LinkedIn has over 530 million members across the globe and is increasingly being used as a platform to share expertise, voice opinions and spark conversation. Millions of posts, videos and articles are created and shared on LinkedIn every week. In order to celebrate some of those who are producing really excellent and highly engaging content, we’ve put together our second annual #LinkedinTopVoices list in the UK.
To compile the list, we use a combination of data and editorial signals designed to capture the voices making a mark in the UK. This includes engagement (specifically the likes, comments and shares across each member’s articles, posts and videos); growth of followers tied to publishing activity; and number of times the writer has been featured in editorial channels – a signal of high-quality content. We also emphasise diversity of topics and voices. The list reflects publishing activity over a 12-month period, from November 2016 to November 2017, and as with all LinkedIn Lists, we excluded LinkedIn and Microsoft employees from consideration.
This year, our top voices wrote about everything from business strategy to scary clowns and the UK economy to mental health struggles. So, without further ado…
What he talks about: Atsmon shares the wisdom he gained in his 15 years at management consultancy firm McKinsey & Company, mainly writing about business growth and strategy. In his own words, he focuses on “how organisations and individuals can make better decisions”.
Favourite conversation starter: He doesn’t tend to write very personal articles, but this year Atsmon wrote about why he decided to leave his role as a senior partner at McKinsey to join corporate and SME matchmaking startup Globality. “It was important for me to write it in an authentic and honest voice, which forced me to admit my fears. I am proud of that,” he explains.
An interesting fact about Atsmon: When it comes to wine, he really knows his stuff – he worked as a sommelier while studying at university.
What he talks about: There’s no common theme to the Forbes and Inc. Magazine columnist’s posts – he writes about a mish-mash of topics, from his dog Baxter, sanitary towels and scary clowns to rock stars, business and noisy eaters.
Favourite conversation starter: While not his most popular in terms of metrics, “How to bounce back from an epic fail” is the article that means the most to Blakeman. “I recounted a personal story which still makes me come out in hives,” he says. “It was cathartic to write about and I think it resonated with plenty of other people who have also messed up (almost) as badly as me and then realise that the old adage is true: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
An interesting fact about Blakeman: He was once in a rock band. “I thought I was the UK’s answer to Jon Bon Jovi. The only problem was, no one had ever asked the question.”
What she talks about: Galviz writes very openly and honestly about issues that many are too afraid to speak or write about publicly. Her articles cover the likes of the fear of public speaking and mental health issues, but she also offers more general advice to millennials who are trying to find their way in the modern world of work.
Favourite conversation starters: “They are usually the ones that have taken a huge amount of courage to share and that, at times, I’ve doubted whether it’s the right content to share with a ‘professional’ network,” she says. She’s particularly pleased with how her candid video about her quarter-life crisis was received.
The best book she has read this year: She particularly enjoyed Thrive by Arianna Huffington. “It talks about the definition of success we have as a society (money, power, status) and that without a third metric (wisdom, wellbeing and wonder) we can’t lead a balanced life,” Galviz says.
What he talks about: If it’s economic analysis you’re into, Gregory’s your guy: he digs into the latest data, trends and policies and writes in an accessible way that’s useful and relevant to the business community. “Rebalancing the UK economy geographically, and the economics of football are my two pet subjects,” he says.
Favourite conversation starters: Gregory is particularly pleased with “Forget the robots, look out for the networks”, which identified a new way of looking at technological change and was inspired by his conversations with clients.
The trend he’s watching in 2018: How retail copes with a slowing economy, changing consumers and technological change, which he describes as “a perfect storm”.
What he talks about: Mattin is interested in what’s hot right now and what’s around the corner, writing about the intersection of new technologies and cultural or social change. As well as looking at how new trends impact society, he explores what they mean for businesses and brands.
Favourite conversation starter: Mattin’s pleased with his article “In 2017, your internal culture is your brand”, which talks about business now being a glass box. He believes we’re at a real watershed moment for transparency, especially since all of this year’s turbulence at Uber and the ongoing #MeToo movement.
The trend he’s watching in 2018: He’s interested in personalisation and thinks there’ll be “hugely significant and exciting shifts” in this area next year. “New technologies and techniques such as facial recognition and affordable gene sequencing mean that it is becoming possible to access, and personalise around, the consumer’s deepest self,” Mattin says.
What he talks about: McNulty writes about people and how new technology impacts their lives, work and education. At times he focuses on future societal trends, opportunities and challenges; at others he lets his “inner geek” take over and writes about how data can help us better understand and measure things related to people.
