Late last week, LinkedIn announced that it was broadening its Influencers program to now include 25,000 members of the social network, which is quite a few more people than the previous 300 users who were blogging on the platform. Over the next several months, the publishing option will then be rolled out to all LinkedIn users. Beyond regular status updates, users who find themselves enrolled in the program will have the ability to create and publish long-form blog posts on LinkedIn. With this announcement, LinkedIn may have just created one of the best outlets for B2B content to be published, as there are 270 million potential readers for each post.
So, how can you take advantage of this program?
1. Be Relevant.
LinkedIn’s reason for establishing the program is to drive more traffic and page views back to LinkedIn’s site. Its algorithms will find the most relevant and valuable content to share with its broader user base, which will mean that articles published that are widely read, shared and commented on within an individual network will be given wider distribution. As a result, brands and individuals will have to think carefully about what kind of content will be the most engaging for their and create original, high-quality content.
At March, we’re constantly placing content from clients in high profile publications to support lead generation. But perhaps that next article or blog post, the one that will get everyone in the client’s industry talking, should be published on LinkedIn instead?
2. Leave Your Sales Pitch at the Door.
LinkedIn is an excellent outlet to show thought leadership, but commentary should be as vendor-neutral as possible. As indicated in the company’s Publishing Platform Rights and Responsibilities, “LinkedIn discourages and may disable posts that self-servingly advertise a service [or] business … that does not benefit the broader LinkedIn community.” It will certainly be tempting to try to sell LinkedIn users on a product or service – imagine those millions of readers who might click on a call to action – but don’t do it. The brand awareness that a widely-circulated post will achieve will be more than worth it.
3. Take Advantage of Your Network.
Since LinkedIn’s algorithms reward posts that are shared, each post’s impact can be maximized by being shared not just with LinkedIn users and groups, but with every available channel. You can share your LinkedIn post on Facebook, Twitter, in your email signature, wherever – just get it out there! The goal is to drive readers back to a LinkedIn post to comment on it, like it and share it. By doing that consistently, a brand or individual’s personal LinkedIn network will start to become the hub of a conversation on a certain topic, and that user’s network will grow, which will further appease the LinkedIn gods and encourage more widespread distribution of posts.
The addition of long-form content to LinkedIn’s broad user base is long overdue, and marketers of all stripes should start to prepare high-quality content to take advantage of the new platform’s potential. Now would also be the time to start adding connections and growing networks to be ready once the opportunity is available.
This post was first published by James Gerber on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.