By Bob McIntosh
I know some of you are good writers who have expertise to share with your connections. Further, you're wondering how you can enhance your brand. Blogging is a great way to do this. And LinkedIn gives you an easy way to share your knowledge by providing you with a clean, crisp platform.
Five years ago I started my blog, ThingsCareerRelated.com, at the encouragement of one of my connections. She told me to just do it. I didn't follow her advice immediately, putting off creating my blog for a year. Now I can't stop writing. That was in 2010.
On March 6, 2014, I wrote my first post on LinkedIn's publishing feature.
I was one of the first to be given the opportunity to take advantage of this publishing feature.
Having written many posts for my blog by then, publishing on LinkedIn made a lot of sense.
Publishing on LinkedIn might not get you immediate notoriety, but you have to start somewhere.
These are some general suggestions if you're going to take the plunge.
Perhaps one of the most popular phrases, as coined by Nike, and nothing says it better. As I mentioned above, I waited nearly a year before starting my own blog.
My first post was typical of most bloggers. It was titled, "This is my first blog." I know, lame. I have since deleted it. The point is you have to take the plunge, and then you'll be on your way to becoming a writing maniac like me.
I decided to focus on three topics -- The Job Search, LinkedIn, and Introverts. In retrospect it might have been wiser to write on just one in order to develop my brand.
Even though I love the variety, I suggest you select your strongest area of expertise and focus on that. If your topic is Marketing, write about that to become the thought leader in that discipline.
I've been consistent with writing in my own voice, which I would call bordering on casual to professional.
Any good writer knows that they need to be comfortable in their own skin. This means knowing your topic/s and expressing them with the verbiage that flows easily, isn't labored.
Remember, you aren't writing a dissertation for your Ph.D. I like to make my writing light, while still delivering important messages.
This speaks to writing on topics of interest for your LinkedIn connections and followers.
Personally, I am not interested in reading about topics that are of no interest to me. For example, I am connected to many engineers. I will pass over their long posts, mainly because I don't understand much of what they write, but also because I'm not interested in designing sonar systems.
On the other hand, anything concerning LinkedIn, I'm all over it.
Once or twice a week is generally the rule. Start slowly at first, and then build up to a comfortable number of entries. I started with one post a week and then increased them to two.
Your readers -- you will gain "followers" in LinkedIn -- need to know which days a week your posts will come out, as they will be watching for them. When I first startedin career development, I followed certain blogs and gained a great deal of information from regularly reading them.
The longer the better, according to most veteran bloggers who use LinkedIn's long post. It's not uncommon to see posts longer than 1,500 words. I had heard that 500-700 words is the ideal range, but not for LinkedIn.
A great writer can say what they have to say in as few words as possible. In other words, verbosity doesn't necessarily brand you as a thought leader.
Sharing other people's posts via a LinkedIn Status Update signifies your desire to educate your connections and followers not only with your writing, but the writing of others.
In addition, it builds strong relationships with other bloggers. When I come across someone who has shared my posts, I read theirs and am sure to comment.
Sharing valuable information also brands you as an expert in your industry, as it shows you recognize pertinent information.
You may find it difficult to find your muse at first, but eventually she will appear with the ideas and motivation you need. I've seen too many very good writers stop writing on LinkedIn completely.
Don't pay attention to views; rather read the comments you receive from your readers. They mean more than thousands of views -- although those are nice, too.
Putting this all together. Writing for the public is a difficult thing for some people. They're uneasy or even scared of putting their words out there. But without demonstrating your expertise through using LinkedIn's publishing feature, your words will never be read. This is a great opportunity to be heard by millions of people. This is a great opportunity to brand yourself as one of the authorities in your industry.
Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career and LinkedIn trainer who leads more than 17 job search workshops at an urban career center. He also critiques LinkedIn profiles and conducts mock interviews. Bob has gained a reputation as a LinkedIn authority in the community. His greatest pleasure is helping people find rewarding careers in a competitive job market. Visit his blog at ThingsCareerRelated.com. Follow Bob on Twitter: @bob_mcintosh_1, and connect with him on LinkedIn.