Why LinkedIn is an Essential Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy

Do you think LinkedIn is just a fancy job board? Well think again! In this episode, Jason Miller from LinkedIn shares case studies that will completely change your perception of this powerful social media platform.

Sure LinkedIn is a great for job seekers; but in reality it does a lot more. And while some smart online marketers are using LinkedIn as part of their content marketing, for most, they are just scratching the surface of what can be achieved.

Jason Miller, Senior Content Marketing Manager for LinkedIn, shares a number of case studies and tactical ideas that will not only alter your perception of marketing on LinkedIn, but also excite your creative imagination.

If you are serious about finding new and interesting content marketing ideas, then you will not want to miss this episode of The Missing Link.

Special note, don’t forget to signup for our exclusive LinkedIn discussion group by sending a text message to 414-11 with the keyword MYLINK.

In this 23-minute episode Jason Miller and I discuss:

  • Why LinkedIn is more than a job board
  • Key stats about the scope and reach of LinkedIn
  • How consumer brands are using LinkedIn
  • Unique features in LinkedIn that marketers should consider

The Show Notes

Why LinkedIn is an Essential Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy

Voiceover: This is the Missing Link with your host, the insufferable, but never boring, Sean Jackson.

Sean Jackson: Hello, everyone. Welcome to The Missing Link. I am your host, Sean Jackson, with the essential Mica Gadhia. Mica, how are you?

Mica Gadhia: I am excellent, Sean. How are you today?

Sean Jackson: I am fantastic. I’ve got to share with you a dream that I had last night. More of a fantasy dream, too. Yeah, it was good. It’s good. I’m telling you now — I’m sitting in a bar, drinking a Manhattan, straight-up, Maker’s Mark. These two hot women come over to talk to me.

Mica Gadhia: Oh, ok, all right.

Sean Jackson: You know it’s a dream, right? Oh my god. I’m sitting at the bar, and these two hot women come over and they’re like “Hi, there. Are you the guy on The Missing Link?” And I’ll be like, “Oh, yeah. This is awesome.”

Mica Gadhia: Wow, yeah. Great dream.

Sean Jackson: I’ll be like, “Yeah, I’m the host.” They go, “Every night when we go to bed …” I’m like, “Yeah?”

“… all we can do is think about all those fantastic LinkedIn marketing ideas you talk about.”

Mica Gadhia: That’s hot, Sean. That is so hot.

Sean Jackson: Am I disturbed? This is what happens when you get older, folks. This is the subtotal of fantasy dreams.

Mica Gadhia: Wow. I hope it ended well though, Sean. I really do. I hope that it did not stop there, but we don’t want to hear the rest.

Sean Jackson: We try to be suitable, but this is really what it comes down to, Mica. I really, really want The Missing Link to be that type of show where people do get inspired and think about, and sit up at night thinking about, the things we’re talking about. We’re going to on a journey together doing this, Mica. Are you up for this journey?

Mica Gadhia: I’m so excited. Absolutely, Sean.

Sean Jackson: I think to help people on this journey — I really gave it a lot of thought — I really wanted to give them resources: things that I read, information that I have, cases I have about the how to use LinkedIn as a marketing tool. I’ve got a special treat. Mica, you ready for it?

Mica Gadhia: I am. I’m ready.

Sean Jackson: I want you to take out your phone, and I want you to send a text message to 41411. In the message, just type in the word ‘mylink,’ all one word. Don’t let it autocorrect. Just hit ‘send.’ That’s it. Now, what’s going to happen is I’m going to give you a link to a private discussion group in LinkedIn where I have taken the time to list out all the resources that I think a LinkedIn marketer needs to have. Does that sound pretty cool, Mica?

Mica Gadhia: Wow.

Sean Jackson: I know. I’m going to update that list. That LinkedIn discussion is where Mica and I are going to spend our time between the podcast shows and answer questions that people may have, and we’ll continue to contribute stories, resources, and information to that LinkedIn discussion group. Again, 41411 — just put in the word ‘mylink,’ and that’s it. Hit the ‘send’ button, and everything else will be taken care of. You’ll have the ‘yes’ to subscribe, and you’ll get an automatic link. You’re going to love it. Sound good?

Mica Gadhia: Yes, and you’ve made it so easy, Sean.

