Global Trade, What Professionals in Manufacturing are Reading, and More Insights from the Latest LinkedIn Content Insights Quarterly

March 24, 2019

What Professionals Are Reading on LinkedIn

In this edition of the LinkedIn Content Insights Quarterly, we explore what content is catching the eyes of the more than 610 million professionals on the LinkedIn platform. This quarter, we examine two key topics:

  1. Content that captured the attention of LinkedIn members working in the manufacturing industry.
  2. The most engaging content regarding trade.  

As always, we also share the top topics and content engaging all LinkedIn members. Read on to see what articles professionals were engaging with on LinkedIn in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Audience of the Quarter: Manufacturing Workers

On the LinkedIn platform there are more than 50 million Manufacturing Workers. Based on what they’re reading on LinkedIn, they’re curious about a range of topics that include the petroleum and auto industries as well as the history of manufacturing.

Top Topics for Manufacturing Workers

Eight of the top 10 topics that engaged Manufacturing Workers in the fourth quarter were directly related to the energy sector. In fact, the argument can be made that the two other topics in the top 10 — “natural resources” and “machine tools” — are at least peripherally related to the energy industry.  

Lessons for Marketers

LinkedIn’s headquarters may be in Silicon Valley, but the platform reaches far beyond the tech industry. The traditional industrial world of business has strong representation on the platform as well. If you’re a marketer looking to target the manufacturing segment, you can find members of that industry on LinkedIn, where they’re engaging with content crucial to their jobs. It’s also worth noting that while the top 10 topics seem focused on oil and gas, the articles below were much focused on green energy. The disconnect seems to reflect that manufacturing is an industry in transition from fossil fuels to renewable power.  

Top Articles for Manufacturing Workers  

Electric cars proved to be popular content among Manufacturing Workers, with no less than four articles in the top 10 examining the world of electric cars, including the top post, “Watch Tesla Model 3 Being Assembled from Start to Finish,” which was one of two articles in the top 10 featuring Tesla.   

Lessons for Marketers

Manufacturing Workers like to look under the hood see how things work. That’s why the top post was the Tesla Model 3 being assembled. People in the Manufacturing are also interested in the ways things were done before software changed product design, as the high ranking of “19 Fascinating Vintage Photos Reveal What Life Before AutoCAD Looked Like” indicates. Marketers themselves would do well to look under the hood of the post, “The 7 Deadly Sins of Product Development,” and examine the reasons for its remarkable staying power, because the post landed in the top 10 despite being published in 2017. This post remains in the top 10 because it does three things very well: It provides useful information in an easy-to-digest format, it uses illustrations, and it’s funny (at least as funny as a product development post can get).     

Top 10 Articles Engaging Manufacturing Workers 

  1. Watch Tesla Model 3 Being Assembled from Start to Finish By Fred Lambert, Electrek
  2. Can GE Survive Its Cooked Books? By Peter Cohan, Forbes
  3. 19 Fascinating Vintage Photos Reveal What Life Before AutoCAD Looked Like  
  4. The Oil Price Is Now Controlled By Just Three Men From
  5. Porsche Says It Can Beat Tesla's Charging Times by Half By Jaclyn Trop, Fortune
  6. NATO Warship Torn Open in Collision with Oil Tanker  From
  7. A Victory for Elon Musk: Tesla Outsells Mercedes-Benz in US for First Time Ever  By Mike Snider, USAToday
  8. Secretive Electric Car Startup Rivian Emerges From Stealth Mode With 600 Employees and Half a Billion in Funding By Kevin J. Ryan, Inc.
  9. The 7 Deadly Sins Of Product Development By Travis “Grizzly” Jacobs
  10. GE Powered the American Century—Then It Burned Out By Thomas Gryta and Ted Mann, The Wall Street Journal

Top of the Quarter: Trade

Trade is always a hot topic for any global company. The top stories in Trade cover a range of areas, but one major theme is concern over the future of trade with the United States. As is often the case with economic subjects like Trade, predictions are also a popular topic, especially when a new year is approaching.  

Lessons for Marketers

Contrarian points of view can stand out. That’s the lesson of Vivek Wadwha’s post, “Why Trump’s Trade War Could be the Tipping Point for American Manufacturing.” In the post, Wadwha makes the case that that some metrics, such as the rising cost of labor, real estate and energy in China, point to the possibility of significant manufacturing moving back to North America.

