LinkedIn Articles vs LinkedIn Posts – A Real Life Look

(all views are not alike)

I thought it might be interesting to compare the results and statistics from an article I published in January on LinkedIn and from a post I published two weeks later on LinkedIn. 

The article was one on statistics, and was published Tuesday January 28th around 7:30am.

The post was about followers, and it was posted Tuesday February 12th, also around 7:30am.

The article got 515 views, while the post got 15,500. While this would seem to indicate the post was better, getting 30X the views of the article, this is a classic case of views being a misleading statistic on LinkedIn.

Let’s dig a little deeper and look at the engagement each piece of content received. 

Here’s the article results:

  • 515 views, 
  • 78 reactions
  • 27 comments
  • 7 reshares
  • 5 followers
  • 50 people viewed my profile

That is 157 engagements in total, so 30% of my viewers engaged with my article.

Here’s the post results: 

  • 15,500 views
  • 149 reactions, 
  • 74 comments
  • 2 reshares
  • 8 followers
  • 47 people viewed my profile

That is 280 engagements in total, or just under 2% of my viewers engaged with my post. 

So, the post generated more engagement, but nothing near what the views would suggest. 

Because posts are short and easily written, I use them to start conversations and increase my reach. Articles can be longer and have more flexibility in terms of presentation – font sizes and headings, photos, bullet points and numbering – so I use them for longer content that increases my credibility. 

But the post will die and be buried in my activity, whereas the article will live on, searchable on google – which it has been six times already – and getting new readers in. In a lot of ways articles and posts are the tortoise and the hare. Over time articles show their worth. Each has their place in a LinkedIn content strategy. My rule of thumb is to use posts to start conversations and use articles to increase my credibility. 

How I Generated Hundreds Of Sales Leads Using Content On LinkedIn

This works, but it takes a lot of work. If you are looking for something easy, this isn’t the place. 

It starts with engagement on LinkedIn. Commenting on other people’s posts will work, as will sharing other people’s and company’s posts, but publishing your own content works best. 

In my case, I published articles and posts almost every week on LinkedIn for several years. I would send messages thanking people who shared or commented on my articles. Almost invariably, an online conversation ensued. After a few months of this it dawned on me that the percentage of people who responded to my outreach was very high. 

The key seemed to be that the other person had expressed an interest in something I had written. So I wondered if I could systemize this idea and methodically reach out to possible prospects that liked, shared or commented on my articles. I had a Sales Navigator account, so I could send them InMails (I will talk about free LinkedIn accounts in a bit). Whenever I found someone I was interested in, I sent them an InMail and started tracking my results (full disclosure: I sent InMails to all kinds of people, but I only tracked the ones that looked like future prospects). And I also started sending messages to possible prospects who had viewed my profile or had started following me. 

A year later, 268 of these people had responded to my 444 outreach messages. A response rate of 60%. 

I figured there were a couple factors behind this response rate: 

  • The person I was reaching out to was aware of me before I reached out to them. I think it is a fair assumption that this made them much more receptive to reading and responding to my message. 
  • When one of these five trigger events occurred, I was the only one responding to it. I was  not competing with everyone else. For example, I was not one of dozens of people congratulating them on their new job. 
  • I did not pitch them. They may fit the demographic of people I work with, but I don’t know anything about them or if they have problems I can help them with. People are a lot more receptive when, you know, you don’t bludgeon them over the head with a sales pitch.

If there is a downside, it’s this: it is time consuming. I don’t do boilerplate. Boilerplate is death. I hyper personalize everything. I make an effort. This approach eats minutes. While I have a framework for what I include in my messages, it can take me fifteen minutes to write a message I am happy with. 

If you don’t have Sales Navigator? Send connection invites. I tried it and it works, though not as well. The acceptance rate is about the same, but I have found that adding that connection step makes it harder than just responding to their first interest in me. So I think connecting works, but I still prefer InMail. 

I am not advocating you take the four or five hours a week I did to write and publish content, parse through the people who engage with you and reach out to them. You can do this on a small scale, even just to people who view your profile. Just be consistent, and keep at it. 

I suppose if there is a lesson in here it is: Build it and they will come, but you had better have a plan for going after them when they do.

Postscript: if you are interested in following me on LinkedIn, don’t. When you want to see someone’s content on LinkedIn, following them is a sure way to miss almost all of it. Get my newsletter instead. Every week you will receive ideas like this one on how you can be using LinkedIn for sales and marketing. Here’s the signup page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/

Capitalizing On LinkedIn Publishing

Last week I talked about my LinkedIn publishing. This week: what I do once I have published.

Okay, so I have written an article or post, published it on LinkedIn, and received some views and engagement. So what do I do now? Four things…

  • I ignore the views. They are nice, good for the ego (or bruising for the ego), but as I cannot identify the individual viewers, I can’t do anything with my views.
  • I review everyone who engages with me and my content.
  • I reach out to anyone who looks interesting
  • And I do it right away

Let’s look at the latter three a little further.

I review everyone who engages with me and my content

When I login to LinkedIn, I check my notifications. This will tell me if I have new likes, comments, and followers. I check my most recent article and post statistics for people who shared, and check for new people who have viewed my profile.

I try and respond, acknowledge or thank people who have commented or shared my content, in particular my connections. I usually can’t get to everyone, but I want these people to know I appreciate them.

I reach out to anyone who looks interesting

There are lots of interesting people on LinkedIn. Here are a the two types I look for.
Someone who is a long term prospect. Because there are no short term prospects. While they may fit my target demographic, I don’t really know anything about them, their situation, their problems, or their needs. I may have some credibility with them from my writing, but no personal relationship, and they probably don’t have spare budget lying around.
Someone who is not a prospect but is active on LinkedIn with a half decent network. This is a person who can introduce me to someone in their network.
I play a long game. It makes me look good compared to all the yahoos who go out and pitch people they have just met. Don’t get me wrong, I do get people who find me and want to retain me right away, but they had already made up their minds, and I didn’t need to sell them on the idea.

And I do it right away

I follow up and reach out to these interesting people right away, because if I don’t, people will forget the context of my article or post. I want to reach out when their engagement with me or my content is still fresh in their mind, and they can still remember why they did so. Reaching out to someone who followed you or commented on your post last week doesn’t work very well.

But this is all the necessary boring process stuff. You have heard enough about the labor pains, you just want to see the baby. Here you go.

The results

For those who didn’t read last week’s article (and shame on you) I talked about my publishing the week of April 23 and April 30. Over that two week period I:

  • Published 2 articles
  • Posted 4 updates (which most of us still call posts)
  • Which got 45,000 views
  • And over that two week period just over 1,000 people liked, commented, and shared my content, or followed me, or viewed my profile

Here’s the good stuff: out of those 1,000 people,

  • I found 56 that looked interesting. I reached out to them and
  • 44 of them replied and
  • 9 of them wound up scheduling phone or Zoom calls with me

I like an outreach method that gets a 78.5% response rate (to be fair and in full disclosure, I usually get a response rate between 70 and 75%, so this two week sample was a bit better than usual).

I am pretty good with InMail and can get a response rate in the low twenties reaching out to cold prospects, but why would I waste InMail like that when I can send InMail that gets a response rate more than three times as high? Why wouldn’t I send outreach messages to people who are predisposed to reply?

So in my case, publishing works, but only if I have content people find valuable, I follow up and engage with those who engage with me, and I do so quickly.

That leaves just one last piece of the puzzle: what’s in those messages I sent that prompted so many of them to respond? That’s next week.