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How LinkedIn has quietly become the talk of the content creator community

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LinkedIn is having a moment, drawing interest from bespoke agencies and creators alike. However, this transformation has been quietly unfolding over the years, establishing LinkedIn as a haven for content creators.

The momentum gained traction in 2020 when the global pandemic accelerated the shift toward remote working and digital connections virtually overnight.

With physical conferences and events canceled worldwide, professionals turned to LinkedIn and other social channels to stay relevant, build connections and innovate new ways to grow their audiences. 

The more this happened, the further LinkedIn moved away from being a conventional professional network to becoming a content recommendation engine.

The platform’s own attention on creators helped too.

It launched its own creator management program in 2021 providing select creators, with a dedicated manager and the chance to hear about upcoming LinkedIn news, discuss content strategies as well as test new features and tools in beta. The program relaunched a year later under a new name — LinkedIn Top Voices. It’s still an invitation-only program which features a global group of experts covering a range of topics, run by LinkedIn’s 250-strong editorial team.

This program, along with the platform’s algorithm changes prioritizing engagement over likes or shares, increased video content, the rise of LinkedIn influencers, and the introduction of newsletters are just a few factors that have compounded this shift.

Marketers, agencies and creators saw this happening and wanted in on the action. Influencer marketing agency The Social Standard, for example, currently runs two newsletters (The Social Brew and The Business Brew) that reach over 100,000 people weekly.

Companies like this see LinkedIn morphing to resemble its peers, yet still maintaining its unique focus on professional networking, career growth, and industry-specific content.

And if there’s one thing that screams “LinkedIn transformation,” it’s the rise of the LinkedIn specialist agency.

Just like agencies pivoted to become Snapchat-first, or TikTok-first as the platform of the moment was being hyped up, some companies are now going all in on LinkedIn, wanting to be on the up as the platform reaches a new peak.

For those following this trend closely, Creator Authority is likely to be top of mind. Co-founded by Brendan Gahan (CEO and also a member of the invite-only LinkedIn Top Voice program) and Mandi Hopper, this LinkedIn-dedicated agency launched in January, has positioned itself at the forefront of the conversation surrounding marketing’s latest trend.

“We’re developing strategies specific to LinkedIn and translating campaigns to suit the LinkedIn ecosystem,” Gahan said. “We then work with the ideal creator to deliver that message.”

And it’s only a matter of time before others follow suit.

“I anticipate more LinkedIn-focused agencies, as well as influencer marketing platforms and agencies, starting to market services specifically for LinkedIn influencer marketing, similar to what happened when TikTok took off,” added Lindsey Gamble, associate director of influencer innovation at Later, and also part of the LinkedIn Top Voice program.

However, any newcomers will be playing catch-up to marketers who spotted the trend early and took action.

Jess Philips, founder and CEO of The Social Standard, said her company took the plunge last year by expanding their services and launching a B2B influencer division with a focus on LinkedIn, having witnessed it take off — off the back of the personal branding trend. The team believes in it so much that they are leading by example, by turning themselves into LinkedIn influencers. “Three of my top staff members are top influencer marketing voices on LinkedIn,” said Philips, who has become a Top Influencer Marketing Voice on the platform. “My head of sales has almost 30,000 followers and I’ve doubled my following in the last nine months, while my engagement rivals that of people with 5x my following.”

That’s how LinkedIn distinguishes itself from other platforms: creators and influencers shine through their professionalism, industry influence, and quality engagement. While similar phenomena can occur elsewhere, LinkedIn’s tailored focus on professional networking and content sharing amplifies their impact.

This shift should ideally mean fewer influencers aiming for mass appeal solely for profit. Instead, they’re targeting relevant audiences within their industries, offering valuable knowledge and expertise appreciated by their peers.

“They’re [LinkedIn influencers] leveraging the platform to build their personal and professional brand, find new revenue and networking opportunities, share insights, and spark valuable discussions,” said Julien Wettstein, head of editorial, EMEA at LinkedIn.

If done right, it can mean the difference between an individual or business doing just OK, and one that becomes successful.

Just ask Amelia Sordell, another LinkedIn Top Voice, who founded her personal branding agency Klowt in 2020. Sordell explained she didn’t start posting anywhere else until she had about 50,000 followers on LinkedIn. In fact, she didn’t even have a website, but Klowt did nearly £400,000 in its first year in business — all off the back of her LinkedIn.

“I don’t get paid to advertise other brands to my 160,000 followers on LinkedIn, but I monetize through driving traffic through to my own business,” she added. “I’m 100% inbound off the back of posting content on the platform — something that not many other businesses, particularly serviced based ones can say.”

Cultivating a profile like this is a story that mirrors LinkedIn’s own evolution. The main difference with its creator program now? It’s less hands on than it used to be.

“I still have a creator manager, but I don’t necessarily meet with them like I used to one-on-one or in group calls. Instead, I’ll get email updates and other marketing communications,” said Gamble. “There’s still the ability for Top Voices to access new features earlier and pitch their posts to the LinkedIn editorial tool. Although it’s not the same support, the team is still responsive and supportive — even outside of the management program.”

It’s a fitting analogy for where LinkedIn stands in its evolution into a creator platform: it’s operational, but far from hitting its stride. Nevertheless, there’s a clear opportunity for the platform to establish itself in this space. The challenge lies in creating an environment that’s both expansive and engaging enough to retain creators and influencers.

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