You can’t just tell people what you want them to do; you have to follow this system and pay attention to even the tiniest clues you give others.
The first time you publish an article on LinkedIn can be a bit of a challenge. Here's exactly how to do it so that your first effort makes you proud.
1.) Go to the LinkedIn home page and click on "Write an Article" at the right of the screen (see image below). This will bring up the article template.
2.) Add a picture at the top.
To add your picture, click on that blue + sign surrounded by the two boxes. Once you upload your image, there will be a space right underneath it where you can credit the source of that image.
Credit your images like this:
At all costs, avoid clip art! I go to Flickr.com and search for Creative Commons images that allow you to use them for free with attribution (this means you credit them at the bottom of your photo).
I find a nice image, then take a screen capture of the image that is exactly 400 pixels wide and either 700 or 900 pixels wide. (Flickr images come in many sizes, so you still have to take a snapshot that is exactly one of these sizes.) There are many free tools that let you do this; you might try Capto.
3.) Create a catchy headline.
Your headline should give your readers a reason to stop what they are doing and invest a few minutes in reading your article. Three Ways to Get a Job at a Startup is a good headline (notice that I capitalized the first letter in every word, except for prepositions). The Obstacles that Some People Face after They Get Depressed and Have Trouble Finding a Job is not a good headline; it is too long and does not promise worthwhile information.
Your headline, including spaces, should not be longer than 50 characters, or it will get cut off when displayed on LinkedIn.
Now write your article where it says "Write here". A good length for your piece is about 400 to 600 words; less feels more like an update than an article, but more gets to be a bit much for an online article.
4.) Add your author's credit at the bottom, in bold. This should be one or two sentences about you that gives the reader a way - and a reason - to contact you. Here's what mine looks like:
5.) Use bold and italics sparingly. The menu bar at the top of the page lets you format your text. See that blue Publish button at the top right? That's how you'll publish your piece in a minute (but not yet).
6.) Insert an image or video? As you type your article, there will be a little rectangular icon to the left of each new paragraph (you can see it under #3 above, next to "Write here".
If you click on it, the below menu bar appears. Then just click to upload an image or video.
7.) Proof your piece, three times. I'm serious.
8.) Publish your article. Just click that blue Publish button. When you do, a pop-up will ask you to write a line or two that will go to your network. Be sure to use common hashtags at the end to help other people find your piece. Here's what I wrote about one of my recent articles:
9.) If you can improve your article after publishing, improve it.
You can always edit your article after publication. Just go to the article page, and if you are signed in to LinkedIn there will be an EDIT button to the far right of your headline.
I do this all the time, mostly based on reader comments, but sometimes because after a few hours or a few days, I get a better idea.
Since most readers are over the age of seven, here's a quick reminder of how a seesaw works. You sit on one end, and another person sits at the other. You use your feet to push your side up in the air, which makes the other person's side go down. Then the other person does the same, and your side goes down. You keep taking turns until one of you gets bored, falls off, or has to go home and take a nap.
Last week, I gave two speeches at the Bend WebCAM conference. On Monday, my keynote was the fifth of five keynotes. On Tuesday, I gave one of three workshops in the last time slot of the day. In both cases, happy hour was next, and the folks in Bend, Oregon are VERY serious about their beer.
By the way, my keynote - The Best Talent Is Bringing Out Talent in Others - had very little to do with the web/marketing/SEO focus of the conference.
Truth be told, I spent weeks wondering, "Is this really a good idea?" It was. Going to Bend turned out to be one of my best decisions.
After years of self-imposed absence from the speaker circuit, I discovered my true purpose: helping people do good, instead of helping them sell stuff.
I used to talk about marketing and innovation, but finally got to the point where I just couldn't do it anymore. Too many businesses wanted a magic formula for growing revenues, but few were willing to adopt the "serve, don't sell" mindset that can make that happen.
