LinkedIn opened its publishing platform to 25,000 ordinary, non-Influencer LinkedIn users in June. Many people dove in and LinkedIn became a fledgling blogger paradise, overnight. You’ll have noticed the surge in Notifications. If you write via LinkedIn, you should know that there are pros and cons.
The advantages to blogging on LinkedIn:
(1) A primed, potentially vast, audience from Day 1.
(2) A slick content distribution system.
(3) No need to rent space on a server or buy a domain name.
(4) Writing your long-form post is so easy, you don’t need instructions.
(5) Your posts are featured prominently on your LinkedIn Profile.
The disadvantages to blogging on LinkedIn:
(1) The possibility of screwing with your Google rank if you duplicate posts (post the same content on LinkedIn and your blog, if you have one).
(2) LinkedIn owns everything you write on LinkedIn and can change everything/anything about LinkedIn Publisher at any time.***
I don’t write for myself. I write for my audience. I write for people who appreciate my blend of pragmatic, experiential, LinkedIn-focused, signal. I’m curious about those people. I obsess over my blog analytics and constantly check to see how many people are on my blog at any given moment; what they’re reading, for how long and whether they read something else I wrote. Why? Because it makes me a better writer and I’m trying to measure my success. I now know that the vast majority of my audience will read (1.6 of my pages) quickly and bounce. They’re busy and they need to get stuff done. The folks who share my stuff on LinkedIn and on the other social platforms are my content groupies, the folks who comment are in the mosh pit. The rest are listening to my concert on the radio (and twisting that dial, fast, apparently).
*** New View
LinkedIn has been rolling out the new Publisher view over the last few weeks. Here is the new view:
Here is the old view:
What I like about the new view:
(1) Good use of white screen space, makes for a very ‘clean’ look. I can see this working well on a smaller (mobile) screen.
(2) Your post runs on into the next post which cleverly presents you ahead of Influencers like Warren Buffett, Richard Branson etc.
(3) The centered Author Name, Profile Headline, Post Headline and Follow button, looks neat and grabs reader attention.
(4) Nice font, works well on a small screen.
What I dislike about the new view:
(1) Can no longer see LinkedIn and other social share stats, only tiny SM icons.
(2) Other posts by the same Author are relegated to tiny blue click text at the bottom of the post.
(3) You can’t see # of Followers.
Social Share Stats?
Where are the social share stats? LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and twitter share stats have been removed and replaced by clickable icons. So I can’t see my groupies and I never really knew them because they were anonymous, right? But this doesn’t seem to make any sense, why would LinkedIn take something as inherently useful as LinkedIn share stats, away? How are we supposed to measure ‘success’ now? Look at the following old view screenshots, tell me if you notice anything:
Did you notice? Views rocket but shares don’t keep pace. Chris, Zach and Avinash have all written posts which were lucky enough to be featured on a LinkedIn Channel on Pulse, but their LinkedIn shares as a percentage of views were all minuscule (1.71%, 1.64% and 1.13%). I witnessed this in May when I put a copy of a popular post I’d written last year on my LinkedIn publisher. I saw views increasing rapidly but social shares seemed out of sync. I checked Google and found the LinkedIn version of my post on the first page of Google. So LinkedIn was counting all of those views, including views from bots, which of course can’t share. For more detail on this see Yannick Feder’s excellent LinkedIn publisher post here (LinkedIn Publishing Platform: 5 Myths Debunked). I took my duplicate post down from LinkedIn as soon as I realized what was happening. Miles Austin (Do Social Sharing Counters Influence Your Opinion or Behavior?) thinks that showing social share stats could inhibit sharing. I think that’s an interesting, evolving and unproven theory. I’d love to see data supporting it.
Gone for Good?
No one knows if LinkedIn will stick with the new view or not. It could just be a test. If LinkedIn Publisher views are suspect, shouldn’t they be removed also? How about showing if a post gets above a certain percentage of shares (i.e 15%) from viewers, rather than a running total? Wouldn’t that work equally well for readers and authors? I’d hate to think that LinkedIn would rather not have their algorithm/editorial decisons questioned/criticized by folks who think that if a post is being shared by a reasonable proportion (10-15%) of readers, it should also be featured in a Channel on Pulse. I’ve seen many great posts which have had their greatness affirmed by others via social shares, ignored or overlooked by LinkedIn’s opaque Channel/Pulse selection process. Clearly the definition of great content varies from person to person but I think it fair to say that some of the featured Publisher posts have been more chaff than wheat, more supermarket tabloid than broadsheet. I’m sick of hearing about people who are leaving Facebook or trying to apply Game of Thrones or House of Cards or another popular mini-series, to business strategy. I hope LinkedIn finds a robust and transparent approach which encourages content engagement and promotes high-quality, crowd-affirmed, Publisher posts.
Log out – tune in
Tip: If you log out of LinkedIn and then do a search on the LinkedIn Publisher post title and author name in Google, you will be able to see the old view of that long-form post, complete with social stats (for now).
Views on Views?
What are your views on LinkedIn views? Are they helpful or completely worthless? There are a number of ‘social currencies’ used on LinkedIn (Recommendations, Endorsements, Congrats, Likes, Top Contributor in Groups) but views are arguably the most dominant and sought after. LinkedIn uses Profile views as a way to prod users into completing their Profile and only paid LinkedIn subscribers get to see 90 days of viewer history. Profile views were also central to the wildly successful “Top 1/5/10% Profile View” Campaign of last year. LinkedIn Publisher views, may not be views in the traditional sense, at all.
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That’s all from me for this week, thanks for reading and for sharing. Don’t be shy – please add your opinion, experience and thoughts via comments below. I read and respond to all of them.
By Andy Foote