We Analyzed the 3,000 Most Successful LinkedIn Publishing Posts

September 9, 2014 - Get free updates of new posts here

This is a post by Paul Shapiro. Make sure you check out his blog, Search Wilderness and follow him on Twitter.

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LinkedIn has opened the floodgates to a world of content with their new publishing platform and it’s an amazing way to expose your writing to a highly-professional network of readers.

Top influencers are already publishing on LinkedIn, so people are seeking out content on the platform to read. This cannot be said about your typical WordPress blog.

Despite its awesome content marketing potential, The LinkedIn Publishing Platform is still new and understanding what makes a post on the platform perform well is relatively unknown.

(Read to the end to access bonus tips for LinkedIn Publishing Posts)

Therefore, it is imperative to understand what type of content performs best, and how to replicate that magic formula for LinkedIn content success in your subsequent posts.

There are already a number of posts on OkDork about viral content, effective headlines, and how to create great content that drives traffic.

But so far there hasn’t been a guide to what kind of posts perform best, specifically, on LinkedIn.

That’s why I took it upon myself to analyze ~3,000 of the most successful blog posts on the platform in an attempt garner some insights about what makes a long-form post on LinkedIn successful. (Click to tweet)

These posts received on average 42,505 views, 567 comments, and 138,841 likes.

Pull up a chair, a taco and let’s jump into the data!

1) Make your titles between 40 and 49 characters long

40-49 character length titles receive the greatest number of post views overall.

linkedin title lengths

2) Make your posts on LinkedIn visual! Add 8 images.

number of images in linkedin publishing posts 

You should have at least one image in your post.

Including 8 images when you publish on LinkedIn is associated with a greater number of LinkedIn shares, likes, comments, and views.

header-image

Make sure that 1 of those 8 images is at the top of the post. Many people include an image in the very beginning to act as a sort of header image.

3) Don’t add videos or other multimedia assets to your posts

number of multimedia embeds to include in linkedin posts

Images aren’t the only aesthetic you can add to your posts.

LinkedIn also allows you to include multimedia assets (YouTube, SlideShare, TED, Getty, Vimeo, or Lifestream are supported).

Unfortunately, the data indicates that the inclusion of multimedia assets are associated with fewer post views.

Be wary of adding them to your posts.

4) Use “How-to” and List-Style Headlines

A headline can make or break a LinkedIn blog post.

Before I discuss what the data says about headline usage on LinkedIn, I’d like to take the time to make a few general comments on the matter…

Headlines are often considered the most important part of a blog post. Websites like BuzzFeed and UpWorthy have built their business around crafting content with headlines that entice click-through. A good headline can make or break a post when you post on LinkedIn.

On my personal blog, I’m a fan of crafting a dozen or so headlines, and then split-testing them with KingSumo Headlines.

Now, you can’t do this as easily when you write a post on LinkedIn, but there are some alternative options if you’re really interested in crafting the best possible headline:

  • Poll your social media audience or email subscribers. You can easily set-up a poll with Title Tester or your survey program of choice. Simply list out several headline options and ask people to click the one they feel most compelled to read.
  • Buy some AdWords ads and use different ad copy to see which one is clicked more.
  • When you write a post, publish with one headline, and Tweet the post with varying headlines along with different unique Bitly links. Then edit your post headline to use the version that had the greatest click-through rate.
edit-post

 
Back to the LinkedIn data…

 
Don’t write Question Posts—LinkedIn posts where the headline poses a question perform poorly.  

performance of question posts on linkedin 

Do write How posts—These posts perform best across the board in terms of LinkedIn Publishing metrics.

performance of how posts on linkedin

Do write List posts—These posts perform well, getting slightly more post views, post likes, LinkedIn post comments, and LinkedIn Shares than non-list posts.

performance of listicle posts on linkedin

So…

Don’t write headlines like:

“Do Business Schools Breed Arrogance?”

Write them like:

“Business Schools Breed Arrogance”

“12 Reasons Business Schools Breed Arrogance”

“How Business Schools Breed Arrogance”

5) Divide your post into 5 headings in order to attract the greatest number of post views.

linkedin performance by number of skimable sections

Using headings (H1, H2, H3 tags, etc.) to break your post into easily digestible (and skimmable) sections will help your post perform.

headlines

6) People like to read long-form content on LinkedIn—1,900 to 2,000 words long

performance by word count on linkedin

On average, the longer the post, the better.

Post with large word counts perform well.

Posts between 1900 and 2000 words perform the best and gain the greatest number of post views, LinkedIn likes, LinkedIn comments, and LinkedIn Shares.

7) Don’t get your audience all fired up

linkedin performance by post sentiment

Posts written in language reflecting a positive sentiment tend to get the most LinkedIn shares and likes.

However, neutral language posts tend to see more comments and post views than both positive and negative sentiments.

For example, the following text is from a post written in a neutral tone:

“Aside from the military, real estate agents, especially those selling high-end homes, use drones to fly over their listed properties and capture aerial footage of the grounds and surroundings. Likewise, professional photographers use them to capture unique photographs that would be hard to get by walking…”

About the topic of drones, it is neither positive nor negative. It is neutral and all about stating the facts.

If the sentiment of your post is not inherently clear to you, there are a number of free sentiment analysis tools you can use to assess your writing, such as AlchemyAPI.

