LinkedIn is a great inbound marketing resource. Post links, and encourage others to do the same. However, if you spend much time on Linkedin, you will have no doubt also noticed this button:
LinkedIn offers an in-house platform on which you can directly publish blogs. This is an easy to use and straightforward interface with simple analytics. It offers visibility benefits within certain contexts. Yet, there are other search limitations, and it can seem like a redundant resource if you already have a blog.
So, is it worth publishing directly to LinkedIn? The answer is an unfortunate maybe. But, it is certainly something you should consider.
A significant benefit to using the LinkedIn blogging platform is that LinkedIn will push your content on LinkedIn for you. This is great for two reasons, 1) decision-makers are on LinkedIn, that is why you are there in the first place, and; 2) it is a method of social media promotion that you don’t have to think about.
The second point, however, is not that straightforward. To have wide visibility, you need an active and well connected LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn shares articles by placing them in the ‘news feed’ of profiles selected through an algorithm. LinkedIn will share your material with people outside your network (something it won’t do with posts) but, you have a much better chance of being seen by your Connections and Followers. Simply publishing on LinkedIn won't get your blog on the feed of all 450 million LinkedIn users.
LinkedIn shares your posts through algorithms. Although your engagement with the site and the past popularity of posts will impact how LinkedIn pushes your blog, there are a number of other factors that are hard to calculate.
LinkedIn looks at how particular profiles interact with LinkedIn content and your posts specifically. But, broader factors, such as trends within your company, network and industry, along with editorial recommendations all have an impact. You are combining the challenges of SEO ranking with the variability of Facebook-style algorithms. High ‘connection strength’ (past mutual activity) is the best guarantee of visibility.
When you post blogs on LinkedIn, you gain an immediate SEO boost from association with traffic and reputation. Becoming a popular LinkedIn user will further increase your visibility, and as particular blogs gain views, comments, shares and likes, they will improve in ranking. Remember to set your profile to Public and activate Posts & Activities in order to gain visibility to people outside of your network and people who aren’t logged in to LinkedIn.
What you miss out on when posting on LinkedIn, however, is having all of that traffic contained directly within your wider online business network. Your blog posts on the LinkedIn platform will have little cumulative impact on your actual website when it comes to Google search rankings.
It is hard for people to search for your blog directly on LinkedIn. Articles are listed on your profile, which improves the professionalism of your profile. But, there isn’t actually a direct way to search for your material, or even through the material on your profile page. It is all done by generic terms, like a search engine. If you post an article about SEO marketing and tag it with #InboundMarketing, your article will be weighed against every other article about #InboundMarketing.
It is fundamentally challenging for people to search for a particular company’s content on LinkedIn. Visibility on LinkedIn comes down to how LinkedIn promotes your material. Posting on LinkedIn places your material on a platform over which you have limited control.
LinkedIn produces clean and simple URLs related to a reputable site. All of this has been shown to have a psychological impact on click-through rates. Second, sharing LinkedIn articles on other platforms is as easy as clicking the share button and selecting the appropriate platform.
LinkedIn limits your control over your blog in several key ways. Most simply, you only have a handful of font, image size and graphic layout options. If you want aesthetically unique blog posts, LinkedIn is not your platform.
In addition to being simple to use and simple to post, LinkedIn offers simple to read analytics. This is achieved, however, by limiting detail. This can be a plus or a minus depending on your goals.
LinkedIn tells you basic information about the people who have read and shared your article in a clean and intuitive format. You can see information about where they live, job descriptions and where they found your article - but, little else. You won’t get as much information as you would from Google Analytics. If what you want is what LinkedIn analytics offers then it is hard to beat from a simplicity standpoint. You won't waste time trolling through loads of stats about which you don’t care.
For business marketing, there are two possibilities for posting -- a company LinkedIn profile, or your own personal one. Getting content posted via your personal LinkedIn profile provides personal benefits independent of your inbound company ambitions. It facilitates inbound demand for you.
Posted articles appear in the ‘Your Activity’ section. These posts will draw people to your profile and demonstrate your industry expertise and writing ability.
From a company perspective, all of this is also true. You should certainly link this type of information via your business’ LinkedIn profile. However, when it comes to furthering corporate engagement, LinkedIn starts to slightly falter.
The largest con of LinkedIn comes back to control. LinkedIn limits ability to draw readers off of LinkedIn and into greater engagement with your company. It limits how you can place ‘calls-to-action’ on your blog. The necessity for readers (particularly on mobile devices) to leave LinkedIn to view your website is a barrier to doing so. When posting directly to LinkedIn, your blog will sit in a more isolated space, similar to Facebook media.
From LinkedIn’s perspective, your content is there to add interesting material to LinkedIn, not draw people to your website. Although that is certainly a possible outcome from someone clicking on your LinkedIn hosted blog, LinkedIn limits the opportunities for engagement compared to what would be available on your own website. A LinkedIn article is more likely to be just that (an article) to a potential reader - rather than a gateway to continued interaction with your brand.
LinkedIn provides access to decision-makers in ways that are not traditionally available to business bloggers. That includes promotion on LinkedIn and wider SEO improvements. On the other hand, posting directly on LinkedIn limits your control over visibility and makes it more difficult for readers to further engage with your website and brand, or search through all of your blog content. You also miss opportunities to build overall SEO improvements by having a regularly read blog directly attached to your company website.
If you are going to use LinkedIn for promotion, make sure you are doing it via a fully developed profile. Your engagement with the site and network will directly impact how widely your material is promoted by LinkedIn. You also need to write engaging and relevant content to both increase chances of being seen and to deliver a positive experience to the reader once they engage.
The real benefit of LinkedIn is that it offers you improved access to people who use the platform. One thing to think about, however, is your ability to engage with these people on LinkedIn without having to compromise on the level of control you have over your blog.
If you double post (posting on your blog and on LinkedIn, or another platform like Medium) you run the risk of having your SEO ranking knocked, or even being delisted as punishment by Google. However, you can consider publishing a slightly amended introduction to your blog post on LinkedIn with a link to the full article on your in-house blog. Although some people may be put off by having to click through to continue reading, this is one way you can attempt to get the benefits of direct LinkedIn blog posting, without the downsides.
Either way, LinkedIn is a viable resource for sharing content and making direct blog posts. Consider running a trial with some of your latest content marketing material and measure the results.