What do you have in common with Richard Branson and President Barack Obama? Soon you’ll all be blogging and posting content on LinkedIn’s publishing platform!

That’s the idea, anyway. Since the late 2012, when LinkedIn introduced its publishing platform (which you might know as LinkedIn Influencers, LinkedIn Today, or Pulse), regular users like you and me have been able to glean wisdom from a collection of several hundred hand-picked thought leaders. Through the content hub we could find insights and long-form content that stood out from the links and status updates the rest of us could post.

But all that began to change last week, when LinkedIn announced that it would be giving publishing rights to everyone over the next few months. It’s part of the networking site’s promise that, as Ryan Roslansky says, “…The time you spend on LinkedIn will make you better at your job today.” In order to live up to this assertion, LinkedIn’s leaders felt that the field should be wide open, because the knowledge-base on the network extends so far beyond just the hand-picked group of “influencers” publishing today.

It will be a phased rollout, with the first 25,000 members gaining the ability to share long form content just last Wednesday. The announcement says that the feature will extend to more and more members over the coming weeks and months, but if you’re an inherently impatient person like I am, you can go ahead and apply to get early access. I filled out this simple form with my contact details and two linked to my past written content. I received the following in return so far, so keep your fingers crossed for me, guys.

So why is this exciting? Well, if you’ve read any of the various content marketing posts over the past couple of weeks (like this onethis one, or this one), then you know how important it is to get your name, your brand, and your content out on as many platforms as is reasonable for your business. But it’s not just quantity that counts – it’s also quality. And when it comes to platforms known for their relevance and professionalism, it doesn’t get much better than LinkedIn.

Still trying to get psyched for LinkedIn publishing? Here are some really big numbers that might help:

ia LinkedIn

About the Author: Sarah Matista is the resident blogger at Webs, where she also manages marketing for Pagemodo – a suite of social marketing tools. Loves marketing, small businesses, and whales. Get more from Sarah on the Webs Blog and Google+.

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