In Monty Python’s Life of Brian, there is a classic moment when John Cleese asks “What have the Romans ever done for us?”. A long list follows, including the aqueduct, sanitation, the roads, irrigation, medicine and education, not to mention peace. It’s clearly dangerous to ask questions like that.
So why are we asking what LinkedIn Pulse can do for you?
LinkedIn is the professional social engagement platform
It’s simple. For many people, LinkedIn is their primary platform for professional social engagements. And that means that, for business purposes, anything on LinkedIn is more likely to be read and noticed than content on other platforms. Research from Statista shows that 88% of B2B marketers are using LinkedIn, compared with only 59% of B2C marketers. More B2B marketers are using Twitter too. And the percentage using LinkedIn is only 1% less than those using Facebook. LinkedIn is really big for business.
The big advantage of LinkedIn is that it’s a professional network. Nobody goes there expecting to find funny pictures of cats. It’s for serious commentary on the world of work, business, social media, or other related topics.
LinkedIn Pulse is LinkedIn’s news feed. It was acquired by LinkedIn back in 2013, when it was primarily a news reader service on mobile and web. At that stage, it had over 30 million users across 190 countries, and more than 750 publishers.
It now provides a tailored experience for LinkedIn users. It describes itself as ‘the news app tailored to you’, and pulls down articles from LinkedIn, sorting them into categories and topics as varied as ‘Green Business’ and ‘Professional Women’. Users can choose the topics in which they’re interested, and then see a whole string of interesting articles. If they change their minds about what’s interesting, then it’s possible to get a new selection, just by changing the topics.
LinkedIn has also focused on integrating Pulse with your LinkedIn feed. As well as getting ‘updates from your network’, users now get a digest from Pulse on a regular basis. Like Twitter, users can choose to follow particular commentators. Unlike Twitter, it’s also possible to dip in to particular topics without having to be aware of all the necessary hashtags. It’s basically making reading interesting content easy for those who struggle to manage the speed and ‘noise’ of Twitter.
That said, it’s possible to follow LinkedIn Pulse on Twitter, and also on Facebook. This feels like a slightly circular operation, but it’s actually quite helpful. It means that users can follow just one social media channel for all their business news, and dip into Pulse itself when they have time for some in-depth reading.
Using LinkedIn Pulse for B2B marketing
But what does this all mean for content marketers, especially in B2B? It means that LinkedIn should be your channel of choice for sharing in-depth and long-form content and analysis with your customers and connections.
You may, however, be wondering how you can ensure that your content is shown to the relevant people. LinkedIn Pulse has its own algorithm that tags content, especially long-form articles, according to the topics, and also the likely interest. It uses the article itself, rather than your profile, so it depends heavily on the content. The aim is for the algorithm to direct content to those who are going to be interested in it.
You can’t force Pulse to accept and share your content. You can, however, distribute your articles yourself to your customers, both by direct email and via Twitter, providing a link to the article on LinkedIn. There are also two things you can do that will increase the chances of your articles being shared via Pulse:
- You can write content that is relevant to very specific categories. Find out what your customers are reading, and target those channels; and
- Ensure that your content is read and shared by your followers and connections, as well as your target audience. Content that is read, liked and shared is more likely to be included in Pulse, because these metrics are taken into account by the algorithm. Sharing it directly and via Twitter can therefore increase the chances of it being read through Pulse.
Good content will be read more widely
The good news is that all this means that good content that resonates with people is more likely to be included in Pulse. As so often, write interesting content that people want to read, and it will get to more people.