My new presentation is straight from my heart. It's not a pitch; it's what I believe. The core of it is my personal credo:
Be generous and expert, trustworthy and clear, open-minded and adaptable, persistent and present.
This message didn't bounce off the audience. Tons of people wanted to talk about it, and wanted to understand how to inject more meaning into both their work and personal lives. The conversations didn't stop when I left Bend; I'm still engaged in many a week later.
By the way, my Tuesday workshop explained how my credo can help professions who don't like to self-promote. It was called How to Self-Promote without Being a Jerk.
As a ghostwriter, I write articles for clients who then post the articles online. Then many start keeping score...
Did 100 people read the story?
Did I break 2,500 views?
Will this make my top three?
While understandable, these are the wrong questions to ask. You should be seeking engagement, not simply eyeballs. Your goal should be to connect with like-minded humans with whom you have the potential to foster an actual relationship. Seek to attract people with whom you'd like to become colleagues, customers and/or friends.
In the pieces I write under my own name, I pay special attention to Likes and Comments. Here are two examples:
Put Kindness First on Your To Do List: 11,6807 Views; 116 Likes, 132 Comments
How to Avoid Being Underpaid for Your Work: 83,816 Views; 461 Likes; 104 Comments
The second piece attracted eight times as many readers, but this could be a function of how it was promoted, and who promoted it. But even with 8X the reach, it generated fewer comments than the first piece. Also, for every person who read and liked Avoid Being Underpaid, two people read and Liked Kindness First.
I guarantee that some of the people who read Kindness First will play a significant role in my life. These are people with whom I share fundamental human values. Something in this piece struck a chord inside them.
That's what matters to me. Much as I still get pleasure out of having my words reach a large audience, everything pales versus connecting one person at a time.
A few words about connecting...
I read every comment on every article I write, but only reply to a few comments from each article. Most readers don't need or want a reply from the author; many enjoy interacting with other readers. I think of the Comments section as a showcase for everyone BUT the author, and jump in only when someone has asked for a reply, or when someone has made such a pivotal comment that it requires my response.
In many cases, I reply privately to people, and thus begin an actual relationship.
In my LinkedIn article, Five Social Media Lessons from the Dark Side, I highlighted five social media lessons from the band Ego Likeness and their longtime friend and photographer, Kyle Cassidy. There wasn't room for our entire discussion - which had many other insights about social media - so I'm posting it here:
BK: As background, 99% of the time I use Flickr to find Creative Commons images to accompany my articles, but Google just updated their engine to allow people to search for such images; the problem is that Google doesn't always provide proper attribution, whereas every Flickr image was posted by an actual person. I LOVED the Ego Likeness "apple" photo so much that I included it and "settled" for the Wikipedia attribution; in retrospect, that was a mistake. Since I'm a contributor to Forbes, not a paid staffer, no editor was involved.
KYLE: The Wiki Common’s doesn’t always make it obvious what you need to do unless you’re familiar with it. Especially with the CC licenses that require the user to do stuff (like include a CC license on the image if they modify it or provide attribution.
BK: If you don't mind, I'd like to ask a few questions via email, because a.) That way I can quote you accurately, and b.) because I see online that you write well. On Twitter you wrote... Holy Carp! @Forbes uses my photo of @egolikeness in a really odd way (& doesn't mention my name) (+ I'm in Forbes?)... What were you thinking at the time?
KYLE: It was odd and a bit fun that a major magazine had used a photo I took of an industrial band in a seemingly really random manner. Having good images is key to getting eyes in the online world and we certainly put that photo out there so if some rock journalist was covering a festival and trying to find graphics to use with it they’d pick Ego Likeness to feature because there was a great photo they could use for free. But when the article was about something completely different my first thought was “Forbes is auto-generating content based on keywords” which is one of those moments where you jump up and point ‘look! I can see behind the curtain!’ Facebook slaps the lead wikipedia photo for a subject in it’s auto-generated pages for that subject, so for a long time the Facebook image for “running” was a photo I took of NPR’s Peter Sagal running in Chicago that we’d given to the Creative Commons on a lark, and that was always fun to see that one of your friends like “running” and there’s your photo on their page. So there’s computer-generated or computer-suggested chance, which is sometimes fun (it was fun in this case, because hey, Forbes!) and then there’s also a pernicious, willful misrepresentation happening too. As companies fight to collect eyeballs there are a lot of shady practices going on — look at any trending hash tag on Twitter and there are countless twitterbots posting url’s to random things they want to collect clicks for so you’ll see a tweet with the hashtag #SuicideSucks and then a link to dishwashing detergent. People on Youtube are doing that too, an album comes out, they make a fake videos for all the songs on it that are just ads for something else with a well-placed keyframe. On the scale of useful to annoying I find that kind of stuff “evil” because it’s actually polluting the sphere of information.
BK: You seem extremely active in social media. On balance, is your world (as a photographer) better or worse thanks to social media? Some photographers haven't been able to adapt to the Shutterstock/Flickr world.
KYLE: My world as an artist is much better because of social media. Sometime in the 1990’s there was this transitional phase for me where I was still spending a thousand dollars framing prints and hanging them in galleries and on opening night maybe 800 or a thousand people would go through and at the same time, I was writing a blog that twenty thousand people were reading every day and this slow light was flashing in my head that this old model just wasn’t going to hold water any longer. The thing then becomes trying to figure out what to do to keep those 20 or 30 or 100 thousand people entertained between the times that you want them to look at your Important Stuff. One of the things is to invite people to the party; in this case it means having an open conversation with Ego Likeness across social media and when you pull back that curtain and show what it’s like behind the scenes people are engaged, they participate — this isn’t something that could happen with the old “my photos are hanging on a wall” model. I don’t know who took my favorite Black Sabbath album covers, I doubt they know, things used to be so impersonal and now with social media I can say “I I’m in the studio with Ego Likeness! Here’s what’s going on” and people are a part of the process, they can actually influence events and when the record comes out they care because they saw it happening.
BK: Anything else you want to say about the right and wrong ways to use social media?
KYLE: I think there’s a level of honesty that’s required. You want the people on your social media to be your friends, not your patsys, you want them to do things because they like you and the feel that they’re part of the adventure. One of the most disturbing trends that I find now is the use of underhanded means to engage and acquire followers. So an organization will post to their Facbook page: “Name a movie title without the letter L in the title? Only 5% of people can!!!” and of course everybody on Earth can think of a movie title that doesn’t have the letter L in it, so in droves people respond in the comments as quickly as they can type, gleefully thinking that they’re part of the illuminati but this organization knew that, they posted an absurdly easy question on purpose not to find the smartest people on earth but to collect replies, shares and likes so that their page shows up on more of their followers feeds. Part of this blame goes to Facebook which for some unfathomable reason refuses to just show everybody all their friends posts in order. I think there are better ways to monazite the Facebook experience rather than holding people’s interactions hostage.
Engage your followers, be kind to them, entertain them, ask them questions you care about the answers to, listen to their replies, don’t steal content and post the occasional cat photo.
BK: How do you want me to identify you? I'd be happy to include a link of your choice.
KYLE: Kyle Cassidy is an artist from Philadelphia. You can find him at www.kylecassidy.com and on Twitter at @kylecassidy
BK: Can I use the original Ego Likeness image, with credit this time?
BK: I'm sitting here listening to Sirens and Satellites - which I really like - because I got hooked on Kyle's photo of you and Steven... no other image I could find so illustrated to me the blinding power of ego... So, because of social media, we're having this conversation. Nothing happened in a straight line, but since you and Steven and Kyle put something out in public, random things happened. Here's my question: What's it like to be an artist today? Has social media made it tougher, or easier?
