Showcase Your Expertise on LinkedIn Without Giving Away the Farm

LinkedIn

Photo credit: Shekhar_Sahu / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

One of my LinkedIn connections — we’ll call her Julie — recently asked, in essence, “How can I improve my status as an industry expert, without others stealing my ideas? I’m writing a book, and this concerns me. I don’t know how to offer value without sharing everything I know.”

Julie had hit upon a common conundrum. Our Internet age requires great content, and lots of it, to generate attention. As well, lots of valuable, free content is required to achieve expert status. How can one avoid getting ‘ripped off’…or is this even an issue to worry about?

The answer is…yes…and no…and, it depends.

Space does not allow us to delve into trademark and copyright rules here. Much excellent information is available to help you become familiar with the rules. For today, however, we’ll limit our discussion to LinkedIn.

What Is Expert Status, Anyway?

Expert status is a somewhat indefinable combination of transparency, visibility, influence and accuracy. Experts are made, not born. Julie is on the right track as a soon-to-be-published book author, a nearly instant expert status symbol.

Not everyone wishes to be perceived as an expert. Most of us are content to maintain a smaller sphere of influence among clients, prospects and colleagues. If our increased visibility leads to interesting connections, paying work, maybe even a cool joint venture or two, terrific.

What about those who lie in wait for flashes of your brilliance, because they’re too lazy to think for themselves? It happens. Groupthink is the order of the day. One person writes an original blog post on a hot topic, and hundreds of other bloggers pick it up, writing a post about the original post. Senseless? Maybe. Lazy? No doubt. But a rip off? No. Actually, all of those reposts add to the writer’s sphere of influence and, therefore, his or her expert status!

LinkedIn Success Begins with Information Sharing

Without connection, engagement and sharing across millions of members, there would be no LinkedIn. Certainly, achieving expert status requires consistent, high quality information sharing. For example, my blog posts here on GreenBuzz give tips, tricks and strategies to enhance your LI experience. I could say, “I’m not going to give all my knowledge away for free. People have to pay me for this stuff!” But this attitude is shortsighted. Yes, I need to make a living, but it is the unbridled sharing which draws quality clients to me…clients who recognize I can help them achieve their goals, and who are willing to pay for specialized help.

The fact is, I would have to blog 24/7 to dispense everything I know about LinkedIn and, still, there would be new topics to write about. Am I hurting myself by giving away so much information no prospect feels the need to conduct paying business with me? Absolutely not. In fact, the opposite is true.

So what is the solution? Create lots of fresh, vibrant, meaningful content, share it with your LI network, then wash, rinse, repeat. Forget what others might be doing. Honestly, most people will read your thoughts, leave a comment, and move on to something else. In terms of sheer stats, it is rare that your work will be swiped.

American author Fran Lebowitz once said, “Original thought is like original sin: both happened before you were born to people you could not have possibly met.”

That Fran…she was a smart lady, don’t you think?

Next Week: The Hot Debate Over LinkedIn Profile Ownership

Victoria Ipri is CEO of Modello Media, Inc., an e-marketing strategy firm based in suburban Philadelphia, PA. She welcomes your questions and comments on this forum, or contact her directly at: ModelloMedia@gmail.com

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Comments:
  • Don Crow
    Reply

    Victoria:
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic of “putting your genuine self out there, for free.” Two points which I’d like to add comment to:
    1. “….But a rip off? No. Actually, all of those reposts add to the writer’s sphere of influence and, therefore, his or her expert status!”
    I understand your point, and to some degree concur – however, I think what rankles folks is when their content/ideas/philosophy gets re-purposed without giving credit back to the original author either by mention or backlink. If credit is given, then yes – the sphere grows. I would love to see someone pick up the torch on content sharing etiquette – if it even exists.
    2. “Forget what others might be doing. Honestly, most people will read your thoughts, leave a comment, and move on to something else.” This is awesome. So awesome in fact, I’m going to work it into one on my upcoming blogs and give proper credit. 😉 Seriously, I think the nugget in this one is to do your individual best work without worrying what others are going to do with it or what they may be doing independent of you. In the end, the clients are going to quickly determine who the true expert is/was.
    Don

    October 13, 2010 at 5:33 pm
  • Jim Matorin
    Reply

    Victoria – I enjoyed your blog on behalf of GB agency, thus I trust it mirrors their thoughts re: LinkedIn. Two thoughts: 1.) Transparency can work both ways. People publish content on LinkedIn that is mis-representative sometimes, which leads me to point two; 2.) We all know who the industry leaders are in our respective industries. Their content on LinkedIn is only supplementary. They are the players that speak at major conferences, blog or get published, etc.

    October 17, 2010 at 8:27 am
  • Sonny Melendrez
    Reply

    Victoria!

    It has been said that our mind is the greatest computer. However, there is one thing computers can do that our minds cannot: Think two thoughts at the same time. Thus, the time you spend worrying about who might steal your brilliance, is time you could have spent creating more content.

    Like you, I believe that our offerings on sites like LinkedIn are but the tip of the creative ice burg. As I like to say, “There’s plenty more where that came from!”

    If you think of your timely content as, but one chapter of a complete novel, you begin to understand how it might compel your reader to want more.

    But there is a more powerful reason for sharing our talent.

    Simply put, it is why we are here.

    To help others.

    -Sonny Melendrez

    October 17, 2010 at 10:42 am

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