When LinkedIn launched the publishing network known as LinkedIn Influencer in 2012, members gained instant access to top voices in business such as Richard Branson, Martha Stewart, and Arianna Huffington. Now you have the opportunity to join these powerful voices as LinkedIn opens the doors to its publishing platform to the public.

"The more you converse, the more you know about how your community works and why they need you. LinkedIn publisher opens up the door to community conversations," says Barbara Rozgonyi, founder of CoryWest Media and Chicago's Social Media Club. These conversations can expand your network in a big way, because all likes, comments, and shares will distribute your content beyond your immediate network. You may also find your content distributed as part of "Best of LinkedIn" and even beyond LinkedIn to its partner sites.

Who Writes?

The privilege of publishing extends to 25,000 members on the network, but LinkedIn is steadily expanding the capability to all members in multiple languages over the next few months. Apply here for access; you'll know you have posting privileges when you get an email from LinkedIn.

A caveat: If you're not a writer and your company's creative archives are bare, don't write a word until you ask yourself why you want to stand out on LinkedIn. What's the purpose? As in any marketing or social-media effort, it's best to have a reason, a strategy, and a plan before you begin.

Rozgonyi's "5 Ways to Sidestep the Social Media Sinkhole" garnered more than 3,400 views and was shared 430 times on LinkedIn. Here's her advice on the why and how of a buzzworthy post.

Why publish?

To help you determine your purpose, Rozgonzi provided a list of reasons to publish. Do you wish to do any of these things?

  • Increase traffic to your site via links in your posts.
  • Increase visibility as LinkedIn distributes your posts to your network and in the Pulse channels.
  • Expand your connections and community as you meet new people who read your work.
  • Use analytics to reveal what people are really interested in, which may not be what you think.
  • Start conversations about topics you are passionate about and meet others who want to exchange views.
  • Add credibility with posts being displayed on your LinkedIn profile.

How do you make your post great?

  • Headlines. Headlines are everything. With masses of information to wade through, people only click on interesting headlines. To find out what's piquing interest, take a look at what's trending in your preferred channels. What are people clicking on? Is this a topic you can write about? Shorter is better here. If you have a long post to repurpose, break it up into a series.
  • Art. If snappy headlines are everything, then awesome photos are essential. When people don't read, they look and then click.
  • Links. If you can, add a link or two back to a blog post on your site. In one hour, Rozgonyi got 40 new visits, thanks to this tactic. End your post with a question and your bio with links. Then, hit Publish.
  • Social networks. After you publish, send it out to all of your social networks. If you mention people in your post, be sure to tag them and link to their sites. Then, send them a tweet or tag them on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Remember, your results are directly proportionate to the time and thought you put into publishing. Make sure you're ready to commit, and stay consistent. And then, share your success with us here!