Be Interested With Your Content’s View Count, But Not Obsessed

If you have ever had an article you published on LinkedIn get a large number of views or a ton of engagement, it is easy to get caught up in trying to do it again.

My LinkedIn articles tend to get in the middle to high hundreds of views each week, and my posts ten to twelve times that amount. A good article for me is a thousand views and with a couple hundred engagements. A good post is ten thousand views (remember that post views are counted differently) with the same couple hundred engagements. Once every six weeks or so, a piece of my content may get double these high water marks.

Then there are the true outliers. An article about your Weekly Search Appearances – almost 88,000 views, one on Fake LinkedIn Profiles, 25,000. And the granddaddy of them all: What Is A View on LinkedIn? (irony alert): over 170,000 views. All of these were articles. The equivalent number of post views would be ten to twelve times higher.

The upside is that at various times over the past five years I have written and published something on LinkedIn that readers really liked. And apparently they still do. The downside is that since that first article that did really well I have had around three hundred shots at publishing new articles and replicating that success. Which I have done around once a year since. So four out of three hundred.

But I don’t worry about it and here’s why: I have no clue why those articles did really well and why none of my other couple hundred articles did not. I think you can write as well as you can, hit publish and then it is out of your hands. If it goes viral, enjoy your moment in the sun. I published one article that got several hundred times the views I normally get. I don’t know what was different about that one from others I have written. I don’t know the secret.

And no one else does either.

Anyone who writes that they know how to go viral is full of it. Otherwise they would be viral every time they published…and wouldn’t have to write articles on how to go viral.

And while views are good for the ego, engagement from those views is the real deal. LinkedIn doesn’t tell me who my viewers are, so I have no way to identify and contact them if I wish to. People who like, share and comment are identifiable so I can contact them. I consider an article with three hundred views and sixty people engaging with me to be more successful than having three thousand views and thirty people engage with me.

Don’t sweat going viral or piling up huge numbers of views. Views are good for the ego. Engagement is good for business.

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.

Want more like this? I publish three weekly email newsletters on LinkedIn for Sales, LinkedIn for Marketing and Advanced LinkedIn Strategies and Tactics. Each is typically a two or three minute read, free, and and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/

What’s Your LinkedIn Engagement Rate?

(waiting to engage….with dinner)

 

I track my engagement rate for posts and articles that I publish on LinkedIn. I find that my engagement rate gives me a better idea of which content worked best, and what people want to see more of.

How I calculate my engagement rate

I take the total number of Reactions (what we used to just call “Likes”) + Comments + Rehares + New Followers + People Who Viewed My Profile, divided by the number of views.

I look at all these figures once my content has been out on LinkedIn for seventy-two hours. I typically publish around 8am on Tuesdays, so I just look at all these numbers on Friday morning at the same time. I include followers and people who viewed my profile over this time as almost all of the people who did so follow or view my profile did so based on reading my content.

Let me hit “pause” for a couple disclaimers here: you can argue that some of these types of engagement are better than others. I think we can all agree that a comment is better than a like, but what we will not be able to agree on is exactly how much better it is. Is a comment worth two Likes? Three? One a quarter? Combining all five works for me. You could come up with your own engagement consisting of just comments or comments and profile views. That’s fine. Just as long as you are consistent with it.

The second disclaimer is that yes, I understand that some people will engage in two and sometimes more ways with a post – they could comment on it, then go look at my profile and then decide to follow me. That’s fine too. I still count that as engaging three times because it is obvious that my content really struck a nerve with them.

So that’s how I do it. How do I use it?

Most of the content I use to publish on LinkedIn consisted of articles. Over time my engagement rate on articles has consistently been around twenty percent, that is if I have five hundred views, the sum of my reactions, profile views, new followers, reshares and comments will typically be one hundred.

What I am looking for is outliers, both good and bad. The outliers are always caused by one of two things.

The first is I wrote about an interesting subject, or I have a spin on a subject everyone already knows about, but in an interesting or novel way. The second is that I just happened to be on my game and wrote that article really well. It just came together, had all the elements like the subject line and call to action working, and just flowed.

Those are the good outliers where my engagement can get up to thirty, thirty-five or even forty percent, the ones that short circuit my schedule on Tuesday as I keep coming back to respond to comments, reply to messages from strangers, and look to see if there are people I want to reach out to myself that engaged with my content.

Then there are the bad outliers. The ones where I made a typo, went off track on tangents, forgot to add a call to action, had a bland subject line and in general just want to crawl under a rock because I know I am capable of better.

You need to be able to identify both of these types of outliers, and my engagement rate lets me do that.

Bonus idea: Like I said I write mostly articles, where my engagement rate is around twenty percent. For my posts, it tends to be around two percent or just under two percent, and so far for my LinkedIn newsletter, my ER is around eight percent. As I am the same person, writing about the same topics at the same day and time for posts, articles and for newsletters on LinkedIn, this has led me to conclude that one article view is the equivalent of four newsletter views or ten post views, because that is what it takes to generate the same amount of engagement. Your results may vary, but a handy idea to know.

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.

Want more like this? I publish three weekly email newsletters on LinkedIn for Sales, LinkedIn for Marketing and Advanced LinkedIn Strategies and Tactics. Each is typically a two or three minute read, free, and and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/

Don’t Let The Perfect Be The Enemy Of The Good

(this photo isn’t perfect – there’s a tiny boat on the horizon – but I am okay with that. Photo courtesy Mark Johnston)

I do a lot of walking, a minimum of two hours every day. It’s my pandemic exercise. To keep from getting bored I have a good set of Bluetooth headphones and I listen to podcasts. 

In one such podcast, there was an interview with Dr Anthny Fauci, who no one had heard of a year ago, and everyone has heard of now. 

And during the course of the interview, Fauci had a great line:

“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

The context was Fauci was talking about vaccines and the idea was that the first vaccine that comes out may only protect some of the population, or it may only work for a limited amount of time. But, even a vaccine that only protects some people is better than waiting for one that protects everyone. 

This whole line of thought made me think of blogging and posting on LinkedIn. When you blog or write a post, perfect is the enemy of good. I can write a “good” post in one or two hours. I can polish the heck out of that post in another two hours. But the good version is ninety or ninety-five percent of the polished version. Polishing the post may result in a little more eloquence, but the key in a post or a blog post is the thought or idea that you want to convey. When you have reasonable substance, people will forgive some style points. 

I tend to write five pieces of content each week for my newsletters, my blog and to use on LinkedIn. They take me somewhere between five and eight hours to write. If I wanted to polish those five, my time commitment would jump to fifteen or twenty hours. Which doesn’t leave me much time for my clients, the folks who pay the bills around here. What it comes down to is this: 

I have a max of eight hours a week to write. 

What can I get done in that time? 

There comes a time after you write something, and you give it an edit, maybe put it away for a while and then look at it with fresh eyes, you edit it again, but then it is time to let it go out into the world. Hit publish. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Thanks Doc.