After a months-long hiatus, LinkedIn is once again directing traffic to publishers large and small. In a dramatic change, LinkedIn sent a flurry of readers to publishers’ sites in November and December 2015. According to Parse.ly, a digital publishing analysis firm, Linked In referrals to publishers grew from five hundredths of a percent in July 2015 to a quarter of a percent in December.
Although LinkedIn was once a reliable referral source for many publishers, that relationship soured in early 2015 because the social network for professionals had decided to prioritize its own contributor network over outside publishers. In an effort to increase revenues, LinkedIn introduced partner journalism, wherein companies that paid LinkedIn to promote their stories were highlighted, while other publishers’ articles were ignored. The results of this change were immediate: SimpleReach, a distribution measurement company with a one-thousand publisher base, saw referral traffic decline by 30 percent in the first eight months of 2015.
Now it is clear that LinkedIn rethought that strategy. It made changes to its site, so that it once again directs its readers to publishers’ sites, pleasing both major publishers and small-time bloggers.
Tweaks to Pulse Please Publishers
In September 2015, LinkedIn ended its practice of giving top priority to its contributor network. First, it added a publisher recommendation feature to Pulse, its news aggregation app. Pulse was downloaded 1.2 million times between August 2015 and January 2016, proving that many eyeballs are exposed to the publisher recommendations.
Furthermore, LinkedIn added a feature in November 2015 that allows Pulse articles to be viewed within the app, instead of redirecting readers to its mobile website. Easier access to articles translates into more readers clicking through the articles to the publishers’ sites.
Bloggers have also noticed more traffic streaming toward their sites since LinkedIn overturned its strategy. By inviting more articles from different sites, LinkedIn has boosted linkage both to and from its site.
Getting Featured on Pulse
Anyone with a free LinkedIn account can publish on Pulse, but only a few titles are chosen to become featured articles that show up in email inboxes across the globe. Some intrepid writers have attempted to crack the code and figure out which articles are most likely to be featured. A few tips from these self-made experts:
- Figure out which Pulse channel you want to be featured on. Examples of channels are “Technology,” “Professional Women,” and “Social Media.”
- Note the keywords most often used in that channel, and integrate them into your article.
- Garner many views, likes, shares, and comments for your article by posting a link to it on Twitter, Facebook, your LinkedIn groups, and your email list. Bringing attention to your article ups its chances of becoming featured.