You can publish articles on LinkedIn and you can publish posts on LinkedIn. So what’s the difference between the two? And does one get better results than the other? I decided to do a little investigating.
How do you write an Article versus a Post?
At the top center of your homepage is the little publishing box:
If you want to publish a post (which LinkedIn will also refer to as an update), you just start writing in the publishing box at the top of your homepage.
But if you click “write an article” you are taken to LinkedIn publisher and you will see something like this, where you can format and write your article.
You need to click on and open an article to have it counted as a view. LinkedIn even calls them “clicks” instead of “views” in a couple of places. The good news? All your article views are “legitimate.” Someone had to take a specific action to open your article.
Posts views are completely different. From the LinkedIn help section:
When you share an update, a “view” is counted when the update is loaded on the viewer’s screen. Viewers do not necessarily need to click or read the update to count as a view, but rather have the update loaded on their Homepage.
This also would imply that if you open your homepage and page down a few times, you have just “viewed” a half dozen or a dozen posts. This would go a long way to explaining how posts get so many more views than articles.
The easiest way of thinking about views is that an Article view signals a person’s intent to read your article, while a post view shows that the person had the opportunity to read your post.
By counting views differently, posts appear to get a much larger number of views than articles do. For example, my last six articles averaged just over 800 views each. My last four posts averaged over 8,000 views each.
Posts: more views, but less engagement per view
So posts get a lot more views, in my case about ten times as many. Very good for the ego. But views are a relative indicator of how one post did versus another post, or one article did versus another article. Because LinkedIn doesn’t provide us with lists of our post or article viewers, you can’t do anything with views.
Engagement, on the other hand, you can.
On those six articles I cited above, I averaged 129 people engaging (like, share, or comment) with each one. One in every six people who viewed my articles chose to engage with them.
On the four posts I averaged 72 people engaging (like, share, or comment) with each one. Less than one in every hundred people who viewed my posts engaged with them.
The quality of engagement was also higher with my articles as a lower percentage of the engagement was “likes”.
I am sorry if this bursts the bubble for people who like bragging they got a ton views for their posts, but look at it this way: if you sent an email campaign to 8,000 people, would you measure your success as having had 8,000 people “see” your email? Or would you measure your success on the engagement that came about from the email campaign?
So the pendulum just swung from “posts are better because they get more views” to “articles are better because they get more engagement and better engagement too.” But there are further nuances to the argument….
Other advantages of Articles over Posts
Articles have more formatting options, like a blog does – headings, numbered lists, quotes, embedded links and photos. The presentation is better.
Statistics on articles go on forever. Statistics on posts appear to disappear on posts over a month old. I can still look at the statistics on articles that are a couple of years old (and as I have an article that is 18 months old that still gets 600 views a week, yes, that is important to me).
Notifications on articles also go on forever. If you are fortunate enough to have readers interested in your older articles, LinkedIn will let you know about likes and comments on those articles. I still get lots of likes and comments on that 18 month old article. Articles are the long tail gift that keeps on giving.
But Posts have advantages over Articles too
Articles tend to be 400 words or more. Posts can be one or two sentences and a photo. While just as much thought may go into coming up with an idea for one or the other, there is no arguing that writing a post is less time consuming than writing an article.
Posts do not have to be clicked to be opened, they are just there in your homepage feed. And because posts tend to be short, you can get the gist of a post pretty quickly.
The bottom line, from a writer’s point of view
Article views are one tenth Post views, but get a significantly higher level of engagement and quality of engagement. What makes me different from most writers on LinkedIn is that I systematically review every single person who engages with my content, from both articles and posts, and I reach out to a lot of them. They become connections – fifteen or twenty of them a week. That means for me articles are better. More engagement, more opportunities.
But I do use both. I write articles about topics that need more depth, like this one. I publish posts when the topic is more conducive to a conversation. But I don’t publish for views in either case. I publish for engagement. High quality engagement and lots of it. You should too.