Professional Publishing: A Game of “Head and Heart”

Q&A With Shawn Amos, Founder & CEO Freshwire

April 29, 2014

Last week we launched LinkedIn’s Certified Content Partner program, a natural next step in our continued effort to empower the world’s professionals to be more productive and successful.

Our 2012 research on the mindset of people on their social networks (recently updated with a spotlight on professional content) revealed that on professional networks such as LinkedIn, audiences were more likely to want to hear from brands about their industry and news relevant to their professional paths and interests. Delivering the right content at the right time to a highly targeted professional audience became a core promise that our network offers brands.

And that’s why we’ve partnered with companies such as Freshwire, who understand how to translate brand values into meaningful, shareable content. We’ve worked with them to take their high standards of content marketing and arm them with insights and best practices to reach professional audiences, focusing their capabilities for best-in-class publishing. I had a chance recently to talk one-on-one with Freshwire CEO and founder Shawn Amos and get his take on the partnership and how content fits into the B2B marketing landscape.

Q&A With Shawn Amos, Founder & CEO Freshwire

ShawnAmosAG: Shawn, what is Freshwire’s role as a LinkedIn Content Partner? What drew you to the program?

SA: Freshwire’s job is the same as it is with all of our partner and client relationships: turn a brand’s message, values, and relevant news into engaging, shareable, and valuable content. We describe “value” as anything that entertains, educates, or inspires. The trick for brands, though, is to resist the urge to make themselves the heroes of the story.

AG: With such an inundation of content from a variety of sources, authorship and credibility will be a key differentiator in helping users determine what content is of value. What’s worth their time, and trustworthy? We know that this is a key standard for successful professional publishing and ultimately all relationships built between brands and consumers. How do you see brands successfully establishing value behind the content they distribute on LinkedIn?

SA: This is where LinkedIn has a clear advantage over other distributed environments, because the platform is filled with some of the most innovative and respected voices in business. We also believe that businesses whose employees are empowered to act as ambassadors themselves will have an advantage in the future. This is another exciting aspect of the LinkedIn relationship — leveraging employee stories and enthusiasm to build relationships with brands and consumers. Truly leveraging “talent and brand.”

I would hope this is the start of removing the ivory tower aspect of “thought leadership” content. Everyone is a dispenser and consumer of thought leadership. I’m excited about the LinkedIn platform allowing more people to tap their inner thought leader.

AG: In the B2B space, LinkedIn has seen particular success in defining vertical best practices for Technology, Financial Services, Education, and Business Services, and is constantly updating packages and research to guide new category expertise. We believe all brands have a story to tell. How does Freshwire see the world of professional publishing developing?

SA: Freshwire has made B2B content a huge priority, reflective in our commitment to the standards of excellence the LinkedIn Content Partner program embodies. We feel that while much of content marketing is focused on the shiny objects of the B2C world, the B2B space has lacked the attention it deserves. Frankly, I think a lot of marketers don’t consider it as sexy, but for us, we love the challenges — and opportunities — it presents.

In many respects, there is no difference between creating content for B2B versus B2C. Both require authenticity to move the needle in any meaningful way. Both need to provide real value to not be seen as transparent shilling. But I think with B2B content, the bar is set higher. There is a rightful presumption that B2B content is definitive and authoritative. As a result, B2B content needs to be as carefully fact-checked and as articulate as any business document, while at the same time providing the emotional value to which I spoke earlier. And herein lies one of the bigger challenges — getting our B2B clients comfortable in the realm of entertainment and inspiration.

Ultimately, this is a game of balancing head and heart.


Want to learn more about our Certified Marketing Content Partners and how they can help with your LinkedIn marketing efforts? Visit our page here.