Sean Jackson: I try, I try. Speaking of making things easy, I could opine about LinkedIn all over the place. I thought it would be better to bring in someone who I have huge amounts of respect for when it comes to understanding LinkedIn. I am referring to, of course, Jason Miller.

Mica Gadhia: Yes. I’m so excited he is coming on, the evangelist.

Sean Jackson: He is the evangelist for LinkedIn. I think his official title is ‘senior manager,’ and I asked him about this in the recording I did with him. It’s going to be fascinating to hear from him because he’s going to dispel a lot of the myths and misconceptions about LinkedIn.

Mica Gadhia: There are quite a few.

Sean Jackson: There’s quite a few. Without further ado, my interview with the very intelligent and always amicable Mr. Jason Miller.

Voiceover: The Missing Link is brought to you by the Rainmaker Platform, the complete website solution for content marketers and online entrepreneurs. Find out more and take a free 14-day test drive at Rainmaker.FM/Platform.

Sean Jackson: All right. We’ve got Jason Miller from LinkedIn on the show. Jason, thank you for being on The Missing Link. We really appreciate it.

Jason Miller: Thanks for having me, Sean. Pleasure to be here.

Sean Jackson: You’re a senior manager in the content marketing department. Let’s start with, “What the hell does that actually mean?”

Jason Miller: Sure. My official title is Senior Content Marketing Manager for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions. It’s a very long title, but I lead global content and social initiatives for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, specifically.

Sean Jackson: Does that mean you get to talk to everyone about how awesome LinkedIn is for content marketing?

Jason Miller: Yeah, exactly. I tell the story of the marketer on LinkedIn, specifically the content marketer, but now, we’re branching out to the demand-gen marketer, the B2C marketer, the brand marketer, etc. We have this full-funnel solution, and basically, if you want to reach this professional audience and you’re a marketer, this is where you go.

Sean Jackson: All right. Let’s cut to brass tacks, because you go to those marketing conferences just like I do, and I swear almost every session is talking about Facebook this, or Twitter that, and how awesome Twitter is for this, etc. So let’s really cut to the chase. How does LinkedIn compare to Twitter? Because quite frankly, it kills me how much programming there is about Twitter’s awesomeness and yet how infrequently people talk about LinkedIn. Let’s cut to the chase. What does it look like?

Key Stats about the Scope and Reach of LinkedIn

Jason Miller: I tell you, from my personal experience, I was at Marketo leading global, social, and content there for a couple of years before I came over to here, and I’ve always been a big fan of LinkedIn.

I started here two years ago, and that’s when we launched Sponsored Updates. It’s interesting that there are so many opportunities for a marketer that weren’t here a few years ago on LinkedIn. I will tell you this: one of every three professionals on the planet is on LinkedIn. What does that say? It says if you’re a marketer and you want to connect with this professional mindset, if you will, this is the place to do it. This is the only place to do it.

I like to think of it like this: people spend time on other social networks, but they invest time when they’re on LinkedIn. They are here to network, to gain knowledge, and to become better at the job they have now or to seek a new job, but also to connect and find out what’s going on in their industry and share knowledge with other members. I think that’s really key.

Sean Jackson: Come on, LinkedIn — it’s a job board, basically, right?

Why LinkedIn Is More Than a Job Board

Jason Miller: People think of it as the online resume, and it is that, but it’s also so much more than that. In fact, there’s a stat that I have that our content pages receive seven times the page views as our job pages. Again, what does that say? That says that our members are seeking content. They’re seeking original content. They’re looking for brands to follow, to lead the way, to keep them informed and take a thought leadership angle, and to get their message in front of the right person at the right time.

I know it’s cliché, but this is a whole new space out here for marketers to connect with this professional mindset.

Sean Jackson: Yeah, I’ll grant you that. But it’s only for B2B marketing, right?

Jason Miller: Not the case. In fact, I pulled a stat before this call because I thought this might come up. Seventy-one percent of consumer brands are using LinkedIn to distribute content. I’ve got a couple of great examples. B2B marketers have a fantastic opportunity here at LinkedIn, but so do B2C.

