It’s a problem — and an opportunity for you
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LinkedIn used to be a writer’s dream.
You could publish long-form blog posts. There wasn’t another place on the internet quite like it — where you could share work, career, hiring, and business stories as a complete nobody, like me.
This feature of LinkedIn caused me to lug around a 2012 Macbook everywhere I went. I would go to dinners, or weddings, or work events, or even the movies and bring my laptop brick to each event. My friends would laugh at me. Why do you bring that thing everywhere?
I would reply, I wanted to be a writer. *Queues laughter*
The LinkedIn feature known as Write Article can only be accessed by a laptop or desktop. You might wonder why I didn’t use a 3rd party tool to schedule my LinkedIn blog posts.
The reason is this: scheduled content is recognized by LinkedIn and deprioritized. Would a social media platform want live content, or content scheduled months in advance? The answer is obvious, hence the need to carry a laptop with me.
I used to publish one long-form blog post every day on LinkedIn. I kept this habit up for more than five years.
Long-form blog posts on LinkedIn were beautiful. There was an editor and a place to put a nice, big, juicy cover image. I had many viral blog posts on LinkedIn over the years.
A blog post written by Zdravko Cvijetic titled 13 Things You Should Give Up If You Want To Be Successful is one of the most shared articles I’ve ever seen on LinkedIn.
Blog posts on LinkedIn were a highly effective way to unlock an audience and serve them. Here’s an example below. This is what used to be possible on LinkedIn.
The same post now would be lucky to be seen by one hundred people, even if you had hundreds of thousands of followers. It’s this reality that has effectively deactivated the Write Article feature buried in the desktop app, and unavailable on the mobile LinkedIn app which most users use.
LinkedIn Has Drastically Changed
2017 — LinkedIn allows you to upload videos.
2019 — LinkedIn enables LinkedIn Live for real-time videos.
2020 — LinkedIn launches Stories similar to Instagram stories.
LinkedIn chose the video trend. They started favoring three video features more than the Write Article feature.
In doing so, they deactivated a lot of writers.
The problem with videos: it’s hard to skim.
The problem with the short micro-content/stories feature: there’s not a lot of substance (unless you’re Naval Ravikant).
Writers once ruled LinkedIn. Video creators took over, but then this happened.
Writers Became the Most Important Users of LinkedIn (Again)
You can’t kill the writer. The written word isn’t going anywhere. Ever.
Slowly, videos have become exhausting. LinkedIn users obsessed with how they look in the selfie camera of their not-so-smart-phone have taken over LinkedIn and changed people’s preferences.
Nobody wants to see a business video that, most of the time, is nothing more than an ad you can access at the start of every YouTube video you watch.
Without trying to, LinkedIn users like me evolved. We realized the death of the long-form blog post on LinkedIn had already occurred. Even if you had one million followers you couldn’t get more than a few thousand views on an article. My readers kept saying to me, I don’t see your blog posts on LinkedIn anymore. Why is that?
LinkedIn stopped pushing long-form blog posts.
So LinkedIn users like me started posting short text posts by clicking “start a post” and writing nothing but words.
LinkedIn allows you to write a maximum of 1,300 characters in a text-only post. At first, this was a pain. As I got used to it I found the character limit forced me to be succinct. There was no room for extra words or sentences that didn’t do anything.
This reality actually made me a better writer. I was forced to get to the point — something LinkedIn videos didn’t do.
Text-Only Posts Now Dominate LinkedIn
Why is that?
A 1,300 character LinkedIn post is the perfect amount of space — and investment of time for the user — to share a thought, story, or idea. Both the reader and the writer win. Short posts are like Tetris. You have to really think about how all the parts of your text fit together.
Topics that change people’s careers and lives include rejection, business failure, leadership opportunities that came from nowhere, battles with illness, innovative gadgets that will change humanity, and everyday stories of people doing incredible things.
LinkedIn thought their users wanted an overwhelming amount of videos. I believe LinkedIn was wrong. LinkedIn users want writers, because every LinkedIn user, deep down, believes they too can write something and change how people perceive a topic.
Video isn’t as relatable. There’s how you look, the quality of your camera, the lighting you use, the way you edit your video, the thumbnails, and the captions. Videos require a lot of work. They’re a giant pain for the everyday worker who has a job to go to and a family to see after work each night. On the other hand, text-only posts take less than 10 minutes to write.
Anybody can write a text-only post on LinkedIn, which is why they’re the most popular form of content on the platform.
A Life Hack You Can Steal
- Write a short text-only post on LinkedIn.
- Hit publish.
- Repeat the process.
- Notice the posts people find helpful.
- Take those helpful posts and turn them into long-form blog posts for other platforms.
The content you publish on one platform can be reused on another platform — as long as you understand the nuances of each platform.
Don’t Do This if You Decide to Post on LinkedIn
This is part 3 of my 1,001-part genius series.
A story that never ends and keeps continuing is exhausting for a reader. If you want to share 1,001 tips about something then just share them. A multiple-part content series is a burden and feels overwhelming. Make timeless, evergreen content that doesn’t contain Day 50 of a 200 Day Challenge.
Reading your work shouldn’t feel like a challenge.
Bringing It All Together
Why do you even need LinkedIn anyway?
Three words: it’s your resume. Thought leaders get hired and promoted. If you want to start a business or further your career then being an expert in your space is the number one strategy.
Content is how you share what you know and show how you think. Even if you don’t have a goal to be a content creator and get paid for it, you still should consider sharing what you know on a platform like LinkedIn.
Most of my career opportunities are a direct result of LinkedIn. I got a leadership gig with 16 direct reports because of LinkedIn. I became a writer, partly, because of LinkedIn. I created an online course as a result of what I learned on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn helped me find love, too. No joke.
The woman that taught me how to use LinkedIn all those years ago became my girlfriend. We bonded over LinkedIn and our passion for sharing ideas with the world from a laptop.
The most effective way to use LinkedIn is to write short, text-only, 1,300 character posts. Anybody can do it, even you. This habit will morph into many opportunities you could never have imagined.
LinkedIn gets you a job.
LinkedIn is your resume.
LinkedIn helps you get hired.
Text-only posts on LinkedIn are a magnet to the right people.
A Message to LinkedIn (From Its Users)
LinkedIn, make blogging great again. Bring back long-form blog posts. Let blog posts be seen in their natural light again like they used to be.
The written word will always rule the world. LinkedIn, reignite the dreams of writers again. We’ll repay the debt by making people’s careers inspired by our words once more.
Blog posts will never die. They’ll just keep getting reimagined.