Why I Write A LinkedIn Newsletter Instead Of Posting

Okay, maybe LinkedIn doesn’t offer this many options, but it’s a lot better than it used to be.

LinkedIn is quick to feature the number of views your content has received, regardless of what type of content you have such as posts or videos.  So I thought we could talk about views and their value.

Views are really what the advertising industry refers to as impressions. Using an example from the ad industry actually illustrates this idea really well. A company, say Budweiser, wants to advertise Bud Lite. They will contact a television network in order to advertise on their football broadcasts. The television network will tell Budweiser that their 1pm football game reaches ten million people. If Budweiser puts an ad on that broadcast, the ad is said to have had ten million impressions. Now, of those ten million people, how many of them actually saw the ad? Think of yourself when you watch broadcast TV. In an hour, you may be shown fifteen or twenty ads. How many of them did you actually watch? This is why they are called impressions. The number of impressions is the number of people who could have seen the Bud Lite commercial.

I would also point out here that this helps to explain why we see the same commercials over and over again. The advertising companies want to make sure that at some point we see their commercial, and the only way to guarantee that is through repetition.

So how does this apply to our content on LinkedIn?

When we publish on LinkedIn, LinkedIn puts our content in the feeds of other LinkedIn users. This is the content that you see on your LinkedIn homepage, and the content in your feed as you scroll down. If you scroll down past fifteen posts, LinkedIn will register you as having “viewed” those fifteen posts and compile those views for reporting back to the authors.

The bottom line is a view means someone had the opportunity to see your post in their feed. It does not mean they opened it, or that they read it. Seeing the number of views makes us think that number of people read our post. They may have.

So what can we do about this?

LinkedIn Newsletters.

For my money, the best type of content on LinkedIn is a LinkedIn newsletter.

Newsletters get the same distribution as regular posts – that is put in the feeds of some LinkedIn members – plus there are three good additional reasons I like Newsletters:

1) Guaranteed delivery. LinkedIn notifies – not just puts in your feed but notifies – your subscribers that a new issue is available. And this includes email notifications. If you are a subscriber to this newsletter, you (should have!) received a notification from LinkedIn.

2) You can see who has subscribed to your Newsletter. I will confess it’s not easy – it’s actually pretty awkward – but it can be done.

3) You can see how many clicks and opens you got for each issue. This is the biggie, and the big advantage over regular posts. As I like to say, a view means someone has the opportunity to see and read your content, but a click signals their intent to open and read your content. I would much rather have a hundred clicks than a hundred views.

I publish a weekly email newsletter on using LinkedIn effectively for Sales and Marketing. Each newsletter typically contains two articles like the one above, it’s free, and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/

Obligatory boilerplate: 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.

Deciding If That Person Asking You To Connect On LinkedIn Is Real

Is Anna a real person? 

Today, we will look in depth at the profile of Anna Li, someone who invited me to connect in late October. As you can probably guess, this is not going to end well. My goal here is to show you what I look at and look for when I see someone’s LinkedIn profile.

Let’s have a look at her profile and look for clues as to whether Anna is a real person, or a fake profile. 

First, what can we see at a glance from the headline section of her profile? 

Actually, just about everything here makes me question Anna immediately.

18 connections? You don’t have more colleagues, ex-colleagues and classmates / alumni than that? 

“Manager” is a pretty weak title

And Anna has no location. 

Okay, let’s have a look at her “About” section.

Anna says she is a senior market development manager. At best – and giving Anna the benefit of the doubt for being a non-native English speaker, I find it highly unusual that L’Oreal would not approve a senior marketing person buying cosmetics for research purposes. Isn’t that kind of what she is supposed to do? 

Her second “About” paragraph is a delight. Anna conducts market research via “rummaging” through social media messages. This has to be the first time I have seen anyone use the word “rummage” on LinkedIn. Apparently these social media messages unveil for Anna the needs that customers have that the customers are not aware they have. At this point, Anna is beginning to scare me. Even if she is real I don’t want to send her messages over LinkedIn as she might use them as part of some Vulcan mind meld thing. 

Okay what about work experience. I won’t show all three of her work experience sections for L’Oreal, but here is the first one: 

Marketing Department Research Manager

L’Oréal · Permanent

Apr 2017 – Present · 5 yrs 7 mos


  • Formulate an annual marketing goal plan, establish and improve marketing information collection, processing, communication and confidentiality systems, investigate consumer buying psychology and behavior, and collect, sort and analyze the performance, price, and promotional methods of competing brand products , Analyze the advertising strategies and competitive methods of competing brands, make sales forecasts, propose future market analysis, development directions and plans, and formulate product planning strategies;

Two points here: Hands up everybody who thinks this looks like this was badly cut and pasted in from somewhere else. It sure doesn’t sound like the same Anna who wrote that About section. Plus, this paragraph consists of two very long sentences, one of which ends in a comma and the other ends in a semi-colon. 

The second point is that while this Experience section outlines Anna’s responsibilities, it says nothing about her accomplishments at all. It’s odd that she has a work experience section that doesn’t talk about the actual experience at all. 

