Well, call me absent minded, but I only just realised that LinkedIn has a new(ish) feature: blogging. Well, actually, the company calls it ‘Long-Form Posts’ so let’s refer to this feature as LFPs, for short.
Your LFPs are displayed as part of your profile and are accessible to LinkedIn users not on your network. According to this overview on the company’s website, LFPs are a way for:
‘members to contribute and share professional insights on LinkedIn. We’re expanding LinkedIn’s publishing platform, by allowing members, in addition to Influencers, to publish long-form posts about their expertise and professional interests.’
Professor Gary wrote a short but very interesting analysis of his early experiences with LFPs here. And, at face value, it seems that blogging on LinkedIn is the way to go. Do I hear you say ‘Oh, no, not another platform to learn about / maintain / monitor’? My sentiment, exactly.
To decide whether to add LFPs, or Medium, or any other platform to our social media presence, we need to think about what we are trying to achieve. Blogging is not an end in itself. It is just a means to an end. So, what is your end goal?
Sepp et al (2011) classified individual bloggers’ motivations into three broad categories: process, content and social. Based on their classification, I suggest the following approach to decide where to publish your blog posts.
Type of gratification: Process
The first type of gratification concerns the direct and immediate benefits for the blogger.
The drivers could be a desire to improve skills such as writing or reflexivity, to release negative emotions or to engage in an enjoyable past-time. In this case, you are unlikely to benefit from blogging in a third party platform, in addition to your own blog, unless you want to experiment with different types of writing in the various platforms.
Type of gratification: Content
The second type concerns the subject matter of the blogs, and could deliver benefits long after the content has been created.
The drivers could be: a desire to keep a journal of your activities; to express your opinions on various matters (e.g., a news article); to promote ideas, ideals or products; or to attract advertising revenues. All of these goals would be best served by focusing on your own blog, and attracting readers there.
However, this type of blog could also be associated with a desire to entertain or enlighten others. In that case, you want to make sure that your message reaches the targeted audience. In addition to using your own blog, it makes sense to place content in other platforms to reach new readers and build awareness.
Type of gratification: Social
The third type concerns the interactions with others.
In this case, blogging is driven by the desire to obtain different perspectives on a topic of interest, or to engage in dialogue with others. It is also a way of meeting interesting people and keeping in touch with friends, letting others know about what you do or what you have achieved, or even to obtain tangible or intangible support. To maximise these benefits, you need an audience and third-party platforms may be the best way to achieve that.
Here is a summary of the classification and types of goals, as per Sepp at al (2011) and my suggested approach:
I created this blog as a repository of content for my classes. I wanted to capture examples of marketing principles working in everyday life, so that I could refer to them promptly in my lectures or to provide links as and when needed. This is a journaling-type of goal best served by focusing on my own blog.
Some time later, the blog evolved as a mechanism to bridge marketing theory and practice, and I started summarising academic papers and capturing what the findings meant for practitioner. This is an educational-type of goal that would benefit from placing content in other platforms.
Finally, I like to discuss half-baked ideas with others. It helps me get fresh perspectives on teaching or research matters. I am fortunate to have a small number of friends that really extend my thinking and that challenge what I write – be it through comments here on the blog, or via e-mail. I often extend this conversation by commenting and asking questions on other blogs that discuss matters that interest me. Occasionally, I also post on discussion forums or write for other blogs to tap into the brains of people that do not read my blog.
Your turn: why and where do you blog?
9 thoughts on “Home or away – deciding where to publish your blog post”
Interesting post, Ana, and something I’m struggling with a bit myself. I think there is another dimension to it as well, especially for people who blog for many different reasons and about many different topics. In other words, oversharers like me. I believe we discussed it here before, and it’s the question of a topical focus on your blog or not. My personal blog has a lot of different topics, and for some ‘special topics’, I used to turn to a dedicated blog, self-hosted or hosted on a site like WordPress. Until last year, I also kept a blog on Posterous (sort of like Tumblr, but different), which was more about sharing things from others, rather than my own work. Now, I am trying out Medium, and have also posted an LFP on LinkedIn. For me, there is another driver. I want, in terms of my professional life, to share my knowledge and points-of-view, in order to be seen as someone knowledgeable, and maybe even a thought leader on a small set of subjects. These might be drowned out by other things I’m interested in on my personal blog. So I like to create separate places for them. Because I also like to experiment with new functionalities/apps, I have posted to, as said, Medium and LinkedIn recently. Especially LinkedIn should be about trying to show my thought leadership. Posting on Medium was a bit of an experiment, and I’m not sure I really got out of it what I wanted.
My first (and so far only) post on LinkedIn was quite successful. I had more views than I expected (although I do not know what a view on LinkedIn really is, so I don’t know the value of it), but more importantly, I had some interaction (comments), and a peak in my profile views. For me, that is already real success. The interaction is valuable, because I can learn from comments, but also start or strengthen a connection with the commenters. That, combined with more profile views can result in leads for projects. In the end, I guess that is one of the goals of posting. So, LinkedIn looks promising.
But isn’t being seen as someone knowledgeable in that social category (namely, “letting others know about what you do or what you have achieved”)? In that case, it makes sense to post on LinkedIn, I think.
Gary Schirr (Professor Gary), too, saw a significant increase in comments, views, etc.
To me, the sudden ‘flood’ of content on LinkedIn spoiled the experience a bit, but I do see the rationale for the LFPs.