Before last year, LinkedIn's publishing platform was only open to invited influencers, but LinkedIn recently opened their platform up to anyone who wanted to apply.
Now, just about anyone can publish on LinkedIn and get tons of exposure with just a short article.
As a member of the LinkedIn publishing group, I've seen a diversity of experiences about blogging for LinkedIn.
Some people have created articles that sent them tons of traffic and opened up new opportunities, while others have not had as much luck.
Over the past week, I've been studying the top posts that got featured on LinkedIn publishing, trying to figure out what makes a post on LinkedIn successful.
These posts have generated thousands of views and sometimes over 2,000 social shares in just a day.
And some of them were written by first time contributors with small followings and less than 500 connections.
So what does it take to do well on LinkedIn?
I’ve analyzed 100 top LinkedIn posts over a 10 day period and here are some observations and statistics that might help you make your next LinkedIn post a hit.
1. What Topics Work the Best?
On my first LinkedIn post, I wrote about guest blogging news, which was a hot topic in the SEO community at the time.
The post hardly got any traffic and didn't do too well on LinkedIn.
After studying which posts appear on the Pulse, i.e., LinkedIn's top user contributed articles, I found that most of the articles were about career, business or self improvement topics.
My most endorsed skills are in digital marketing and I am also an active member of several SEO, social media and blogging groups on LinkedIn.
However, LinkedIn doesn't appear to be targeting my niche interests with their publishing platform. Instead, it appears that articles that appeal to the general LinkedIn population are mostly likely to do well.
Career and job hunting topics were the most popular by a significant margin, making up 42.5% of the posts in this study.
Self improvement was second with about 15% and business with 10%. Other topics include hiring & management, networking, sales & marketing, technology and personal blog posts.
Action Step: Pick Topics that are Popular with LinkedIn’s Audience
- If you are writing on LinkedIn for the first time, consider writing about careers, business or self improvement. Those topics have done well and are more likely to get more views and comments than niche specific topics as they appeal to a broader audience.
- By the way, if you don't want to write about those topics, then take a look at the other content channels. Some of these channels have thousands of followers, so getting featured here could get you more targeted traffic. You can get to channels by clicking on any Pulse article and then clicking on the link next to "Featured on": Then look at "Other channels" on the left column. The design channel for example has over 200,000 followers.
2. Do I Need Images?
A full 86% of posts that got featured on the Pulse had at least one image in them, although most of the images were either stock photos or images that were copied from the web. A couple of people did their own illustrations or used personal photos instead of stock photos.
Studies done on blogging and other social media channels have shown that images can increase engagement and sharing on a blog post. Although I can't say for sure that adding an image will improve your results, it seems to be a common practice among top LinkedIn publishers.
Action Step: Add Images
- Although you don't have to have an image on your LinkedIn post, most top publishers do at least take the time to add a stock photo. Spend a little time finding an image for your post, even if it’s just a stock photo.
3. Will It Work for First Time Publishers?
36% of posts in this study were from influencers. What can you expect as a first time publisher on LinkedIn?
Interestingly enough, 14 out of the 80 posts that I looked at were from first time publishers, meaning that their very first post got featured on the Pulse. So even a new publisher can do well and get lots of exposure with even their first blog post on LinkedIn.
Action Step: Try It Out, Even If You’re New
- Just because you haven't published on LinkedIn yet or aren't an influencer, doesn't mean that you can't do well. In fact, 17.5% of the posts in this study were from first time publishers. So if you're thinking of publishing on LinkedIn, go ahead and give it a shot.
4. How Many Social Shares Can I Get?
When you publish on LinkedIn, your post has social sharing icons that make it easy for people to share your post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus. Many bloggers struggle to get social shares for their blog posts. How many shares do LinkedIn posts get?
Only 4 of the 80 posts that got featured on the Pulse got less than 500 social shares. 65 of the 80 posts got over 1,000 total social shares in just a day or two. Being featured on LinkedIn's daily top posts can create some nice exposure for yourself and your brand.
This article about quitting Facebook got over 20,000 social shares.
(Note to self: Quit Facebook and write an article about it)
Action Step: Write a Quality Article to Maximize Social Shares
- Write a quality article that people will want to share. If your post does well enough to make it into the top posts of the day, LinkedIn could send you quite a bit of traffic.
5. How Long Should My Post Be?
LinkedIn recommends writing short posts and publishing frequently to get the best results from its platform.
However, many studies have shown that longer content generally does better as far as getting more links and social shares. So what really works for LinkedIn publishing?
Out of the 80 posts I analyzed, 17 were shorter than 500 words (21%) and 59 (74%) were under 1000 words. Although most posts were relatively short, there were a few long posts that did well also.
There was some definitely variation in post length, with posts ranging from around 200 words to over 7,400 words for the longest post. Overall, it does appears that short posts can do well on LinkedIn.
Here's an example of a post from a non-influencer that was around 200 words and got over 20,000 views:
Action Step: Try a Short Article First
- Start testing with shorter posts, but also try longer posts as well. Pay attention to what works for your followers and your writing style.
To sum it up, even if you haven't published on LinkedIn yet, it's possible to write short articles that get lots of exposure and traffic to you and your business.
Have you tried out LinkedIn's publishing platform yet?
By the way, if you're interested in learning more about how to get the most out of LinkedIn publishing, download my free 16 page ebook here and learn: How I Got Accepted Quickly into the Publisher, How to Succeed Even if You Don't Have a Large Following, More Helpful Numbers and Statistics from My Study