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Long-form Newsletter vs. Short-form Status Update. Which is Best?

As you probably already know, newsletters are blowing up on LinkedIn.

Not a day goes by when another newsletter follow request shows up in the inbox. While so many content creators are jumping on the newsletter bandwagon, it may just open more opportunity for short-form status updates to get more visibility.

LinkedIn newsletters are the shiny new toy for marketers and content creators and they want to maximize on the launch. So what's happening is that people are testing the waters to see if long-form content will stick. As a content creator, I can't say I blame them, but I have a slightly different perspective on how much energy and time we should spend on creating long-form content on social media because here's the thing:

Newsletters, being long-form content pieces, tend to take more time to not only create, but to read. That means we are assuming that our network of connections has time to read your newsletter along with thousands of others.

The reason that short-form status updates in a social media feed work so well is that users can skim and scroll and absorb more varieties of content. They can easily feel caught up on the day by spending five or ten minutes in the feed.

When they choose to read a newsletter, that one piece takes ALL of their attention and time and many suffer from FOMO. What did they miss in their feed while they were reading the newsletter?

Now, I'm not saying that newsletters on LinkedIn are a bad idea or you shouldn't produce them. I do like that LinkedIn alerts our connections when new content is published. That's a big win!

What I am saying is that just like any other form of content marketing, you should test to see what works best for your brand. Test the frequency, the topics you write about, etc. so you can maximize on what a newsletter can do for you and your brand.

Let's remember the purpose of a newsletter. It's purpose, when done well, is to share relevant, valuable information with your subscribers.

It's a tool that allows for more engagement with an already warm audience who made the choice to subscribe. And they also give us the ability to build a library of information.

Newsletters are also EXTREMELY sharable! And that's a big bonus.

When others value your information, they want to share it with their network to be the one who provides them with more value.

Are newsletters an indication that organic reach is dead on LinkedIn?

Well, I have already begun to see LinkedIn "advisors" talk about how they are advising their clients to stop posting as many status updates, turn on Creator Mode and focus on writing more newsletters. That there is no longer value in organic reach on LinkedIn and that soon, organic reach will be a thing of the past.

I completely disagree with their advice!

Here's why: when the trend starts to go in a certain direction (in this case it's newsletters) it's very easy to get lost among the thousands of others on the trend. And what happens when the new shiny toy loses it's luster and you've halted or slowed down on posting in the feed? Will you always be the hamster spinning on the wheel trying to get ahead?

Instead, don't stop writing status updates and posting content in the feed. Short-form content gives us the opportunity to talk about many topics or ideas and share lots of information because it's in fact shorter. That doesn't mean that short is less quality. The quality of our content should always be a priority.

And the key to posting is consistency. The more consistent, the more visible. The more visible, the more your brand and message can grow.

Let me also say that I do support turning on the Content Creator feature for your LinkedIn profile, because in the long-run, you will have access to all the new content related features LinkedIn releases in the future. An emphasis on video is coming next!

And while the thing to remember is that while newsletters may be new, they should not take away from your other content efforts. Instead, they should enhance them.

Here are some tips to enhance your content output:

  • Recycle your content - if you write a newsletter on LinkedIn, put it on your website as well

  • Expand on status updates - if you have a post that does well short-form, expand on the topic in a long-form newsletter (the opposite is also true)

  • Use your newsletter topics for podcasts

  • Choose your publishing frequency based on capacity of time available to you - under promise and over deliver

Keep this in mind - newsletters take much longer to write and may even require research and design while status updates can often come from more in the moment thoughts, be done quickly from your phone, or follow a mapped-out strategy.

Whichever content form you choose, remember that the goal is to produce content that adds value for your audience. Mix up the media and content types. Don't be afraid to experiment and test what works. And make sure you don't get so caught up in the shiny new toy that you fail to keep moving forward on your other content efforts.

To your success!

Janine Hogan

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