Whether you’re a new content writer or seasoned writer trying to break into a different industry, getting published is no easy task. It’s a bit like which came first: the chicken or the egg? Oftentimes, a portfolio of published work is required to score that coveted guest writer spot. But how do you get that initial break to build your portfolio?
Consider self-publishing on LinkedIn.
Each article you publish gets added to your profile, which not only builds your writing portfolio but boosts your personal brand awareness, too.
But before you jump in headfirst, there are a few best practices you need to follow.
1. Create and Share Relevant Content
Most of your LinkedIn connections are from your industry, which gives you a built-in targeted audience. Score. Focus on one or two topics within your field that’ll resonate with them.
Related Post: 7 Things You Need to Do for a Strong LinkedIn Profile
Let’s say you’re a digital marketing editor. Based on your profession you have two source topics: editing and digital marketing. These topics not only will appeal to your LinkedIn connections, but also help you demonstrate your experience as a thought-leader within your industry.
Keep in mind that as your career grows, it’s normal for your topics to change, too. Don’t ever feel pigeon-holed; let your content evolve with you.
2. Repurpose Existing Content
The content you create for LinkedIn doesn’t always have to be “new.” Don’t hesitate to republish existing blog posts and articles, as long as they’re still relevant or evergreen. Just make sure to always link back to the source of the original post.
For example, I share content that I've created for eZanga. At the end of every post, I always include a link back to the original article.
The link provides proper attribution. And if the reader wants to see more of my eZanga articles, they’ll know where to find them (which also helps build the eZanga brand).
3. Format Like a Blog Post
While you may be tempted to pop that academic journal into a LinkedIn post, don’t. Remember you want your articles to be reader friendly. Walls of text are best suited for PDFs which can be downloaded and printed out.
LinkedIn publishing is meant for traditional blogging. The average blog length is 500 to 700 words, but can go up to 1,500. And formatting options include header images, body images, headings, subheadings, etc.
4. Check Your Grammar
Before you hit publish, make sure you check your grammar. Bad grammar diminishes credibility, which will hurt your personal branding.
After you finish your draft, go back and review your work. Be sure to look for these four common grammar mistakes:
Misplaced Commas. Commas are important, especially Oxford commas. In fact, an Oxford comma could potentially cost a Maine dairy company millions of dollars in an overtime dispute. Ouch. Always double-check your commas.
Source: The New York Times
Apostrophe Errors. Apostrophes make a noun possessive (e.g. Mary’s shoes) or form a contraction (e.g. do not = don’t.) They don’t make a noun plural.
Wrong Homophones. Use the wrong you/you’re, its/it’s, or there/their/they’re and you might as well move that article into the trash can. Nothing kills someone’s credibility faster than the wrong homophone.
Typos. Don’t let a typo derail an otherwise solid blog post. Comb through and look for inadvertently misspelled words or missing punctuation.
5. Publish on a Consistent Basis
Figuring out how often to publish is a lot like walking a tightrope. Post too often and people will be sick of you. Post too infrequently and they’ll forget about you.
Start off by publishing once a month. If you find your posts are garnering a lot of engagement, consider bumping up to twice a month. But for the most part, posting once a month should do the trick.
Remember it’s not all about you. You need to balance your posts by sharing others’ content, too, which helps build your authority as a thought-leader.
LinkedIn is a great option for publishing your content. It beefs up your profile, builds your brand visibility, and makes it easy for your network to share your content.