Content marketing is the process of publishing information that your target audience will find relevant and helpful, on communication channels that they frequent.
That last part is just as important as the content itself. If you don’t publish on the channels that your audience prefers, your content won’t get seen by the right people.
In the world of B2B (business-to-business) marketing, LinkedIn is one of the most popular channels for sharing content. Today, we’ll examine why that’s the case and 5 reasons why you should make LinkedIn a priority channel for your business.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
⭐ A quick introduction to the LinkedIn platform
⭐ How B2B content marketers use LinkedIn to attract and engage prospects
⭐ 5 reasons why LinkedIn is a preferred channel for B2B content marketing
⭐ How to get started if LinkedIn isn’t currently a priority channel for your business
LinkedIn is a professional networking service, accessed via its website or mobile app. It was launched in December 2002 by Reid Hoffman and partners (many of them founding team members from PayPal) as a place for professionals to network, learn, and find employment.
Since then it has grown to over 800 million worldwide users, half of whom use the platform at least once each month (you can find more LinkedIn stats here).
One-in-six of its 185 million U.S. users logs in daily—meaning around 30 million daily active users (DAU) are available for marketers to target.
Individual LinkedIn users create a profile that resembles a professional résumé (or curriculum vitae, if you prefer) describing their work history, skills, training, and education.
Companies can create a profile that describes their business, its products, and employees. They can post job openings and other business opportunities for LinkedIn users to search and apply.
Users interact with one another by posting and reacting to content, much like other social media platforms. This can include short text posts, images, video, and links to other websites. They can also publish longer-form content, which LinkedIn calls articles.
The LinkedIn algorithm shows each user a curated feed of posts that it considers consistent with their interests, based on previous activity on the platform. Users can reject content, which will influence the algorithms future choices, but most simply scroll past unwanted material without providing such feedback.
LinkedIn offers two ways for companies to increase the reach of their posts (i.e., the number of feeds in which the algorithm displays them): post boosting and paid advertisements.
Post boosting works on a per-post basis and offers basic targeting criteria. Paid ad campaigns are more complex to configure—so they can be targeted to a more specific audience—and can include multiple posts.
LinkedIn requires that companies bid a minimum of $2 per click on either a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM) campaign. In practice, businesses in 2022 are paying around $5 per click (CPC) and $7 per 1,000 impressions (CPM).
Business-to-business companies use content marketing to publish information that prospects will find valuable as they progress through their buyer’s journey.
Since LinkedIn users are predominantly business professionals, they represent a self-selected user base that cares about their work and related subjects. As an audience, they are uniquely receptive to business-related information.
This compares favorably to other online channels, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, where the user base represents a broad cross-section of the human population, only a fraction of whom will be looking for business-related information.
Even without paying to increase or target their distribution, companies posting information on LinkedIn are assured of reaching business professionals.
That reach can be expanded, focused, and concentrated by paying LinkedIn to show posts to users meeting company-defined geographic, demographic, and sociographic criteria. For example, senior executives at companies in the automotive industry located in France.
This gives content marketers the ability to publish relevant, helpful information to tightly specified audiences on a channel where they are confident it will be seen by relevant prospects—something that is difficult to achieve anywhere else.
The most comparable channel is the traditional trade show and exhibition, where practitioners of a particular industry or sector get together en masse to discuss and showcase the latest ideas and technology.
However, buyers are increasingly expecting a fully digital, self-service buying journey—preferably one where they can minimize interaction with a salesperson.
This means they want to research, evaluate, test, and purchase solutions online, something that demands a wide range of relevant content.
LinkedIn represents the most powerful online channel for making such content available and easily accessible to a B2B audience.
Building on the previous section, this leads us to 5 reasons why B2B content marketers should prefer LinkedIn when choosing where to publish their content.
But first, why wouldn’t a content marketer publish on any-and-every channel possible?
In short, because the effort to do so consistently and effectively would be impossible to sustain while also delivering return on the investment.
Most companies—especially those with a smaller team and limited marketing resources—can only effectively manage 3 or 4 communication channels at once.
As the company grows and can direct more resources toward marketing, it can add new channels to the mix without sacrificing consistency or quality. However, that’s still a far cry from publishing anywhere and everywhere.
The main reasons most B2B companies should count LinkedIn among their limited number of preferred channels are:
 It’s a Target-Rich Environment
While LinkedIn only has about one-third as many users as Facebook, they are predominantly professionals—many of them C-suite executives and decision makers—and they’re on the site to discuss business.
There are over 60 million companies on LinkedIn, making it a much stronger B2B platform than any of the competing networks.
And, while it might seem counter-intuitive, the elevated costs of a paid LinkedIn membership and of LinkedIn Ads work to improve the user base by deterring non-professional timewasters from joining and creating noise on the platform.
 It’s One of the First Places Professionals Turn to Find Information
LinkedIn users are just as addicted to their platform as Facebook and Insta fans are to theirs—except the content they’re scrolling through is predominantly related to their business or their network of business connections.
67% of LinkedIn users describe themselves as “news junkies” and 80% self-identify as someone who “drives business decisions”.
The top three categories that users say they log in to read are industry insights (60%), company news (53%), and information about new products and services (43%).