A positive sentiment score will be greater than 0, a neutral score will not have a score, and a negative sentiment will be less than 0.

using alchemyapi to detect sentiment

So, if you’re looking for feedback from your posts, or traffic, go all Switzerland with your writing and keep it neutral.

8) Make your content readable for an 11-year-old

flesch-kincaid reading ease of linkedin posts

For those of you that are unaware, the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease test is a means of assessing the comprehension difficult of English text. Readers Digest for example, is know to be written in a Flesch-Kincaid Readability Score of around 65, which is considered “Standard” difficult, easily read by 13-15 year olds and by 80% of adults. (Click to tweet)

flesch reading ease explanation table

Despite what conventional wisdom might say about the LinkedIn audience being more educated, an “Easy” (Flesch-Kincaid Readability Score 80-89) readability level attracts more post views, LinkedIn shares, and LinkedIn likes to the LinkedIn publisher post.

9) Promote your LinkedIn publisher post on other social networks!

If you are planning to use other social networks to promote your LinkedIn publisher post, which you should, Tweets have the highest correlation to LinkedIn success metrics.

correlation between tweets and linkedin post views

For the data nerds reading:

  • 0.81 Spearman R for Tweets to LinkedIn post views (R-Squared is 0.65)
  • 0.83 Spearman R for Tweets to LinkedIn Shares (R-Squared is 0.69)
  • 0.81 Spearman R for Tweets to LinkedIn Likes (R-Squared is 0.66)
  • 0.69 Spearman R for Tweets to LinkedIn post comments (R-Squared is 0.47)

Whenever you write a blog post, on any platform, it is important to promote it.

The LinkedIn publishing platform is no exception. I adhere to the 80/20 rule. Spend 20% of your time crafting content and 80% of your time promoting it. (Click to tweet)

A part of that 80% time should be spent branching out to other platforms for promoting your LinkedIn post, like Twitter—which the data says supports its success.

Tip: You can use a tool like Twitter Analytics or Tweriod to determine the best times to promote your posts.

10) LinkedIn likes get you views, shares, and comments

LinkedIn post likes are the common denominator between the other LinkedIn metrics. More post likes will also get you LinkedIn shares, post views, and comments according to correlation data.

correlation between linkedin likes and views

Again, just for us data nerds:

  • LinkedIn post views are most correlated with LinkedIn post likes (0.77 Correlation Coefficient)
  • LinkedIn Shares are most correlated with LinkedIn post likes (0.94 Correlation Coefficient)
  • LinkedIn post comments are most correlated with LinkedIn post likes (0.84 Correlation Coefficient)

Tip: Adding a call to action at the end (or beginning of your post), encouraging people to click the thumbs up and like the post is likely a very effective way of gaining more views and shares.

thumbs
If you enjoyed the post, please click the thumbs up icon above and let me know!

 
The effort required to like a post is less than adding a comment or even sharing it, but it can lead to both!

Bonus Tip (#11): Publish your LinkedIn posts on Thursday

Average Total Views by Day of Week

Summary

In order to get the maximum number of post views…

  • Your title should be be 40-49 characters long.
  • Include 8 images in your post.
  • Don’t embed multimedia such as YouTube videos into your blog post.
  • Write How-to posts. They perform the best. You may also write a List post, but they don’t perform nearly as well as How-to posts. Don’t write a question post.
  • Divide your post into 5 sections with headings (h1, h2, h3, etc.)
  • Write between 1,900 to 2,000 words.
  • Your writing should have a neutral tone.
  • Write your post so it can easily be understood by the masses, preferably with in an “Easy” readability score of 80-89 which is easily read by an 11-year-old.
  • Publish your post on Thursday for maximum number of views.
  • Cross-promote your LinkedIn posts on Twitter.
  • LinkedIn post likes are the common denominator between the other LinkedIn metrics. More post likes should also get you LinkedIn shares, post views, and comments according to correlation data. You can encourage people to like your post with a call to action.

A Final Word

The data is there to guide you. These are only suggestions.

Of course, there will be the occasional outlier, exception to the rule, or variable we didn’t account for.

And you may be that representative example.

If you try something here that doesn’t work, test it, or try something different. In the end, you should be doing what works.

Now You Try It

Go forth and dominate the LinkedIn publishing platform and let the data guide you!

Get featured in your channel of choice, get tons of post views, send referral traffic, use it for SEO, or get email list subscribers. The world is wide open.

In addition to the data, I put together a bonus section that shows you exactly how to make content on LinkedIn get more views. You can access the bonus content here.

If you have a question or thought, leave a comment below, and I’ll do my best to satiate your hunger for knowledge.

P.S. OkDork is giving away 10 copies of the new book Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success to the first 10 commenters. Leave a comment with the funniest title that describes your job.

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194 responses to “We Analyzed the 3,000 Most Successful LinkedIn Publishing Posts

  1. Paul Shapiro Reply

    Hey guys and gals, I’m the author of this article. Thanks for reading! If you have any comments or questions, let me know here. I’d be delighted to answer.

    1. Simon Torring Reply

      Hey Paul. Great insights.

      How did you scrape the word count for posts exactly? I always run into trouble with the scrapers including ‘words’ like post comments, effectively skewing the correlation between word count and popularity quite a lot since comments are normally strongly correlated with metrics like social shares and page views. Very keen to hear how you did.

