LinkedIn expands its publishing platform

Hopes people will contribute expertise for free

Last week, LinkedIn announced it was expanding its publishing platform to allow more members to share original content with the professional social network.

LinkedIn has allowed members to share articles of interest for a long time, but they have limited the ability to post original content to a handful of big-name influencers like Bill Gates, Martha Stewart and Richard Branson.

Over the next several weeks, LinkedIn plans to allow 25,000 additional people to publish their own content, and eventually they plan to let all members do it. This last part could take several months to implement.

LinkedIn is also providing a way to follow people you like even if you aren't linked to them, giving content producers another way to build their personal networks.

The model is not unlike Forbes or The Huffington Post, where writers share their thoughts for free in exchange for access to a wide audience, but LinkedIn has yet to prove it can provide the lift of these other sites, and the success or failure of this effort is going to hinge on that ability to connect to a broad audience.

LinkedIn has been trying to expand beyond the notion of a pure professional social network to become more of a publishing platform and this announcement is part of taking that approach to the next level.

Professional writing friends I've spoken to aren't impressed, saying they aren't interested in writing for free or exposure, but thought leaders and people trying to promote a book or even a personal brand may like having a new platform to share their ideas.

It remains to be seen, however, if people perceive LinkedIn as a publishing forum worth contributing to in this fashion.

For more information:
- see the LinkedIn Blog announcing the change

Related Articles:
Spotlight: LinkedIn kills controversial Intro email service
For LinkedIn, content is at the center of its success strategy