When LinkedIn launched their publishing feature in 2014 they gave us an amazing opportunity to share our insights with our professional network. After all, throughout our working career we all collect experiences and wisdom that can be invaluable to those in our social network. Having read a lot of posts on this platform I can now concur that the authors usually fall in to one of two categories – those who write posts with a goal of self promotion and those who write posts with a goal of selfless devotion.

Self Promotion

These types of posts are usually thinly veiled advertisements. They appear to be about a certain subject but happen to drop references to often loosely-related products or services that the author happens to provide and these references are usually about as subtle as a car alarm. I’ll often make it as far as the first paragraph before thinking ‘what did I read that for?’

From the author’s point of view, the sole purpose of these posts are to reposition the reader’s point of view of the author and to get the reader to buy their goods. If the reader reaches the end of the post and aren’t reaching for their credit card then the author has failed in their objective. The ironic thing is that nine times out of ten, the author will fail in their objective.

Selfless Devotion

This is when the author actually cares about the reader devotes some time to their reading experience. They genuinely want to reward the reader for having spent a few minutes of their life reading their thoughts. These authors are intrinsically motivated by helping others and they recognise that they need to bring something original to the table to create a post of value. They don’t write something for the sake of it, and they edit what they write so that the reader is getting higher quality content in a smaller quantity of words.

When an author takes this selfless approach to sharing their knowledge they’ll more than likely succeed in winning readers over. Why? Because by putting a bit of time into creating something of value and not asking or expecting anything in return they’re respecting their readers. And their readers are smart, so they get that. Writers like these don’t count clicks – they build audiences. And often times the difference between a good writer and a bad writer isn’t skill or talent – it’s a shift in focus from serving themselves to serving the reader.

Which type of author do you prefer to read?