How Are LinkedIn Articles Different From LinkedIn Posts? Which Is Better?

Warning: potentially snooze inducing content follows. Skip this article unless you are interested in publishing content on LinkedIn.  

You can publish articles on LinkedIn and you can publish posts on LinkedIn. So what’s the difference between the two? And does one get better results than the other? I decided to do a little investigating.

How do you write an Article versus a Post?

At the top center of your homepage is the little publishing box:

 

If you want to publish a post (which LinkedIn will also refer to as an update), you just start writing in the publishing box at the top of your homepage.

But if you click “write an article”  you are taken to LinkedIn publisher and you will see something like this, where you can format and write your article.

The major difference between Articles and Posts: how views are counted

 

You need to click on and open an article to have it counted as a view. LinkedIn even calls them “clicks” instead of “views” in a couple of places. The good news? All your article views are “legitimate.” Someone had to take a specific action to open your article.

Posts views are completely different. From the LinkedIn help section:

When you share an update, a “view” is counted when the update is loaded on the viewer’s screen. Viewers do not necessarily need to click or read the update to count as a view, but rather have the update loaded on their Homepage.

This also would imply that if you open your homepage and page down a few times, you have just “viewed” a half dozen or a dozen posts. This would go a long way to explaining how posts get so many more views than articles.

The easiest way of thinking about views is that an Article view signals a person’s intent to read your article, while a post view shows that the person had the opportunity to read your post.

By counting views differently, posts appear to get a much larger number of views than articles do. For example, my last six articles averaged just over 800 views each. My last four posts averaged over 8,000 views each.  

Posts: more views, but less engagement per view

So posts get a lot more views, in my case about ten times as many. Very good for the ego. But views are a relative indicator of how one post did versus another post, or one article did versus another article. Because LinkedIn doesn’t provide us with lists of our post or article viewers, you can’t do anything with views.

Engagement, on the other hand, you can.

On those six articles I cited above, I averaged 129 people engaging (like, share, or comment) with each one. One in every six people who viewed my articles chose to engage with them.

On the four posts I averaged 72 people engaging (like, share, or comment) with each one. Less than one in every hundred people who viewed my posts engaged with them.

The quality of engagement was also higher with my articles as a lower percentage of the engagement was “likes”.

I am sorry if this bursts the bubble for people who like bragging they got a ton views for their posts, but look at it this way: if you sent an email campaign to 8,000 people, would you measure your success as having had 8,000 people “see” your email?  Or would you measure your success on the engagement that came about from the email campaign?

So the pendulum just swung from “posts are better because they get more views” to “articles are better because they get more engagement and better engagement too.” But there are further nuances to the argument….

Other advantages of Articles over Posts

  • Articles have more formatting options, like a blog does – headings, numbered lists, quotes, embedded links and photos. The presentation is  better.
  • Statistics on articles go on forever. Statistics on posts appear to disappear on posts over a month old. I can still look at the statistics on articles that are a couple of years old (and as I have an article that is 18 months old that still gets 600 views a week, yes, that is important to me).
  • Notifications on articles also go on forever. If you are fortunate enough to have readers interested in your older articles, LinkedIn will let you know about likes and comments on those articles. I still get lots of likes and comments on that 18 month old article. Articles are the long tail gift that keeps on giving.

But Posts have advantages over Articles too

  • Articles tend to be 400 words or more. Posts can be one or two sentences and a photo. While just as much thought may go into coming up with an idea for one or the other, there is no arguing that writing a post is less time consuming than writing an article.
  • Posts do not have to be clicked to be opened, they are just there in your homepage feed. And because posts tend to be short, you can get the gist of a post pretty quickly.

The bottom line, from a writer’s point of view

Article views are one tenth Post views, but get a significantly higher level of engagement and quality of engagement. What makes me different from most writers on LinkedIn is that I systematically review every single person who engages  with my content, from both articles and posts, and I reach out to a lot of them. They become connections – fifteen or twenty of them a week. That means for me articles are better.  More engagement, more opportunities.

But I do use both. I write articles about topics that need more depth, like this one. I publish posts when the topic is more conducive to a conversation. But I don’t publish for views in either case. I publish for engagement. High quality engagement and lots of it. You should too.

The Return Of Who Shared Your LinkedIn Article Or LinkedIn Post

The background

I have a rough “hierarchy of engagement” for people that engage with me and my content on LinkedIn. These people are important to me – and if you publish on LinkedIn, they should be important to you too. In order of how likely it is to engage them in conversation, and possibly connect, the hierarchy goes like this:

  1. Followers
  2. Comments on posts or articles
  3. People who share posts or articles and add an introductory comment
  4. “Naked” shares, that is people who share with no comments
  5. Who viewed my profile
  6. Likes

You can identify your Followers and Who Viewed Your Profile types, and Likes and Comments can be easily seen in association with any given article or post you publish. But aside from the odd oblique notification that someone shared your post or article – for example, someone shared my post and I received a “Someone liked a post that mentions you” notification – we were out of luck with respect to who shared our content.

The return of who shared your article or post

Late yesterday I got a note from one of my connections, Thom h Boehm

“Did you notice that you can now see who shared your posts again? It is nice to have that feature back. I actually did not expect for it to return!”

(hat tip and thanks to Thom. Shameless plug follows: Thom’s a great writer and publisher of articles on LinkedIn. If you don’t follow Thom already, go check him out.)

I would have discovered this new feature myself today, but not in time to write this article. Today’s regularly scheduled article on a trick to increase your InMail response rate by 30% will be seen at this same time next week.

How it works

So after seeing Thom’s note, I went to have a look. And indeed your sharers are back. When you click on the statistics icon – where it says number of views for your post or number of clicks for your article:

You then see an addition to the statistics screen:

The number of times your post or article has been shared is there. Clicking on that will reveal a list of people who shared your post. Each entry on the list is clickable so that you can go to their re-share of your content and see what engagement they got. But the important thing is you can identify the people who shared your content so that you can engage with them – in my case I like to thank people who  shared my content, and often that will lead to a conversation and a connection.  

A couple of observations:

  • so far, no real Notifications that “XYZ and four others shared your article / post”
  • some, but not necessary all, of the people who shared your post or article will be shown. The article I referenced in the screenshot above has been shared 51 times to date. Upon clicking, a list of 25 people shows up. My guess is we are not shown the people who shared our posts and articles to individuals and to groups.

So why is this important?

Engaging with people that engage with you is one of the best ways to meet people, build your LinkedIn network, and uncover business opportunities. And it is something most LinkedIn users seem to ignore. I get around twenty new connections every week that started out as people who discovered me through my content on LinkedIn. I have been publishing on LinkedIn for three years and have a sizable network, so those are important contributing factors. But I also  have a specific repeatable process for identifying, tracking, responding to, and engaging with the people who have taken the time to engage with my content. And people who share my articles and posts are an important part of that group.  

Thom’s right. This is a welcome return.

Statistics For LinkedIn Articles And Posts Are Back! (Sort of…)

Last week I noticed that some of the statistics for published articles and post on LinkedIn had come back.

In addition to the total views, likes and comments, you can now see the top nine each of:

  • Which companies your viewers are from
  • The titles for viewers
  • The geographic areas your visitors are from
  • And how they found your article or post

But there are a couple of asterisks.

I am skeptical about some of the statistics. If one person comes back multiple times to comment, reply to comments, or re-read the comments thread, they appear to be counted as a “view” each time they return. I have had this happen recently on multiple articles: LinkedIn tells me that people from “XYZ company” viewed my article 17 times. It turns out XYZ company is a consultancy with one consultant.

And although this hasn’t happened to me, numerous people have reported view counts that go down instead of up. 400 views of an article as of yesterday, but only registering 380 this morning, that type of thing.

Another example can be seen in the screen cap I used for this post. The article was a general interest personal development one I shared, written by one of my connections. It had over 1600 views at that point. Now what are the odds that four of the top five companies for a general interest article would be pharma companies? Or that “Laboratory Scientist” would be the title of more viewers – by a mile – than any other?

Another oddity is in the “biggest audience” metric in the column at top right. More views from Boston than anywhere else. But how many more? I don’t know as there is no number. But LinkedIn will show me how many came from the second through ninth geographic areas. I wonder if LinkedIn was in a hurry when they decided to reinstate these stats?

And there are still no statistics on who shared your post – oddly the number of times your post or article was shared shows on the post itself, but is omitted from the statistics.

Question: If sharing isn’t that important, why does LinkedIn make a big deal of it in their social selling index? Then again, this wouldn’t be the first time LinkedIn has sent mixed signals.

So…good to see statistics back, but like many aspects of the new User Interface, still a few bugs to be ironed out, and a bit of work required on that whole sharing thing.