Thought Leadership and Guides Drive Strong Sharing for Agencies on LinkedIn

May 25, 2016

Written by NewsWhip

We looked at the LinkedIn presence of leading agencies to see what kind of content elicits wide sharing.
With heavy media focus on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, there is a tendency to overlook LinkedIn as a social channel. Granted, as a network designed almost exclusively for professional networking, it doesn’t inspire the same level of activity. However, for agencies and consultants, it’s an important factor in building a strong reputation and attracting promising employees.
Sharing content published to an agency blog or website is one way of crafting a distinctive voice. Articles and blogs help to foster discussion, generate feedback, and provides an insight into company culture for prospective hires. LinkedIn discussions allow an agency to get a feel for major talking points in its industry and, by noting what others are discussing, identify areas where its expertise may be valued.
To get a feel for the type of content succeeding on LinkedIn, we looked at content shared by four leading agencies across a 30-day period from April 24th to May 24th.
Here are the top ten pieces of content for that period:
Graph showing the top 10 pieces of agency content on LinkedIn in April and May 2016
Based on this, here are a few key learnings:

    • The most-shared post is an analytical blog, addressing industry trends
    • Guides and “how to” articles are extremely popular
    • Industry achievement and recognition also tends to inspire significant sharing
    • Exceptional content can drive hundreds of shares. The top six articles for this period earned over 100 shares in 30 days

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most successful content.

Analytical blogs and think-pieces

Analytic reads and think-pieces drive significant sharing on LinkedIn. Given the platform’s raison d’etre, this makes sense – LinkedIn provides a forum for professionals to discuss major trends and issues within their fields. A widely-shared analysis from an agency blog speaks to a high level of influence within that field and can help enhance a firm’s reputation for expertise and thought leadership.
In this period, Edelman and Ketchum analyses proved particularly influential. The top piece of content was Edelman’s blog, “The Death of Content Marketing – Why Brands must become Cultural Currency”.
This lengthy, in-depth piece examined the growing importance of subcultures and influencers in marketing and communications and clearly struck a chord with those in the communications industry, chalking up 364 shares. For context, the next most highly-shared piece was Holmes Report’s ranking of EMEA consultancies, which earned 288 shares.
Edelman are a globally recognised firm, but it’s important to note that industry clout alone will not necessarily guarantee a wide audience. Genuine insight and thought leadership promotes rich discussion. Both this and another Edelman blog, “The Three Tiers of VR and 360 Video Distribution” (which earned 117 shares), provide solid analysis and value to industry professionals.
Ketchum, another highly-regarded firm, published several thought-provoking analytical pieces to its blog and also earned a significant audience. One such piece, “Paid Media Makes Earned Media Work Harder”, was shared 158 times on LinkedIn during this period.
Ketchum’s pieces tend to be more succinct than Edelman’s but provide a comparable level of expert commentary and insight. This ensures an eager reception on LinkedIn, where professionals can discuss the articles’ points and relate their own experiences.

Guides

Guides and “how to” articles were also extremely popular during this period. In many ways, these act as logical extensions of thought leadership articles. Agencies recognised as experts in a certain field can outline tips for other professionals, condensing their knowledge into succinct, easily digestible points.
Once again, both Ketchum and Edelman displayed considerable prowess in this area. Ketchum’s blog, “How To Identify The Right Influencers”, earned the third highest volume of shares (177 in total). The article is concise yet effective – it identifies a recognised need in its opening paragraph, and goes on to list practical solutions for meeting that need. Influencers are a hot topic in marketing and communications at the moment and the strong performance of this blog (and several others on a similar theme) speaks to the high level of discussion not just on LinkedIn, but in the wider industry.
Another Ketchum piece, “What I Learned From 150 CMOs”, compiles a series of tips from the author and other speakers at an industry conference. The title of the piece clearly indicates its value for readers, and the diverse range of figures quoted allows them to glean wisdom from professionals in multiple fields. This was shared a total of 77 times in the period we looked at for this article.
Try NewsWhip Spike for free and see what content is moving the needle for agencies on social.

Industry recognition

Articles celebrating achievement or recognition in an industry are, understandably, very well-received. On a professional network like LinkedIn, it makes sense that agencies would want to highlight recognition within their field. This contributes to a sense of pride in the workplace while simultaneously singling out the firm as an authoritative place to work.
Several such articles appear in the top 15 pieces of content for this period. The Holmes Report’s ranking of the best places to work is especially popular, speaking to the merit of the firm and the industry’s interest. Individual pieces highlighting well-regarded firms in Europe, North America, and the UK were shared a combined 444 times. One of these was the second most-shared piece of the month – the shortlist for best EMEA consultancies, which drove 288 shares alone ahead of the ceremony itself on 25th May.
In addition to enhancing agency reputation and alluring prospective employees, articles and awards provide an excellent means of gauging competitors. Agencies can see which factors contributed to a firm’s success and get a feel for company culture. There may be initiatives or approaches they can emulate to boost their own chances of success.
The strong response afforded these agencies on LinkedIn shows that there’s a clear value in writing about your industry. Blogs and comment pieces indicate an awareness of current trends and developments, enabling an agency to develop a unique and leading voice. We’ll be taking a closer look at how to build success on LinkedIn on the blog soon.

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