The Case For Publishing Content On LinkedIn

It works. That’s it, that’s the case. Between this article and the two that will follow over the next two weeks, I will outline how I use published content on LinkedIn and just how successful it can be. I hope that these articles will contribute some ideas that will help you with your own content publishing on LinkedIn.

I had a look at my last two weeks on LinkedIn, (I wrote these three articles over the weekend of May 5 & 6) and here are some numbers for you.

April 24 article 640 views, 154 engagements

April 25 post 8,800 views, 73 engagements

April 26 post 11,700 views, 88 engagements

May 1 article 540 views, 80 engagements

May 2 post 5,600 views, 76 engagements

May 3 post 18,400 views, 153 engagements

These are only the articles and posts I wrote myself, this does not include any sharing or commenting on other people’s posts.

I define a post or article’s engagement number  as likes + shares + comments.

Aside from that direct engagement, over the two week period I gained around 70 new followers (I have just under 2,000 followers now) and 300 people viewed my profile. Most of the followers likely came from seeing my writing, though a lot of the profile views could have come from people seeing me sharing or commenting on other people’s articles.

And a short sidebar on profile viewers: 75% of my profile views come from people seeing me being active on LinkedIn, either through my own writing or commenting on someone else’s. In the case of this two week period, that’s 225 people. Meanwhile, over the same two week period, 9 people found me via search on LinkedIn. Being active – publishing, posting, and commenting – is the best SEO there is on LinkedIn.

So in total, over the two weeks I received something on the order of 45,000 views and just over 1,000 people engaged with me and my content.

Now a lot of you may be going, “I publish and get six Likes, how does he get those numbers?”. Well, I can list a lot of the contributing factors that help:

  • I have been doing this for a long time. I have published an article on LinkedIn pretty well every week since I was given publishing rights by LinkedIn several years ago. I try and publish a post every Thursday and sometimes I will also publish a post on Wednesday. When I started, the engagement I received sucked. But I kept at it, and gradually “found” my audience and figured out what they needed help with and wanted to read.
  • I publish my articles on the same day at the same time every week. I publish an article almost every Tuesday around 8am eastern time. LinkedIn won’t notify all my connections and followers when I publish, so I make it easy for them by publishing on the same day and time every week. I have discovered about the only way to beat the LinkedIn algo’s is to work around them.
  • I have a big network, almost 5,000 connections and 2,000 more followers. This is a virtuous cycle – I publish and people find and want to connect with me. This leads to wider distribution of my publishing which leads to more people finding me and so on.
  • I have my own niche –  I don’t talk about how to use specific features of Linkedin as much as I try to get people to think about how they use LinkedIn. When I finish an article, what I hope my readers are going to think is, “Hmm, I hadn’t thought of it that way.”
  • I don’t get hung up on the length of my articles and posts. I write for however long – or short – it takes me to express the idea I want to get across. That could by 1200 words or it could be 200.
  • When people comment or share my content I try and thank as many of them as I can. If people are going to take five minutes to read and comment on something I have written, which is also going to help further the distribution of that content, the least I can do is say thanks.

Note that all of these things aren’t specific to me, that is, anyone can do them. There is no secret sauce, these are just kind of my own best practices, what I have developed over time.

What I have described here is time consuming. An article will typically take me two hours to write. Posts are easy – ten or fifteen minutes each. Interacting with people that interact with my content can take a couple of hours spread over Tuesday to Friday every week. That’s maybe five hours a week. Big commitment. Why could be worth that amount of time?

Easy: those 1,000 people that engaged. Buried in there are future connections, future customers, and people that can introduce me to future customers. My articles next week and the week after that (Tuesdays around 8am, remember?) will be about how I parse those thousand people, how I reach out to them and the results I get.

Publishing articles and posts on LinkedIn increases my reach, helps establish my credibility as an expert on my subject matter, and brings me sales leads. That makes it about the best possible investment of my time on LinkedIn.

How To Detect If Someone Is Home On LinkedIn

If you are going to use LinkedIn for outreach, it is probably a good idea to know if the person you are reaching out to will be there to answer.

I have talked umpteen times about how something like 75% of LinkedIn users check in less than once a month. If you are expecting a quick response to an outreach message from these people, don’t get your hopes up.   

But if that is the case, how do you figure out who is likely to be in the magic 25% that does use LinkedIn once a month or more? I have found that a reliable indicator is their LinkedIn activity.

I used to go by number of connections, the idea being that the more connections someone has, the more time they have invested in LinkedIn and the more likely it is that they use LinkedIn often. But after some experimentation, I have decided that activity is a better indicator.  

What do I mean by activity? When someone has been active publishing, posting, sharing, commenting or liking on LinkedIn, it shows on their profile, and prominently too, above their experience sections. You can learn a lot from looking at this activity – in particular, in their activity feed, look for the little date stamps right under their name and headline. Reviewing the date stamps will give you an idea of how often someone is using LinkedIn and what they are doing when they do use LinkedIn. I look for the type of activity too – publishing and posting tends to be best, followed by commenting.  

In my experience, the more active someone is on LinkedIn, the more likely they will be to respond to a message from a stranger. However, that doesn’t let you off the hook for the quality of your outreach message. It has to have the usual best practice ingredients – it needs to be personalized so it is obvious it is not a templated message, it has to address something of concern to the other person, it has to establish your credibility, and needs a call to  action.

So go back and have a look at those outreach messages that got no response. Were those people active on LinkedIn, or not home?  

What Can You Do About LinkedIn Connections That Don’t Respond?

You know the drill: you connect with someone on LinkedIn, someone you really  feel you are in a position to help professionally and that can help you. You send them a welcome message and…silence. Sometimes they even asked you to connect and sent you a personalized note, you accepted, sent them a message and…silence.

What, if anything can you do about it? Here are five options at your disposal.

One strategy is to just let them be, and see if, over time, they come out of their cone of silence. But let’s be honest, while patience is a virtue, you are not feeling really patient.

Another approach would be to just keep sending them messages. But if someone didn’t respond to your initial post-connection outreach, what makes you think that will change if you keep trying? There’s a fine line between appearing persistent and appearing pathetic.

But if repeated messaging is a low probability strategy what can you do to get their attention?

A third possibility is to post content on LinkedIn, either updates, articles or both. You may get their attention from them seeing your content in their homepage feed. That is one of the privileges of being connected. Your content goes into their feed. They may of may not see it, but that’s a lot better than almost zero percent chance a non-connection has.

Seeing your content can build your credibility with them, which is what you need. Their unresponsiveness so far is a clue you don’t have much credibility right now.

Another method I use is to share content specifically with one person. If you click “share” on a piece of content, one of the options is “send as message” to one or more of your connections. Sharing a piece of content tailored to their work with  (what I hope is) an insightful comment is a way I have found that will get a response and lead to conversations.

Lastly, you can always get a second opinion. The odds are reasonable that you share this new inscrutable connection with one or more of your existing connections. Contact those connections and ask for guidance or their opinions as to what would appeal to this person.

This may seem like a lot of work to go to to just try and open up a conversation with a new connection, but these days many people connect easily but don’t develop relationships as easily. It is your job to establish your credibility and make this person see that you are someone they want to talk to.

You may think that connecting with someone opens the door, but it is best to be prepared for opening the door and finding…another door.