LinkedIn's battle for business content

LinkedIn's battle for business content
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If you think of Linkedin is just a business social networking tool then you need to think again.

Linkedin is making a serious play for being the epicentre for business content. In the last 12 months they have been making acquisitions, curating and building unique content both from famous business celebrities and industry experts as well making further site developments.

All of this has been geared towards putting content at the centre of the Linkedin proposition. The Linkedin Today initiative has been a core part of this effort and has been very successful, already allowing users to follow articles in specific industry segments.

A recent article from business insider showed how Linkedin is building commercial opportunities for advertising around sponsored content specifically built for their audiences.

The advantage that Linkedin has in this space is their ability to hit users in targeted and tailored ways matched to their usage, behaviour and more importantly their deep levels of professional data based on their profile.

So whilst business sites such as CNN, Bloomberg and Forbes have been able to preach the ‘quality content’ argument, Linkedin will be able to go after some of this premium space with in theory premium business content matched with incredible targeting.

One of the disadvantages of Linkedin has always been that the site was fairly shallow in terms of usage. So while the data pool was impressive, the time spent on the site and the engagement from the users was always quite low.

People weren’t hanging around long enough or given any enough reasons to interact with advertising – the context to enable engagement simply wasn’t there.  However, with lots more content and original content at that, users have more time and to notice commercial messages and greater reason to respond.

This approach has been coupled with some interesting moves to improve the sites content functionality. Last year, Linkedin made a fairly low key acquisition of the content sharing site SlideShare.

SlideShare is a presentation sharing tool which is used heavily by professionals and has become a very popular platform for content distribution. Linkedin has been working on building it into the main site which brings with it data capture functionality and the ability to gate content.

So what does this mean for B2B marketers?

Well if you’re not using Linkedin to promote your content, then you should seriously start to look at it. The site has also spent a lot of time developing the functionality of sections like company pages and there are some very obvious and easy ways to post content, blogs, company updates, in fact any type of information that might be of interest to your audience.

Imagine the scenario: A business decision maker reads an article by Richard Branson on measuring success – featured next to that is a prominent link to a slideshare document on marketing measurement. When the user clicks to view, they also get links around the presentation from other content by the same vendor.  The content could even be gated to drive leads.

Given that Linkedin has nearly three million users in Australia, what other business content site gives you that kind of reach?

It’s possible that by the end of 2013, Linkedin may have become the defacto content sharing platform for B2B marketers.

Adam Powell is MD of social media agency DWA

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