In February of this year, LinkedIn made its publishing platform available to all of its members. Until this point, publishing on LinkedIn was a privilege reserved for about 500 hand-selected industry thought leaders, known as “Influencers”. The list of LinkedIn Influencers reads as a "who's who" of business, media and politics, with names like: Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Meg Whitman, Mark Cuban, Suzie Orman and more. Over the past few years, the Influencers program has thrived, giving thought leaders the ability to share quality content directly with LinkedIn users. For example, Bill Gates’ first post got over 1 million views in just a few short days and the average Influencer post receives about 30,000 views.
While LinkedIn users have always been able to share short updates and links to other blogs or websites on LinkedIn, the publishing of content in long-form was reserved to Influencers. LinkedIn has recognized the tremendous value of the publishing platform as a vehicle to drive user engagement. More and more users are coming to LinkedIn to consume and share content, making it a powerful news aggregator.
Expand Your Firm's Reach and Thought Leadership
With over 300 million members, the LinkedIn publishing platform gives you and your firm the opportunity to dramatically expand its reach. Currently, LinkedIn drives more traffic to websites than all other social media sites combined. LinkedIn users can subscribe to your updates by "following" you (no need to connect). When you publish a post, it becomes part of their professional profile and is shared with their network and beyond. Keep in mind that 40% of users check LinkedIn daily.
Law firms can use the publishing platform to share content that is educational in nature and also offers LinkedIn members the opportunity to learn something new. Since the publishing platform is open to individuals, not companies, your firm should nominate an attorney(s) that has the time and desire to author quality content related to his or her area of expertise. Take a look at the specialties that your firm offers and identify the subject matter experts or leaders in those areas.
How to Publish on the LinkedIn Publishing Platform
Here's a little piece of fine print to take note of: when LinkedIn says that the publishing platform is open to all users - that is not exactly the case. At this point, only 25,000 members (out of 300 million) have the ability to publish content. LinkedIn will continue expanding this capability in the months to come, but for now, you will need to apply for access to the publishing platform. One of the requirements for applying for access is a public profile on LinkedIn. Also, you will be asked to provide a few samples of professional content that you've written. Once you have been approved to publish content on LinkedIn, you will receive an email and your profile will include a pencil icon like this:
Best Practices For Publishing on the LinkedIn Publishing Platform
If there is one thing you can take from this post, it is this: It is critical that you create “high-quality” content that is original, differentiates your firm and targets a specific audience. Listed below are a few more tips for publishing content on LinkedIn:
- Stay away from marketing and promotional content. Remember, your target audience will keep coming if they find value in it. Stay away from sales pitches!
- Keep your posts concise and to the point (between 400 and 600 words) and publish regularly (from 2 to 4 posts per month).
- Include a picture. It makes your post fresh and visually appealing to readers.
- Include the author’s bio and a link to your website. This is another great way to highlight your areas of expertise and to promote your firm.
- Share your post everywhere and maximize your reach, including but not limited to: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. If your firm has a company page or you are part of any discussion groups, share it there as well.
- Manage your post comments. Comments serve as another great opportunity to engage with your readers.
Our Success on LinkedIn: A view from the Inside
We are very excited to be one of the 25,000 members with access to the publishing platform. A few months ago, under my role with Bellefield, I applied for access to the LinkedIn publishing platform. I was granted publisher access several weeks later. I was instantly thrilled but I didn’t know what to expect. I did some research before I made my first post so it would comply with LinkedIn rules and best practices.
On the first day the post went public, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my post was being promoted as a "featured article" in the “Law & Government” section. It was read by almost 1,500 members, and received 97 likes and 15 comments. And, this is probably the closest I will ever be to Sir. Richard Branson. See below.
To our surprise, our subsequent posts have performed even better than the first. The most recent, Why IT Is The Law Firm's Unsung Hero, got over 4,300 reads.
LinkedIn and the publishing platform has allowed us to share our perspectives on legal technology and law firm best practices and connect with an incredibly vibrant and smart audience that is expecting to be challenged. It is our honor to have this opportunity to engage with fellow members of the legal community and host important conversations that are shaping the future of legal.
So, what do you think? How can your firm benefit from using the LinkedIn publishing platform? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.