And now, let’s review her schooling. Anna says she has a Masters degree from the University of Toronto

A master’s degree, Industrial and commercial management

Jul 2010 – Jul 2014

Grade: Excellent academic performance

  • Activities and societies: Good performance in school, active participation in health sports, volleyball, golf, swimming.
    • My name is Yaman and I am studying for a master’s degree at the University of Victoria. I went to Victoria University through the relationship between my parents and my uncle to go to Victoria University to go through the formalities for studying abroad. During my studies at Victoria University, I felt that my day-to-day study life was quite equal. a lot. Victoria University is very beautiful and huge. Studying and living in school broadened my horizons and made many friends. When people ask me about my experience studying at Victoria University, I will say that living abroad has really grown me up. , become a more perfect me.

This whole section is just a little weird. Academic performance “outstanding” ? And who is Yaman? And why is Yaman talking in the present tense about events of ten years ago? And the hideous English is jarring. Wouldn’t you think that four years in Toronto would result in better English skills? 

Verdict: 99% probability that this is a fake LinkedIn profile. And I do not connect with people who are most likely not people. 

In closing, let me point out that there isn’t any single detail that tells me Anna is a fake. There is even an outside chance that she isn’t fake, that she is just someone whose attention to detail would make me very afraid of L’Oreal’s market research department. But taken in its entirety, all these little things add up, and her story just doesn’t sound right. And that is what you should take away from today’s newsletter:  sometimes there isn’t an obvious tell, but the profile just doesn’t seem right somehow. That’s your gut instinct, and you should probably follow it. 







Why Do My View Counts Go Down? 

Writing posts in the old days took longer too.

A lot of people are seeing their view counts for posting go down in the past year.  I have three possible reasons for this. 

Changes to the algorithms

Linkedin is constantly tweaking the algos to fine tune them, but the big factor here is that every time LinkedIn comes up with a new content related feature, that feature tends to get its day in the sun and those new types of content will appear more prominently in our feeds. Think of all the new content related features in the past two years – all the video options, audio features, company page post features, events, the list goes on and on. The poster child for this was Polls a couple years ago. They were everywhere. And if the LinkedIn algos are going to prefer putting a Poll at the top of people’s feeds, our regular old post is getting bumped. Not getting bumped every time, but often enough to make a difference. 

More competition

Creator Mode has certainly been a boon…for LinkedIn. Courtesy of Creator Mode and LinkedIn’s push for members to create content, there is just a lot more content to compete against. How much more? Well, let’s have a look and see.

There is a search filter I  can use on Sales Navigator called “posted on LinkedIn 30 days”. It brings up a list of everyone who has posted on LinkedIn in the past 30 days. I used it last February to illustrate a point in a webinar I ran and the number of people posting in the past 30 days at that point was 17 million. I ran the filter again in January and LinkedIn told me that over 20 million people had posted in the past thirty days. That’s over 17% more people posting less than a year later.

That doesn’t include company page posts, which are also competing with our posts to be seen. And if each of those people posted more than once, that 20 million figure may mean 40 or 50 million or more individual posts. I just checked and I have around 200 connections who post at least once a day and one connection who posted an unbelievable 126 times in the past week.

Let’s look at it another way. If each of those 20 million people only posts once a month, that is still one million posts every business day.

Subscriptions & Notifications

Subscriptions and notifications are two sides to the same coin. You can subscribe to LinkedIn Newsletters, in which case LinkedIn will notify you when a new issue is published. You can also click the little notification bell on someone’s profile, which will result in you being notified about that person’s posts. 

LinkedIn advertises that you will absolutely be notified in both of these cases, implying that if you subscribe or hit the notification bell you will not miss out on anything from the person whose content you want to see. There is some evidence that this is not necessarily the case, as I have had a few subscribers to my newsletter tell me that they are not being notified, and the little bell on one person’s profile advertised if I clicked I would only see their “top posts”, whatever that means. 

The upshot here is that if I am allocating fifteen minutes today to reading content on LinkedIn, I am first going to go and look at whatever notifications I have received for newsletters or people’s content I want to be notified about, and then if I have time, I will go and see what is being offered in my feed. 

Subscriptions and notifications are effectively setting up a two tiered content system on Linkedin, one designed around what you have indicated you want, and one designed around LinkedIn’s guesses as to what you want. Now, the main feed is not going away or being de-emphasized anytime soon, as we must not forget that is where LinkedIn’s advertisers are. I would not be surprised if LinkedIn is trying to figure out a way to get those newsletter and posts we asked to be notified about folded back into the main feed somehow. If my main feed had a mix of newsletters, posts I asked to be notified about, ads or sponsored content, and some speculative “maybe he will like this” stuff from the algorithm, that would make for pretty good tradeoff of what I would like to see – relevant content – and what LinkedIn wants me to see – advertising and sponsored content. 

So in the face of these factors, what can we do to get our content seen? Plain and simple, think less about the things you can’t control – what LinkedIn does and what other people do – and think more about what you can control: the quality of the content you are putting out yourself. Stay laser focused on what your ideal reader or ideal prospect wants to know that they don’t know now. What information will they find useful? What information will help them make better decisions? 

One other aspect worth mentioning is the long tail for content on LinkedIn, particularly articles and LinkedIn newsletters. These get saved to your profile and have a long shelf life. They get indexed by Google. Your ideal prospect can have the opportunity to find you via this content long after you have published it. I still get people commenting on articles I published on LinkedIn in 2016.