Is Pulse worth the effort? LinkedIn’s self-publishing platform has grown from an exclusive club of 500 “experts” to all of LinkedIn’s 230 million English-speaking users. LinkedIn members now have a fully integrated publishing platform and social media network that gives them direct access to a huge audience with near limitless micro-targeting options. As of last year, more than one million long-form articles had been published, with authors publishing an average of 50,000 articles per week, reports CIO.
The biggest impact of LinkedIn Pulse? You don’t have to do much promotional legwork to reach a huge audience like you would need to do with your own blog. Simple, insightful ideas can make an instantaneous impact.
“People have all these learnings but it's really hard for them to communicate that or get to the right audience,” Akshay Kothari, Pulse cofounder and LinkedIn's product lead for content told CIO. “This is where LinkedIn really shines because we know a lot of interesting data points and we can connect those dots and get the right content to the right people.”
Kothari’s point is certainly valid: Pulse is ground zero for building out your professional identity in a way that goes beyond a simple career profile. But like any social media network or publishing platform, you can’t just string a few sentences together, hit publish and expect your content to go viral. You need a plan.
First off, this platform is for long-from content, not short-form thoughts, questions or images. That means you need to put real time and effort into crafting quality content that’s meaningful, relevant and insightful. Secondly, like Facebook, LinkedIn partially relies on an algorithm to determine what content appears for what user. And while LinkedIn wants Pulse to be a self-publishing platform for everyone, thus far it’s been dominated primarily by content related to marketing, finance, and career development.
So, is LinkedIn Pulse worth the effort? Yes – if you publish the right content. Here’s how to make the most of Pulse:
1. Publish what people want.
According to Hubspot, how-to posts are the best performing content averaging 22,368 views, followed by listicles, which average 16,364 views. Hubspot recommends avoiding posts that pose a question in their title (e.g., “Is LinkedIn Pulse Worth it?”) since these posts garner significantly fewer views on average. Instead, opt for a title like, “How to Use...” or “5 Reasons You Should Be Using...”
2. Keep it focused.
This goes for both topic selection and writing style. Write about areas in which you have an expertise. Don’t wax poetic about content marketing if your expertise is website and mobile app development, and vice versa. Keep the writing focused: opinions and personal anecdotes are great, but don’t go overboard. Remember, this is a professional audience. From headlines to details, people like specificity. Been there, done that? Then get specific when sharing examples from your own professional experience. What worked, what didn’t and why? What have you changed moving forward? Find that balance between great storytelling and substantive, insightful content.
3. Think big: lign with your overall content strategy.
Authors publish content, brands don’t. This means that if you want to use LinkedIn Pulse to strengthen your brand’s reputation in the marketplace, you’ll need to work with executives at your company to coordinate a thought leadership campaign. Yes, you can ultimately gain B2B leads from Pulse. Kathy Caprino, a career coach and leadership trainer, wrote the second most-viewed LinkedIn Pulse post of all time. After the pulse went viral, Caprino says she was flooded with opportunities for speaking engagements, consulting gigs and new projects. But, it’s important to remember that for most of us, our content won’t go viral overnight. Gaining leads and building an industry reputation may be a slower burn, but it’s still a worthy investment.
4. Publish at the right time.
LinkedIn is a professional network so folks aren’t likely to be checking their LinkedIn feeds the way they monitor Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. To increase the visibility of your posts, you need to be posting at the right time when people are most active on the platform. Hubspot recommends posting on Thursdays and Sundays for maximum engagement. It’s worth playing around a bit and experimenting with different times of day to see when people engage with your content the most.
Have something to say that’s insightful, substantive and relevant? Then publishing your long-form piece on Pulse is definitely worth it. However, like any content platform or social network, you need to spend time refining your content engagement strategy. Craft compelling headlines, keep the content focused, align with your overall strategy, and identify the best publication times for maximum engagement. Master those four steps and you'll be well on your way to viral success.