Some Observations On Writing On LinkedIn

(shining the light on LinkedIn publishing) 

I was scrolling through my old articles in my LinkedIn Activity feed the other day, and it got me thinking about the vagaries of how we judge our success. Here are some observations on my writing for LinkedIn. See if they match yours.

If I look at my articles on face value, it is easy to see that most were opened and read a few hundred times, a small percentage a few thousand times and there are a couple outliers in the tens of thousands. Now that has changed somewhat as having a LinkedIn Newsletter gets my content in front of a lot more people than my articles used to. But even the newsletters only get opened a maximum of eight thousand times.

Being lucky helps. An article on the topic of Linkedin Search I wrote almost five years ago got over a hundred thousand click-to-open’s. And it still gets clicked on to this day. Why did this one do over twelve times better than my current LinkedIn newsletter does? It got indexed on Google and my topic apparently was one that people search for a lot. I had no clue. That article was no more or less good than the one I wrote before it, or the one I wrote after it. I just got lucky that week.

On the other hand, LinkedIn gives us pretty rotten tools for parsing our readers, so a lot of views doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

I know the best practices for publishing, or as well as you can know them when they are a moving target, though many I don’t bother with as I don’t write for views and I really don’t write for engagement.  I write for credibility, both to establish myself with my ongoing readers, and to have my articles and newsletters attached to my profile where people can find and read them. Publishing is the long game on LinkedIn for me. Every week I get one or two messages from people I don’t know at all saying they have been reading my articles – sometimes for a couple years! – and would like to connect and speak with me.

I have stuff I thought was gold and it was then met with complete disinterest. Ideas about aspects of using Linkedin that I thought bordered on profound and a couple hundred people read it. I had other content  that I was reluctant to publish and people loved it. We are all our own worst judge I suppose, we’re too close. I have learned to let go of my expectations for any single article or newsletter. I hit “publish” and it’s out of my hands.

Understanding how the algo works helps, but 90% of your readership, views and engagement will come from what you write about and how well you write. And when I say how well, it’s not well like Stephen King, it’s just being clean and relatable. The algo is always changing, best practices are always changing. Good choice of topics, and writing clearly about them, will always be in style.

Summary? Don’t overthink it. Once you have a handle on what your ideal reader wants more information on, write about that. I prefer writing articles and the newsletter because they stay findable through my LinkedIn profile. Don’t worry about the immediate reception or lack of one any single piece of content gets, let your ideal readers discover your work through your profile. I’m a believer in the long tail on LinkedIn, let the way LinkedIn works work for you.

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. 

Want more like this? (the newsletter I mean, not the disclaimer) I publish a weekly email newsletter on using LinkedIn effectively for Sales and Marketing. Each newsletter is a three or four minute read, it’s free, and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page: