by Michael Bedford
Published at 2019-08-07
As I discuss in my earlier blog, “7 Steps to Writing Good Online Content,” ensuring that your online content meets SEO guidelines will help ensure that your writing gains some publicity, but there’s more to online marketing than just counting your key phrases and checking your subheadings for relevance. Social media gives online writers opportunities to market their content directly to their target demographics, and although Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit — along with a host of others — all have professional applications, these platforms focus on the social aspect of social media.
Of course, online writers do well to publicize their work wherever and whenever they can, but it’s important, especially for freelancers, to present as professionals while publicizing widely. Enter LinkedIn. A professionally oriented social media platform that allows users to share posts and advertise to likeminded professionals, LinkedIn also gives users access to each other’s professional networks. If you’re unfamiliar with LinkedIn, setting up your professional network can seem daunting, but it’s actually pretty easy if you keep the following things in mind.
Much like posting through Facebook or Twitter, posting through LinkedIn is a relatively easy affair. First, though, you’ll need to do a bit of strategic reaching out. LinkedIn operates as a dual social media/employment network that allows professionals to connect online. For professionals looking for work and employers looking for workers, LinkedIn acts as one of the most popular job posting networks, rivaling competitors like Indeed.com.
By building a social networking aspect into its job-posting platform, though, LinkedIn sets itself apart from the competition. Unlike other job sites, LinkedIn allows users to connect, much like Facebook users do, to create potentially ever-expanding networks.
The best advice for anyone setting up a LinkedIn account is to take advantage of every connection available. Many of the connections that LinkedIn suggests after scanning your contact lists will probably be unrelated to your profession, but one great thing about LinkedIn is that users have access to each other’s networks as well as each other’s profiles. So, although the retired swim instructor whose email address you have in your contact list might not be interested in contracting your services, the publisher who has that same retired swim instructor in her network could be very interested indeed.
One never knows where clients will turn up, so make sure you cast your net wide and often. New users create profiles daily, so it’s a good idea to check in with your network periodically to make sure you’re not missing out on lucrative connections.
Having a strong network is a key part of using LinkedIn effectively but even with a strong network, users also need to maintain up-to-date and engaging profiles. Using a high-quality photo is a good start. If privacy is a concern, use a corporate logo or other professional placeholder. Nothing turns potential clients and potential employers off quite like seeing that grey silhouette in place of your photo. Your reasons for not uploading a photo to your profile may very well be good ones but potential employers are more likely to think that your photo is missing because you’re too lazy to upload one or, even worse, that your LinkedIn account is fake.
Of course, using a good photo is just the beginning. Make sure that you fill in all of the requested fields or you run the risk of being passed over for someone who did.
One more thing to consider before using LinkedIn to post a link to your content is the time of day and the day of the week when posting. Because LinkedIn deals in employment rather than online socialization, posting links to your content during business hours tends to garner the best response. Statistically speaking, Tuesdays and Wednesdays between the hours of 10:00 and 11:00 AM are the best times to post. But, as Nicole Martins Ferreira points out in her article, it’s important to also keep time zones in mind. If your target audience is local, all you need to do is check your clock, but if you’re trying to attract a global audience then you may need to post your content multiple times throughout the day to attract your intended international audience.
Finally, there’s no rule that says you can only post content once. Although some content has a short shelf life, some content is truly evergreen. Just because you wrote a column on Sunday doesn’t mean that you have to publicize in on Sunday and Sunday alone. As the old saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. If you couldn’t garner any interest in your work on Sunday, maybe you’ll get some on Tuesday. If not, why not try on Wednesday and then again the following week? So long as you’re posting a variety of engaging content and being smart with when and how you do, you can repost the same content indefinitely.
Eventually, and with a little bit of luck, the right people may take note of the quality and quantity of your work. But, you’ll never know unless you get started, so take a shot. If you send me a message mentioning this article, I’ll gladly add you to my professional network.
Michael Bedford is a freelance editor, copywriter, and performer living in Mount Hope, Ontario. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Want more info? Check back with us on August 16 for the publication of our latest How-to Manual, Social Media for Writers.