What once began as a career networking community has undergone a slow but steady evolution over the past few years. Beginning with their acquisition of the mobile news-reader app Pulse in 2011 and continuing with their aesthetic overhaul a few months ago, LinkedIn is pushing the boundaries of what they can and will be.
The latest expansion: content marketing. In a hope to expand on their $74.8 million ad revenue last quarter, LinkedIn is petitioning ad agencies and marketers to view them as a content marketer, not just an amped-up monster.com.
The new content push will be focused on sponsored stories and “influencer columnists”. The sponsored stories bit is nothing new and has been a feature on Facebook for quite some time. Advertisers can create interesting stories and insert them into the news feed, targeted, of course, based on an individual’s preferences. The influencer columnists, however, is where things gets interesting.
These columns will be a compilation of advice and self-help tips written by industry experts and peppered in with the white papers, news stories and sponsored stories. The first two “influencers” to sign on are no small fish – tycoons Richard Branson and Bill Gates have both already agreed to contribute as columnists.
Thus far the push has been largely successful with unique page visits to LinkedIn increasing by almost 20 million views. And why not? In a marketing world that’s become obsessed with creating valuable content, LinkedIn is making all the right moves.
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