The Water Cooler: What Professionals Are Reading on LinkedIn, and What It Can Teach Marketers About the Lost Art of Headline Writing

April 29, 2019

LinkedIn Water Cooler

LinkedIn is becoming the digital water cooler for businesses around the world. There are 610 million members on LinkedIn, and they are reading and engaging with articles on the platform. The number of sessions on LinkedIn has grown 30% year-over-year, fueled by record levels of engagement in the feed and content shared across the platform.  

In our monthly feature, The Water Cooler, we share exactly what professionals are reading on LinkedIn — and explore how marketers can use this information to reach their target audiences more effectively.

Read on, and you’ll find the top 10 articles that LinkedIn members were engaging with on the platform in March, which can provide insight into what kind of content delivers strong performance on LinkedIn.

In March, the top 10 articles attracting the attention of LinkedIn members fell into three main categories. First, there were the articles that explored the strategies of high-flying companies (and their competitors). The most engaging article on LinkedIn in March, for instance, “Amazon Almost Killed Best Buy. Then, Best Buy Did Something Completely Brilliant,” shared several ways Best Buy has fought off Jeff Bezos. In the top 10 are two other articles that explore the business strategies of Amazon, Google or both: “Google Spent Years on a Secret New Plan to Attack a $140 Billion Industry. It All Starts Tomorrow” and “Amazon and Google Are Currently Racing to Invest in This Industry (and It's Not Technology)”.  

The second category of articles offer self-improvement, financial and otherwise. The No. 2 story, “Stop Asking 'How Are You?' Harvard Researchers Say This is How Successful People Make Small Talk,” delivers advice on how to get better at small talk. Two other posts offer financial advice:  “Would You Rather Have $1 Million or a Penny That Doubles Daily for 30 Days?” and “4 Reasons to Not Renew Your Costco Membership.”

The third category explored company culture, leadership in particular. The most intriguing of these business culture articles, particularly for Americans who often only get two weeks of paid vacation, may be this one: This Australian Company Gives Employees 12 Weeks of “Life Leave” Every Year.

Lessons for Marketers: The old rules of headline writing apply in today’s world of social networks. Headlines that resemble the John Caples classic, “They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano — But When I Began to Play!” still work on LinkedIn. This kind of headline promises a story and a valuable, hidden takeaway. Many of the headlines producing engagement on LinkedIn work in the same way. For instance, the headline “Amazon Almost Killed Best Buy. Then, Best Buy Did Something Completely Brilliant,” has a very similar structure in that it promises an interesting tale and potentially a lesson for other brick-and-mortar companies battling digital-first competitors. Two other articles in the top 5 have similar headline structures: “Google Spent Years on a Secret New Plan to Attack a $140 Billion Industry. It All Starts Tomorrow” and “Amazon and Google Are Currently Racing to Invest in This Industry (and It’s Not Technology).”

The key lesson here is this: To get the most readers possible for their articles, marketers should spend extra time creating a headline that creates intrigue.      

The Top 10 Most Engaging Articles on LinkedIn, March 2019

  1. Amazon Almost Killed Best Buy. Then, Best Buy Did Something Completely Brilliant, By Justin Bariso, Inc.
  2. Stop Asking 'How Are You?' Harvard Researchers Say This is How Successful People Make Small Talk, By Gary Burnison, CNBC
  3. Google Spent Years on a Secret New Plan to Attack a $140 Billion Industry. It All Starts Tomorrow, By Bill Murphy Jr., Inc.
  4. Would You Rather Have $1 Million or a Penny That Doubles Daily for 30 Days? By John Schmidt
  5. Amazon and Google Are Currently Racing to Invest in This Industry (and It's Not Technology), By Tommy Mello, Inc.
  6. Work for Someone who Appreciates Your Ideas, Loyalty and Hard Work, By Brigette Hyacinth
  7. 4 Reasons to Not Renew Your Costco Membership, By Daniel B. Kline, Motley Fool
  8. Great Leadership Isn’t about Control. It's about Empowering People, By Brigette Hyacinth
  9. This Australian Company Gives Employees 12 Weeks of “Life Leave” Every Year, By Eben Diskin, Matador Network
  10.  What Type of Leader Are You? By Dianne Traynor

Previous LinkedIn Water Cooler articles can be found here and here and here. And to keep pace with the latest thinking in marketing, subscribe to the LinkedIn Marketing Blog today.

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