One of the key factors often missing for business professionals is visibility. It’s like the old adage that if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, did it even make a sound? You need to be known before you can be hired, and there is a myriad of marketing actions that will greatly improve your chances to earn that spotlight.
This quest for visibility often leads people to LinkedIn, the world’s largest business networking platform with more than 750 million users. And while posting frequent updates and links there can improve your business presence with your connections, clients often turn to me for advice on whether to also publish LinkedIn articles.
A LinkedIn article is a long form piece of content that can be up to 125,000 characters (~20,000 words), as opposed to a regular update/post that is limited to just 1300 characters (~200 words). Also, LinkedIn articles are archived on your profile forever in a highly visible spot, while updates/posts scroll away often within hours. Articles are more easily shared and are “findable” in LinkedIn keyword searches, so the potential is great for reaching new audiences.
But if you have brilliant ideas and solid business acumen and no one ever reads or hears that content, does it really exist? Unpublished ideas certainly aren’t bringing you notoriety or inquiries or introductions – so let’s do something about getting it out there on LinkedIn!
There is a caveat – not everything you know or think or want to say should be published as a LinkedIn article. So how do you know whether to publish an article or simply write an update/post to convey your info? Here are my three key factors:
3 Great Reasons to Write LinkedIn Articles
- You have relevant and educational information that a specific audience needs. This might be a how-to article, or a Top 5 reasons you should “X” article, or a well-constructed piece of advice in your area of expertise
- You have a unique perspective and opinion about a topic in your field. This could be thoughtful advice based on your professional journey, or lessons learned along the way, or specific proprietary insights that only you can share.
- You use it to share your long form content in lieu of a blog page or personal website in a place where potential and current clients can learn how you think and how you serve others. This is common if you work at a corporation or organization, and don’t have a creative outlet to share your thoughts.
In all three cases, remember the reader is always curious WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) so it’s imperative to keep the article focused on what they need most – not just what you have to offer. The best articles spark conversation and discussions, and create “thought leadership” for you as a business professional.
3 Great Reasons NOT to write LinkedIn Articles
- You are solely promoting a class or product or event. I cringe every time I see a Realtor post an article with no verbiage but just a URL that directs you to their newest listing or Open House event. That’s NOT what articles are for; think thought leadership, discussion of ideas, and displaying expertise – not as a sales tool. If you are promoting something, use an update/post to communicate that information.
- You are simply sharing someone else’s content via a direct URL (“read this great article by Karen in Forbes Magazine” and the URL) – with NO verbiage or context as to why you are sharing it, what you learned, or whether you even agree with the story. It’s great if another person’s story sparks a thought with you – use that as the basis to create your own article, with a mention of the original story (with URL) that inspired your article. Adding your take to a larger discussion in the public forum is a great way to show clients how you think, work, and advise others. They want to know who you are, and whether you are someone they’d like to get to know better or possibly work with.
- The concept is simple enough that it could just be an update/post. If you only have a few sentences to say about a topic, you might reconsider whether the content is worth publishing it as an article. Typically I’d recommend that you have at least six or seven paragraphs of thoughtful contribution before you should consider publishing an article. Anything less is probably better served as an update/post in the regular news feed.
There you have it – my three great reasons to write (or NOT write) LinkedIn Articles! What other advice would you add to others considering publishing articles? And if you have something significant to say and are interested in publishing LinkedIn articles, I’m available for one-hour coaching sessions to help brainstorm, advise, and polish your creative content – let’s chat!