When you pop on over to your LinkedIn Feed, you probably see this enticing lil’ button right at the top:
Question is, do you ever use it?
LinkedIn’s on-site publishing platform is convenient, but when you also operate a blog for your business, it can feel a little redundant. You might find yourself wondering –
“Do I need to bother publishing on LinkedIn at all if I already have a blog of my own?”
The good news is, there’s actually an answer!
The bad news is, that answer is a resounding “maybe.”
(It’ll make sense soon, we promise.)
So, what’s the deal – should you be taking advantage of publishing articles on LinkedIn?
Or is it a total waste of time compared to maintaining a blog on your company’s website?
Let’s take a look at some of the major pros and cons of publishing articles on LinkedIn, and you can decide for yourself.
Pro: LinkedIn shares your content with a relevant audience for you
When you write a blog post for your own website, it’s your responsibility to share that content – on social media, in your email newsletter, by printing it out and attaching it to the leg of a carrier pigeon, whatever.
When you write an article directly on LinkedIn, though, LinkedIn shares that article for you – specifically, with your connections and anyone who follows you.
(The downside is they won’t share it with ALL of those people. More on that in a second.)
You can also add hashtags to your post before you publish it, which will make it easier for LinkedIn users searching for articles on specific topics to find yours:
(Just note that you can’t go back and add, edit, or delete hashtags after your article is published, so choose wisely and check your spelling!)
On the one hand, this all sounds pretty convenient!
But on the other hand…
Con: There’s a lot of competition out there – like, RIGHT there
The nice thing about your blog is that you’re the only person who posts on it.
(Or at least, you’re in charge of who posts on it.)
But when you post an article on LinkedIn about, say, #productivity, that article is being weighed against every OTHER article about #productivity.
(That means being passively discovered by people who just so happen to be searching for content like yours isn’t really a sure thing.)
And then there’s the algorithm-based stuff.
Just like Facebook, LinkedIn’s content distribution is governed by a complex algorithm that weighs factors like user engagement when it’s deciding how big your audience should be.
So in a perfect world, LinkedIn would just drop your content in front of every last person who’d enjoy reading it – but in reality, its distribution system combines the heavy competition of search engines like Google with the algorithmic unpredictability of the Facebook News Feed.
(Which can be a little frustrating. It’s okay to admit that.)
Does that mean you shouldn’t post articles on LinkedIn at all?
But it does mean that its distribution system isn’t as idyllic as it might sound – and publishing there doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a big audience.
Pro: LinkedIn articles are still super shareable
Just like you’d take it upon yourself to share and promote the blog posts on your website, you can share and promote the articles you write using LinkedIn.
For starters, LinkedIn articles have convenient share options built in:
You’ll also notice that the URL slug is clean and simple, too – perfect if you don’t already use a URL shortener of your own when you share on social. (Here’s why that matters so much.)
If you want to be shareable, though, you might need to adjust your LinkedIn privacy settings.
Head over to your public profile settings and make sure that your visibility is set to Public and you’ve checked Posts & Activities – you’ll need both of those to make your content discoverable and visible to anyone who isn’t logged in to LinkedIn.
But while it’s great that your LinkedIn articles are effectively as shareable as any blog posts on your own website, there’s still a lot they can’t do.
Con: LinkedIn articles offer a lot less control
LinkedIn’s publishing interface looks and feels a lot like Medium’s – it’s simple, clean, and straightforward.
If you’re looking for a no-muss, no-fuss writing experience, this is probably a lot like what you’re looking for!
If you prefer a little more control over the look and feel of your articles, though, it might leave a lot to be desired.
For one thing, your formatting options in this interface are all pretty limited, so don’t expect to do anything too visually distinct – everything from your font styling to your image sizes is locked into a small set of choices.
More importantly, though, LinkedIn articles aren’t designed for lead generation – at all.
Writing blog posts on your own website gives you all the freedom in the world to leverage those posts for long-term wins. Adding a sign-up form for your newsletter, for example, can turn someone who reads a single post into someone who reads every post!
Your website gives you the freedom to incorporate all kinds of opt-ins, too, like offering free content like downloads or webinar replays:
LinkedIn articles offer a much more isolated experience – like Facebook Instant Articles, the interface is designed to keep people on LinkedIn, not necessarily to send them to your site or establish a meaningful, long-term connection with your brand that extends beyond this one social network.
(So while you can – and should – promote a LinkedIn article like you would any other blog post, that article is much likelier to be the end of the line for anyone who clicks on it.)
Speaking of the people who click on it…
Pro (and Con): Super simple analytics
If you’ve ever taken the time to analyze your blog’s performance by poring over page after page of data in Google Analytics, there’s something you already know very well:
It’s super boring.
LinkedIn’s article analytics are a lot less complicated, and look a little something like this:
As you can see, LinkedIn gives you a handful of stats about the people who’ve read and shared your article – but not a lot.
If you prefer to draw the line at seeing how many views an article has tallied or where its readers live, there’s nothing wrong with that, and this will suit you perfectly fine!
If you like to dig a little deeper, though, LinkedIn won’t give you nearly as much information as your site’s Google Analytics would.
(It’s also worth nothing that LinkedIn won’t show you cumulative stats for all of your articles – you have to look at each one individually.)
LinkedIn articles vs. your own blog: the verdict
The differences between LinkedIn articles and your own website certainly don’t end there, but these major pros and cons should give you a clearer sense of the big picture.
Posting your articles on LinkedIn instead of your website’s blog is a lot simpler, and can potentially expand your audience – but it might also be too simple and limiting for your needs, and that audience is far from guaranteed.
Ultimately, LinkedIn articles can still be extraordinarily useful, but only with the understanding that they’ll be useful in a way very different from your own site.
LinkedIn is a great place to share your thought leadership or professional lessons learned, but when you’re writing blog posts as part of a larger, more complex content strategy, those posts can do a lot more good on your own website.
(And of course, it all depends on your audience, too – but that’s a whole separate conversation!)
How do YOU publish articles on LinkedIn?
Do you do it at all?
Have you found it useful?
Or is this one of those things that you just kind of ignore?
Share your thoughts in the comments – and if you want to learn more about creating effective LinkedIn articles, check out this post over on OkDork!