5 Ways Journalists Use LinkedIn for Research and Reporting

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It appears LinkedIn has come a long way from its start as a conduit for creating professional connections.

In fact, LinkedIn quickly is making inroads into newsrooms as a place for research, sourcing, and listening, allowing journalists to follow issues and pull stories out of conversations.

Journalists can keep their ears open for nuggets through groups on LinkedIn, said Yumi Wilson, a corporate communications manager with the Mountain View, Calif.-based company.

“With groups, if you just want to follow new technology or mobile, you can find what people are saying about different companies,” Wilson said. “Journalists can follow groups, participate in discussions, and solicit feedback.”

LinkedIn also consistently is adding new tools to help users be more productive and successful in their business.

Here are 5 ways journalists are using LinkedIn:

  • Sharing stories. There are 1.5 million publishers currently using the LinkedIn share button on their sites. This includes traditional news organizations and media, such as Mashable, TechCrunch, and Gigaom.
  • Increased story visibility. LinkedIn acquired Pulse about a year ago. This means stories from those publishers with the share button are being featured in Pulse. Wilson explained the algorithm to display stories is based on an individual’s customizations and the publishers they’re following. The same happens with trending stories on LinkedIn, which takes place when many people share a particular story.
  • Following companies and employees. Journalists are staying on top of companies and running searches of employees there to see those with LinkedIn profiles. Watching a particular company’s job listings – and the types of job listings – is a clear indication it’s in the market to grow and expand.
  • Keyword search for research or story ideas. Wilson used the example of the Facebook acquisition of WhatsApp. When the story broke in February, Wilson was in a training with Bloomberg reporters, who wanted to find WhatsApp members with LinkedIn profiles. The search was successful, and it came up organically, Wilson said.
  • Looking up sources. The advanced search function on LinkedIn allows journalists to find and connect with people for stories.

LinkedIn also is unveiling long-form publishing beyond their Influencers program. This feature is being rolled out in stages, with initial access available to about 25,000 members. It will be a great benefit to writers, or those wanting to share certain insights, Wilson said.

“It means I can write a longer post and not just a personal update and share it on LinkedIn,” Wilson said. “If someone likes it, they can follow me.”

LinkedIn celebrated its 10th birthday last year. Its membership is staggering: 277 million worldwide, of whom roughly 100 million reside in the United States and Canada.

To meet this incredible demand, LinkedIn beefed up its corporate presence, expanding staff from 2,100 employees in 2012 to 5,000 employees this year.

Learn more about LinkedIn for journalists on the site’s Press Center.

Christine Cube is a media relations manager with PR Newswire and freelance writer. She’s absolutely on LinkedIn. Follow her on Twitter @cpcube.

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