What’s the Best Content on Linkedin? We rank the top publishers.

February 7, 2018

Written by Benedict Nicholson
engaged audience social media monitoring facebook

Engagements to content on LinkedIn have grown a good deal in the last two years. We dived into the data to see which publishers were the most successful on the platform in recent months.

Since 2015, the growth of shares on the top content on LinkedIn has seen a steady trend upwards, with conservative estimates of growth in engagements of 4x over the two year period we looked at, visualized in the graph below.linkedin growth shares Source: NewsWhip Analytics

If nothing else, this proves that LinkedIn is becoming a genuine force as a platform where people read and engage with content, and as such it is worth paying attention to which publishers’ content is having the most success on LinkedIn. So, without further ado, let’s do that.

Who were the top publishers on LinkedIn?

The top publishers on LinkedIn were, as we might expect, different to those who dominate on social media more generally. While the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal do make an appearance in the top ten, their presence could be due to their success on social overall.

For H2, 2017, Forbes was the top publisher in terms of LinkedIn engagement, with 9.5 million engagements on its content on LinkedIn.

Top LinkedIn Publications
Business Insider also performed particularly well, as did publications that might be less well known to the general public, such as bizjournals.com, and inc.com. Unsurprisingly, business-focused publications tended to perform particularly well, though the New York Times, the BBC, made the list as the representatives from more mainstream publishers, with brands under the NBC umbrella also performing well, though this was mostly driven by CNBC on LinkedIn.

What were the top stories on LinkedIn in H2 2017?

The top stories on LinkedIn typically focused on the workplace, and were spread across just four publishers, with Inc., Business Insider, Thrive Global, and CNBC cornering the top ten between them.
The top story, with just over 80,000 engagements, was from Inc., and focused on Google attempting to create the perfect team, but this content was not necessarily completely predictive of what content would do well, as we will see. It was the exception to what was otherwise the rule of what made a successful story on LinkedIn in 2017.

Top LinkedIn Stories

Are there any story trends on LinkedIn?

If we look at these top stories, it becomes evident that there are some trends we can pull from the data here in terms of trends of stories that tend to do well, and it the best content tends to be advice of some form.

The majority of the articles in the top ten can roughly be broken down into three categories, and all of them fall more broadly under what we might term ‘workplace advice’.

The first is content along the ‘one thing’ theme, which purports to tell the reader something that can add a positive or remove a negative from their life. It’s behavioural advice for the workplace, and crops up in three of the top ten articles.

The second grouping is job interview advice, which also appears in three of the top ten stories, and is aimed at helping to answer those tricky questions that seem to be ubiquitous in job interviews these days, from ‘What’s your current salary?’ to the dreaded ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’. Difficult questions all, and clearly one people appreciate advice in answering.

The final category comes in the form of ‘great CEO worship’, and highlights examples of what the best CEOs do and act, highlighting their emotional intelligence or the fact that they are great communicators.
These are the three distinct categories of story trend that are emerging, but, as mentioned, they can all be wrapped up under the broader term of workplace advice, from the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed new jobseekers all the way up to management who want to learn from the great CEOs of our day.

Which publishers have the highest average engagement on LinkedIn?

Among the publishers that constitute the top twenty on LinkedIn, there is a clear and runaway winner in terms of LinkedIn engagements on their content, and that is Arianna Huffington’s latest project, Thrive Global.

The publication’s stated focus of promoting wellness and a healthy work-life balance helped it to an extremely healthy average engagement of just over 2,000 per article, 4x higher than any of its nearest rivals.

Average LinkedIn Engagement
TechCrunch and Inc were also relatively successful in this field, driving 321 and 550 engagements per post respectively.

It’s also interesting to highlight the New York Times’ relative lack of success on LinkedIn. The Times’ average engagements across social for the period was 4,916, but on LinkedIn that dropped to just 113, once more emphasizing the difference in content that does well on different platforms.

Percent of LinkedIn Engagements
There are clearly some publications that have a content strategy that revolves around LinkedIn, with 50 percent and more of the engagements for PR News Wire, Thrive Global, Business Wire, and Biz Journals coming on LinkedIn.

Social can be extremely crowded, and if your publication can differentiate itself and become a key player on one of the platforms specifically, with content specifically tailored for that format, then that can only be a good thing.

How can you make successful LinkedIn content?

There are a few good guidelines to stick by when writing content for LinkedIn:

Know your platform. It should go without saying, but LinkedIn is not like other platforms, and the content that is successful on the platform reflects that.

Know your competition. It always helps to know what you’re up against. Make sure you know who the big players in the field are, and who’s doing what well.

Know the content that works. The emergent pattern for LinkedIn content in H2 2017 was workplace advice, but this is always subject to change. Make sure you’re on top of the current trends.

Use social data to perfect your strategy. At the end of the day there’s no better way to see if your content is working than to see if the numbers back it up. Test different types of content and ways of sharing until you find what works best for your strategy.

Want to see which LinkedIn trends your audience is interested in? Check NewsWhip Spike to drill down into any industry or topic.

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Benedict Nicholson

In addition to leading the NewsWhip Research Center in New York, Benedict Nicholson manages partnerships with internationally recognized media outlets furthering data journalism, which includes NewsWhip’s Data for Democracy program. Benedict also facilitates consultations with communicators from the top 10 public relations agencies across America and Europe and with Fortune 500 brands to discuss consumer engagement trends and effective media monitoring. Email Benedict via benedict.nicholson@newswhip.com.

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