        1. Don Coggan Reply

          What a terrific article Paul! So very helpful. I love the research that went into it. If we should be putting 80% of our effort into promotion, do you have any more detail on that aspect of it that you would like to share?

    2. Farnoosh Reply

      Paul, this was SO helpful, so well-written, so useful and I can tell so well-researched, just a big huge giant THANK YOU for doing this and going through all the work to write this post!

  2. Fabricio Reply

    I don’t know if it is funny, but as a Director of a social media agency, all my clients calls me “the Facebook guy”. I’ll be waiting for my Smartcuts’ copy!

    And now let me ready this article! 😛

  3. aikas Reply

    I always wanted to be a hackapreneur guy (marketing, biz dev, sales) but they always called my “the analyst guy” because I was stuck in Google Analytics looking for “one more” insight that inspired me to look up again! 🙂

  4. Drazen Reply

    My job title, as seen by colleagues, Pain in the a$$ marketing guy 😀 because I push them to the limits until everything is perfectly made and as it should be 🙂 Thanks for the book 🙂

    P.S. Great post!

  5. Raúl Reply

    I work in an agency, In my job, all my miserable fails while trying to create a product became huge wins because what I’ve learned is so relevant. It’s funny because a fail in products becomes a huge win by providing relevant services. I’ll be happy with my copy 🙂

  6. brian piercy Reply

    I’m a high-tech product manager & must deal with multiple dysfunctional (there – I said it) departments. Therefore my real job title is:

    COMPANY MARRIAGE COUNSELOR.

    (Thanks folks, I’ll be here all week. Be sure to tip your waitress.)

  7. Shannon Conheady Reply

    As founder of a startup, I constantly find myself asking “Oh repeatable, scalable business model, where art thou?, Why does though hide from me?” But most people call me CGO. Chief Ginger Officer!

  8. Reuben Swartz Reply

    Paul, this is some cool research, although I think it would benefit from digging down an extra level. A lot of the comparisons– say day of week, reading level, number of images, etc, don’t show that much difference. Without knowing the N value for each column, it’s hard to know which attributes cause more shares, which ones are more about how good the content happened to be, and which ones are just random statistical outliers from small sample sizes. It also seems possible that content views and shares of articles of equivalent “quality”, whatever that means, and with the same number of images, etc, published on the same day could have vastly different views depending on the target audience.

    Any chance of a follow up post that will delve into these questions?

    1. Paul Shapiro Reply

      Hey man. Thanks for reading! A lot of the graphs were generated with TIBCO Spotfire and what I would do is remove any outliers that it identified from the data first. See this quick example. I know it’s imperfect, and since it wasn’t a controlled experiment, there are some variables that cannot be accounted for but it should still give you some ounce of insights. There is some more data that I may dive into later on my personal blog. Best, Paul.

  9. Michael Rusk Reply

    Analyzing “what she said” into technical requirements for capturing punitive and defensive statistics for managers.

    The analysis is very enlightening. I’ll give it a try to see what happens.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Mike

  10. Gareth Chapman Reply

    A couple of years ago one of our team had top trump cards made of all of us, each with our own captch phrase title – mine was “I’ve never been convicted!” and it kinda stuck 😀

    1. Gareth Chapman Reply

      PS Paul….love the Linkedin Hares – I gotta keep my eyes out for these bad boy rabbits that love images:

      “Including 8 images when you publish on LinkedIn is associated with a greater number of LinkedIn hares, likes, comments, and views.”
      😀

  11. Frederic Reply

    I am the Business Monkey.
    People come to me with many questions.
    I take my wizard wand and repeat their talk making as much grimace as possible.

    Very soon they find their own answers, goals and strategy, are very grateful for my good hearings and lack of judgment.
    They even give me money for this !
    – This is what it takes to be a coach.

  12. TheAnand Reply

    As the “guy who is paid for accessing twitter/facebook during working hours”, I am delighted to read this article as I was looking forward to explore LinkedIn Publishing in the coming weeks!

  13. Dave Guilford Reply

    Wow. This is HUGE for me. I was approved to write for LinkedIn over two months ago and haven’t done so yet because I knew it wasn’t like any other blog platform. These guidelines are fantastic. I might even get something up tomorrow (it being Thursday and all)!

    Thanks a million for this!

  14. Dylan Reply

    Great post! I am always introduced by my friends as “The guy no one knows what he does”. I am the CEO and Chief Incogneto Officer of my own company.

    1. Paul Shapiro Reply

      Be careful with that particular graph. It simply says that posts published on Thursday on average have more post views, not that Thursday is busiest day. Thanks for reading. Obviously, there are exception to all of this. If you are a food photographer, adding more images into your posts will probably serve you better than fewer images 🙂

  15. Daniel Reply

    I program practical tools to reduce the hassle my colleagues have to go through every day.. I am.. The Facilinator 🙂 Looking forward to the book Smartcuts!

  16. Todd Reply

    I always wonder though how the length of a post creates “more readers” or does that mean people on the page longer? I’m guessing you don’t have the data for how long people are staying on the page(?)

    “Posts between 1900 and 2000 words perform the best and gain the greatest number of post views”

    The question that comes to mind is, how does the length of the post effect how many people click to read it? No one knows how long a post is before they open the page. Could it be that people dedicated to writing those long posts with great value are also putting in the time and thought to write headlines that are more likely to be clicked?

    I see how that can directly effect the Likes and Shares (#10), which in turn will lead to more people seeing it and clicking it (the loop that we as publishers love to see), but I have trouble connecting the number of page views and length to say that people want to read longer posts.

    The time on page would also show if people were actually reading them or just skimming the headlines (why more headlines perform better, and images) and then jumping to the conclusion themselves “this seems to have good info and I like the headlines and pictures, so I’ll Like/Share it”

    1. Paul Shapiro Reply

      > I always wonder though how the length of a post creates “more readers” or does that mean people on the page longer? I’m guessing you don’t have the data for how long people are staying on the page(?)

      Yeah, there’s no way to get time on page data. It’s not available from LinkedIn and the platform doesn’t allow for any JavaScript that you could write to track it.

      > “Posts between 1900 and 2000 words perform the best and gain the greatest number of post views”

      > The question that comes to mind is, how does the length of the post effect how many people click to read it? No one knows how long a post is before they open the page. Could it be that people dedicated to writing those long posts with great value are also putting in the time and thought to write headlines that are more likely to be clicked?

      > I see how that can directly effect the Likes and Shares (#10), which in turn will lead to more people seeing it and clicking it (the loop that we as publishers love to see), but I have trouble connecting the number of page views and length to say that people want to read longer posts.

      There certainly can be a correlation vs. causation thing going on with the people that tend to write more long form posts, but you really hit the nail on the head with the likes and shares. I would assume that’s where the word count would most likely play a role.

      > The time on page would also show if people were actually reading them or just skimming the headlines (why more headlines perform better, and images) and then jumping to the conclusion themselves “this seems to have good info and I like the headlines and pictures, so I’ll Like/Share it”

      Most people do skim. Myself included. 🙂

  17. Supreme Overlord of Disaster Response Management Reply

    Great write-up, Paul. I’m sharing this with my content marketing team ASAP. The practical examples with stats are really helpful and making it actionable and valid. Keep it coming!

  18. Milan Roy Reply

    I’m known as the “Finance Guy” (as compared to Fabricio’s Facebook Guy) but I guess I could be called worse as a part-time/outsourced CFO to some rapidly growing early-stage tech-enabled service companies. Look forward to the book and really enjoyed the post on LInkedIn posts and the Bonus Content as well. Took notes from both.

  19. geekeditor Reply

    Thanks for this insight.
    The point about the Flesch-Kinkaid readability score is especially useful. Once I read a post by a respected doctor on LinkedIn, which I thought was fantastic. I was surprised, though, by the number of people who disagreed with him because they had completely misunderstood the article. He had been sarcastic at certain moments and people just didn’t get it. Many people.
    I think it has to do with people reading very quickly… we have a lot of content to get through on a regular day. I remember having made a comment about the low level of reading comprehension…
    Whatever the reason, it is best to keep it simple.

  20. Sorin Amzu Reply

    Hey Paul (+Noah).

    Great documented post.

    Just 3 questions:

    1. HOW did you analyze 3.000 posts?
    2. Could we see one of these handy guides for Facebook?
    3. What’s your favorite taco?

    Thanks.

    1. Paul Shapiro Reply

      Hey Sorin, that was the fun part 🙂

      So, I scraped a ton of data using different tools. I used a combination of tools: URLProfiler, SEO Tools for Excel, DeepCrawl, a bunch of Regular Expressions, TIBCO Spotfire and Tabluea (the more heavy data was handled in Spotfire). If you think it would be helpful, I was thinking of throwing a guide together on my blog in the new future.

    1. Jason Croft Reply

      Also, I’ve been publishing for a couple of months now and have seen soooo much more engagement on my posts on LinkedIn than I ever have from writing on my blog.

  21. Jules Pieri Reply

    This post is chock a block full of good tips but I almost did not read it because the third paragraph made the aggravating mistake of using “it’s” as a possessive form of “it. ” Your credibility was seriously in question (for me) but I finished the piece and forgave you. Thanks for writing this. It’s solid even it its grammar is wobbly.

    1. Paul Shapiro Reply

      Thanks for making it all the way through. The grammar mistake is embarrassing, but I think the editor has since corrected thanks to you. I think the internet and mobile technology makes us stupid 🙂 I never used to make those type of mistakes. I seriously appreciate your readership.

  22. Boyd Wold Reply

    Job Title: Boyd? I think he is the guy that occupies the end office.
    Thanks for this article. Simple rules. I really enjoy when the experts distill things down like this. I’ll give these “rules” a try for 3-6 months and see how things go. This article unblocked me from using LinkedIn. That is the real value I got out of it. Thanks!

  23. Tom Minney Reply

    I am the “Frontier Markets Scout” because I recce the African frontier markets for news, trends, opportunities and enticing vistas and people. I mostly patrol the securities exchanges and private equity.

  24. Jeff Perkins Reply

    Another important point is that you need to get picked up in one of the Pulse categories. I’ve written 7 posts. Five were in Pulse and got great results. Two were not picked up in Pulse. Those posts got much lower engagement. I haven’t figured out how/why they put your post in Pulse and how they categorize it. If anyone has an idea, let me know.

  25. Tinashe Hove Reply

    Funniest alternative title I have been given as a recruitment consultant was after placing a Senior Mine Manager in an executive role in a new company. On the his first day I go to meet with him in order to give him a congratulatory, welcome to the company, first workday, gift. In front of everyone this guy says that he wanted to meet with us and say thank you to his “pimps”, his “corporate pimps”. #truestory . Great article by the way ! I look forward to my copy of Smartcuts :-).