Top 5 Articles on Trade

  1. Canada and 5 Other Nations Pull the Trigger on World’s Biggest Trade Deal — Leaving America Out in the Cold By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Financial Post
  2. Why Global Trade Matters to Insurance By Thomas Leonardi
  3. Why Trump’s Trade War Could be the Tipping Point for American Manufacturing By Vivek Wadwha
  4. 10 Predictions for the Global Economy in 2019 By Nariman Behravesh, World Economic Forum
  5. With Prices Down Is Now the Right Time to Lean Into Emerging Markets? Wrong Question By David Hunt

Hot Topics on LinkedIn

The quarter's fastest growing topics on LinkedIn reflect some seasonal trends and one-off events. LinkedIn may be a professional network, but professionals are also consumers. So perhaps it’s not surprising to see topics around gift giving rising last quarter. And book reviews make an appearance, reflecting the continued popularity of books as a holiday gift.

Other topics rising to the top included taxes; President George H.W. Bush (trending after his death last year); and genetic engineering, perhaps spurred by the case of a Chinese doctor in November claiming the first gene-edited babies had been born.

Lessons for Marketers

LinkedIn is a vibrant platform, and with the number of sessions increasing 30% year-over-year, the platform is becoming the digital water cooler of business. What LinkedIn members are discussing changes quarter by quarter, month by month, and day by day. To be where your professional audience is discussing things important to them, marketers need to have a presence on LinkedIn. It’s also important to note that LinkedIn members bring their whole person to the platform, discussing business, yes, but also the holidays, books, and science. Don’t market business to business, but human to human.

Top Topics on LinkedIn

Above are the top topics on LinkedIn in the last quarter. As a professional network, LinkedIn continues to remain a valuable platform for advice and insights on management, careers, employment, and human resources. But remember that these topics aren’t limited to business: health and personal growth also made their way into the top 10.

Lessons for Marketers

The top topics show that LinkedIn, while it is a platform for marketers to target specific verticals and particular job titles, is also a platform that professionals use to gain more general business lessons about management, finance and HR. Whatever business topic you want to discuss, there’s an engaged cohort looking to consume any kind of content that will make them better at their jobs.  

Top Articles on LinkedIn

Below are the top articles on LinkedIn in the last quarter. What stands out is how thirsty our members are for business advice, often from some of the most famous names in business. In the top 10, there are articles offering advice, either directly or indirectly, from Jeff Bezos (twice), Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Gates (twice).

Also in the top 10 is a post sharing advice from a former Starbucks HR executive on a particularly predictive interview question, which indicates that LinkedIn members are on the lookout for talent. In this time of almost full employment, culture and talent are key topics on LinkedIn, with at least four of the top 10 articles last quarter covering talent, hiring or work-life balance in some way.

Lessons for Marketers

The top 10 shows that LinkedIn members respond to authorities on certain subjects. They want to hear general business advice from the likes of Bezos and Winfrey and from brands like Starbucks. You may not be Bill Gates and your company may not be Microsoft, but you and your company can carve out an area of expertise. Sharing that expertise in an authoritative way will get you an audience on LinkedIn.      

Top 10 Content Engaging LinkedIn Members

  1. Your Employees Can Be Your Greatest Asset – If You Let Them! By Brigette Hyacinth
  2. Jeff Bezos Tells New Amazon Employees There Isn’t a Work-Life Balance. Here’s What He Says Instead By Zoe Bernard, Business Insider
  3. Starbucks' Former HR Chief Says a Job Candidate's Answer to a Simple Interview Question Predicts Success Better than their Entire Resume By Shana Lebowitz, Business Insider
  4. Patagonia’s CEO is Donating Company’s Entire $10M Trump Tax Cut to Fight Climate Change  By Leo Shvedsky, Upworthy
  5. It Took Jeff Bezos Exactly 5 Words to Teach a Major Lesson in Emotional Intelligence By Justin Bariso, Inc.
  6. The World's Most Successful People Don't Actually Start Work at 4 a.m. They Wake and Work Whenever the (Heck) They Decide By Jeff Haden, Inc.
  7. The $80 Trillion World Economy in One Chart By Jeff Desjardins, Visual Capitalist
  8. Oprah Winfrey Uses the Same 3 Sentences to Get Every Meeting Off to a Perfect Start By Jeff Haden
  9. 5 Books I Loved in 2018 By Bill Gates
  10. What I Loved About Paul Allen By Bill Gates

If you can't wait until the next Content Insights Quarterly, check out our LinkedIn Water Cooler posts, which examine the top 10 posts on LinkedIn on a monthly basis.

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