Top tips for effective content marketing on LinkedIn

Best practices for writing sponsored content that increases engagement

May 12, 2016

The most effective content marketers know that an audience’s attention is something you need to keep earning time and time again. Those that stay ahead tend to be those that keep pushing the boundaries, testing new tactics and optimising around the approaches that work best – and they are always on the look-out for new ideas.

For this post, I’ve pulled together the approaches that have delivered consistently high engagement in the form of clicks and social actions over the past three months. These are the content marketing tactics that are proving most effective this year – and if you’re not already using them, they are well worth adding to your bag of tricks.

Express social purpose through employees

Social purpose is an important part of the make-up of an increasing number of brands. LinkedIn is a natural platform for demonstrating it – and our analysis shows that expressing purpose through people is often the most effective approach. If you want to show that your brand genuinely cares about something, enlist the support of employees who are actively involved in the initiative. Doing so humanises your brand and establishes credibility.

For example, Unilever makes frequent use of Sponsored Content to promote employee posts around issues such as millennial stereotypes, or equality in the workplace – and generates some of LinkedIn’s highest engagement rates when it does so.

Lead with clear audience benefits

It’s a simple tactic but a very effective one: use the headline and introductory paragraph of your Sponsored Content to communicate clearly the benefits audiences can expect from engaging with it. Whether it’s recruitment firm Goodman Masson explaining how its salary guide will boost people’s earnings or IMF Business School sharing data on how its courses advance careers, leading with a clear audience benefit is a highly effective approach.

Repurpose great content from other sources

If you have natural thought leaders in your business who feature regularly in the media, then make sure you leverage the content produced around them. Higher education brands often find themselves with a wealth of coverage that they can leverage in this way. Tias School for Business and Society in The Netherlands and HEC Paris are just two of those driving great engagement by doing so.

Leverage influencer assets

It’s not just media coverage that can be leveraged within Sponsored Content. Posts from relevant LinkedIn Influencers can also prove a valuable asset. This Influencer post written by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid of the UAE, which was further amplified by Dubai Tourism as Sponsored Content, drove some of the highest engagement levels on LinkedIn over the last three months.

Showcase innovation

Innovation is a quality that auto marketers are always keen to associate with their brands – and leading with it has proven to be a particularly effective engagement strategy this quarter. Whether it’s Jaguar Land Rover creating a groundbreaking leasing plan for Uber drivers or Audi launching its new virtual cockpit feature through the LinkedIn feed, showing audiences the innovation (rather than simply talking about it) presses the accelerator for engagement levels.

Connect emotionally through video

We see more and more brands making use of YouTube video playing natively within the LinkedIn feed, in order to tell their story without forcing their audience to switch to a different environment. Video content is particularly effective at engaging audiences on an emotive level that ensures Sponsored Content stands out. The Dubai-based telecoms business du did exactly that with a film showing the streets of Dubai taken over for a giant synchronised yoga session – a big hit in the LinkedIn feed in February.

Tell success stories beyond your own

Generosity is an effective approach where content marketing is concerned – demonstrating that you are at least as interested in adding value for your audiences as you are in promoting your own products. The banking group BpiFrance generated powerful engagement levels this March when it used Sponsored Content to point its audiences to an article on 30 short business success stories. The brand had nothing immediate to gain from this (the content it promoted wasn’t even on the BpiFrance site). However, this piece of savvy curation demonstrated just how closely aligned it is with the issues and motivations of its enterprise-level audience.

Want more ideas for continuing to earn engagement through content on LinkedIn? Our Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing features advice from top content marketers on building a solid strategy, managing the content pipeline, expanding reach, amplifying impact and unleashing the power of visuals.

Click here to download the Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing.