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LinkedIn Starts Building a Syndicated Content Network

There's no money involved. But no reason there couldn't be, one day.

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Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

LinkedIn has gotten a lot of mileage out of the free content that famous people like Richard Branson write for the social network. Now it wants to get more: The company wants to syndicate that content for publication on other sites.

LinkedIn is emailing the 500 people it calls its “Influencers” and asking them for permission to automatically hand their stuff to other sites that want to republish it in full. Sites like Quartz routinely publish LinkedIn posts, but right now each article has to be manually approved by the author, which makes it a multistep process.

There’s no money trading hands here — Influencers write for LinkedIn for free, and LinkedIn lets other sites use those posts for free — but there’s still an obvious value exchange: Influencers get more distribution for their names and ideas, along with the notion that LinkedIn says they are “influencers.” And LinkedIn gets to advertise LinkedIn.

Still, assuming LinkedIn gets most of its heavy hitters to opt in to this, it could be a good head start on what might be an interesting content syndication business, with obvious opportunities for revenue share and other money-making schemes.

Right, Dan Roth?

“It is not anything that we spend time discussing,” said Roth, who heads up LinkedIn’s content business and also worked with me a long, long time ago at an actual print magazine. “There’s so much more we want to do with it. The monetization part is not part of the discussion. It’s all about engagement.”

Alrighty. It is worth noting that Roth’s letter to his Influencers asks for permission to translate their posts for publication on non-English sites, which indicates LinkedIn’s desire for global expansion in general. Worth keeping an eye on.

Here’s the full text of the letter:

Dear Influencer,

Your Influencer pieces are in demand by audiences all over the world — both on and off LinkedIn. We frequently get requests from both our own members outside the U.S. as well as third party news sites to make your posts available to them, due to the high quality of your work and the insights you deliver.

In the past, we’ve handled these requests as one-offs. We are now moving to a blanket approval system to create an easier and more timely process for you and our publisher partners.

Here’s what you can opt-in to be a part of:

1. Your posts may appear in top-tier English publications such as the The Economist, New York Times, Quartz, TechCrunch, etc., always with attribution and links back to your original post.
2. Your posts may appear in top-tier, non-English news sites, translated into the publisher’s language.
3. Your posts, translated into other languages, may appear on LinkedIn Pulse in other countries. These translated posts will appear on your profile and you’re free to edit them as with all of your work.

Can you please let us know by clicking our online form here if you’d like for your content to be part of the LinkedIn Content Syndication program?

Here are some additional program guidelines on how your posts will be handled:

· We would only syndicate to top-tier publishers vetted by LinkedIn.
· There would be a 48-hour hold-back window after you publish a post before that post could be syndicated.
· Each syndicated post will carry Linked Influencer branding and attribution, and we plan to provide data around how these posts perform.

Some one-off opportunities with sites may fall outside of the scope of the program outlined above, and in those cases, we will continue to ask for your direct permission to syndicate to those sites.

Please note, this is not part of any monetization effort for LinkedIn. It is solely an awareness opportunity. As always, you own your posts, and participation here does not preclude you from self-publishing your posts on any other platform that you wish.

Thank you for your amazing work. I hope you are as excited about this as we are. We are looking forward to sharing your insights around the world.

Dan Roth
Executive Editor, LinkedIn

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