“At LinkedIn we defend the idea of ‘Members First’”
Comments gathered by Louise–Camille Bouttier
LinkedIn is strengthening its editorial presence by developing its editorial teams around the world. Now, journalists are both producing unprecedented content (podcasts, videos and articles) and curating news stories suggested by the platform's members. We interviewed Sandrine Chauvin, editor-in-chief for LinkedIn Europe, who is developing the concept of conversational journalism.
Six years ago LinkedIn launched its first editorial team in France, one year after the United States. Why was the decision taken to set up these local editorial teams?
Sandrine Chauvin: Although content
is disseminated via the news feed thanks to an algorithm, human oversight is
needed to make sure that conversations and content of very high quality are
being offered to professionals. Our primary mission is to support members in
the production of content and to create conversations linked to economic and
business news that interest professionals. Every morning the editorial team
publishes the "LinkedIn Recap Actu" (the LinkedIn News Recap), a digest of five
pertinent news items accompanied by an "idea of the day" published by a member.
What is LinkedIn's editorial stance?
are trying to anticipate change. Studies show that between 30% and 50% of jobs
that currently exist in the world today will either disappear or undergo
radical change in the next 5 to 10 years. People will need to adapt, and quick.
To do that, they will need to have access to information and to be able to see
changes coming. They will therefore need to be connected to the right people
and have a vision of the future. LinkedIn and the content available on the web
platform should accompany this change.
What is conversational journalism?
S.C.: What we promote at LinkedIn is
the idea of participative journalism. The journalist who is an expert in their
specific field no longer exists. Today, a journalist is part of a community of
people who themselves have expertise within a given domain. The journalist is
there to enrich the debate by asking questions, highlighting positive points
and inviting members to ask questions to leading figures who they would
traditionally not have access to. During a meeting of the National Federation
of French Employers (the "Medef"), we interviewed the Minister for Labour
regarding reforms to the country's labour laws and training. We asked our
members to submit the questions they wanted to ask the minister, who then answered
them in the form of a video interview. On TV shows, two people are selected for
a debate. With the aforementioned approach, it is the whole community that is
million members of
Which formats are the most popular on the web platform?
S.C.: It all depends on the objective. If we are
carrying out an analysis, an article is the most appropriate format: we have
the time to explain the topic, to show the viewpoint we are adopting and to
respond. If we are covering an event then we will prefer online posts. For
videos it's a bit different. For example, they might be highly formatted videos
during which influencers address a topic in less than one minute in a recurring
manner. A second video format consists of using an extract from a conference,
which will then be shared on the news feed. A third video format is the
interview format, in which members become journalists by asking questions to
entrepreneurs, for example.
How is content produced directly by the internal editorial team disseminated?
S.C.: We have editorial channels that are
independent from any commercial activities, allowing us to showcase content
depending on the themes addressed and the professionals concerned. This content
is then disseminated via our news feed or through notifications on the LinkedIn
app. We also have a newsletter that members can receive as frequently as they
wish – it's their choice. Content is also deployed via the personal profiles of
our journalists, who represent LinkedIn's editorial voice on the platform.
LinkedIn's concept of content distribution consists of having a targeted
audience. When a member posts something on LinkedIn, they can also see which
audience they are reaching (which company, which sector, which geographical
zone), thus creating an active community around their desired themes.
million publications each week on LinkedIn
How would you rate the involvement of press editors on LinkedIn?
S.C.: Their activity is still not
that developed yet: they have to put in place a strategy for creating
communities and conversations. I'm not sure that the conversational aspect of
journalism has been fully adopted across the media world yet. That said, we can
feel that things are changing. A good example is that of the Harvard Business
Review, the English edition of which has attracted a group of two million
subscribers as well as millions of followers on our business page. The HBR also
has a strong community of contributors who sometimes use LinkedIn to promote
content or identify partners for dialogue.
Who is your guru? Bertrand Piccard, because he is as much an entrepreneur as he is an adventurer. He raised funds to carry out a tour of the world in a solar-powered plane before setting up the Solar Impulse Foundation. And all of this simply to show us that profitable solutions stemming from sustainable development do exist.
What is your mantra? "Dare yourself". This is what I tell my children: dare yourself to follow your projects or your dreams right through to the very end.
How do you balance your chakras? I gain energy and strength from my family and from being as close to nature as possible.
Editors' attentions are increasingly focused on groups. How do you see these communities becoming involved in participative journalism?
S.C.: LinkedIn has just launched a
new web platform in order for groups to foster the creation of group
conversations. Editors can contribute content and create different formats to
enrich these communities. The next step in conversational journalism will be to
focus on "self-nourishing" communities in which the journalist is a stakeholder
in the group, playing the role of an expert or a rapporteur.
Should a content producer be active on two fronts: the business page and the setting up of groups?
S.C.: Often editors tell me that they have
problems when it comes to resources, hence the idea of setting up an adapted
strategy based on three key elements: a business page, which allows for
vertical communication; groups, which showcase the importance of a very
specific community and which can become a gateway to subscription for some
participants, and, finally, an ambassadors' programme in which members of the
editorial team become flag bearers for the brand and "fuel" conversations
within the community.
What is the next step?
S.C.: We have just published the
first edition of the LinkedIn Top Startups ranking in France, and soon we will
publish the new Top Voices 2018 ranking, which identifies the most influential
members on LinkedIn. We are also planning to launch some "series" (for example,
the "Future of Work series"): a theme will be developed by the editorial team and
this will then be developed and grown via comments and conversations created by