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Will the day ever come that LinkedIn starts publishing its own news?


LinkedIn's ambition is to make the stories published on its platform increasingly substantial.  'We want to take the content published on LinkedIn to the next level using a journalistic perspective…we are operating independently from sales. We will curate news articles we call 'storylines.' Our role is to coordinate everything.'

,'In the podcast This old marketing, the discussion was recently about LinkedIn's journalistic ambitions. For starters, it was about a Clubhouse-like audio platform for LinkedIn where experts in certain topics would serve as hosts. Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose also cited a Business Insider article in which editor in chief Dan Roth revealed that LinkedIn is quickly expanding its editorial department. At the moment 100+ journalists are employed. This number is set to expand by 70 in the coming months. According to Robert Rose, LinkedIn is going all-in on its business content and aspires to become the go-to business platform for audio and written text. Joe Pulizzi: "This was a long time coming. Many people go to LinkedIn to get their news. We believed Facebook would start acquiring more and more media companies and now LinkedIn appears to have had the same idea. I wish LinkedIn would focus on acquiring specific business publishers." Robert Rose: "I do believe people go to LinkedIn for quality content."

Hiring journalists
It is clear that LinkedIn is busy hiring journalists all over the world. This ties in perfectly with the platform's ambition to make the stories it publishes increasingly substantial. Liza Jansen, LinkedIn News editor covering the Dutch market, sheds some light on the company's plans. "We want to take the content published on LinkedIn to the next level using a journalistic perspective…we are operating independently from sales. We will curate news articles we call 'storylines.' Our role is to coordinate everything."

Does this mean you will be creating your own journalistic articles as well?
"To give you an example, I have a newsletter on LinkedIn about the new economy, for which I interview CEOs from time to time. We are now expanding our efforts; we are adding fifty-two new editors to our EMEA team. There will be three new editors in the Netherlands, because there are myriad opportunities to be found. Our goal is to curate more and more content with the help of the network."

In other words, you want to become The Times of the B2B world?
"Our goal is not to create journalistic stories, but to adopt a new approach to organising content. We utilise the same journalistic principles, so that skill comes in handy. The format is different than what you get from a newspaper or website, however; the stories from experts form the foundation for the content on our platform. They share their expertise and it's our job that the LinkedIn-members can read those stories."

So it is your ambition to have people create exceptionally well-written pieces?
"Our ambition is to make LinkedIn an even more valuable platform to spend your time on. We want members to find information that they can learn from and put to good use. Information that gives you a professional edge and helps you get better at your job. An expert can make a name for themselves with their content, our readers learn something new and we facilitate the process."

There is much private content on LinkedIn. Are you doing anything to stem that flow?
"Our job as journalists is to make sure members newsfeeds become as relevant, interesting and inspirational as possible. Now that so many people spend so much time working from home, a lot of private content is posted. Our goal is to highlight the truly qualitative content. Because people have been working from home for the past two years, the dividing line between private and work has blurred and there is also a greater need for reporting about this balance.''

From what you're telling me, I get the idea that your platform faces a bit of a conundrum. You want to improve the quality of your content, but you don't really have a say in the matter. You serve as facilitator and gatekeeper, but you will not be producing the content yourself.
"Absolutely. That is why we are selecting people to become Top Voice with regard to certain themes. It gives the experts a badge of quality in their respective fields, which makes it easier for them to share their stories. We're seeing people react more to those individuals, which allows us to safeguard the quality of the content.''

So you intend to reward substantive contributions in some way? Meanwhile, the newsletters, Top Voices and soon audio are instruments with which to stimulate quality. Will the content that people share become more journalistic in nature?
"As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of people sharing their expertise has grown. It is certainly true that not all content is great. The algorithm keeps things in check and a contribution that is not good enough will not gain much traction. You can try to support a contribution with hundreds of emojis, but if the content isn't up to par, that won't work. That is why we also devote much time getting journalists more actively involved on LinkedIn. We visited the editorial departments of newspapers to explain how to get the most of out of LinkedIn. A gap still exists between the old and new generations of journalists. In many companies, people are sometimes nervous to publish content under their own name. How does their personal voice relate to their professional voice? I have some tips that can help with that." 

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