This thought arises from the ways we use LinkedIn and blogs – some use both, others only one, some none at all. And all of those can be off or on LinkedIn. It may therefore be apposite to wonder: are there contradictions? Are there times when it’s “right” – more productive? – to use one and not the other, or one instead of the other?
If you Google “What is LinkedIn for?”, the answer LinkedIn provides is: “build your professional identity online and stay in touch with colleagues and classmates, discover professional opportunities, business deals, and new ventures, get the latest news, inspiration, and insights you need to be great at what you do”. It doesn’t mention blogs
If you Google “What is a Blog for?” the 1st answer is “A blog is a frequently updated online personal journal or diary. It is a place to express yourself to the world. A place to share your thoughts and your passions. Really, it’s anything you want it to be. For our purposes we’ll say that a blog is your own website that you are going to update on an ongoing basis. Blog is a short form for the word weblog and the two words are used interchangeably”.
The thinking behind what those of us who blog, and those who post on LinkedIn do is to both inform and also create debate. It could be argued that perhaps the former is – or should be – more open to argument, discussion, ideas’ expansion, whilst the latter is more statement of fact. But does either make the experience of discovering and assimilating content simpler? Is one better at encouraging discussion, the other at making a point?
For some, the distinction is both clear but also necessary. Some want content pieces to inform and advise, often in precis. Some prefer the cut and thrust of conversation. Certainly it is probably true to say – to be fair, debatably, but probably – that LinkedIn was initially fundamentally designed to be more of a “this is me and this is what I do”. There is no doubt that has changed over time.
Of course it happens that, where LinkedIn discussions – or, more recently, with the advent of the “share” app – “content” is produced by any of us, it is very often short and snappy but that very short link can lead to huge presentations and large amounts of information. The difficulty there can be that the proposed recipient doesn’t want all that, even in link-only form. This is exacerbated by the recipient – and often the sender – not really being clear: is this creating debate or simply advising of something?
As a result of the sometime-confusion and also, frankly, to some users, irritation, LinkedIn introduced a new tab called “Promotions” in most Groups. This was a double edged sword – it enabled the sharing of a blog to LinkedIn but the platform decided where it would be placed, often (not always) in Groups. In theory this was fine but perhaps taking away the element of choice wasn’t exactly what many users would want. Moreover, whilst we had been given a place to share informative and constructive content, many argued it didn’t necessarily deserve to be treated as a “promotion”.
The crux here would seem to be that your LinkedIn membership is designed to promote your personal or company’s brand. If that involves, to the user, both areas for discussion and also simply information pieces, the user should be able to post both types of content separately or linked – but without the link being driven by a platform’s pre-determined system, rather by our own requirements – which in themselves should be driven by an understanding of what our network is likely to want. After all, the content the user places is targeted – whether broadly or narrowly: the user, not LinkedIn, should be able to define the target area.
So after all that, what perhaps is the best – easiest? – way to share blog posts (and other content) on LinkedIn:
1. post blogs aimed only at relevant individuals or groups of your own connections who will benefit from it – don’t assume the whole world wants the discussion
2.post it as part of a discussion, i.e. use the key theme(s) of your blog post as a question or comment and include the link to your blog post in the comments you make
Enjoy your content – sending and receiving; make it captivating and engaging. But also make sure it is validated by being thought about before uploading: am I informing or do I want a discussion? Only you can decide