My favorite campaign that just comes to the top of my head is the Taken 3 promo. I don’t know if you’ve seen this. For the movie Taken 3, with Liam Neeson, Fox came up with this brilliant idea to promote the movie. They created a showcase page, and they encouraged folks to follow the showcase page to get updates about the movie. If you follow this page, you were entered into a contest where you could get endorsed for a specific set of skills by the character Bryan, who is Liam Neeson in character.

I tell you what, the page was engaging. There was a ton of followers. The winning video was one of the best things I’ve ever seen. It was a very funny, very clever video of Liam Neeson actually endorsing a real LinkedIn member for him to put on his profile. It was brilliant. It was a B2C promotion, and it worked very well.

Sean Jackson: “If you want a job as a professional assassin …” Taken 3, it’s great that franchise has done so well, and it’s even better that they saw the benefit in coming into LinkedIn to really engage with those people because God knows, members of LinkedIn are probably the ones who can actually afford tickets to go to theaters nowadays.

How Consumer Brands Are Using LinkedIn

Jason Miller: Yeah. It’s just interesting. There was another great example. I have a million B2B examples, but I love the B2C examples because they’re such a unique and creative way to connect with that audience.

Nissan actually ran a promotion. They wanted to target the most popular car driven in India, I believe it was. They targeted LinkedIn members who had recently got a new job and who were updating their status. They wanted to align their messaging. It was very clever: “Celebrate your new position at your company. Come take a test drive.” They ran this campaign, and it was so personalized that they got remarkable engagement rates on that.

That’s the kind of cool, clever thinking that the marketers can do on LinkedIn with this type of targeting.

Sean Jackson: Jason, I agree with you, and I think that’s really primarily the fundamental difference. I look at Twitter, specifically, and certainly Facebook, in a broader sense, and you really do hit a mishmash of people.

What you’re pointing out, and what gets me the most excited about LinkedIn, is not only how targeted it is, but it’s targeted to people that have an income or are professionals or are engaging and buying things both on a business and, more importantly, on an individual level. They got a new job, or they got a promotion, or they got a life event that they happen to share on there.

Statistically speaking, I think the numbers are that the average income of a LinkedIn user far and away surpasses the average income of most of the other social networks.

Jason Miller: I don’t have that exact number, but I will tell you this: that Nissan campaign — I’m looking at the numbers here — the Nissan LinkedIn, they did an InMail campaign to these folks, to these targeted members, and it generated an 88.9 percent open rate, which is four times the industry benchmark rate.

Sean Jackson: Holy cow.

Jason Miller: Now, this is the future of marketing — personalization, very highly targeted messaging, and coming up with clever ways and unique ways to reach these folks, these professionals.

Sean Jackson: Right.

Jason Miller: I love that example. I think it’s brilliant.

Sean Jackson: Yeah, I do too. I absolutely do. I think it’s really about being very clever with this unique audience that is out there.

Speaking of being clever, you obviously use LinkedIn on a daily basis. Just between you and me — nobody’s listening — just between you and me: what is a cool tip or tactic that you think marketers should be paying attention to?

Unique Features in LinkedIn That Marketers Should Consider

Jason Miller: I think one of the most underutilized pieces of LinkedIn marketing solutions or parts that I think create a real opportunity for B2B and B2C, whatever type of marketing you are, is SlideShare. A lot of folks view SlideShare as “Oh, it’s just a content repository where I upload my webinar decks.” Well, it’s that, but it’s also so much more than that. You can add video now, infographics.

Sean Jackson: Wait, you can add video?

Jason Miller: Yes, of course.

Sean Jackson: Oh, fantastic. Go ahead.

Jason Miller: On top of that, it’s a place where you can take the content you already have in place in your arsenal and repurpose it into a visual format, like a self-guided visual journey through your content. It takes a little bit of design, but not too much. I’ve seen white papers go from 17,000 views in pure text format and turn into a SlideShare deck with a little bit of design and achieve half a million views. It’s incredibly powerful.

I call SlideShare a platform for ‘visual content thought leadership,’ if you will. So, how can you take your content and repurpose it into a format that works on SlideShare? I think there’s a tremendous opportunity there. The backend analytics are incredible. You can embed this thing across landing pages, blogs. It renders beautifully in the LinkedIn feed and the Twitter feed. It’s a great way to add instant interactivity to your content with rich media.

