LinkedIn Pulse uses an algorithm to determine how it should source your post. It matches content to an industry professional’s interests. So if you are a healthcare provider, you won’t receive posts on accounting.
There are ways to optimize LinkedIn Pulse to better reach intended audiences. Here are some suggestions based on research:
1) Social Validation Ratio
The LinkedIn Pulse algorithm uses as social validation ratio to determine how often it sources a member’s Pulse post, says data scientist Andy Foote. The relative number of views doesn’t matter. Instead, the percentage of likes, reshares and comments per view is what triggers a featured article in Pulse.
Sharing your post as soon as you publish is critical. Send it on to your most engaged communities. You need people to like, share and comment to achieve the right ratio. I can already see scenarios where people are gaming initial social engagement to trigger featured Pulse articles.
2) Timing Is Important
Because social validation drives success you want to publish on days when most people use LinkedIn. Those tend to be Monday through Friday during business hours, with an emphasis on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. You can further refine time-based optimization by targeting times when people are at their desks; before work, lunch hours, or the end of the business day.
3) Format Posts for Social Validation
Creating strong posts means requires a few things to make content more share and comment worthy. These are blogging best practices, but just for the sake of being intelligent about formatting let’s offer a few reminders:
- Use relevant and interesting images. There’s a reason why LinkedIn suggests a strong header image. But go further. Build subheads, and use a new image every three to five paragraphs. Or you can build a BuzzFeed-esque post with subheads for every paragraph. List posts do seem to go further than the average essay, but you better be sure the content is awesome. There’s nothing worse than a lame, self-promotional BuzzFeed hack. You can also embed rich media if you have good video content or Slideshares you’d like to add.
- Titling is important to drive interest from readers. It should also be descriptive and match back to keywords that will signal to the algorithm which audiences will prefer the post.
- Offer links to give readers additional insights and depth. LinkedIN’s editor recommends you do this as a matter of good form.
The social network does recommend generous linking. As far as ranking content goes, LinkedIn’s Pulse algorithm is closely guarded, but if it is anything like Google’s, it rewards posts with strong links. Generally speaking, Google likes sourcing content with frequent and credible links, as it provides an extended and good user experience. Since Google actually indexes LinkedIn posts, this a good practice regardless of how LinkedIn factors links into its algorithm. You want to rank well with your post.
- There are those that preach long form, and others who say short form matters most. Most of the posts I see succeeding on Pulse are greater than 500 words, but not more than 1000. Brian Lang’s research confirms this observation. At the same time given how few posts actually extend beyond 1000 words, it may be the odds of success are higher with long form.
4) Write for the Audience
It’s really important to keep content laser focused within the sector. The algorithm will source content to audiences based on keywords and phrases. And it will also exclude audiences if the content won’t appeal to them.
5) Tag Your Posts
LinkedIn specifically recommends tagging your posts. You can add up to 3 tags in each post, but you cannot customize the tags, instead using what LinkedIn has offered for categories. To add tags:
- Scroll to the bottom of your post.
- Click the Tag icon next to Add tags like consulting, sales, marketing…
- Click into the text box and begin typing.
- Select an available tag from the drop-down.
These five tips should help your LinkedIn Pulse Article go further than just a standard text-only piece that one might be tempted to post.