It’s no Google Authorship.
But the new LinkedIn Portfolio feature gives individuals a way to let their messages linger on the site — and attach those messages to their own identities.
That opens up all kinds of creative business possibilities, especially for smart content marketers.
For a while now, any LinkedIn individual member could share a link to an item directly to the LinkedIn Activity stream. For example, I use IFTTT to publish all new Raven blog posts written by me to the LinkedIn Activity stream.
You can always share a link to the Activity stream manually, at any time, like this – even posting to an associated Twitter account at the same time:
But those Activity stream posts — regardless of source — disappear quickly. Companies could post “sticky” content, but if you were a solo entrepreneur or consultant or freelancer without a company LinkedIn profile, you were out of luck at getting your message to stick around. Plus, individual Activity stream posts rarely have much engagement unless you are a major influencer in your industry or among your peers. A few likes here and there. Maybe a comment, if you’re lucky.
There was an option to upload what LinkedIn called “Work Samples” directly to your profile, but the method was clunky. More to the point, no one used it.
So LinkedIn made some changes, rebranded Work Samples and released LinkedIn Portfolio. (I’m not sure when this became “official.” I got an email about it today.)
Basically, LinkedIn has created a way for individuals to post certain types of content to their profiles — permanently and near instantly.
How it works
It’s as simple as adding a link or uploading a file. Already created a portfolio on popular sites such as SlideShare and Behance? No problem. Just add a link from any of the long list of supported websites to your LinkedIn profile.
You can add links or upload files to your Background summary section at the top of your profile.
You can also add links or upload files to individual jobs.
It looks something like this.
In this case, I added three links (2 SlideShare presentations, 1 Vimeo video) and uploaded two PDFs. Want to rearrange the order of the content? No problem. Just drag and drop the boxes where you want them, once they’re posted.
Accidentally associated a piece of content with the wrong job? No problem. Just click the pencil icon (a.k.a. the edit button) and use the drop-down menu to move it to the right job.
Bingo. Your content, associated with your name, indefinitely.
Why this is great for content marketers
If you’re thinking this is only useful for people trying to enhance their LinkedIn resumes or (gah!) personal brands, consider this:
- Portfolio items can be good lead generation tools. Let’s say that you’re a home inspector. Let’s say that you offer photos and PDFs to clients as a finished product. Upload an example to your LinkedIn profile Summary, and folks who find you there can see your work right away. Make sure you include your contact information in your example — which a potential customer might download — as well as your LinkedIn profile.
- Portfolio items can be a new type of content to clients. Let’s say that a home inspector doesn’t have, want or need a blog. And his website is optimized and needs minimal upkeep. You could pitch LinkedIn portfolio friendly content to him. Think infographics, photo slideshows of his work, etc. The more visual, the better.
- Portfolio items could be a better place for conversation than the Activity stream. Click on any portfolio item to view it. If you have used Google+ for images lately, this view will look familiar. To the left is the content. To the right is a place to chat about it. Start talking, and people may get used to engaging with you there. You can clarify points from a PowerPoint presentation, for example.
- Portfolio items are editable. As in, you can highlight content that’s performing well, delete unpopular content and add your latest work. This means that you can keep your content fresh. Compelling. Optimized for performance. You can even test headlines and see if that makes a difference.
Those are four examples. What else?
Of all the types of content that LinkedIn now supports for individual profiles, written blog content isn’t one of them. Here’s what LinkedIn says about that:
Sure would be nice to have a list of links from recent articles I have written next to the job I’m writing them for. And then to be able to make certain article links permanent.
Until that happens, there’s IFFTT. And Google Authorship.