LinkedIn app on an iPad
Credit: By Souvik Banerjee on Unsplash

How does LinkedIn see the future of news on its platform? spoke to Katie Carroll, who has worked at LinkedIn for nine years, moving from the news team to become Head of Industry and Creator Operations last year.

Publishers and journalists come under that ‘creator’ umbrella, but LinkedIn also has its own news team. This in-house newsroom has expanded significantly in the past year, with almost 200 people in journalist, editor and other news roles worldwide.

This team both produces and curates news content with the goal of increasing engagement on the platform; making it the centre of people's online professional life rather than a platform they visit only occasionally during a job search.

"We have had a news team for about a decade. The bet since the beginning - and it's proven true - is that if we can have people talking about timely things, that's a great reason for people to keep coming back to the platform," Carroll explains.

She says that a powerful example of how this can work came during the pandemic, when people used the platform to ask for or give help about the major changes caused by covid-19, from looking for new jobs to navigating the challenges of remote work.

The benefit for publishers is not financial, but is the chance to be a part of these conversations, growing engagement with their audiences - and since LinkedIn is a professional platform there is significant appeal for business, trade or B2B publications.

As an example of a journalist making the most of LinkedIn, Carroll names Nicholas Thompson, the CEO of The Atlantic, among others. Thompson posts a regular video in which he discusses 'the most interesting thing in tech' - a short two- or three-minute piece to camera.

Carroll says that there is no one content format that works particularly well on LinkedIn.

"It’s about what makes most sense for the journalist. What gets traction on the platform is ‘are you encouraging conversations’ - basically, going beyond just sharing the headline of an article and a link. In terms of adjusting your strategy for LinkedIn, it’s usually about adding a bit of context or analysis to go a bit deeper, or getting people to weigh in," she explains.

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New tools for publishers

For journalists and newsrooms publishing to LinkedIn, there are a few tools available, most of them limited to those who use the platform's creator mode.

One of the most popular tools for publishers are LinkedIn Newsletters, according to Carroll. When you first publish a newsletter, all your LinkedIn connections or followers will get a notification inviting them to subscribe, and subscribers will then be notified of any new content you publish.

"We are seeing high and fast subscriber growth, especially for some top tier publishers. The minute they turn it on, people gravitate towards it."

Some examples include the Financial Times with 1.2M subscribers to their Editor's Digest, BBC's Worklife newsletter with 1.5M, while over in the US, the Harvard Business Review has over 4M subscribers to their weekly management tips and the Wall Street Journal's Careers & Leadership newsletter reaches up to 2.3M people. All of these high-performing newsletters have a jobs or business focus, making them a natural fit for LinkedIn. Data on open rates was not available from LinkedIn.

Like other social media platforms, LinkedIn is experimenting with different formats and there is a heavy focus on audio and multimedia.

New tools for publishers include Carousels, a way of combining several videos and/or images in one post (currently only available for certain creators, but set to be expanded to all creators later in 2022) and Audio Events (also being rolled out to some members, and similar to a live podcast or an audio-only version of LinkedIn's virtual events LinkedIn Live).

Another key part of what LinkedIn offers publishers and creators is analytics, which were also updated earlier this year so that users of creator mode can see engagement data on their content and individual posts.

And some publishers have the opportunity to apply for creator management, which means a more direct relationship with and support from the LinkedIn team.

A newsroom within a platform

LinkedIn's own news products include daily news digests The Daily Rundown and The Wrap-Up, text and video stories, and live virtual events.

These combine content created by its in-house journalists and content curated from other trusted sources on the platform - this might be creators LinkedIn is working with directly, but also from other LinkedIn members with relevant insights, in which case the news team take steps to verify the content included in their round-ups or stories.

There is no way to submit or pitch your posts directly for consideration, but Carroll says the team is always looking, so writing about "timely conversations" is the best way for your content to be discovered. LinkedIn's Storylines start with a blurb written by the news team - Carroll says the team aim for straight reporting and impartiality here - and then a collection of relevant LinkedIn posts or articles on the topic.

"Take Amazon making a deal to buy One Medical in the States, we want healthcare experts talking about that, tech experts, tech and healthcare journalists, and people working at those companies so that if someone is trying to understand 'well, what does this mean for me?' they can read all these different perspectives.

"Some of our reporters may weigh in and share more of their opinion, but we do that the way we would with any other member, where we add their post to the collection."

Carroll adds that her team have regular contact with creators to check if LinkedIn's features are helping them achieve their own business goals.

The benefit to publishers is that if their content is featured, it is pushed out to LinkedIn's millions of members, targeting relevant professionals - but there are currently no opportunities to earn revenue directly from news on the platform.

Is your newsroom using LinkedIn or have you seen success using any of the tools listed here? Get in touch on Twitter @journalismnews.

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