In the world of blogging, Medium is the new kid on the block — and it’s crushing it. After launching in 2012, Medium has quickly generated well over 60 million monthly users, 90% of which have already graduated college.
Does the name Evan Williams ring a bell? If you’ve ever written a blog post or crafted a tweet, it should — he’s the founder of both Blogger and Twitter. After providing a way for anyone to publish long-form content on the internet through Blogger, Williams moved on to tackle the opposite end of the spectrum: giving people a platform to publish their thoughts in 140 characters or less.
Ev’s Been Around the Block Before
Blogger was great for getting your ideas out there, but as more people began to publish content on the internet, actually getting noticed became almost impossible. Blogger had no internal platform to circulate content, i.e. Twitter.
Twitter was essentially a platform built to circulate content. It was one of the first social networks that relied largely on the re-blogging of content.
As soon as celebrities caught wind of Twitter, the new micro-blogging platform based on quick updates took off. Twitter was great at personalizing celebrities and brands, but it wasn’t so great for content — it’s pretty hard to inject a ton of depth into 140 characters (now 280).
What Makes Medium so Special?
Medium combines the benefits of a social network with the ability to publish beautiful long-form content. Instead of hosting your posts on a domain only accessible trough external links, Medium gives users the ability to create profiles and publications — both discoverable by anyone using the platform.
For the first time, traffic to your company’s blog doesn’t have to come externally. Medium has its own content algorithm, and that makes it easy to grow your audience by publishing content that people enjoy. Plain and simple.
Customizable publications are the bread and butter of Medium for businesses. Like a blog, publications can feature multiple authors, sort content by category, and even display a completely customizable design.
A Custom Business Blog, but Better
Publications are free to use, and Medium allows you to customize the domain name so long as it’s preceded by medium.com (medium.com/yourpublicationname). For a fee, you can even add a custom domain — allowing businesses to match their website’s domain like a traditional blog.
Once your categories are set up and you’ve customized the design of your publication, writing is as easy (if not easier) than any other CMS. With the limitless benefits of a social network backing the platform, why wouldn’t you feature your business blog on Medium and get the benefits of both worlds?
Not to mention, adding in the social aspect to your publication makes your content feel more human and approachable than a traditional blog relegated to the back pages of a website.
With tons of updates and new features coming out all of the time, Medium is at the forefront of digital publishing. As a content marketer, hopping on new trends before they emerge is crucial if you want to set you and your brand apart.
Step 1: Optimizing Your Profile/Publication Page
Remember, your publication functions like a normal blog. Your design should be engaging, and your content should be easy to find.
If you’re trying to generate leads for a business, ideally you’ll be sending users to your publication’s homepage. Getting a custom domain that matches your brand is a great way to appear more professional.
Set aside a decent chunk of time for the design of your publication. Play around with the way posts are displayed, customize your categories, and if you have one, upload your business’s logo. Medium is super flexible — if you’re not taking advantage of it, someone else will.
Step 2: Test Different Types of Content to Find What Works Best
You’re never going to know what resonates best with your audience without trying multiple styles of writing, different topics, and changing the visual design of your posts.
Keep in mind that if you’re not interested in what you’re writing about, crafting something compelling is going to be impossible. It’s hard to truly sell a topic if you’re not passionate about it.
Readers on Medium like their posts short and sweet. Four to five minutes in length is ideal, and first-person tends to work best. As Medium is a social network at heart, users like to engage with content that feels human.
Step 3: Get Featured in the Big Publications
Start by monitoring your favorite publications and authors for a while. Take a look at which topics tend to get the highest engagement and experiment with putting your own spin on them.
If your content fits within a specific niche, identify the popular publications in your industry and get in contact with the editors. Large publications are a great way to drive targeted traffic back to the rest of the content on your profile.
Getting readers to follow your publication might be a little bit more difficult, but including a short snippet about the author with a link back to your page at the bottom of your post is a good start.
Step 4: Engage Your Audience
You don’t get what you don’t ask for. Anyone on social media knows that high engagement leads to more reach.
Blogging isn’t about crafting a monologue, it’s about creating a conversation. Always try to engage your readers with specific questions at the end of your post. Medium’s algorithm loves posts with a lot of thoughtful user responses.
You’re Not Going to Become a Star Overnight
Don’t get discouraged if your follower growth doesn’t quadruple overnight. While growing on Medium is way quicker than a traditional blog, it’s still a long game.
Your success builds on itself — the more engagement you get, the more your exposure will continue to grow.
Medium isn’t just another channel for your content marketing efforts. If you want to succeed as a writer on Medium, it’s vital to change your mindset before you get frustrated.
Medium isn’t designed to generate leads by giving your content massive reach, it’s designed to generate leads by building social proof. Stuffing your content with actionable value is key if you want to grow on Medium. You can’t fake good content.