Since it launched in 2003, LinkedIn has done an excellent job establishing itself as the social network for business. A recent behind-the-scenes article examines LinkedIn’s ongoing editorial expansion and illustrates how the company’s strategy is rooted in driving business conversations on the platform. Marketers looking to drive engagement on LinkedIn can learn from the platform’s editorial strategy.
Before going deeper into their strategy and what it means to marketers, a bit of LinkedIn’s history is in order. It launched in May 2003 and went public eight years later in May 2011. In 2016, Microsoft announced its intention to buy LinkedIn for just over $26 billion. The acquisition closed six months later in December 2016. According to the latest official details, LinkedIn boasts 660 million members in 200 countries around the world.
Per the article I mentioned, LinkedIn currently employs 65 journalists—and it’s planning to hire more. LinkedIn’s Editor-in-Chief Daniel Roth continues to drive the company’s strategy since he joined the company in 2011. The core objective behind the LinkedIn’s editorial push is a simple one: To get its 660 million users to talk about business news on the site. Roth sums up the site’s editorial strategy as the Three Cs: Create, Curate or Cultivate. To me, that’s also a good strategy for marketers, subject matter experts (SMEs) or company executives looking to drive engagement on LinkedIn.
This step is about creating useful and insightful original content in the form of LinkedIn articles on your personal LinkedIn profile. I’d argue that publishing thought leadership articles should be the last step in the process. Establishing a LinkedIn presence and building relationships come first. That’s where the curate and cultivate pieces come in.
Curating starts with finding good content to share. In my view, the best way to get started here is to follow the LinkedIn editors. This LinkedIn Editors Showcase page publishes content curated by the editors collectively. The About LinkedIn Editors page lists each of them. See the “Details on Specific LinkedIn Editors” section below to get a better sense for what topics and original LinkedIn content some of them are responsible for.
Here are some of the key LinkedIn Editors to start following:
- Daniel Roth, Editor-in-Chief (LinkedIn, Twitter)
- Caroline Fairchild, Managing News Editor, host of #WorkingTogether weekly newsletter with nearly 50,000 subscribers and related video series (LinkedIn, Twitter)
- Jessi Hempel, Senior Editor-at-Large (LinkedIn, Twitter). Previously Head of Editorial for Backchannel, Sr. Writer for Wired
- Andrew M. Seaman, LinkedIn News Editor (LinkedIn, Twitter). Focused on helping jobseekers. Hosts new #GetHired Live series.
- Florencia Iriondo, LinkedIn Head of Original Video Series, former Viacom exec (LinkedIn, Twitter)
- Laura Lorenzetti Soper, Leads LinkedIn’s list efforts (Top Companies, Top Startups, Top Voices, Big Ideas). Revamped LinkedIn Influencers program (LinkedIn, Twitter)
- Devin Banerjee, Senior Financial Services Editor, former Bloomberg editor (LinkedIn, Twitter)
- Daniel Bean, News Editor, Software Engineering (LinkedIn, Twitter)
- Jordyn Dahl, News Editor, Small Business (LinkedIn, Twitter)
- Maya Pope-Chappell, Senior News Editor, Conversations and Engagement (Linkedin, Twitter)
It’s worth spending some time to follow the editors who cover topics that are relevant to you. Chances are good many of the LinkedIn editor posts you’ll see in your feed are worth re-sharing. Doing so on a regular basis provides an opportunity to get on that editor’s radar. Some editors are responsible for ongoing original series, like Caroline Fairchild’s #WorkingTogether newsletter or Andrew Seaman’s #GetHired LinkedIn Live series that kicks off November 12. Sharing that content helps them reach a wider audience, which lends itself to more interaction down the road.
LinkedIn’s Top Voices is a list the editors update annually. It’s a great way to find additional relevant people to follow and content to share. It’s especially helpful that LinkedIn editors break it out into a growing list of categories, including Influencers, Data Science & Analytics, Economy & Finance, Education, Health Care, Marketing & Social Media, Technology, and more. They also have Top Voices in China, India, and six other countries. Much of the content shared by those called out as top voices will also be worth sharing.
Another place to find content worth sharing is LinkedIn’s Daily Rundown. It’s a collection of daily news stories curated by LinkedIn editors that started in October 2010. On the desktop site, the Daily Rundown is on the top right section of the default LinkedIn view under the Today’s news and views section. On the mobile app, look for the Daily Rundown in your notifications every morning. Besides being compelling content to potentially share, I like that LinkedIn shares more context in terms of what other LinkedIn members are saying about that topic.
Think of cultivate as the core of building relationships on LinkedIn. Beyond sharing content in the Curate phase, you can go further by adding a comment to discussion threads in content from LinkedIn Editor posts, Top Voices posts and Daily Rundown posts. It’s worth remembering that driving conversations about business news is a key objective behind LinkedIn’s editorial strategy. That’s why it makes sense to comment on posts that generate lots of activity. Adding thoughtful comments means more LinkedIn members will see and possibly reply to your comments.
Your LinkedIn feed is the second place to look for other posts to comment on. Your feed surfaces content from a few different sources: 1) your connections; 2) LinkedIn editors and influencers you follow; and 3) other individuals you follow. Prioritize the posts that generate activity and thoughtful discussion. When you do comment, make sure you add value to the conversation. (See my Rules of Engagement for more.)
Some of you may be thinking this is a lot of work. And you’d be right. But if you’re interested in driving more visibility to the content you share and publish on LinkedIn, or driving more traffic to content your company executives share and publish, doing this groundwork will get you there much faster.