In the past few years, LinkedIn has become the definitive social network for professionals, now amassing more than 300 million members. What began as a small platform for employees to connect across the internet is now one of the world’s largest social networks where millions come in search of networking opportunities, jobs and insightful industry commentary. As you may have heard, this week there has been a significant shift in the way content is created and shared on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn will now allow a small sample of its members to draft and publish their own long-form articles, rather than just major industry influencers like Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Martha Stewart. While these key influencers will continue to exist, and be added to, the new platform will democratize the system of contributed content, crowdsourcing the best posts from members across the social platforms. This sample will be expanded as the service works out the technical details.
Once this plan is fully rolled-out, the average user will now be able to follow, and be followed by, any user that finds their content engaging and insightful, rather than just engaging with connections in his or her own network. This reach will enable CEOs and startup founders alike to have their thought leadership perspectives resonate even further, a key to making people care about your company’s viewpoint. In the words of Beth Monaghan, “thought leadership stimulates demand for companies’ products and services by teaching the industry about what is needed and what the future will require.”
In a recent post to the official LinkedIn blog, Ryan Roslansky, director of product management at LinkedIn, highlights his thought process behind the added focus on content: “Every professional has valuable experience to share. Trying to grow your business by reducing customer attrition? Read the post from Monica Adractas, head of customer retention at Box, on churning out churn. Just starting a career in sales? Read the post from Brent Beshore, the founder/CEO at adventur.es, on how to sell anything.”
From a communications perspective, this change presents an opportunity to broaden your thought leadership capabilities by getting your most insightful commentary in front of a new audience. Now, rather than only engaging with your own connections, your point of view can be accessed by LinkedIn’s 300 million members. Additionally, LinkedIn plans to build in a platform to measure and track the analytics of your content, allowing you to hone your message based on the reaction of your audience.
However, before diving into drafting a mass of content, take a moment to read LinkedIn’s own best practices for publishing content. This document offers advice for what to write about, what to avoid and how to produce the best content. Here’s a few of the questions they offer to get you started:
- What concrete advice would you give to someone hoping to enter your field?
- What your industry will (or should) look like in 5, 10, or 15 years and how it will get there?
- What is the biggest problem your industry needs to solve?
With LinkedIn’s popularity, this focus on expert commentary will likely threaten the status quo of today’s media landscape. By crowdsourcing the best articles, LinkedIn can promote a larger amount of content to their exclusive membership base, an advantage over traditional media outlets. For CEOs and thought leaders with the capability to draft engaging, relevant content, this is an amazing opportunity with the sky as the limit.
If you’re interested in reading more about this news, John Hall offers an interesting perspective in his recent article for Forbes. For more information on how LinkedIn can support your lead generation, read this article from Danielle Laurion on our InkLings blog.