  26. Joao Reis Reply

    How can I gather all these data about posts, to build foolproof posts before improved fools come by ? Is there an API to LinkedIn that allows this data collection ?

    1. Paul Shapiro Reply

      No, API. In fact LinkedIn makes it kind of a pain to scrape. You can’t use XPath for example.

      I used a combination of tools: URLProfiler, SEO Tools for Excel, DeepCrawl, a bunch of Regular Expressions, TIBCO Spotfire and Tabluea (the more heavy data was handled in Spotfire). If you think it would be helpful, I was thinking of throwing a guide together on my blog in the new future.

      1. Joao Reis Reply

        thank you so very much for pointing me the right direction. if you craft a blog post with a guide like this, it will have tons of attention for sure (btw, I’m following you and your blog, so I’ll know. the shadow knows, muahahahaha !)

      2. Joao Reis Reply

        thank you so very much for pointing me the right direction. if you craft a blog post with a guide like this, it will have tons of attention for sure (btw, I’m following you and your blog.)

  27. Howie Reply

    Really great article, I really enjoyed learning some new strategies to quickly implement. Do you know if there’s a way to track which types/lengths of articles convert people to actually begin following you on LinkedIn? I know I read a ton of stuff each day that Pulse recommends to me, but I almost never actually follow the author after reading, which makes it unlikely I’ll come across his/her thoughts again.

    1. Paul Shapiro Reply

      The only real way to investigate that would to begin experimenting yourself. I have data on followers, but there is no way to tie it to any of the publishing really. I suspect liking would have a lot to do with it. It’s correlated with everything. Do check out the bonus content if you haven’t already. Lots of great little tips in there as well.

  28. Eduard Reply

    When we are talking about the best time to post, the data is taken from actual date of successful postings. But is it actually good to post at the peak time? In the sense that while everyone posts at peak hours, a new post is very likely to get buried in the flood of other posts. How about posting just before the peak periods or after, so the post is either first of last in relation to other, making it stand out. Does that make sense?

    1. Paul Shapiro Reply

      Yeah, I have no insight into this, but your logic makes sense. You might be able to test it by including links into your post and tracking click over time. It’s not 100% perfect, but it might glean some insight.

  29. Collin Messer Reply

    This post is awesome! I haven’t really gotten in to posting much on LinkedIn. But, after skimming this I’m more inclined to check it out now. I think I’ll try a couple posts and see what kind of response I get.

    I’m a personal trainer, here’s my funny title- “The Guy You Pay to Watch You Workout at the Place You Pay to Workout”.

  30. Matthew Capala Reply

    AWESOME post Paul, well researched and full of useful insights. Interesting that based on data it seems long-form content performs best on Linkedin publishing, I agree based on the performance of my linkedin posts. However, Linkedin recently sent me a message with tips to get better performance by ‘posting short posts frequently’ – any comment on this? Thanks again for sharing great insights

    1. Paul Shapiro Reply

      Hmm. That’s completely interesting. It sounds like they are arguing for quantity versus quality, which might benefit them to some degree (if people are using the platform more frequently). Honestly, I would mix it up. It isn’t bad advice. More posts would give you more exposure, get you seen by more eye ball over time. That doesn’t really consider the performance of single post though. I bet if you frequently posted short posts and then threw in a an awesome long-form post in between it would light right up.

  31. Stas Reply

    I’m freelancing as a senior digital PM for various ad agencies. Now I work for a large tech consulting firm who took over an enormous global account from an ad agency I was freelancing for, and they recruited me to stay on the project. As pretty much the only guy on the new team who knew most of what’s going on on this job, I was called Master Kingpin by the new tech lead. Maybe I should update my LI title with this.

  32. tom Reply

    The 27 Year Old Early Retiree (I’m writing this from a chilly sleeping bag in a national park while all these other jobby commenters are typing in their khakis in cubicles on this fine Wednesday morning) and I have the AARP membership card to prove it!

  33. Teddy Burriss (@TLBurriss) Reply

    Great article Paul.

    I love LinkedIn articles and appreciate the guidance from this information. It will definitely improve my article value (for me and my readers).

    I hope we don’t see LinkedIn post value degrade because members don’t learn to use it properly.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Paul Shapiro Reply

      Thanks Teddy. I think people are using it more and more as they gain access to it. I fear the biggest problem is people becoming annoyed by the notifications from their connections posting too much. We’ll have to wait and see.

  34. Moogie Reply

    I’m community leader (official job title) for a health and weight loss website, when given the option to chose my own title for my contact I seriously considered The Fat Controller (taken from the children’s books about Thomas the Tank Engine). My boss loved it but we decided against for reasons of international understanding. Apparently in the USA the character has a different name, boo.
    I quite like tacos but to buck the trend I prefer enchiladas. Can you send me some Mexican food with the book? Our local Mexican eatery closed down years ago – double boo.

  35. Trish Mishler Reply

    Supreme Support Specialist vowing to serve all who call on me for assistance. Life is grand, put down the darn phone & make it happen!

  36. Timothy Miller Reply

    I wear a lot of hats, but my main titles are Chief Bottle-Scrubber and Top Triskaidekaphobe. I’ve also been called “idiot”, “dunderhead”, and just plain “unbelievable”. Also nice article, I enjoyed it!

