What makes LinkedIn content earn “Top Post” status?

linkedin pulse measures

3 ways to optimize your language to gain “Top Post” status on LinkedIn

Distributing content through LinkedIn Pulse, the social network’s content channel, is not only a powerful way to build your personal brand, it is also a great way to share thought leadership and showcase your company’s offerings. And you don’t have to necessarily be an Influencer to make waves on LinkedIn. According to Percolate, more than half of the best performing content is written by everyday people.

As LinkedIn further solidifies its place as the B2B marketing social network of record and the go-to spot for job searchers and personal brand builders alike, a solid grasp of how long-form content can move the needle will prove invaluable.

Best Performing LinkedIn Pulse Posts by Communication Metric


How to achieve “Top Post” status on LinkedIn

To determine how the language of a post impacts its probability of achieving “Top Post” status (as designated by LinkedIn)—thus increasing the chances of your content being found—we used our communication analytics platform to analyze a random sample of “Top Posts” in comparison to a random sample of non-top posts. Here’s what we found.

When compared to the average LinkedIn posts, “Top Posts” use:

  • 25.7% more persuasive language – language used to move the reader to a belief, position or action
    • “Top Posts” score high on persuasion because authors make the content personal for their readers. A classic persuasive communication framework suggests that infusing messages with more emotionally significant language makes the reader more likely to adopt the communicator’s ideas, recommendations or beliefs. The following example demonstrates a personal writing style that is more likely to trigger emotion:
      • The Top 5 Things You Should Never Do At Work by Kathy Caprino
        • While it felt fantastic to swear at him, what has stayed with me over time is the shock and shame of how out of control I felt during that time. I vowed never to lose it like that and act out of rage or fury again. If you act impulsively and rashly at work, you will likely lose much more than your self-respect.
  • 21.7% more engaging language – the ability of the author to capture and hold the attention of the reader
    • “Top Posts” score high on engagement because they use personal pronouns, include stories and make the stories relevant to the reader. Studies suggest that readers give the same information more weight when communicators present content through stories as opposed to a hard-to-comprehend list of facts. The following example demonstrates effective storytelling to engage the reader:
      • Thanks for Not Buying Popcorn From My Son by Trey Tompkins
        • First, many individuals who they talked to seemed so uncomfortable in saying “no”. Everyone was very polite and many offered reasons for not handing over money to the kids. However, it was obvious that saying “no” made some of them uncomfortable.
  • 8.2% more clear language – a measure of how easy it is for the reader to follow and understand the content
    • “Top Posts” score high on clarity because they are personal and conversational, including pronouns and strong verbs that help the author avoid using passive voice, which readers generally find harder to understand. The following example demonstrates a clear, conversational writing style:

How to name your post

Interestingly, we also found that 68% of “Top Posts” included numbers in the title (i.e. 11 Simple Concepts…, 9 Qualities…, The 3 Questions…, etc). Only 7% of the titles of non-top posts were written in this format. This finding is supported by research from Hubspot, which found that list posts (aka listicles) perform well, getting slightly more engagement than non-list posts.

Lessons in thought leadership communications

While writing your next piece of long-form content for LinkedIn, look for ways to incorporate persuasive, engaging and clear language, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a “Top Post” that is more likely to be seen by business leaders around the world—points for growing your personal brand and your company.

To learn more about how our communication analytics platform and communications experts can help improve your content, contact us at info@quantifiedcommunications.com.