The Top Publishers on LinkedIn and How They Achieve Success

November 9, 2016

Written by NewsWhip

Don’t forget about LinkedIn for your content distribution. We rank the top publishers on the platform and the secrets to their success.

LinkedIn as a source of news has been steadily on the rise, according to a report from Pew Research. And not just business and finance, either. 
In July, we looked at the top content around the Pokémon Go craze on LinkedIn. While on other platforms, lifestyle and viral articles may have had more traction, the popular articles on LinkedIn focused on the success of the game itself and what that meant for Nintendo and the mobile app industry. 
More publishers are focusing on LinkedIn for distribution and as a native platform. The Economist has recently pulled back from Pinterest and Tumblr in favor of LinkedIn. Using the platform for brand awareness, the Economist shares content in the form of audio, photos, charts, and articles, beyond just business and finance. 
This in mind, let’s take a look at the sites seeing the most engagement from LinkedIn and the content trends driving their success.

The Most Shared Sites on LinkedIn

Let’s jump into the rankings. We last ranked LinkedIn publishers all the way back in October 2014. Let’s take a look at the top contenders now, two years later. The data comes from NewsWhip Spike

Most shared sites LinkedIn NewsWhip Spike October 2016

No big surprises here — Forbes and Business Insider are neck and neck, with just under 1 million shares for October. The top ten is primarily all business and finance sites, with YouTube featuring third for their videos showing off future technologies.
Forbes was number one in our rankings of October 2014, as well. Not terribly surprising, given the publisher has over 3.2 million followers on LinkedIn, quite comparable to its audience of 3.5 million followers on Facebook.
Let’s compare this with some of our top publishers from October 2014, to see how engagements have changed.

LinkedIn 2014 to 2016 engagements

In October 2014, Mashable and Entrepreneur also made the top ten, along with TechCrunch and BBC. TechCrunch and BBC did manage to make it into our top 20 for October 2016, however.
The list of top publishers also varies from our list of most engaged business sites on Facebook for September 2016. There we saw Business Insider, CNN Money, and the Wall Street Journal leading, with Forbes down at number four.

The Top 10 Shared Stories of October

If we look at the biggest stories of October on LinkedIn, we can start gathering some insights. This sort of content intelligence can inform our own creation strategy, on what will and won’t work on the platform.

10 top stories LinkedIn

Interestingly, half of the 10 most shared links were from YouTube. This speaks to a universal trend around the growing popularity of videos on social media.
We can also look into the actual content of these videos for more insights. All of YouTube’s videos, along with TechCrunch’s article on the list, are about emerging technologies. The futuristic tech in these stories seems like something out of an episode of “The Jetsons”.

As noted in our Facebook analysis of engaged business sites, technology content is increasingly included into business coverage.
Other top content focused on self-improvement, career advice, company work culture, and a few current events.
And, Donald Trump made an appearance at number 10, showing just how pervasive the US election season was on every social platform. Virgin’s Richard Branson wrote about him on his blog, which is what propelled Virgin to number 13 in our October rankings. Most of Branson’s top hits focused on self-improvement for a better career.


Influencers are big on LinkedIn for driving engagement. Just this week, Indian actress Priyanka Chopra made headlines for joining the platform as part of their influencers program. She joins the likes of Bill Gates and Ariana Huffington.
Improvement on every front is another popular tactic for publishers on LinkedIn. It could be self-improvement as a person, improving one’s self for their career, or improving company culture. Lists are often a popular format — such as Forbes’ article in our top ten headlines, “Ten Reasons Successful People Change Jobs More Often“.
Industry trends from innovative companies make our rankings of most-shared articles. What are the most successful companies doing? The most inventive ones? Our ninth most-shared article was one of these, from Quartz: “This is what work-life balance looks like at a company with 100% retention of moms“.

Quartz LinkedIn

Much like we share examples here of publishers and brands doing fantastic work on social media, employees and businesses alike are curious to what the latest trends in workplace culture are.

A Place of Community

Social media, is as a rule, social. Growing a native community on any platform is necessary for strong engagement and growing an audience. Forbes, our top publisher this month, has done this through a ‘Dear Abby’ type of column. This column, that fields questions from actual people, has seen solid engagement for Forbes on LinkedIn.

Forbes Advice Column

Social media breaks down walls between publisher and audience, so it makes sense that people reading about business and advice, would want to see the problems that real people, just like them, are facing.
The Economist has also seen surprising success through posting questions that encourage their readers to respond. The Economist has had readers commenting in multitudes on their LinkedIn content, according to Digiday. Typically posts on LinkedIn just get one or two comments.
With LinkedIn proving to be a fruitful platform for engaging readers of self-improvement, technology, and innovation content, it’s important to stay ahead of the stories and publishers that are succeeding there. Don’t write it off as just a platform for hardcore business and finance just yet, but experiment with the types of content and stories that will work for you.


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