Are you being prompted by LinkedIn to contribute to their “Collaborative Articles?”
Do you see people with a “Top Voice” badge on their LinkedIn profile and wonder how they got all the fame and fortune?
Yeah, so I’ve been testing LinkedIn’s Collaborative articles for a while. And I’m…not impressed.
Plus, I just read some data that may mean Google isn’t super impressed either (but the articles are doing better than I thought they would.)
Here’s what I mean…
What are LinkedIn Collaborative articles?
(Fair disclosure, I’m a LinkedIn Learning Instructor, and my B2B SEO Writing class is amazing.)
LinkedIn Collaborative articles are AI-produced content — with a twist. Experts are invited to “contribute” to an article like, “How can your brand story create trust?”, and share their expertise and experience.
If you’re thinking, “Wait, isn’t expertise and experience what Google wants to see?” You’re right. Collaborative articles are the love child of AI-generated articles and experts like you…
…Well, that’s what LinkedIn hopes for, anyway.
LinkedIn is gambling that AI-generated articles with a sprinkling of expert insights could position for some searches.
And the thing is…they were right. According to this article, Collaborative Articles positioned top-ten for 78,000 keywords in August 2023, and drove 792.5K organic visits.
What’s in it for you if you contribute?
A sweet little badge that looks like this:
You will probably gain (some) new followers, and your answers may appear in your connection’s feed.
What did I see?
Well, a few new followers, definitely no new leads. Plus, I’ve had to correct the AI content (more on that later.)
In terms of a marketing play, I think this is great for LinkedIn…not so great for contributors.
Here’s what I don’t like about LinkedIn’s Collaborative Articles.
- Posting takes time — and again, I’ve seen zero financial return. I’d rather put that time into running a Live, commenting on people’s posts, and building engaging content.
- The “Top Voice” social proof badge is cool, but not a huge differentiator. I haven’t had anyone say, “Ooh, cool badge bro!” Plus, as one of their SEO writing instructors, I’m not sure why I had to provide comments on multiple articles before I was graced with the badge. But, whatever. ;)
- Some of the content is full of big errors. It’s obvious there’s no initial quality control before the AI articles fly, and LinkedIn hopes the experts jump in and point out the errors. For free.
- And some of the experts are…not so expert. I’d pay more attention (and feel more flattered,) if Collaborative Articles contained insights from carefully curated industry experts. Nope. It feels like whoever can find the link and comment is considered an expert.
- Most importantly — with our limited time and resources, ESPECIALLY in this market climate, why is LinkedIn asking for free content? Well, I know why. But we don’t have to give it to them.
But what about Google? Do the articles position?
It’s true that Collaborative Articles initially rocked the rankings. But according to the same article, overall positions have dropped by 33 percent.
Those drops don’t surprise me. I’m sure some Collaborative Articles provide amazing information and deserve to position. Others, I’m guessing, weren’t so great…and were the type of AI-generated content that doesn’t deserve top billing.
If LinkedIn hired multiple editors to vet and edit the content — plus, focused the content on experts-only — I think LinkedIn would have a game-changer.
But right now? Meh. Not so much.
Which, to me, shows how important people are to the writing process. AI can only do so much.
Should you try LinkedIn Collaborative articles anyway?
Sure, if you have time. Answer some questions. See if you can get a Top Voice badge. And let me know if you actually see business from contributing.
One thing is clear to me, though. The Collaborative Article business model is here to stay. It will be interesting to see how publishers incentivize people to provide free content/comments on AI-generated articles. Especially subject matter experts.
What do you think?