Five Reasons Why Self-Publishing Exclusively on LinkedIn Is Bad Business

Photo Credit: A Name Like Shields Can Make You Defensive

Important Note: An intelligent and thought-provoking discussion from The Writing on LinkedIn Group inspired this latest post. Matt Sekol initiated the discussion thread, Where’s The Traditional Blog. It’s people like Matt Sekol (and many others) who reaffirm my belief and commitment to why The Writing on LinkedIn Group is one of the most important, intelligent, and enjoyable communities for engaging with and learning from like-minded individuals within LinkedIn.

Last week, I read Alexandra Samuel’s thoughtful post on Harvard Business Review: Have LinkedIn and Medium Killed the Old-Fashioned Blog? Almost three years ago and 1 million Linkedin writers later, LinkedIn launched its self-described definitive publishing platform.

I submitted a comment stating why limiting our self-publishing investments to third-party platforms like LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform and Medium without investing in a self-hosted, personal website or personal blog is a career and business mistake.

Here are more detailed thoughts expanding on my comment in Alexandra’s post.

Pick Yourself

Those wise and generous words from Seth Godin highlight self-publishing’s power. A self-publisher with her/his own, self-hosted website or blog:

  • Retains all creative expression and editorial freedom
  • Lives and dies by their own experiments and tests for their content choices
  • Optimizes content promotion the way she/he chooses
  • Writes about what she/he wants (not what someone else thinks she/he should write about)
  • OWNS THE PUBLISHING PLATFORM

Don’t I Want My Work Featured on LinkedIn Pulse? HELL YEAH! Earning Featured Designation Status on LinkedIn Pulse is a massive thrill (for me and tens of thousands of other self-publishers). It doesn’t happen all the time, but I’m fortunate and grateful to earn that privilege multiple times …

but, I’m not waiting for Dan Roth to pick me. When the LinkedIn Pulse Algorithm and its editors don’t anoint my article as “Pulse-Worthy,” that doesn’t mean the article contains insignificant content or insight. It means one thing: It Didn’t Get Picked.

Not getting picked is okay. I’ve had articles “Pulse-Anointed” articles underperform in page views relative to ones that didn’t get selected. As an example, here’s the hyperlink to the “Pulse-Anointed” underachiever (and here’s the hyperlink to a non-Pulse selected overachiever).

I’ll always post to my personal blog first before re-posting on LinkedIn. My personal blog is my thought leader real estate and home. That’s where I pay myself first.

Invest In and Build Rock-Solid Relationships with Industry Influencers Versus Blindly Chasing Web Traffic

The Most Important Lesson I’ve Learned From Investing Six Years in Blogging, Self-Publishing, and Relationship Building. Relationships matter. Relationships with industry heavyweights and influencers matter more.

How Do You Know Industry Influencers Value and Read Your Work? Ask yourself:

  • Does the influencer respond to my emails in a 24-hour period?
  • Does the influencer comment on my blog posts?
  • Does the influencer share and promote my blog posts on their social networks?
  • Does the influencer reply back to social networking updates when I mention her/him?
  • Does the influencer acknowledge and comment on my presence in social networking forums or activity feeds (e.g., Tweetchats, LinkedIn Updates, etc.)?
  • DO I KNOW WHO ARE THE TOP FIVE (5) INFLUENCERS IN MY INDUSTRY?

If you answered “No” to any of the above, you’re not investing significant time in building rock-solid relationships with your industry’s movers and shakers. You’re blindly chasing traffic and vanity metrics.

In a networked, Internet world, I invest in relationships with people who share my values. Some of those relationships can literally “move digital mountains” on my behalf. If I’ve earned the right to ask, I’ll bet on that earned relationship every day of the week (and twice on Sunday).

Measure, Track, and Understand The Consumer’s Journey Via Google Analytics

With Google Analytics, I can measure, track, and understand the entire “consumer journey” or “buying process” by audience segment, business goal(s), social media referral, behavioral actions (i.e., what links did they click on, what brought them to my content, why/how did they decide to further stay or immediately leave), etc.

That data granularity isn’t currently available within the LinkedIn Publishing Platform (and I’m a LinkedIn Premium Subscriber).

Protect Yourself from a Third Party Platform’s Policy Changes

Never Put All Your Eggs in One Social Network Basket. LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform represents one of many important digital and social media outposts in my self-publishing strategy. I promote and repost my personal blog content to LinkedIn and other social networks. When you exclusively publish in third-party platforms you don’t own, you’re at the mercy of those platforms’ policy changes.

What’s To Stop LinkedIn From Turning the LinkedIn Publishing Platform Into a Paid Blogging Service? Nothing. LinkedIn differentiates its business model from other social networks by driving revenues through corporate solutions and premium member subscriptions (not advertising).

Remember the wise words of the best-selling author and economist, Russ Roberts: There is No Free Lunch.

LinkedIn Owns The LinkedIn Publishing Platform (Not Its Members). Members of any social network are just that. Members. Keep this information in mind the next time you use a social network and think its usage policies will remain the same forever:

Dan Levy, Facebook’s vice president of small business, says that Facebook’s paid-advertising options have become more effective recently and that companies should view Facebook as a tool to “help them grow their businesses, not a niche social solution to getting more reach or to make a post go viral.”
He says he has “a lot of empathy” for business owners who “are feeling this evolution” in the reduction of what he describes as organic reach. But, he says, organic reach is only one of several reasons companies benefit from having a presence on Facebook. Last month, there were more than one billion visits to Facebook pages directly. “Having a presence where you can be discovered still has a ton of value,” he says. “We don’t want them to spend any dollar with us unless it’s doing something spectacular to help them grow their business.”

The Wall Street Journal published that quote in its November 2014 article, New Facebook Rules Will Sting Entrepreneurs: Network to Remove Unpaid Plugs in User News Feeds. Facebook is now a full-on pay-to-play advertising platform. If you’re not boosting your Facebook updates (i.e., paying for them), expect 2% — 6% of your audience to see your content.

Adam Singer Predicted This Movie’s Ending Six Years Ago

Linking your self-published content objectives to your professional career goals is critical (especially when a self-hosted blogging platform like WordPress is readily available).

It’s still a great time to start a blog. That’s not just my opinion. Adam Singer of The Future Buzz convinced me years ago with his analysis and opinions on self-publishing’s power and career security benefits. Plus, Adam is tons smarter than I am.

Invest in Yourself. Protect Your Personal Brand. Publish a Self-Hosted Blog.

Your Turn

Please let me know if you agree or disagree with my thoughts in the comments. I would love to hear from you. I’m here to read, listen, and learn from YOUR PERSPECTIVE. Comments are open. So let’er rip!

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Originally published at www.socialmediareinvention.com on July 15, 2015.