I recently received an interesting email from a newsletter subscriber who asked about the appropriate way to use LinkedIn’s publishing platform. This person revealed to me that he posted frequently to LinkedIn, but that most of his posts were articles written by someone else — he was just curating and sharing that content. In his mind, he wasn’t plagiarizing the original author’s work because he was giving that person credit, typically by inserting their byline directly under his headline.
The logic was sound, but my advice to this well-intentioned person was simple: Stop doing it.
It’s not that curating content is inherently unethical or wrong. In fact, as long as you give the original writer proper credit, curation can be a very effective tactic for sharing thought leadership and establishing credibility…
Just not on LinkedIn.
The problem here is that LinkedIn’s publishing platform isn’t your typical content sharing site. It’s not a company blog, where readers might expect to see guest contributions or curated content. And it’s not Twitter or Facebook, where summarized content and ideas can be shared with simple (and very obvious) attribution.
Instead, LinkedIn is viewed as a virtual representation of you and you alone.
When you publish content through LinkedIn’s publishing platform, people generally believe that you wrote it.
When you publish other people’s content, things get hazy because even curated posts show your name in the byline. As a result, it’s not immediately obvious that someone else wrote it — even if you do attribute the original author in the body of the post.
Ultimately, this can make you look like someone who is trying to rip off another person’s ideas as your own. Over time, that perception can do some serious damage to your credibility no matter how well intentioned you were to share someone else’s great content.
So, stick to posting only content you created.
That being said, there are still plenty of ways to create visibility and establish credibility on LinkedIn that don’t involve just your content. For instance, when you see a great article that someone else has created, feel free to mention it in a LinkedIn status update, add your thoughts, and hyperlink to the original source. And if you read a great article on LinkedIn, you can (and should) comment on it, like it, and share it with your network.When you do those things, you’ll earn the respect of the original author and capture the attention of your own audience. More importantly, you won’t have to worry about people questioning your motives.