Business professionals also like to read longer, more in-depth material than a typical Facebook user. This means that long-form content—such as LinkedIn Articles and blogs promoted using LinkedIn posts—gets a higher conversion rate on LinkedIn than on other platforms.
 There is a High Degree of Trust
Unlike general social media platforms that are under the microscope for mishandling personal information and perpetuating the spread of misleading information, LinkedIn has maintained a reasonably strong reputation.
This is not to say that LinkedIn is immune to inane posts, inappropriate content, and spam, but the percentage is certainly lower.
LinkedIn makes it harder than most platforms for data analytics tools to see what’s going on behind the scenes, which prevents excessive retargeting and data scraping.
Overall, users express a higher degree of trust in the content they are shown on LinkedIn than on other social media platforms.
 It’s Designed for Relationship Building
LinkedIn provides a range of tools and opportunities for connecting with prospects early in their buying journey—if not before the journey even begins.
Content marketing on LinkedIn can be used to build brand awareness, attract and engage prospects, showcase success stories, and encourage advocacy by loyal, satisfied customers.
Influencers and professionals fitting the company’s target personas can be identified, studied, and followed (in a legitimate rather than creepy sense!)
A relationship can be created by commenting on their posts, contributing to on-platform discussions where they are a participant, and exchanging direct messages.
This can eventually lead to a direct connection and the opportunity to introduce relevant information that might lead to a business opportunity.
 It Delivers Marketing Results
According to Hootsuite, marketers see up to 2x higher conversion rates on website visits originating from the LinkedIn platform than from other sources.
Similarly, brands report a 33% higher purchase intent for leads generated by LinkedIn ads than for those from other advertising channels.
Those are very strong indicators that the quality of leads generated by marketing on LinkedIn is high.
The audience targeting options offered by LinkedIn have improved dramatically in recent years. In addition to a wide range of filters for creating a customized audience, LinkedIn also allows uploading of an existing audience list from which it will identify similar members within the LinkedIn community.
If you’re just getting started with content marketing, haven’t previously been running a focused strategy, or hadn’t previously made LinkedIn a priority, then this section is for you. If you’re already prioritizing LinkedIn, you can scroll down to Conclusions.
Many people shy away from LinkedIn because they’ve heard it’s expensive or that the algorithm is difficult to figure out.
Yes, promoting content on LinkedIn can be expensive, but that’s precisely because it is such a great place to publish.
You’re not the only company that wants to grab the attention of that target-rich audience. In addition to your direct competitors, you’ll be indirectly competing with all sorts of other brands trying to get their eyeballs onto relevant information.
What matters, though, is the return on that investment.
As we already discussed, marketers report stronger intent to buy and significantly higher conversion rates from website traffic originating on LinkedIn.
There’s also the harder-to-measure impact of building brand awareness and relationships with potential customers before they even embark on a buying journey.
So, what about the algorithm?
Like all platforms, the details of LinkedIn’s feed-creating algorithm are a tightly guarded secret. However, the overriding factor that determines how widely a post will be shared is how effectively it keeps users on the LinkedIn platform.
Posts that lose the reader’s attention after only a couple of seconds won’t get widely shared. Nor will those that generate little or no reaction—likes, shares, and comments—or which encourage the reader to immediately follow a URL to another website (although this can be partly circumvented by putting the URL in the comments rather than the post itself.)
The best approach is one that we recommend on any content marketing platform: publish information that your audience will find relevant, helpful, and of sufficient value that they come back looking for more.
To get your audience’s attention, you’re going to have to appear frequently enough and show them something that stands out.
Expert recommendations vary but posting at least 2-3 times per week seems to be the minimum viable strategy.
For LinkedIn Ads, we’ve seen companies spend as little as $1,500 per month and generate measurable results. A budget of $3,000-5,000 per month is more likely to produce success, with the latter being the minimum spend recommended by LinkedIn itself.
Finally, remember that all marketing is a game of experiments. What worked last month may not work as well this month and is even less likely to work in the future.
Successful content marketers constantly run experiments to test variations in audience targeting, written copy, creative elements, calls to action, and offers to see which performs best.
The LinkedIn platform offers marketers the opportunity to publish content to a concentrated audience of business professionals, many of whom are influential in their company’s purchasing processes—if not the ultimate decision maker.
While running content marketing campaigns on LinkedIn is usually more expensive than other channels, the quality of leads it can generate are very high. This results in significantly higher conversion rates for leads originating from the LinkedIn platform.
Because LinkedIn is designed for networking, it gives you an opportunity to build brand awareness and develop relationships with prospects, even before they have started a buying journey. This increases the probability of them choosing your company when they are ready to purchase your type of solution.
If you haven’t previously included LinkedIn in your content marketing strategy, use buyer’s journey mapping to determine whether it’s a channel that your target audience frequents. If it is, there’s a strong case for including it among the 3-4 channels on which you focus your efforts.
Run experiments to find out what sort of posts and content attract the highest levels of engagement and keep running them to ensure your content stays optimized.
If you plan to promote your business using post boosting and LinkedIn Ads, be sure to set aside enough budget. Unless you spend at least a few thousand dollars per month, you probably won’t gain enough visibility to deliver a positive return on your investment.
Photo by Greg Bulla on Unsplash