  37. Simian Sensei Reply

    I think these guidleines are good to go everywhere

    Other than the length of the title (same result I saw in another analysis/platform,too), this is not surprising news
    Long articles with a lot of information, good structure (sub headings), images, and of the type How – To or List get shared.

    Good info , and I appreciate the effort that you went through but it is hardly groundbreaking results.

    Still good to know, tho.

    1. Paul Shapiro Reply

      Yeah man, of course it’s going to follow similar patterns of blogging content. There are different elements at play how ever, such as the way the platforms is inherently social and can spread differently. Noah was kean on it than I was, but the Likes are a really important connector between other metrics and a point of differentiation with other content advice. Also, some solid tips can be found in the bonus page.

  38. Sandi Reply

    Thanks Paul, that was a great article! Not only did you give advice specific to writing posts on LinkedIn but much of what you wrote pertains to writing posts in other forums also.
    Just a couple comments though. In your example headline you used a question title and it was, if I remember correctly, sixty-five characters long! I am sure that you were merely pointing out the capability of an outlier post to bend the rules though…
    Also, you gave no indication of how to go about determining the readability level of a post; I will look it up but this additional information would have been valuable to your readers.
    Thanks again for the information – I’ll be sure to share this with others!

    1. Paul Shapiro Reply

      I was pointing out the type of headline and wasn’t paying attention to character count in particular.

      Yeah, I probably should have included a resource about reading level. If you Google it, there’s a lot of free ones like https://readability-score.com/ BUT you can also check it in Microsoft Word believe it or not http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word-help/test-your-document-s-readability-HP010148506.aspx

      I guess most people don’t know that. I thought it was like including how to check word count. Thanks for pointing that out and thanks for reading!

  39. Bruno Reply

    Noah, thanks for introducing more cool guys to learn from, Paul great info here! I’m wondering is this US posts or is it worldwide, most of my companies are in spanish and I’ve seen some social media performs totally different. BTW my I’m the Web Design Bully

  40. Nate Desmond Reply

    This is really great stuff, thanks Paul!

    I’d love to see more details on your methodology and/or the raw data you analyzed. I know you removed outliers, but I’m really curious to dig into images data in particular. The chart shows 8 image posts perform *significantly* better than either 7 or 9 image posts which leads me to wonder about data anomalies – specifically the standard deviation and N values.

  41. Hitesh Reply

    By nature I am an engineer, like to make my hands dirty and would subconsciously avoid anything that is other than engineering. But surprisingly this thorough article hooked me up so well, I read it till the end 🙂
    I see how beautifully the author has used engineering skills to analyze data. It would be interesting to learn how to do the analysis itself, I am very eager to make my hands dirty with that, any suggestions?
    Thank you for reading my comment.

  42. Dorien Morin-van Dam Reply

    I published both on Monday and Thursday to LinkedIn last week and one post was seen over 600 times, the other ‘only’ 60 times. I was wondering what on earth I did differently. You article has given me some guidelines to write by! Thanks! Dorien

  43. Julie Erickson Reply

    great post that I immediately sent on to a client who wrote a long post for LinkedIn. Now he has guidelines for how to make it more readable. From my direct mail days, short paragraphs are key because it’s easier for people to skim. Breaking it into sections is also essential – if people can get the main point by reading the headlines, I know I’ve done a good job. I am Chief Coach and Cheerleader to my job search clients.

  44. Sid Reply

    Awesome post Paul. Quick question, does republishing existing content from our blog on LinkedIn work or do I need to create new content specifically for LinkedIn? It’s just that many of the posts on our blog would be perfect for LinkedIn based on your data so maybe just copying them to LinkedIn would get us new audiences.

    1. Paul Shapiro Reply

      Really great question Sid. I’d love to know myself. Obviously, this is a tactic that a lot of people have been doing. I’ve also seen people do a summary or a partial post and link to the rest on their blog. My gut feeling says that these posts are less likely to appear on Pulse and thusly less likely to be successful. These posts would also suffer from a duplicate content issue and probably cannibalize the original blog post in the search results (sorry, I’m an SEO by trade) That being said, you do gain access to your LinkedIn audience so there is some benefit. Cheers!

  45. Marcelino Reply

    Having a nano-tiny-micro cosmetic business in portugal, with IMF here controling my country finances, my title is “entrepreneuship in portugal, how to live 60 years in 1 month”

  46. Aditya Reply

    Interesting analysis. Should be fun to test the significance of each element tested separately.

    My job title- maker, destroyer, repeat offender (User acquisition consultant). Go figure the connection. 🙂

  47. Davide Reply

    Hi Noah,

    This was very interesting and insightful. Thanks. I didn’t know about the importance of LinkedIn’s publishing platform. If I can be honest, I find LinkedIn pretty boring.

    Of course, that is just me, and then it always depends in which industry you work in. If Paul says that is the way to go … and by the way, very nice post, as always. Thanks Noah and Paul.

    1. Paul Shapiro Reply

      Oh man, I get a kick out of seeing where everyone works. I get a little too curious on LinkedIn. Lol. That being said, I’m a Twitter guy and can understand how it might be perceived as boring. The publishing platform is different. It’s new and exciting. Thanks for dropping by and reading!

      1. Davide Reply

        You’re most welcome Paul. As I said, it was very interesting to read. Yes, it’s probably too early for me to appreciate the platform … but, perhaps, I will get used to it. Lol. Thanks again.

