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?