LinkedIn is the largest online professional network with more than 433 million global users from 200 countries. Roughly two million LinkedIn members have also published articles on LinkedIn Pulse, in the two years since the social network opened its content platform to everyone. However, only 500 individuals are designated LinkedIn Influencers. These influencers were hand picked by the platform and include well known industry leaders such as Bill Gates and Guy Kawasaki. While these individuals are without a doubt leading influencers in their fields, they are not the only ones.

In the first year after LinkedIn acquired Pulse, these LinkedIn Influencers were the sole contributors to LinkedIn Pulse. Today, they are still the only Pulse authors that are ranked and actively promoted on the social network. There is virtually no data currently available about the other influential content contributors on LinkedIn Pulse, so we set out to identify the top ten LinkedIn Pulse influencers based on the amount of readers they attract. We discovered that only half of the leading LinkedIn Pulse authors are LinkedIn Influencers, and the leading authors post at least once a week.

Top ten LinkedIn Pulse influencers

We analyzed the amount of unique users on LinkedIn Pulse in Q1 2016 to identify the leading authors on the network. We found that Travis Bradberry is the king of Linkedin Pulse, as well as the author of the all time most read post on LinkedIn Pulse. It’s interesting to note that Louis M Profeta MD made the list due to this article that was read by more than 1.2 million people.

Without further ado, here are the ten most read LinkedIn Pulse authors:

# Influencer % of Top 10
1 Travis Bradberry 25%
2 Louis M Profeta MD 12%
3 Ed Trice 11%
4 Mohamed El-Erian 10%
5 Liz Ryan 8%
6 Caroline Fairchild 8%
7 Jack Welch 8%
8 Bill Gates 7%
9 Danielle Dimartino Booth 6%
10 John C Abell 5%

*Note that Bill Gates is number 8 on this list.

Here’s what we’ve learned from analyzing LinkedIn Pulse traffic:

  1. A constant stream of content is required: With the exception of Profeta and Trice, all of the leading contributors publish regularly, with those publishing every couple of days taking the lead.
  2. Follower amounts are good indications, but don’t always tell the full story: With nearly 955K followers, Ryan has 1.3 times more followers than Bradberry, but attracts fewer readers. On the other hand, Profeta only has around 5.5K followers, but more readers than Ryan in this period.
  3. Some topics are more popular than others: Professional topics, such as job hunting tips and emotional intelligence, are more relevant to LinkedIn members and therefore attract more eyeballs. This goes back to the age old principle of knowing your audience.

Bottom line: To unleash the full potential of your content and position yourself as an influencer in your field you must continuously pump out relevant, well written and valuable content. And match your topics to your audience, as well as the content distribution platform, to ensure you maximize your reach and attract as many readers as possible.