In the beginning of February 2013, LikedIn reported revenue of $303.6 million, and net income of $11.5 million, effectively increasing its stock market valuation by about 20%. But during the call with investors, CEO Jeff Weiner said something very important: “One of the things that we’re increasingly focused on in 2013 is going to be the opportunity to support content marketing.”
This comes to no surprise especially after the launch of LinkedIn publishing platform in the end of 2012. What the platform allowed is for the 200 mln LinkedIn users to get posts from thought leaders they have subscribe to, in addition to all the posts from users, companies, and industries in the users’ personal network. With that was also released LinkedIn Today – professional e-zine type of service that aggregates and features top news items for every user.
But this is not just a way to generate content. It is the intention of the company to generate specific academic and industry content (whitepapers, news articles, educated discussion threads, and so on) that is not readily available anywhere else. What that means is that LinkedIn wants to turn the business social network into The Destination for relevant professional content.
That does not conclude the LinkedIn strategy though. On the call, the CEO announced also the development of “sponsored content” – through which companies can pay to promote their whitepapers and best-practice documents to a select group of the brand’s followers.
The development of the publishing platform, its success so far, and the birth of sponsored content can become an integral part for B2B units, who generate specific industrial content that is not fitting enough for the purposes of Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Furthermore, brands will capture audience that is already searching or ready to see professional content on a specific topic. Moreover, when people share the posts or comment on them, they do it through their official LinkedIn accounts, which provides a certain type of accountability – when commenting especially because this is a professional network.
The publishing platform, as well as sponsored content is modeled to create more engagement and to bring people to stay for longer periods of time on LinkedIn, but it also produces unique opportunity for business to get their content on a valuable network, specifically tailored for business interests. 2013 will see how this strategy will play out and whether LinkedIn from a business network and a publishing platform will actually manage to turn to a knowledge sharing hub for many industries.