  48. Sharon Reply

    Nicely written. You follow your own standards.

    I’m tasked with figuring out social media marketing for a start-up non-profit… and doing sixty-eleven other things. This clear definition of what works really, really helps. Thanks.

  49. Indigo Reply

    Well I just followed your advice as best I could and published my first LinkedIn article here How I Learned to Live After 9/11/01… Wish me luck. If you read the article and like it, I would really appreciate your sharing or liking it on LinkedIn. It is about my experience of being in New York City for 9/11/01 and what I learned about life in the aftermath.

    1. Paul Shapiro Reply

      Good luck! Indigo, do me a favor and add a CTA asking people to like your post. Even include an image showing them how. This tactic works really well on Instagram, it is the smallest investment a reader can make, and it is correlated with greater views, shares, and comments.

      1. Indigo Reply

        Just added that. Thanks again. I’m also really glad to have discovered your blog. This is my first time here. I’m looking forward to diving into more of your material in the coming days.

  50. Tom Deburghgraeve Reply

    I’m surprised posts containing e.g. a Slideshare presentation (might) get fewer clicks. A summary of learnings or tips & tricks added to a blogpost seems like offering extra value to me.

    Anyway, interesting read.

    1. Paul Shapiro Reply

      To be honest, this one deserves some more testing. I didn’t differentiate between the types of embeds, but rather grouped them all together since they are included in posts via the same mechanism. It is possible that YouTube embeds do so horrible that it brings the average down but SlideShare embeds do okay. Do test, do tell!

  51. Andy Foote Reply

    Really nice post Paul, nice to see LinkedIn publisher guidance that may actually work.

    I’m currently trying to figure out why some long-form posts are destined for obscurity and others get boosted via inclusion in Pulse. That’s the only thing that people want to know, when all is said and done.

    My blog (www.linkedinsights.com) audience consistently peaks every Wednesday. I attribute this to folks reading my stuff on Hump day, at work.

    Curious to get your views on why LinkedIn recently took away social share stats on LinkedIn publisher?

    Also – you don’t seem to be a major LinkedIn publisher yourself (only 2 posts), wondered if that had anything to do with the golden rule of owning/controlling your own content?

    1. Paul Shapiro Reply

      The holy grail of Pulse!

      I will rehash a comment I left on the bonus page about Pulse: “It’s something worth investigating but didn’t really have the time to look into. It’s either a manual or algorithmic process. If it’s a manual process, it was seen by the right people. If it’s algorithmic, there could be a bunch of factors I can think of: initial viewing trends within a category (a lot of people within a category viewed within the first hour or something), initial viewing trends within your network, the language matched up with search queries at the right time, etc. The algorithmic possibilities are many, but I my intuition would tell me that it has less to do with the actual post language and structure, but rather some sort of engagement formula.”

      I assume LinkedIn took away other social media stats to bolster their own. Obviously, LinkedIn is more focused on LinkedIn.

      As far as my personal publishing on LinkedIn, my goal lies within my blog, so it makes less sense for me to personally publish on LinkedIn (but I have twice). My original idea was to publish this post on LinkedIn itself, and I think I will probably end up publishing some follow-up data there.

      Thanks for reading 🙂

  52. William Cosentino Reply

    Paul, big thumbs up to you for the very diligent and deep analysis and for your kindness to share such valuable information. I think alot of this can also apply to a blog post as well. I do post on LinkedIn and the ones that caught my attention was amount of characters in the headline & posing questions as a title. Brilliant piece of work here Paul!

    1. Paul Shapiro Reply

      Thanks Will! I’m certain that much of this applies to more traditional blogging. Do consider adding the call to action to like (and add an image gesturing to do so). I think a lot of people are passing that over.

  53. Ryan Biddulph Reply

    Hi Paul,

    I love the breakdown because I use many successful LinkedIn strategies on my blog, from posting long form content to crafting list style posts. Bigger numbers do well for me, especially double figure titles. I need to keep the numbers around 10 to 12 or so, as far as tips, or steps, for time purposes.

    Good note on images too. Folks seem to dig eye candy on each network. I’ll remember this for LinkedIn updates because I’ve been neglecting this aspect of LinkedIn updates recently.

    I just need to spend more time on the network.

    As for long form content I view posting thorough, in depth posts to LinkedIn is a win-win situation. You’ll get more eyeballs on your work and you’ll also hone your writing skills for your blog. Both seem uber beneficial to me.

    Thanks Paul, super smart finds here.

    I’ll tweet this in a bit.

    Have a fun weekend.

    Ryan

  54. Daria Shualy Reply

    And now that I read the post I can say a million thanks Paul. LinkedIn has always posed a challenge for me, so I mostly use Medium for blogging ( @darshu ). But now, armed with your magic tricks, I’ll give it another go!

  55. Reginald Reply

    Hey man,

    Before this, I am NOT really the LinkedIn type of guy. Seriously. After this reading this article, heck I think you have some great points and excellent techniques.

    I’m going to head over to LinkedIn and work some of these tips I learned from here. Saved on Pocket as well for future reading.

    Keep it up! Very epic guide!

  56. Mario Reply

    Great work! Would be interesting to run a multivariate analysis of your data set to isolate the value of each variable you looked at. I would be happy to help you with data if you would find that interesting.