DONNA (of Ego Likeness): That randomness you mentioned is truly one of the biggest keys. Steven and I have independently been in the arts since childhood, and as a team for the past 17 years. We have learned that making a life and career in the arts certainly takes talent and skill, and insane amounts of time and sacrifice. It takes the ability to talk and network, and to learn to take criticism -of both the constructive variety and the completely useless). It takes learning how to market, learning business skills that you never thought you'd need because you chose a life off the beaten professional path. But even after you figure all of that out, there are two things that you have zero control over. And they are the two things that make the difference between keeping food on the table or not (literally, at times):
1. How the audience feels about you, and
2. Random encounters and opportunities.
If you don't have the audience and you don't put yourself out there, ready to walk through any door that cracks open, none of those other things matter (from a career standpoint).
Being an artist, not just today, but always, means putting that art above most other things in your life. I'm fortunate to do this with my partner, because if we didn't, we'd never see each other. We opted not to start a family so we could focus on this path. We've gone without a lot of things at various points in order to make sure we were available for those doors, when they opened.
That said, I'd rather deal with all of those things than spend life doing something I don't care about.
As for social media, of course it's an amazing tool. When we started out there was no Myspace or Facebook or Linked In. You had to pass out flyers to shows and openings by hand. That I can now make a post about a show, or a release that hundreds or thousands of people see, and have to ability to share with even more people is remarkable. Steven can put paintings up on Facebook and Etsy and in front of a huge audience. Those are his buyers. I wouldn't want to go back to the analog way for anything.
But social media, it turns out -at least for us- tacks on a lot more work. We cultivate our fan base daily, picking up a handful people as we go. It's a slow process that takes a lot of attention, but it's worth it. We *know* so many of our supporters, because we spend time talking via social media. It isn't a sea of nameless faces that buy our stuff. It's people who do incredible things and let us into their lives. And we try to do the same. Sometimes I feel like the artist-equivalent of a Ma and Pa General Store. It hasn't shot us into the upper stratosphere of fame and fortune, but it's allowed us to make this our life, and not just a hobby.
DONNA: Oh, as an aside the randomness thing: many, many years ago, if it weren't for the fact that we stuck around -despite me really wanting to pack up and leave after the promoter never even showed up- and played a terrible, "ego" crushing show for three people in a really bad neighborhood in a town in NJ, we wouldn't be having this conversation. One of those three people was Kyle.
BK: Please tell me more about Kyle being one of three people who showed up, and what happened next. That could complete the circle I need to tell a great story.
DONNA: I think it was in 2003, maybe. Kyle was at that show with his friend- the other performer for the night, a very talented singer/ songwriter named Nicki Jaine. It was one of those shows where it was basically the bands playing for each other. They were both so friendly and positive in a less than ideal situation. We found out that they were from Philly. We were living in Baltimore, and really from there, a friendship just formed over time. We found that we had a lot of friends in common -Patrick Rodgers, who initially contacted you and whose label we were eventually signed to for several years- being one of them.Kyle began shooting us at shows in Philly, and eventually we came to work with him almost exclusively. He was willing to put up with my neuroses and persnickety-ness during shoots, and has consistently given us photos that were better than we ever could've imagined or hoped for. Usually within the first few takes, because he's that good and there is an intuition - these unspoken understandings- with him that you can sometimes find with other artists...if you're really lucky.
Since around 2007, he has shot 4 EP covers for Ego Likeness (The Compass EPs), the cover for our 2010 full-length "Breedless", and numerous promotional photos. This is a video that he shot with us in 2012, for the single for our upcoming album. The song is called 'Treacherous Thing'.
Ego Likeness is best and most simply described as dark, electronic rock.
All of our music projects: Ego Likeness, Stoneburner, Hopeful Machines, and The Trinity Project, as well as links to Steven's art on Etsy, and our books through Raw Dog Screaming Press (I write horror/ dark fiction and poetry, and Steven has written and illustrated a children's book, and several other illustrated collaborations) can be found at www.egolikeness.com
Image by Kyle Cassidy.