LinkedIn – we want to be the “largest distributor of professional content in the world”

Cannes 2014: Business-to-business social network LinkedIn claims it is moving from being a tool to connect people to becoming the “largest distributor of professional content in the world”.

LinkedIn Office
LinkedIn is ‘consciously moving into the content business’, the company says.

Speaking to Marketing Week at Cannes Lions 2014, Josh Graff, senior director EMEA marketing solutions said that the brand is consciously moving into the content marketing business.

Graff said: “We moved into native content on LinkedIn last July and in Q1, it represented 19% of business.” Graff added that the company was making a “massive effort” in the content marketing space and it is introducing more functionality to allow brands to do more in this space. It already works with brands including HSBC, American Express and Delta Airlines.

He gave the example of a recent Delta Airlines initiative, where the airline matched LinkedIn users on their way to the TED conference with other influencers to maximise their networking opportunity. This was done using content marketing about the idea of mentoring at 35,000 feet. A new scheme is running with Delta Airlines where influential LinkedIn users can apply to fly to San Francisco with Gilt co-founder Alexandra Wilkis Wilson later this year.

Graff said LinkedIn is also currently opening up its publishing programme to allow members to create long-form content and share it. Other members, including those not in the same network, can now “follow” this type of post and see it appear in their news feed. Formerly, this type of function was reserved for ‘Influencers’ – around 500 individuals including Richard Branson and Bill Gates, who can publish at will.

LinkedIn has also launched two products to help brands assess the success of their content marketing efforts – Content Marketing Score and Trending Content – which first appeared on the website earlier this year. Content Marketing Score claims to measure the effectiveness of branded content posted on LinkedIn, while the Trending Content shows which content is popular with very defined audiences.

Graff said that LinkedIn will also be concentrating heavily on mobile to complement its content marketing efforts. He added: “Mobile traffic is 43% of our overall traffic globally and we expect it to be 50% by the end of the year. It’s already higher than that in the UK. We actually find that more than 60% of professional content is consumed on the way to work or at home.”

The brand will follow a “multi-app strategy” with distinct individual apps available for different uses. It already has apps for its content and recruitment, but Graff revealed it is planning more. He said: “I think most of the industry will go in the [multi-app] direction.”

He added: “Look at any desktop platform, there is an array of functionality that is really difficult to condense into the mobile experience. You have to really understand and develop mobile solutions that need a specific need.”