Sean Jackson: I love the fact that you shared that, because I think some people don’t realize that SlideShare is owned by LinkedIn. You guys bought it a couple of years ago. Anyone who speaks, as you do, has always known about SlideShare, but I’m starting to see the trend more. I know at Copyblogger we’ve done that with taking old blog posts and turning them into a story, if you will, through the SlideShare deck. So that again, it takes existing content, repurposes it. The video thing blows me away, because now, you can have essentially narrated slide decks if you will.

Jason Miller: Exactly. On top of that, being able to embed this media across different platforms is really a great way to get linkbacks. It’s great for SEO, and the search engines actually index SlideShare decks as well. I think there’s always one extra spot on page one for a brilliantly done SlideShare deck if you can hit the mark.

Sean Jackson: Right, of course. The nice thing is that it doesn’t cost you anything to try.

Jason Miller: Exactly. SlideShare is a free platform.

Sean Jackson: Let’s go back to the final thing, which is, what is your personal favorite feature of LinkedIn? Now, I’ll tell you mine. I love the fact that you guys tell me who views my profile. I really am so narcissistic, I swear to God. But I look at it, and I’m like, “Oh, somebody else is looking at this,” or “Oh, I didn’t realize they were trying to connect with me,” that type of thing.

What is your favorite feature personally that you like in LinkedIn?

Sean Jackson: I have a couple of things. Number one, Pulse is something I check every single morning when I wake up. When Google killed its RSS reader — I had all my blogs synced up, all my content — I was a little bit upset. But I was able to transfer all those feeds into Pulse and then add it in with my LinkedIn network. Now, it’s even more robust, if you will.

Every morning, I wake up, and I look at Pulse, and I see the topics and trends and stories based on the companies I follow, based on what’s resonating in my network. It’s almost like a real-time newspaper, so I can start my day right. Then I also have my channels set up to where I have my B2B content reads of the day, my top 10 blogs that I read every day. Copyblogger is certainly one of those. Brian Solis’ blog, Content Marketing Institute, Marketing Profs, etc. It’s a great way to organize all my content, and then I can easily share it to LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. from there.

The other feature is that we opened up the publishing platform. Now, you can publish long-form content on LinkedIn. Again, I think people tend to overcomplicate blogging. It’s one idea, right? It’s a conversational piece. I think if you can share an idea that inspires or helps a marketer on LinkedIn, those do really well. It’s attached to your profile. The comments there, you don’t get a lot of trolls, because people’s real LinkedIn profiles are attached to their comments. It’s a nice, rich conversation happening there.

Sean Jackson: I love that post feature, by the way, and it absolutely changed a lot of the dynamic on creating that original content, making it so convenient. I was reading a stat: something like 50,000 a day or a week — it was some astronomical sum of people — are posting on a daily basis into that post feature, that update feature, essentially. It’s just fantastic. I would concur. It’s a great feature to have.

Jason Miller: Excellent. Lots of content, lots of member stories going in there, lots of inspiration.

I tell you what, when you log in to LinkedIn — this is really interesting — what you see in your feed is different than what I see in my feed based on the Pulse articles that come up, based on the richness of my profile, how much do I put in there about my profile, about more personal stuff, what I’m interested in, etc.

The feed is getting better. It’s getting more personal. It’s getting more relevant. If you log in, you’re bound to see something there that either inspires you, something that’s going to inform you about a trend or a topic or a connection that you are likely going to benefit from.

Sean Jackson: It’s interesting, because I think the publishing side of LinkedIn is a whole other podcast conversation we’re going to have one day, because I know the hires that you guys made over there, how much effort and time you’re putting into creating original content and nurturing content out there. I will say that I think there’s a big future in the Pulse network, and specifically around LinkedIn as a content publisher of extraordinary capabilities. We’ll talk about that in another episode. Excellent, Jason.

Jason Miller: ‘The definitive professional publishing platform’ is how we refer to it.

Sean Jackson: “The definitive,” oh, look at that, pretty ballsy there! “The definitive” — I like that. That will definitely be a topic for another day. Jason, thank you so, so much for taking the time to be with us today and for sharing all the great insights and information. I know we will have you on the show again.

Jason Miller: Sean, I look forward to it. This has been fun. Thanks so much for having me on.

