Last updated on April 2, 2017
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.
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.
2) Make your posts on LinkedIn visual! Add 8 images.
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.
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
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:
Don’t write Question Posts—LinkedIn posts where the headline poses a question perform poorly.
Do write How posts—These posts perform best across the board in terms of LinkedIn Publishing metrics.
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.
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.
Using headings (H1, H2, H3 tags, etc.) to break your post into easily digestible (and skimmable) sections will help your post perform.
6) People like to read long-form content on LinkedIn—1,900 to 2,000 words long
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
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.
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
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)
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.
For the data nerds reading:
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.
— Paul Shapiro (@fighto) August 28, 2014
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.
Again, just for us data nerds:
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.
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
In order to get the maximum number of post views…
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.
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.