LinkedIn Publisher (LinkedIn Pulse) can be a powerful vehicle to share your message and position you as an expert in your field, but only if you use it the right way.
When misused, LinkedIn Publisher can damage the perception that current and potential business connections have of you, ultimately affecting your bottom line.
Your recent posts will be first to show on your LinkedIn profile. This means that it’s very likely that your profile visitors will click on your latest posts, and if they don’t like what they see, they’ll quickly move onto the next profile.
Similarly, current connections receive a notification every time you post an article on LinkedIn. If your content is subpar, they will probably run in the opposite direction next time they’re notified that your new article is live. Furthermore, they might dismiss you as a low-quality business connection.
That’s why you must avoid the seven costly LinkedIn publisher mistakes below.
1. Selecting cute or vague headlines
When was the last time you clicked on a post titled “A Stellar Moment in Time”? If you visit the most popular posts on LinkedIn Pulse, you’ll notice they all have a specific, attention-grabbing headline.
Readers don’t have the time to click on your article to figure out if it’s worth reading. Just as people judge a book by its cover, they decide whether your article is worth their time based on its headline.
This post by Jeffrey Towson is a perfect example of how a headline explains the essence of the article and, in this case, sparks the reader’s curiosity.
Make your title as specific as possible, and craft it so that it falls into one of the 4 main categories of powerful headlines:
Social proof: “Why 10 million Americans are closing their Facebook accounts.”
Move away from pain: “Warning: Don’t drink another glass of apple juice until you read this.”
Move toward a desired result: “5 ways to wake up rested each morning.”
Case study or story: “Little-known hacks I used to double my income in 27 weeks.”
2. Linking to your site instead of posting the actual content
Have you ever enthusiastically clicked on an attention-grabbing headline only to find out that the only content is a link to the article on the author’s site?
Below is a mock post I created to illustrate what you would see.
If you encountered such a post, would you feel duped? I would!
When people click on an article on LinkedIn, they expect to read the article within the LinkedIn platform. Only a minuscule percentage of readers will make the extra effort it takes to visit your site and read your article.
Even if you are repurposing an article from your site, copy and paste the entire content on LinkedIn Publisher. You’ll experience a boost in readership and engagement, and you’ll build your goodwill account.
3. Presenting a problem without giving a solution
A version of a bait-switch strategy, you might have read posts in which the author presents a pressing problem in detail by:
Asking a series of questions preceded by “Can you relate to the following?”
Presenting the story of someone who experienced the problem
You continue reading, excited to discover the solution.
But at the end of the article, the only thing you find is a hyperlink that says something along the lines of: “Contact me for a consultation so I can help you solve this problem”.
This mistake is a personal-brand killer.
Instead, include tactical advice in your article that guides readers to find a solution to their problem. You will build authority, trust and goodwill – the trifecta for positive business relationships.
Only after you have provided true value, may you close the article with an invitation to learn more about how you can help them implement the advice.
4. Writing your entire content in one LONG paragraph
According to a 2015 study by Microsoft Corp., people generally lose concentration after eight seconds. Writing excessively long paragraphs is a sure way to lose a reader who is being bombarded by myriad stimuli.
As a rule of thumb, limit your paragraph length to 5 lines or fewer. Vary paragraph length to visually engage your reader.
Furthermore, add bullet points, images and quotes to make your content is more visually appealing.
Below is how I added visual variety to one of my recent posts. Note the bullet points, italics, and questions to engage the reader.
5. Publishing a series of 1-line paragraphs
As beneficial as it is to add short, easy-to-read paragraphs, a series of 1-liners screams “laziness”.
As Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Stories are the key to emotionally engaging your reader.
If you pepper your article with examples, case studies, or stories, your readers will not only remember your message; they will remember YOU as the expert on the topic.
Note how this popular post by Walter Kim is centered on his story.
Willingness to be open and vulnerable will help your readers relate to you. They will want to continue reading. They will remember you as someone who has the knowledge and expertise to help them. They will trust you.
6. Posting articles about relationships, sports, cooking, and other non-career-related topics
Facebook users aim to connect with their friends and be entertained, but LinkedIn users want to make business connections and seek useful information to succeed in their careers.
Before you publish your article, take a step back and ask yourself whether you’re posting content suited for the LinkedIn platform.
If your expertise is in a non-career-related topic, find a twist that makes your content ready for LinkedIn.
Below is a popular article by Bernard Marr, who cleverly found a link between weight loss and business.
When you write with the LinkedIn reader in mind, your articles will be appreciated and shared, boosting your visibility and positioning you as an expert in your field.
7. Skipping the call to action
You have written an engaging and valuable article. Now what? What is the next step you want your reader to take?
Define your end goal before you write your article, and design your article with a call-to-action in mind.
Want to use your article to build your list of subscribers? Offer a link to a landing page where readers enter their email address in exchange for free training on the subject of your article.