I believe in the value of having a blog built into a business website, but there is also undeniable value in taking advantage of the publishing opportunities built into a couple of social networking sites: LinkedIn and Medium.
When you blog on your own site, you are enriching your site with content, giving visitors more insight into your business and business philosophy, and boosting your site’s search engine optimization score. In other words, you are trying to bring people to you and give them something to read when they come to you.
When you post on LinkedIn or Medium, you are going where the people are — or at least a rich concentration of people you might want to reach. These two approaches can work together, where you post something on LinkedIn or Medium that links back to your site’s blog or other content on your own site.
LinkedIn is particularly interesting for reaching an audience of people who are trying to get a new job or advance in their profession. I wrote this post partly as a guide for a friend who is starting a professional coaching business.
Because LinkedIn has been around since 2002 and most people know it as the social network stocked with interactive resumes and people sending “I would like to add you to my professional network” messages to each other, not everyone knows that it now essentially contains a blogging platform that is available to them.
As of the redesign that arrived in late 2016, here is where you find the blogging function at the top of the LinkedIn home screen:
You still have the option of writing a quick status post, which can optionally include a link, a photo, and one or more references to other users (type the @ symbol followed by the first few letters of the person’s name to get LinkedIn to search your contacts). This is useful for sharing something that would be interesting to people in your network, without taking the time to write an essay about it.
When you click “write an article,” you instead get taken to a full screen editor that allows you to write a headline and the body of a post, with typical word processing controls for marking something bold or italic or adding bullets or numbered lists. If you copy and paste from Microsoft Word or another word processor, the formatting should translate fairly well (check it over carefully for any formatting or alignment glitches you might need to correct).
LinkedIn encourages you to add a large feature photo or image to be associated with your post, which you do by clicking the region at the top of the editor (the gray box with the + sign and image icons).
You can also add photos, video, and other media in the body of a post.
Much like the WordPress editor, the LinkedIn editor makes it relatively simple to add embedded media such as YouTube videos. Just paste in the url (web address) for an individual video on a blank line, and the video player will be added automatically.
When you publish one of these articles, it is highlighted more prominently in the LinkedIn notifications scheme than if you had published a simple status post. A new article from someone in your network shows up in the same stream of notifications where LinkedIn shows that someone else has interacted with your profile or your content.
Your latest LinkedIn post is also prominently displayed on your profile, along with your other most recent activity on the network.
One thing to be careful about is posting the identical content multiple places. For SEO, it’s better to drive all traffic to a single version of an article at a single web address. However, if you publish something on LinkedIn that you would also like to share on your own blog, you can do so without the SEO penalty if you remember to set the LinkedIn version as the canonical version of the article. See this explanation from the creators of the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress.
Like all of social media, the LinkedIn publishing capability is something to explored in a spirit of experimentation. Find out what works for you and draws a positive reaction from your network.