LinkedIn’s big bet on content – and why traditional publishers should be worried

January 22, 2014 7:46 am

If you still think LinkedIn is just a glorified online job centre then it is time to think again.

Sure, more than half of its revenues – expected to hit $1.5bn for 2013 – still come from recruitment services but there has been a noticeable increase in LinkedIn’s activity around content and publishing over the past year or so.
LinkedIn - badge of influenceA marker in the sand was hiring Fortune’s Dan Roth in 2011 as executive editor. Then there was its aggregated news service LinkedIn Today, which had launched earlier that year (and is now replaced by the customisable reader app Pulse, which came from a sizeable acquisition).

Aggregating news was just the first step in getting users to come back more often and stay longer but LinkedIn has its eyes on a much bigger content prize. And with more than 259 million professionals registered as of January 2014 about and more than three million companies with their own pages on the platform, LinkedIn has the kind of audience that most B2B publishers would kill for. And it wants to offer those users content they can’t get anywhere else.

The Influencers
One big content play by LinkedIn is its Influencer programme. Launched in October 2012 it is an exclusive, invite-only platform that allows some of the biggest names in business and politics – from President Obama and David Cameron to Richard Branson and Jack Welch – to publish regular thought-leadership posts to followers. Take-up has been fast, with more than 300 ‘influencers’ now posting.

More significantly perhaps, the engagement levels are impressive. According to LinkedIn’s own stats the average Influencer post:

  • receives almost 25,000 views
  • receives 240 likes
  • gets 94 reader comments

But it’s not just about quantity. LinkedIn’s business audience ensures the quality bar is high too with almost half  (49 per cent) of those Influencer post readers at director level and above.

It’s something here at Collective Content we are seeing first hand. We have been working with a client for over a year helping them to deliver weekly thought-leadership posts for a senior executive. Engagement has been high, with some posts getting more than 80,000 views.

From recruitment to publishing
The next step is for LinkedIn to enable and encourage companies to create and publish their own original content on a branded hub using the LinkedIn platform.

The premise is simple. A brand hires journalists to create quality original content for its target audience. LinkedIn is the platform that allows the brand to target that content at people in specific job titles and functions. We are working with one of the first brands to do this and hopefully we will be able to share some insight into that further down the line.

It’s a win-win – LinkedIn boosting its stickiness while brands get higher-quality targeted engagement with existing and prospective customers.

And the key to all this? Great content.

*photo credit: nan palmero via photopin cc

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