Favourite conversation starter: McNulty said his article “Five reasons why universities will decline as sources of talent” resulted in him getting more involved in the growing debate around education and employment. “I’m really passionate about young talent and how to best prepare and enable them to succeed, and I strongly believe that not everyone needs a degree or diploma to make their mark on the world,” he explains.
An interesting fact about him: It may not be everyone’s instrument of choice, but McNulty studied the recorder at the Royal College of Music.
What she talks about: Newnham shares the backstories of inspiring founders and innovators, covering their journeys from childhood and highlighting obstacles they’ve overcome, lessons they’ve learned and advice they have for others.
Favourite conversation starter: Her interview with inspiring female founder Anisah Osman Britton about her mission to empower women by teaching them how to code. “It really resonated with readers on LinkedIn and prompted some very honest conversations about how we tackle diversity in tech, making it a more inclusive industry,” Newnham says.
Where she does her best writing: “In a place of calm and solitude – I require absolute silence, zero distractions and preferably a view of the sea.”
What he talks about: The former Dragon’s Den investor said nothing is off limits for him on LinkedIn, as long as it ties into business, success, challenges and careers. Topics he’s covered include his dyslexia, helping young people become work-ready, and how to recognise whether or not your career is the right one for you.
Favourite conversation starter: Paphitis’ article “Those with dyslexia don’t just think outside the box, they build a new one” was a really personal one. “With something as life-defining as dyslexia, it’s so important to view it in the positive, and I had some fantastic messages from people thanking me for the post, and for me that’s what it’s all about,” he says.
Where he does his best writing: Some of the businessman’s best ideas for articles come to him in the shower, describing it as “an incredibly fertile place for creativity”.
What he talks about: He writes articles about how findings from social psychology experiments can be applied to advertising. Shotton says social psychology explains why people make the decisions they do: “If you want to influence people, then it’s the best place to start.”
Favourite conversation starter: “Truthiness in marketing: is the evidence behind brand purpose flawed?” Purpose – the idea that brands should have a meaning beyond profit – has taken marketing by storm over the last few years, and Shotton used this article to show that the famous and much-cited evidence supporting the theory is deeply flawed.
What writing on LinkedIn did for him: It brought the opportunity to write a book: The Choice Factory, about social psychology and advertising. “I’m not sure if I would’ve been offered a deal if I couldn’t have shown the publisher the engagement rates that my LinkedIn articles had achieved,” he says.
Favourite conversation starter: “Be honest, did you think the woman in the Professor Robert Kelly video was the nanny?” It relates to one of the finest comedy moments of 2017 – the TV interview with Professor Robert Kelly, in which his children unexpectedly burst into the room, followed by his horrified wife. “Some of the media reported that she was the nanny. My article generated a lot of discussions and debate about unconscious bias,” Stewart says. (Kelly’s wife is of East Asian origin.)
The news story she found most interesting in 2017: The ongoing stories related to the #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment. “It highlights the power of the collective voice and social media and gave women (and men) the courage to speak out and take action,” she explains.
What she talks about: A professional trend spotter, Trotter writes about what’s hot and what’s not in the retail industry. She explores what’s around the corner and what retailers can do to get ahead of their competitors.
Favourite conversation starter: “Top 50 flagship stores in the world.” The article highlights that the flagship store still plays a pivotal role in retail, and that the industry can learn a lot from best practice examples. “It also had fantastic engagement – more than 70,000 people looked at it, 4,000 said they like it and there was lots of interesting discussion in the comments,” Trotter adds.
An interesting fact about Trotter: This year, she’s presented to around 4,500 professionals across 12 countries and three continents. “And Harry Styles once started a conversation with me!”
What he talks about: Wilson’s preferred medium is short posts and videos that incite discussion and provoke thought. The university marketing professor and branding consultant focuses on tackling those tricky areas to do with race, religion, culture and future trends.
The trends he’s watching in 2018: “Those concerning diversity – whether that’s women in the workplace; new growth sectors like Halal food, fashion, cosmetics, and tourism; or race issues,” he says.
How he comes up with ideas for his articles and posts: It’s all about mixing with interesting people. “I make sure that I hang around with people from diverse backgrounds outside of my field: vloggers, comedians, designers, musicians, scientists, athletes, chefs, religious leaders, psychoanalysts – the more eclectic and random the better,” he says.