COVID-19 – LinkedIn articles: an alternative longform blog option
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating significant disruption in all areas of business and life. To help you to find some order in the chaos and adjust to new ways of doing and being, Doctor Digital has put together a series of COVID-19 blogs with tips, tricks, hacks and suggestions for how digital and e-commerce tools can support you and your business.
Doctor Digital Says:
LinkedIn is going from strength to strength as a social network: once seen as little more than an electronic business card holder, LinkedIn is now a busy hub of thought leadership, networking and recruitment. This is more so than ever during COVID-19 as business people are gathering there to share stories, get support and find solutions. If you are in the business of thought leadership, then you may want to consider the benefits of publishing articles on LinkedIn as a way of sharing your expertise with the world, building your brand, but most importantly, adding value to your customers and potential customers.
LinkedIn articles have an advantage over LinkedIn posts in that you can write up to 125 000 characters (take THAT Twitter!) so you have a chance to really express yourself to your audience. During COVID-19, many people are looking for advice and support as they try to pivot and manage their businesses in a rapidly changing environment with little certainty. What do you have to offer them? Think about what you do in your business, and how your wisdom can support and offer ideas and solutions to other businesses.
Such articles are definitely not about the hard sell of your products or services. They are about giving detailed and helpful advice, information, examples and case studies based on your expertise to others. This is about as strong a sales incentive as you need, as people will be grateful for your help, and if they are aligned with your advice, are likely to seek more information, reach out to you, or click through to your website to get a better understanding of your brand and business.
When you write articles on LinkedIn, you want to demonstrate your thought leadership, expertise, and industry knowledge. News and updates from your industry make good topics to write about. You could also answer a question your audience has. What are the frequently asked questions you get when you meet someone from your network? What are the questions that get asked over and over again about your sector? Keep a list on the notes app on your computer with ideas for blog posts and articles, or in an Excel spreadsheet so you won’t be lacking inspiration when it comes time to write. If one of your LinkedIn posts is getting a lot of engagement, comments and conversation from your network, that might be a good topic for a long-form article. Once you know what you want to write about, here’s how to create your article on LinkedIn.
You may want to write your article in Word or Google docs so you can save it, edit it and run a grammar check over it. Once it is complete, copy to your clipboard and head to LinkedIn. Click on the 'Write an article' tab, and you will see a 'Choose a Headline' box and a cover image. We’ll get to that in a minute.
Writing a headline is important to capture people’s attention, but keep in mind that LinkedIn articles aren’t Buzzfeed and you need to avoid to clickbaity a title like This business owner used LinkedIn Articles. You won’t believe what happened next. Headlines with numbers in them work well, 5 Foolproof Ways to Write an Arresting LinkedIn Article Headline and the type of messaging that make people curious or connected or both. Letting go of your key staff? 6 kind ways to have difficult conversations in COVID19.
The next section is where you can paste the body of your article. Make sure you have plenty of paragraphs and it is well spaced and digestible. Use images where you can, download for free from www.unsplash.com and make sure those images harmonise with the body of the text. You may also want to choose a cover image to put with your article, this will also be shown in your LinkedIn news feed. You insert that at the top of the page near your Headline. Make sure it is relevant and impactful. LinkedIn recommends using a 744 x 400 pixel image for best results.
Within your article, you can also embed video links, social media posts, podcast links, whatever you need to make it rich, engaging content. As you are adding these links, also consider at what point do they work best from the reader perspective. Once you’ve written your article and added images and links, what’s next? When you’re ready to publish, simply click the Publish button at the top right of the page.
Once you’ve published your article, you’ll want to share it. Click the Share button at the bottom of your article to see the sharing options. Be sure to share to your personal LinkedIn feed, where you can either use a snippet from the article or write an intro to get people even more interested in the content. When sharing your article to the feed, tell your network why you’re sharing the article and add relevant hashtags. Hashtags you use regularly show up first - just click on them to add to your post.
One last tip before you are unleashed on the world via LinkedIn. What about a call to action? I’m so glad you asked. While articles are definitely not a sales pitch, you still have a golden opportunity while readers are engaged with your work to give them a call to action. It might be as simple as directing them to a website where they can find more of your pearls of wisdom or asking them to like and follow your business, or your other social channels, or a link to sign up to your email newsletter for a regular update. Think about what is most beneficial to the reader and to you, to keep them engaged with your brand while having a connected and meaningful experience.