LinkedIn Doubles Down on Brand Publishing

For the past couple of years, LinkedIn has been slowly and effectively doubling down on content. First, in May 2012, it acquired SlideShare, the premiere destination for thought leaders to share their presentations with the world. Then, last March, it bought news-reader app Pulse, eventually launching LinkedIn Pulse, a critically acclaimed app for consuming and sharing professional content. Simultaneously, they’ve been expanding their LinkedIn Influencer program, which has featured the likes of Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, CNBC host Suze Orman, and even (shameless plug) Contently’s very own Shane Snow. It’s turned LinkedIn into a digital magazine full of sharp business voices, and has begun to do for thought leadership as a content format what Tumblr did for the GIF—make it social.

According to LinkedIn Head of Content Products Ryan Roslansky, Influencer posts average nearly 31,000 pageviews and over 80 comments. (This post about Ryan Gosling, for instance, attracted nearly 400,000 pageviews and almost 700 comments—none of which, sadly, were from Mr. Gosling himself.) So far, it appears as if people don’t just want to look for a new job on LinkedIn; they also want to consume content there that will make them better at their current job.

That’s great news for B2B content marketers, who have already been using LinkedIn’s Sponsored Posts to hyper-target business audiences with their content. And their LinkedIn arsenal is about to get a lot more powerful. Over the past couple of weeks, LinkedIn has been opening up the publishing platform to all users—brands and individuals alike—allowing them to share their thought leadership directly within the LinkedIn platform.

Even more interesting, LinkedIn just announced it’s getting into the business of helping its users create great content by bringing in partners (including Contently) to help brands become publishers. LinkedIn gets the fact that it’s not enough to create content—for it to be effective, the content needs to be compelling, intelligent, and shareable.

LinkedIn Sponsored Update Partners and Content Partners

Though relatively expensive by digital advertising standards, LinkedIn’s primary advertising product—Sponsored Updates—have proved to be a pretty effective advertising offering so far, thanks in part to the social network’s ability to target based on the company you work for company and job title.

But Sponsored Updates only work if you have great content, and you’re targeting your campaign the right way. If you follow the industry, you know that a lot of brands are still struggling to get there. Really, really struggling. Sometimes, it kind looks like this:

In response, LinkedIn is taking a surprisingly proactive approach to making sure that their Sponsored Updates contain high-quality content (for the benefit of their users) and actually deliver the results (for the benefit of the brands they work with) by launching LinkedIn Sponsored Update Partners and Content Partners.

What’s it mean? Brands who advertise on LinkedIn will now be able to access best-in-class content companies to create great stories and optimize their ad spend. According to a LinkedIn blog post, the four partners for creating original custom content are Atlantic Media Strategies, Freshwire, Group SJR, and—yes—Contently, though we swear that this post is actual industry news and not just an excuse for us to plug this partnership. (Okay, it’s kind of an excuse for us to plug this partnership. But you totally don’t have to use us. The other partners are very nice people.)

Ultimately, these moves by LinkedIn will result in one thing: Brands creating and sharing better content. And yeah, maybe we’ll make some money, too.

Want your business to tell great stories like this one? Contently gives brands the tools and talent to tell stories that people love. Learn more.

Image by Sheila Scarborough

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