Distributing compelling long-form content on LinkedIn can be a powerful way to build your company’s brand, showcase products, demonstrate thought leadership, and boost your own career.
Marketing automation company HubSpot has also found that LinkedIn generated the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rates compared to Facebook and Twitter, where leads were almost three times higher to convert than Facebook or Twitter.
To perform this analysis, we collected one of the largest datasets of top performing long-form content across the LinkedIn Pulse network. This is what we found.
For Title Hacks, Lists, “You” or the 6 “W”s Work
It’s well understood by marketers and creatives alike that to win someone’s attention, a catchy title is key. But what goes into that title is not well understood. Most marketers creating content are going by their gut, or if they are more sophisticated, they might A/B test their title.
Our analysis of the top 250 LinkedIn long-form posts by views found that 28% of these posts contained the words, “Who”, “What”, “When”, Where”, “Why”, or “How” in their title. For example, “Why I Won’t Accept Your LinkedIn Invitation” or “Here’s Why Good Employees Quit”. In TV show “Jeopardy”-like fashion, these posts attempted to answer a specific question.
Personalized titles get attention. 27% of the top 250 contained the pronoun “You” or “Your”. This finding was also reflected in our analysis of the top 1,000 posts.
List posts also seem to work. 20% of the best performing long form content were Buzzfeed style lists (“Six Toxic Beliefs That Will Ruin Your Career” or “5 Things On Your Resume That Make You Sound Old”). Is there a magic number? The short answer seems to be no, although “5”, “10”, and “6” are the most frequently used in the top 1,000.
As a final thought on titles, while there is no magical formula for a great title, more than 60% of top performing articles employed at one of the strategies we’ve discussed.
Write about Psychology, Career Management, or Talent Management
Posts about career management – defined in this analysis as posts about non-specific career-related content (e.g., “5 Career Tips I Wish I Knew at 21” or “How Much Is an MBA Degree Really Worth”) – are in the single most popular LinkedIn post category. Within the top 250 LinkedIn long-form content pieces, these posts average about 200,000 views, 2,000 likes, and 600 comments. Workplace psychology, often dealing with issues around developing empathy, conflict resolution, personal productivity, and personal happiness – average approximately 240,000 views, 1,900 likes, and 500 comments.
Talent management (e.g., “The Way Most Companies Hire is Still Laughable”, “Six Steps to Effectively Develop Your People”) and leadership (e.g., “Are Leaders Born or Made? A True Story”, “The No. 1 Leadership Lesson I Learnt From My Wife”) are also top performing categories with an average of 170,000 views and 100,000 views respectively.
More than Half of the Best Performing Content is Written by Everyday People
In 2012 LinkedIn began experimenting with a new program to give their recently launched social news platform, LinkedIn Today (which later became Pulse), engaging business content. This program, dubbed “LinkedIn Influencers”, allowed users to follow any of roughly 300 business leaders, journalists, writers, and celebrities. It is an invite-only program with now more than 500 participating thought leaders publishing content today.
The data shows that while content written by influencers enjoyed about 20,000 more views than non-influencers, surprisingly, more than half of the top 250 posts were written by non-influencers. In fact, of the four pieces in our analysis with more than a million views, only one (#4) was written by an influencer.
This all just goes to show that if you’re not one of 500 lucky few with influencer status, you can still get attention on LinkedIn by creating things people genuinely want to read (and you have a catchy title and compelling image).
For more analysis and expert recommendations on how to improve your LinkedIn marketing, download our new report: How to Win More Customers with LinkedIn Marketing.