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LinkedIn Stock Could Soar on … Its PUBLISHING Biz?

LinkedIn (LNKD) reported strong earnings a few weeks ago, and shares of LinkedIn stock have doubled so far in 2013.

Competitors including online job portal Monster Worldwide (MWW) and privately held TheLadders.com should take notice of LinkedIn stock as it recreates how job seekers and employers connect … but so should Yahoo (YHOO).

No, not because LinkedIn stock is challenging Yahoo’s Hot Jobs property. But because LNKD is increasingly getting into the content game — and could disrupt not just how folks find jobs, but how they find business news in the age of social media.

LinkedIn stock has risen thanks to job ads, yes, but it hasn’t been only focused on resumes and employers. LNKD has steadily been rolling out its Influencers content, with financial and business advice from huge names including President Barack Obama, former General Electric (GE) CEO Jack Welch, Microsoft (MSFT) founder Bill Gates and a host of other popular names — both on Wall Street and Main Street.

Jack Welch has some 1 million followers, for example, and one article on how to think like a leader got 350,000 pageviews. Pretty impressive!

This is a valuable alternative to the typical model of business news, as run by Yahoo Finance. It’s also a powerful option instead of news aggregators like AOL (AOL) property Huffington Post that rely on, frankly, rather untalented writers to work for free.

It could be a nice revenue stream for LinkedIn stock as a result. I mean, would you rather get your business or stock market commentary from some middling CPA with a self-published book … or a guy who managed a $100 billion business?

LinkedIn stock continues to be driven by the job focus, of course, and it’s not like content is going to eclipse that segment of the business anytime soon. LinkedIn stock saw its earnings surge in recruitment products revenue that helped power results. The subscription-based services for both businesses and job-seekers is a great way to add additional revenue.

But on the heels of a nice beat from Facebook (FB) and a firming up in share prices, it’s increasingly clear that social media is not a fad but in fact a destination — for content, for sales, for everything.

True, display advertising is a tough game in a mobile age. Just ask Yahoo or Google (GOOG) about declining cost-per-click metrics.

But going forward, it remains clear that people are relying on connections in social media and LinkedIn stock to get jobs in the new economy — and LinkedIn might be the right place to connect job seekers and ambitious professionals with content related to polishing up their resumes and building their career.

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Jeff Reeves is the editor of InvestorPlace.com and the author of The Frugal Investor’s Guide to Finding Great Stocks. Write him at editor@investorplace.com or follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP.  As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the stocks named here.

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