Why LinkedIn was the talk of Content Marketing World 2013

Craig Hodges

Craig Hodges is the founder and CEO of King Content, Australia’s most awarded digital content marketing agency. With more than 20 years' experience in the content industry, Craig has worked in magazines, publishing, Internet radio and Web development before embracing his true passion - digital content marketing.

Consumer behaviour has changed. Today’s shoppers forge their way through the buyer’s journey largely unaided by traditional salespeople. They seek out content to do their own research. Most importantly, they don’t want to be sold to, they want to be engaged.

This shift is at the core of content marketing and, according to Jonathan Lister of LinkedIn, at the heart of the professional social network’s success.

Lister’s was one of the most keenly-awaited presentations of Content Marketing World 2013, a super-sized conference held in Cleveland in September. With one in three professionals on the planet currently using the platform and a further 200,000 joining daily, the juggernaut that is LinkedIn doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, they’ve announced they are launching a new service that could transform both their business model and B2B content marketing forever – sponsored content updates. So what does this mean for the industry?

LinkedIn now delivers content in four ways:

  1. LinkedIn Today: This is the content that arrives in member’s newsfeed, providing insights and news targeted to their specific profession. InShare enables them to share with their network, which Lister dubs a “fire hose of content”.

  2. Influencers: The space reserved for influential industry figures, allowing them to share thought-leadership content in the form of blogs or short essays.

  3. SlideShare: The world’s largest repository of business presentations adds a visual component to the content.

  4. Native ads, also called sponsored updates: The new function that allows marketers to target content to any LinkedIn member, regardless of whether they follow the brand.

LinkedIn is essentially offering a B2B marketer’s dream – it gives them the unprecedented ability to target every decision maker in every organisation on the planet. But this isn’t a foolproof tactic – interrupt a busy executive with content that’s of zero value to them, and you may burn your bridges forever. LinkedIn’s new powers make it more important than ever to produce unique content that’s valuable, interesting, helpful – and targeted.

Here are a few best practices Lister shared during his address.

  • Put your audience first

    The first step is gaining a deep understanding of your audience and their needs. People’s online lives are different, depending on if they are online for professional reasons (investing time) or personal reasons (spending time).

  • Be helpful

    If you help someone today, you’ll have a customer for life.

  • Remain relevant

    A key ingredient to a better content experience is relevance. Quantify customers and prospects by putting them into different groups and segmenting them accordingly.

  • Treat them like people

    Who is in your audience? LinkedIn answers this question by using qualitative, not quantitative information. Who are they connected to? What groups are they part of? Which publications do they read? Moving from information to insight creates content relevance.

  • Deploy new tactics

    This includes creating real-time relevancy. Lister puts these into three categories: waiting for the moment; in the moment (think Oreo and the Super Bowl); and anticipating the moment to catch trending topics.

  • The bottom line

    How do you know if your content is relevant? If it’s leading to increased referral traffic, better social engagement and ultimately the generation of higher-quality leads, then the answer is yes.

LinkedIn may change the way brands distribute content, but the same old rules apply. Help your audience rather than hype up your own brand, and your bottom line will ultimately see the rewards.

King Content, a Sydney-based content marketing agency has partnered with the Content Marketing Institute to bring Content Marketing World to Sydney again in April 2014.

Tags: content marketing, customer insights

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