  57. Sarah Harris Reply

    Great post Paul! I have a question and I’ve been looking around for an answer online, but I can’t find one so maybe you can help me. Can I republish posts from my blog to LinkedIn or should I only create original content for LinkedIn?

    1. Robert Reply

      I was actually wondering the same and also vice versa: Does it make sense to also publish everything on your personal blog after it was posted on LinkedIn?

    2. Paul Shapiro Reply

      Previous comment: “Obviously, this is a tactic that a lot of people have been doing. I’ve also seen people do a summary or a partial post and link to the rest on their blog. My gut feeling says that these posts are less likely to appear on Pulse and thusly less likely to be successful. These posts would also suffer from a duplicate content issue and probably cannibalize the original blog post in the search results (sorry, I’m an SEO by trade) That being said, you do gain access to your LinkedIn audience so there is some benefit. Cheers!”

  58. Caitlin Dodds Reply

    This is great & I’ve passed it on to my friends working with the LI publishing platform. The only one that surprised me was that readers liked LONGER articles better. Perhaps longer equates to more authoritative, although I’m surprised a busy reader would be interested in reading 2000 words over 700.

    1. Paul Shapiro Reply

      If you check out the longer posts that do well, they don’t actually FEEL long. They are very well written and sort of make you want to keep reading. Copy and paste some posts you come across into Word and look at word counts. You might be surprised 🙂

    2. Sharon MacLean Reply

      My magazine experience tells me when people are keen on a subject they want as much information as possible. 2,000 words is not a long read –but enough to educate with some authority.

  59. Robert Reply

    Great insights. Thanks! I tried to follow them as much as I could and published today, on Thursday as it said in the bonus tip:

  60. Dinesh Rai Reply

    Read this article and thought wow this information is useful. I’m glad I read the first comment to see my buddy Paul wrote this. Good work dude

  61. Mike Shields Reply

    I’m not truly sure how to physically publish a longform post as you describe here on Linked In in the first place. Is there a menu item I haven’t found yet, or do I have to be a paid member?

  62. Anthony Navarro Reply

    Holy Mother Of Tacos!

    I used this exact formula for my latest blog post and I shared the post on Facebook. It got me a flood of new subscribers and they keep coming in.

    I published it also on Linkedin which didn’t get any traction at all, but the formula for content was gold for my target niche.

    Thanks for sharing this Paul and Noah!!!

  63. Justin Reply

    Hey Noah, thanks for having Paul!
    Paul, thanks for publishing this extremely useful and actionable statistical data! I really like statistics and masses of data.
    Greetings, Justin

  64. Kevin Mallen Reply

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the great advice! I incorporated this into my recent article and your pointers definitely work. The one I see the most difference with so far is the “Please click the like icon above” line. It’s only been two days, but using this technique has given me an 8-1 view to like ratio where my next highest post got 50-1.

    take a look if you want! http://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141002061242-246848580-how-to-get-the-most-loyal-va-in-the-world?trk=prof-post

    Cheers,
    Kevin (Sydney, Australia)

  65. Wayne Hendry Reply

    Hi Paul. Firstly, thank you a billion times for this cornucopia of incredibly useful information. Secondly, if you don’t mind, I’m going to promote the hell out of this blog. Lastly, let me know if I can ever be of help. Have an awesome day!

  66. Simon Clothier Reply

    Paul, spot on. Intelligent. Data backed. Practical. Was just about to publish on LinkedIn, found this and have made a number of revisions to both form and content. before I hit the green for go button. Thanks

  67. Pamela Morton Reply

    Hi Paul,
    Many thanks for producing such excellent content that I am enjoying learning as a novice to social media. I was disappointed that I was unable to download your bonus data on account of my email address which was refused by your system. As a sole trader I only have the one email address? All good things! Pamela

  68. Doug Ales - Thomas & Betts Reply

    Excellent article with a great deal of actionable items. Thank you Paul Shapiro! I will start using many of these valuable techniques right away. I’d love to see a similar analysis about LinkedIn profiles (hint-hint) Did you notice I used your “Click-to-tweet?” One thing I love about click-to-tweet is you can include your twitter name in the tweet then use that to find engaging followers who read and promoted your article. Excellent!

  69. Margaret Murphy Reply

    Just discovered your amazing article after a long absence from active social media – clearly you are the social think tank. Thanks for the analytical rigor and generous sharing.

  70. Mai Reply

    Just want to say Thank you for such an organized, straight to the point read. I love to write…I love to talk alot too which helps! It’s been forever that me & the tech world have been bonded but for the first time I have decided to share. And so, before I jump in head first into anything I dig…and DIG; really lucky to have ran into your suggestions. Personally, I find them quite helpful with no desire to analyze any point. Thanks again!

  71. Lynne Mack Reply

    As Director of the PR and BS Dept from laid-back entrepreneurial boomer who found your site somehow by accident and found it thoroughly interesting, informative and enlightening, and will pass it onto her daughter who has inherited entrepreneurial traits from her parents.

  72. Steve Cameron Reply

    Great article – really helped clarify the picture for me – thanks!

    Do you know of any way to embed a response form into a pulse article – it appears you can add rich media but I don’t see an option to add a form. Probably not – but I thought I’d ask 😉

    1. Julie Reply

      I am using google forms. I think you could easily embed them with a link. I’ve done so. Just be careful when updating them as they aren’t automatically save every update. I also had a tiny bit of luck making them look decent.