How LinkedIn Can Help Your Content Marketing Efforts
Content Distribution Support and LinkedIn
LinkedIn can be a valuable channel to help promote your online content. The significant aspect of this channel is that it is big (300+ million users) yet can still be specific (niche focused). This is what can make it a valuable content marketing channel. Let’s face it – we all need readers and to have the ability to have our niche-focused content read by our targeted niche is very valuable.
LinkedIn now allows members to publish (note it is permission based)!
You can think about LinkedIn as being the “facebook” for professionals. It is social media but with the starting point already being designed for and understood by professionals. This is not the “happening place” for teenagers or for people posting their vacation pics. This is the cool place for pros.
A content marketing strategy that includes LinkedIn plays to how LinkedIn wants to operate as a publishing platform. LinkedIn wants to have an alignment with the B2B market and to help its members find solutions using the LinkedIn platform. If you have the content then LinkedIn can help you deliver your content to your audience.
To allow members to publish is a smart move for LinkedIn as it is known as the place for professionals to network. By allowing members to publish it now goes well beyond being a place for recruiters and job seekers. It has evolved to be a “go-to” place for industry news, and is also now a fishing hole for B2B marketers to interact with and serve content that can nurture a carefully selected audience. With over 300 million users worldwide, even if segmented into a specific niche, the numbers can still be large. Content marketers need to take notice.
According to the LinkedIn Social Selling Index Survey (conducted in February of this year), social media savvy content marketers are 51% more likely to hit sales goals than conventional marketers. Traditional face-to-face methods of networking, knowledge sharing, and lead generation are still important but today can be augmented significantly by online activities. Today, there is a new generation of professionals who are tech savvy, social media engaged, and looking to expand reach beyond the borders of their physical social networks to both find new sales opportunities and stay current (the “stay current” part is of particular interest to your content marketing efforts).
LinkedIn’s Revenue Streams
LinkedIn can gain revenue from paid subscriptions and I’m sure this is important to them. However, many of the people who pay are recruiters and job seekers. They also display ads as another revenue stream.
Paid memberships from individuals and recruiters and ads will not fully realize the revenue generating capability of the LinkedIn platform. Second quarter revenue from LinkedIn marketing solutions totaled $106 million, up 44 percent from the prior year. After narrowing in on and becoming successful with job seekers and recruiters, they are now leveraging their 313 million-member network to attract content marketers, publishers, and sales professionals to create new revenue streams for them in the form of content and data.
Here is a statement from the CEO of LinkedIn (Jeff Weiner) when they announced their 2nd quarter results on July 31st (emphasis from me).
“LinkedIn delivered strong financial results in the second quarter while maintaining investment in our member and customer offerings,” said Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn. “We made significant progress against several key strategic priorities including increasing the scale of job opportunities on LinkedIn; expanding our professional publishing platform; and continuing the strategic shift towards content marketing through Sponsored Updates.”
One of the items that they highlighted in their 2nd Quarter report was that they continue to gain traction with its professional publishing platform. They stated that they now publish over 30,000 weekly long-form posts and now have provided posting capability to 15 million LinkedIn members. They state that since launching their publishing feature in February that traffic to publisher and influencer posts has risen more than 100%.
Three Takeaways for All Content Marketers
1. Content Marketing Means to Measure
The new LinkedIn publishing platform helps to take the guesswork out of distribution by tapping the resources of LinkedIn to help you target, serve, and measure the impact of your content marketing efforts. When you publish you are publishing to your LinkedIn business contacts using the LinkedIn distribution channel.
The publishing approach by LinkedIn helps professionals to stay updated about key accounts, focus on the right people, and build trust relationships with collaborators.
2. Content Marketing Means to Produce Quality Content
With the ability to publish on LinkedIn, you’ll need more content. Of course this content needs to be of the highest quality as we are talking about a LinkedIn crowd which is an audience of critical professionals. Your content is going to be much more critically scrutinized than the scrutiny that would be associated with your facebook posts to friends and family.
- Create content that is not general in nature – remember you are trying to attract and engage professionals. They already know the general stuff.
- If you are working to ultimately make a sale then consider the entire engagement process. Know your phases and design content for each phase of the process.
- Create post-specific landing pages at your center of content – your blog and website. Also, though English is the language of international business create your landing pages with some consideration that LinkedIn is significantly international and that you are operating in a global community of professionals.
- Publish graphically pleasing content or produce video content to engage even more. Professionals love great graphics and video as much as anyone – perhaps even more so.
3. Get Creative with Your Content
Develop a content strategy that meshes with the base concept of LinkedIn. Take a hard look at your customer database. Identify the influencers of your target market. Determine how to build trust with them. Once you have a relationship then ask these influencers to write something for your blog. Publish case studies highlighting solutions for a specific niche. Use video to engage and niche-focus and consider a targeted focus a video as well. Consider a customer specific website or blog in the spirit of LinkedIn Groups to create a customer group specific hub for sharing knowledge and creating conversations.
In addition, analyze your existing customer base to define your “ideal” customer. Identify this niche in LinkedIn. Envision how to best delight your ideal customer and then publish your valuable insights to this specific group on LinkedIn. It is your job to add value to your target audience and LinkedIn can help you to make people aware of the added value you provide.
Here are some links to content marketing tutorials that you may find useful: