Is LinkedIn Throttling Back Our Content Distribution?

Is LinkedIn barring the door to wider content distribution? I don’t think so.

I have been hearing a lot lately from LinkedIn users complaining that they are not getting the same number of views that they used to get on their content, and that LinkedIn is throttling back on content distribution; the upshot being that LinkedIn is not as good a place as it used to be for publishing content and should we be putting the effort in and so on.

So why does content distribution seem to be growing smaller and smaller?

Some people are gravitating to the theory that LinkedIn is limiting distribution in order to make everyone pay for enhanced distribution, and indeed LinkedIn is offering a “pay for post boost” feature for company page content.

But I think there are several factors that, taken together, offer a simpler explanation.

New feature experiments

Think of all the new content oriented features that LinkedIn has introduced over the past two or so years – videos, LinkedIn Live, polls, newsletters and so one. Every time LinkedIn introduces one of these, the algo gets tweaked to feature these and get us users interested in them. I know that for a while last year all it seemed I saw was LinkedIn Live, and then this past summer that changed to a blizzard of polls in my feed. And if LinkedIn is pushing polls to the forefront, all other types of content are being pushed further back in the queue.

More paid content in the feed

More sponsored content and now, more boosted content from companies. Every time one of those shows prominently in our feed, something else has to be moved out of the way for it.

More people are publishing 

Using my Sales Navigator account I can get a good idea of how many people are posting on LinkedIn. Over 17 million in the past 30 days. And that’s just people’s posts, that does not include companies.

So it’s also just plain more competitive out there.

The net net here is that I agree it’s tougher to get noticed but I don’t think LinkedIn is purposely throttling back. After all, LinkedIn keeps offering these new posting features like polls and video in order to get more people involved. Getting them involved and then immediately cutting them off would be weird.

So what can we do about all this? May I suggest that you stop thinking in terms of reach or views? That’s because I think focusing on views misses the point. I think the big opportunity is in writing content that will be discovered when someone comes across your profile or searches for a topic or hashtag associated with you. For example when someone goes to my profile they can see three things – I have featured content I have written, they can see my activity and what I have written and they can see I have a newsletter and can read my back issues.

Let me put it another way. Which would you rather have: someone by chance seeing that post you wrote appearing in their feed. And “someone” could be anyone. Or… someone visiting your profile and seeing what you have written. That person has found you and your content by intent, not by chance. They are looking for more info on a topic, or have heard of you somewhere and want to know more.

I will take one of the latter over twenty of the former any day.

That’s who you are writing for. Not the possible ten thousand largely random people chosen by LinkedIn who could have viewed your post, but the few dozen who chose themselves to come to your profile.

Write for your ideal reader, not for the masses.

The obligatory disclaimer: I do not work for or have any association with LinkedIn, other than being a user who pays them for his Sales Navigator subscription every month.

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