Sean Jackson: Thank you, Jason.

Mica, I was trying so hard for him to beat up on Twitter, and he wouldn’t do it.

Mica Gadhia: Yeah, he didn’t. He was not taking your bait, man.

Sean Jackson: It kills me, because LinkedIn has more users on it than Twitter does. That’s what I wanted him to say. They are a bigger company. It’s just amazing to me, when again, there’s 330 million people on LinkedIn, and it never, never seems to get the marketers’ attention like Twitter does.

Anyway, what did you think of the show? What’re your favorite parts?

Mica Gadhia: I loved it. The first thing that struck me was that one in every three professionals is on LinkedIn. That surprised me. It really did.

Sean Jackson: Yeah, I would agree. To me, and I referenced that during the conversation, I was like, “This is where people that have money or professionals that have jobs are hanging out.” I mean, it just is.

Mica Gadhia: Right, yes. I love that part. Then, I really want to see that video. Can we drop that into the show notes?

Sean Jackson: That would be great, yes. Let’s put that in the show notes, that video. Wasn’t it kind of fun? I was like, “This is brilliant,” because again, most people are thinking of LinkedIn at best as a B2B marketing tool, and the fact that all he wanted to talk about is all the B2C stuff that they’re doing, which is fricking phenomenal.

Mica Gadhia: Then that open rate with the Nissan campaign, and the focus. I didn’t realize that either. That’s something that I did learn is that the focus can be individualized, right?

Sean Jackson: Yeah.

Mica Gadhia: You’ve got someone who’s updating the profile, who’s changing a job, who’s maybe celebrating an anniversary — boom. They’re right there.

Sean Jackson: I know. I’m really glad that he did a strong pitch for SlideShare. I didn’t realize they had video on that thing.

Mica Gadhia: Yeah, I know. Yeah, that’s awesome.

Sean Jackson: Because we’ve been seeing some great results from SlideShare for Copyblogger’s content, taking old blog posts, etc. But the video aspect just brings a whole other component, because to me, that’s the other value of LinkedIn, specifically around content marketing and publishing.

I can take one post, and I can post it into my update as a page, if you will. I could put it into SlideShare as a slide deck. I can create an animated or video slide presentation, again, all off of the same piece of content. It’s amazing, because it seemed like we were in a content arms race: “Who could produce the most content every day, dammit?”

Mica Gadhia: Exactly.

Sean Jackson: Now, I think you just find that big idea, and with LinkedIn, you can share it in many different ways.

Mica Gadhia: Plus, if you haven’t been on LinkedIn, if you haven’t updated your profile — which he’s saying is important and critical — you can repurpose all of your previous content again, so you have an entirely new audience, an entirely new opening to your business.

Sean Jackson: I agree. There are too many opportunities to mention. You know what? I have a great way to find some of those opportunities, Mica.

Mica Gadhia: You do?

Sean Jackson: Yes. Now, where do you think you can go to get a great discussion group and a list of things that are going to be hugely helpful in your LinkedIn marketing? Where do you think you can do that?

Mica Gadhia: Would I maybe open up my phone and text 41411?

Sean Jackson: Yes, with what word?

Mica Gadhia: That’s what I thought — ‘mylink’ — and watch out for the autocorrect on that. Oh my goodness.

Sean Jackson: In return, you’re going to get what?

Mica Gadhia: A private discussion group with all of the latest LinkedIn updates with any information that we feel is going to be helpful for your LinkedIn journey.

Sean Jackson: That is absolutely correct. If you will do exactly what Mica said, get that phone out, 41411 with the keyword of ‘mylink,’ you’re going to get a link automatically. Trust me, we will never spam you. That’s just not the Copyblogger way. But we will communicate with new resources, new information.

I have to tell you, Mica, I really liked Jason Miller. He is just such a quality guy, and I’m so glad we could share that story from him and those great examples and really address all those misconceptions that people have and show a path to think in different ways about LinkedIn.

Mica Gadhia: Thank you, Jason Miller.

Sean Jackson: Thank you, Jason Miller. Thank all of you for listening to this episode of The Missing Link. My name is Sean Jackson, with the essential Mica Gadhia. Everyone, have a great day.

Mica Gadhia: Thank you, everyone.

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