Dan Roth – editor-in-chief of LinkedIn – has a vision for making the social media powerhouse must read for news.
It is Roth’s dream for LinkedIn’s 645 million members and for workers who have yet to use the site to turn to the site for news with their morning coffee. He envisions LinkedIn as the perfect “utility” for professionals.
“LinkedIn should help you be better at what you do or what you want to do. When you come to LinkedIn, you’re coming with a purpose. It’s not just to waste time or to check in on family,” Roth told CNN Business in a recent interview. “They’re coming here to get something done and everything we do is geared around making sure people are more effective at getting whatever it is they want done, done.”
Roth has hired a team of journalists and empowered them with the tools they need to discover original stories and to distribute those stories to the right audience. Having these tools at their disposal is appealing to journalists who want to know who is reading their work.
While LinkedIn isn’t dominating the worldwide audience with its editorial strategy, it is getting close! LinkedIn has editors in the U.S., Brazil, the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Australia, India, Japan, China and Singapore, according to CNN Business. Nearly 20 editors are based in America, including its San Francisco office and in New York, where Roth lives.
This new news focus has impacted LinkedIn’s traffic and ultimately its bottom line. A metric that tracks how often users are coming to LinkedIn in 30-minute intervals is up nearly 27% from the year prior, a LinkedIn spokesperson told CNN Business. And the company is monetizing that traffic. Satya Nadella, CEO of LinkedIn owner Microsoft (MSFT), said on a recent earnings call that it’s been “another record year for LinkedIn, driven by all-time high engagement across the platform.”
Roth landed at LinkedIn after of an idea he had for Fortune magazine, where he was managing editor of digital initiatives. In 2011, he had plans to create an app called the Fortune 500 Plus that would connect Fortune’s data with LinkedIn’s to help salespeople find leads.
Like a typical newsroom, LinkedIn’s team has a daily editorial meeting. On a recent morning, four people in the New York office joined a video conference call with three remote staffers and the team in London. An editor in London said a story about Instagram hiding likes had inspired “great conversation” from social media strategists on LinkedIn and that they had not covered the Nobel Prizes yet due to “lack of member sharing,” the editor told CNN Business.
LinkedIn is the latest tech site to bolster its news gathering value.
Apple News, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Flipboard have also hired journalists to oversee its news content, and even to create original content. Facebook, for its part, is hiring more journalists for its upcoming news tab. It’s the company’s second biggest effort to curate news after its previous news section faced conservative bias allegations. In tandem, more traditional newsrooms are investing in product. News Corp is reportedly building its own news aggregator, Knewz.com.