A number of publishers and blogs covered the launch of LinkedIn’s new follow feature for 150 thought leaders or influencers over the last few weeks. However, labeling it the ability to follow thought leaders (as LinkedIn did) misses the real point.
LinkedIn did not launch a new feature to follow thought leaders or the ability for select individuals to publish articles on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn just launched as a publisher with 150 thought leaders, influencers and public figures as their first journalists and contributors.
Since LinkedIn has also been called the best social media site for B2B marketing, this is a change and you should care about.
Now LinkedIn Is In The Content Business
With 150 recognized and respected contributors, LinkedIn just launched their publishing business with an all-star cast.
Where else can you get perspectives from both presidential candidates, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, Pete Cashmore and 145 others? Nowhere. Not even the Wall Street Journal, Forbes or Huffington Post (irony, huh?) can match that contributor list.
As a publisher, the face of LinkedIn has changed significantly.
- A daily reason to visit. Historically LinkedIn could be used to share content, but outside of the business networking, or “social”, features, there wasn’t a reason to visit regularly.
- Content worth sharing. LinkedIn content is now being broadly shared on Twitter and other networks. I’ve seen the change in just what I see on Twitter, you likely have too.
- LinkedIn’s content is differentiated. LinkedIn has labeled their contributors as thought leaders and has recruited an impressive group of initial contributors.
As a publisher, LinkedIn will be able to significantly increase pageviews. With their reputation as a site for reaching a business audience, they will command a premium CPM. With their rich audience data, they will be able to sell even more of their inventory at premium rates. In short, LinkedIn now has a publishing and advertising business.
Quantcast (chart below showing when the thought leader feature was added) shows a 7.5% increase in page views in the three weeks following the launch of LinkedIn’s publishing platform versus the three weeks before.
This isn’t a seasonal effect. In 2011, traffic was down 5% for the same comparison. For a publisher that is already the 24th largest property in the US (again, according to Quantcast), if the trend continues this will be a big increase!
What Should Marketers Do With LinkedIn?
Proceed with caution. LinkedIn has made a huge number of changes in the last few weeks. From LinkedIn Endorsements to a new design to this new publishing model, if you looked away for two months, LinkedIn would be almost unrecognizable today.
If LinkedIn worked well for you six months ago, it doesn’t mean anything today. With all of the changes LinkedIn has made, you can no longer use prior experience as a predictor of future performance.
Similarly, if LinkedIn hasn’t worked in the past, consider another test. With these changes LinkedIn is now drawing a larger audience and people are visiting for different reasons.
What do you think of the changes or what new opportunities do you see for marketers in LinkedIn’s changes?
Share your view in the comments below or with me on LinkedIn (@wittlake).