LinkedIn monetization is less about content monetization and more about smart networking.
Other forms of content monetization focus on affiliate marketing, advertising, information products, and so on. While LinkedIn does have a publishing platform, it’s more about professional networking. And though it’s more difficult to make money with affiliate links – and impossible with advertising – there are ways to monetize LinkedIn.
Understanding LinkedIn Channels
As you probably know, LinkedIn is a professional network. And there are several features that allow you to connect with others, promote yourself, promote products, publish content, and so forth.
Each “publication outlet” offers different possibilities in terms of monetization.
Here are the major features to be aware of:
LinkedIn Profiles – Profiles are the place to showcase yourself, your company, your products, and your services. You can link to websites and promote whatever you wish.
Long-Form Publishing – You can publish long-form blog posts on LinkedIn, just like you can on a blog. These posts are a great way to promote whatever you wish. And they can be a great tool to build your thought leadership.
Groups – LinkedIn Groups are forums. People can create, moderate, join, and participate in groups as they wish. Some are open to the public, others are private, but all are excellent opportunities to connect with others.
Advertising – LinkedIn allows targeted advertising to anyone within the network. You can target your ads based on a number of factors, including job title, company title, industry, and so on.
Using LinkedIn Channels for Monetization
There are several standard types of ways to monetize content online:
- Placing ads in your content that earn you money
- Using affiliate links to earn commissions
- Selling your own products and services
There are plenty of other derivations of these models, but these three are the most common.
Generally speaking, “monetizing content” simply means using that content as a sales vehicle. You may be selling someone else’s products or services or your own. But to make money, you need to sell something.
Here’s how to use LinkedIn’s publication channels to make money:
Promote yourself, your business, your own products, or your own services. This is by far the most common way to monetize LinkedIn. After all, that’s what the site is designed for – professional networking. So this should become the core of your LinkedIn monetization strategy.
Everything you promote and publish on the site should help build your brand and your authority. And it should all help promote your business, your products, and your services.
Promote affiliate products through your profile page, through groups, and in long-form posts. Affiliate links can be placed in most places throughout the site. Some groups, however, may prohibit affiliate links – or any links at all. But you are allowed to place links in long-form posts, in your profile, and in groups that allow links.
Bear in mind, however, that many people may find affiliate links distasteful if used improperly…or too often. Another drawback to using affiliate links is the fact that your posts won’t get that much traffic.
A website can generate thousands of visitors per month, week, or day. But it is highly unlikely your affiliate links will see that much traffic on this network.
Use LinkedIn advertising to grow your brand or your business. You can’t really make money by placing ads on LinkedIn, like you can with a website. But you can use the network’s built-in ad service to focus on highly targeted audiences.
The best way to use LinkedIn advertising – and the network in general – is as part of a larger marketing and monetization plan. Develop a strategy that focuses on a standalone brand with a standalone website, then use LinkedIn as a tool to build that brand and website.
If, for instance, you are creating a website that caters to a crowd of targeted professionals, then LinkedIn is the perfect tool to help you build a following.
Create email lists from your contacts and market to those prospects. It’s possible to download your email list from LinkedIn, import those contacts into an email marketing program, and market directly to those prospects. Be careful with this technique, however, because misuse of this tactic can irritate people and cost you some connections.
But when used properly, you can generate an email list directly from your LinkedIn contacts. And you can then market to them via email, which offers more direct monetization potential in terms of advertising, affiliate marketing, product sales, and so on.
LinkedIn is best used as a tool to support your business, which should have its own core profit structure. Monetizing content on LinkedIn publication channels – groups, long-form publishing, profiles, etc. – just doesn’t earn as much traffic as a website might.
However, when you use LinkedIn as a professional networking platform – which is what it was designed for – then you can build an audience, a reputation, an email list, and enhance your existing monetization efforts.