Until recently, LinkedIn’s publishing platform was only open to an exclusive network of about 500 “influencers” worldwide including thought leaders such as Richard Branson, President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Arianna Huffington. Publishers such as USA Today, Time Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal were also able to share their content. In February, 2014 LinkedIn shook things up when they announced the opening of their publishing platform to all users.

The company stated that there would be a staged roll-out, initially available for about 25,000 English-language users of LinkedIn. In order to gain access to the platform before the rest of the world, individuals must apply here through their personal profile.

This is great news!

As PR practitioners, we are always looking for thought leadership opportunities for our clients. According to Ryan Roslansky, Head of Content Products at LinkedIn, influencer posts see an average of over 20,000 views on the site, 250 likes, and 80 comments. Though LinkedIn has no plans to add to that exclusive network of 500, the changes mean that any user with great, thought-provoking content could potentially get just as many followers, earning a top spot. The change will give users a reason to return to the site more frequently to share and post content, not just when job hunting.

You know that client who loves to blog about their industry? Convincing them to share their original content on LinkedIn could expose them to completely new audiences and followers. The caveat is that the client will either need to post directly through their personal LinkedIn profile or feel comfortable enough to share access with their PR firm. Once posted to LinkedIn, the content can be cross promoted across other social networks. And let’s not forget about the SEO benefits of LinkedIn. Since Google already views LinkedIn as a highly credible source, content posted to LinkedIn is likely to rank higher than a personal or company website (if relevant).

I was just granted access to the publishing platform and I am seeing some great early results. Has anyone else experimented with it yet? Will you recommend it to your clients?