20130723-185331.jpg LinkedIn announced today the introduction of ‘Sponsored Updates,’ allowing publishers to pay to get their media seen ala the sponsored updates on Facebook.

From LinkedIn’s Vice President of Product Management, David Hahn:

Marketers are increasingly leveraging content to inform, educate, and inspire their current and prospective customers. But the high quality content they’ve produced – slideshows, articles, videos, and whitepapers – does not always achieve enough reach and engagement on their own channels. With Sponsored Updates, marketers will be able to distribute this content directly to relevant professionals in a place their customers and prospects are already consuming professionally relevant content. Marketers can target Sponsored Updates to any segment of our premium audience based on professional profile data across more than 225 million members.

The Sponsored Updates will be run on user LinkedIn newsfeeds on desktops, smartphones and tablet devices. They’ll be clearly marked “sponsored,” and users will have the option to “Follow” the sponsoring company as well as “Like,” “Comment” and “Share” the sponsored posts with their network.

Sponsored Updates are right now limited to LinkedIn customers with an account representative, but will be available to any company with a LinkedIn Company Page by the end of this month.

For law firms, sponsored updates represent an opportunity to buy exposure for white papers and more seminal articles, videos or presentations.

I don’t see sponsored updates as an opportunity for law firms to buy coverage for every blog post, alert, article, or presentation. Repeatedly “pushing” that sort of content at people, as opposed to them seeing it because it is shared or because they are a subscriber to your blog, may turn your audience off. Your audience will generally find you and your content if what you are offering is of value.

Law firms do have some strong pieces of intellectual capital. Sponsored updates in LinkedIn and the upcoming adds displayed in Flipboard, which click through to content, represent golden opportunities for lawyers and law firms to reach segmented audiences — when used right.