We experimented with LinkedIn publishing. Over 30 days, we published 17 articles on LinkedIn that garnered 727,632 views. One single article exceeded 500,000 views and is being studied at LinkedIn for how an article from a non-Influencer spread so quickly.
Here’s how we did it.
First, before we go anywhere, make sure you read Gregory Ciotti’s article, 255,262 Views on LinkedIn in 30 Days: Here’s Everything I’ve Learned. His article is the best available on the fundamentals of succeeding with LinkedIn publishing.
The Power Law of Content Marketing on LinkedIn Publishing
10 of the 17 articles we published had less than 1,000 views, 6 had between 1,000 and 4,000 views, one had 154,000 views, and the last had 556,146 views. Greg experienced a similar distribution: of his 255,262 views, 83% of them came from a single article, Why Steve Jobs Didn’t Listen to His Customers.
It’s another case of the Power Law of Content Marketing: a very small minority of articles account for the vast majority of the results.
Compare that with Redpoint Ventures and LinkedIn Influencer Tomasz Tunguz’s pageview distribution for his last 17 articles.
You’ll notice that Tomasz’s pageview distribution is much less skewed and his baseline is higher. Only 4 of 17 articles are below 1,000 pageviews versus having the majority of your articles show up below the 1,000 pageview threshold as was the case for me.
That’s likely a product of having 52,759 followers on LinkedIn to my 3,543 followers. And his outsized following is a product of being a LinkedIn Influencer and his consistently great content. The upshot is that articles will still get significant distribution, even if they aren’t trending, whereas my articles will only get distribution if they trend.
Given the power law distribution for LinkedIn publishing, that means that 80% of your articles will flop. What’s vital is that you continue to experiment, focused on producing a trending, outlier article, and not give up.
What That Means for Succeeding on LinkedIn Publishing
If I have six hours to chop down a tree, I’ll spend the first four sharpening my axe — and if I want to succeed in a channel, I’ll spend most of my time reading through all the content that succeeds in that channel.
This observation brings me to an important corollary to the power law of content marketing, which I’ll call the Lady Gaga Rule. For upstarts in content, extreme outcome distributions call for extreme arguments. Being a polemicist—backed by quality—is an extremely effective way to get attention, and it’s 100x better than being boring.
Because Tomasz has 52,759 followers on LinkedIn and I have 3,543, Tomasz doesn’t need to be extreme to get distribution. If my article doesn’t do something different and extreme from Tomasz’s stuff, my article won’t get beyond the small network I have and I won’t get an extreme result. (Tomasz may be a bad example — think Richard Branson: his content does not have to be good, extreme, or even interesting to succeed.) That’s critical to understand in putting the successful content of others in the proper context for yourself.
For example, our 556,146-view article was titled, The Dullest, Most Vital Skill You Need to Become a Successful Manager. That title itself expresses two extremes: dullest and most vital. What the title is promising to you by being extreme is that you’re going to learn something unexpected and that the extreme will be made to seem reasonable. The article fulfills the promise of the title and then some, with some valuable insights from a few of tech’s most successful leaders.
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LinkedIn Publishing offers the opportunity for traditionally boring content to reach a massive audience, and when you write a single piece of content that reaches 500,000+ people, you’ll see considerable business results. We reached all-time highs in signups for the days around when the article hit. Include that call to action at the end, go nuts, and let me know how it goes for you.