In December, I was lucky enough to be asked to become part of the LinkedIn influencer program. I jumped at the opportunity to bring my writing to a broader audience. And the experience has been eye-opening.
The influencer program asks a few hundred LinkedIn members to write periodic blog posts which are highlighted on the home page and in email marketing campaigns. LinkedIn staffed a fantastic editorial team who assists writers with content creation and editing, but most importantly, content marketing.
The editorial team delivers relevant content to the right people encouraging a virtuous circle between content creators and their audience to form. Quality content breeds engagement and which entices authors to write more (and attracts new authors). All the while, LinkedIn compounds its value.
Below are a few observations from that experience:
- The traffic is tremendous. My median post generated 15k daily visitors, 145 likes and 84 comments - about 15 times the engagement of a post on tomtunguz.com. I needed about three weeks to build a LinkedIn follower count equal in size to Twitter which has been three years in the making.
- Social networks are the best places for content syndication. What Facebook did for Photos, Tumblr did for (animated) gifs, Twitter did for news, LinkedIn is doing for work content. The same forces that enable these services to quickly build user bases apply to content (both organic and commercial).
- Relevancy is king. The influencer program succeeds because content is targeted to the user. I’m not sure what tools LinkedIn uses to target content, but I bet the technology is analogous to Google’s ad targeting and parallel to Facebook’s EdgeRank.
- LinkedIn’s audience is broad and interested in general management/self-help topics. Look at the topics in the stats image above and the trend is clear.
- Most SaaS startups marketing teams should be writing for this platform. Potential customers number in the millions and the influencer program is a targeted and free way to reach them.
- LinkedIn should build a CRM. I mine Twitter for business development, and I’d like to do the same on LinkedIn. The same idea holds for companies marketing on LinkedIn with ads and content. LinkedIn knows identity, measures the funnel performance and could store relationship data.
I’ll be continuing to blog on LinkedIn. And I’ll also be on the lookout for other forms of social distribution. They are the most powerful forces in content syndication on the Internet today.