year, publishing long-form content was only available through LinkedIn’s Influencer program. However, in an attempt to facilitate sharing among all LinkedIn users, this feature has now been opened up to all users as LinkedIn Pulse.
Accessing this feature is easy: simply log in to LinkedIn, and select ‘Publish a post’ at the top of your homepage.
Publishing new, original content is one way you can use this feature. However, many users are finding it more useful as a tool for republishing existing posts. So instead of using it as a content creation tool, it’s being used as a content distribution tool.
I frequently use this strategy for my own blog posts. I re-post many of my articles on LinkedIn to reach a new audience, and to increase my connections on the platform. One thing you may notice when you start sharing your content is that it can perform quite differently than when you originally shared it. For instance, take a look at these two posts I re-published in 2014:
The post on the right received far more views and engagement than the one on the left: over 3 times as many views, 17 times more likes, and 16 times more comments. However, when these two articles were originally published in Forbes, the article on the left actually received slightly more views and engagement:
The lesson here? Don’t be afraid to share content that didn’t perhaps didn’t perform so well on other channels or platforms. In the same way, don’t be surprised if content doesn’t perform as well when shared on LinkedIn!
Alex Pirouz of Hubspot shared his experience of using LinkedIn’s long-form publishing for the first time. He republished an existing article, just to see what kind of traction it would get on LinkedIn. This is how he explained the (unexpected) results:
“Within a matter of minutes I started receiving invitation requests and messages on LinkedIn from members who had came across my article. Within a matter of hours the article had gone viral — achieving over 70K views, 11K+ shares, and close to 500 comments. Over the years, I have written hundreds of business articles but none of them had achieved the exposure and interaction that this one did.”
Wondering how to achieve these results yourself? Here are some best practices for publishing your own content on LinkedIn.
1. As with regular blog posts, spend some time perfecting your headline. Some research suggests the optimal length for a LinkedIn post headline is 40–49 characters.
2. Topics of interest to the B2B crowd will tend to be the most popular. Ask yourself what type of users you want to attract, and write about topics they are likely to be interested in.
3. Use images to add interest and increase the chances of getting your content shared.
4. Include quotes or ideas from influential LinkedIn users, then let them know about your post. There’s a good chance they’ll share your post with their audience, helping you build up your connections.
5. Optimize your posts for SEO. Just as with blog posts, include keywords in your headings (Publisher lets you use H1 and H2 tags), in your content and in your tags.
A final note: Some users are worried about potential duplicate content issues when re-publishing content on LinkedIn. However, in my experience, this hasn’t negatively affected my articles’ performance. With Google crawling sites every day, they are pretty good at figuring out who the original publisher was. If you’re concerned, try googling a sentence from one of your posts and see what happens. In my experience, Google typically ranks the original post higher than the LinkedIn post; and certainly, I’ve never been penalized for posting the same content on my site and on LinkedIn.
Do you use LinkedIn as part of your content marketing strategy? If so, how? Share below!