Telling Stories with Jason Miller of LinkedIn, Part I

In part one of this interview with senior content marketing manager of LinkedIn, we find out how the network appeals to global professionals, the five content food groups and how to roll a big rock.

The term badass gets thrown around a lot. But, Jason Miller personifies it. It’s not just like, oh, ya, that Jason Miller, he’s super cool. No, Jason Miller truly dominates. In his role as senior content marketing manager at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, he churns out superior content that resonates with a global audience. Beyond his skill set, he has incredible energy and passion for what he does, and that energy is contagious.

Trust us on this one, Jason Miller is a badass.

We sat down with him at Digital Summit Phoenix to talk content curation and how to tell the right story for the only professional social network.

Boy, did we learn a lot.

jason miler

Tell us about your role at LinkedIn and how you see the network’s continued evolution as the only professional social network?

People spend time on Facebook, but they invest time on LinkedIn. When people are on LinkedIn, they want to be inspired, they are there to catch up with what’s going on with their network, in a different mindset than when they are on Facebook—it’s a professional mindset. With that in mind, we opened up a publishing platform on LinkedIn, so now people can tell their stories with long-form content, attached to your profile and shared with your network. A lot of people think of LinkedIn as your online resume, but it is more like your online identity; it’s the place where you can brag a little bit.

jason miller linkedin

I started on marketing solutions team specifically, and realized there was a story out there about the content marketer on LinkedIn that wasn’t being told. My job at LinkedIn initially was to tell the story of the marketer on LinkedIn, specifically the content marketer, and now we’re moving to the B2B marketer—telling the whole full-funneled story.

People consume content differently on LinkedIn. How do you promote content on outside networks knowing that LinkedIn is truly the only professional network? How do you amplify that content?

At the end of the day, I lead the content team for LMS. Our job is to answer the questions and pain points of marketers. I market to marketers, so any channel I can get to marketers at—guest blogging, twitter, influencer outreach, email, etc.—anything works. We don’t frame it any differently, we produce a wide range of content.

If you read in my book, “Welcome to the Funnel,” there are the blogging food groups that represent how to structure and amplify our content.

We don’t do this everyday, but it is a formula that works:

  • Monday – Raisin bran content: Easy to dish out, ease them into your content.
  • Tuesday – Spinach: More to chew on, tough to consume, more thought leadership.
  • Wednesday – Roast: A substantial post, long form content, long-tail keyword, lots of links, own the conversation, you’re going to chew for longer.
  • Thursday – Tabasco: Light a fire, take a stance, get people talking.
  • Friday – Chocolate cake content: Fun, send them into the weekend with a smile so they come back with a smile.

Any type of content that is for the professional, that inspires them, makes them better at their job, makes them more creative, that’s what we aim for. Often, people forget that content marketing is also entertaining, even on LinkedIn. You have to find the balance between the professional and having fun with the professional.

Tell us about the differences when running a global campaign versus a locally targeted campaign?

We create these things called ‘big rocks’—a huge substantial piece of content, the last one of which was the Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn, and we make sure to keep a global mindset in mind. We don’t put a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge or the Statue of Liberty on there because then it won’t resonate with a global audience. And we write the content very strategically, not as an instruction manual. Because what happens if you get an instruction manual? You throw it in the trash and go to YouTube.

We don’t talk about LinkedIn much and we put placeholders in different chapters for expert interviews with thought leaders for third-party validation. We also put in case studies, but only the very tip of them, because we don’t want to bore the sh*T out of people with a case study. So we write the entire 50-page ebook and the better that the content is, the better you’re going to be at this. Then we have the core, the skeleton, with the U.S. version including U.S. influencers and U.S. based case studies. We then swap those out with thought leaders and case studies from other countries. Swap out the S’s for Z’s and the O’s for OU’s and you have a global piece of content.

jason miller linkedin

The one thing that I learned quickly at Marketo and I brought it to LinkedIn, is that when you go global and you say repurposed content, it sounds like hand-me-down content. The GO’s already feel disconnected from a lot of companies in the U.S., so when we create these big rock pieces of content, it is important to make them feel like they are part of the process the whole way through. We send over every draft and get their input on everything and yes, it gets tedious but the more you do it the more trust you earn. The worst thing you can do is just say: go localize this. If you’re constantly creating content, this can become a problem, but we’re only doing this for that one big piece of content, so it works. Doug Kessler from the Velocity Group says, “one home run per quarter.”

So, that’s what we do. We aim for one big rock and then we slice it into 50 other pieces, ungated little tentacles leading back to our ebook. It’s a book you could buy on Amazon but we give it away for free—or, for an email address.

jason miller linkedin

Stay tuned for part two of this interview with Miller, where we’ll discuss SEO, repurposed content and the rolling thunder approach to content amplification.

Tags: digital summit phoenix, jason miller, linkedin

Category: Strategy
Jaclyn Freedman

About Jaclyn

Community manager, digital marketing enthusiast, rescue dog lover, oversharing blogger, on a quest to see the world.