Should You be Using Medium?
Should You be Using Medium?: Introduction
According to similarweb.com Medium.com has received around 210 million visits per month. Do you need another reason to post articles on the platform? If you are able to achieve some success then that should lead to more visitors to your own website.
What is Medium?
Founded in 2012 by Evan Williams, Medium.com is considered by some as the Twitter for longform content. It should not come as a surprise that Evan Williams was also a co-founder of both Twitter and Blogger.
It has a number of social media like features such as:
- An algorithm that pushes new content to you that you are likely to find most interesting.
- You can ‘like’ a post on the platform by ‘clapping’.
- It is possible for you to grow an audience.
- It is accessible to all (although they do now have a paid membership option)
“Medium is creating not just technology, and not just content, but a new information ecosystem-one that is open for everyone to participate in, but without submitting to the lowest common denominator. One that rewards quality over quantity. One that supports nuance, complexity, and substantive storytelling that wouldn’t be possible anywhere else.”Email from Evan Williams to Medium members.
Why Should You be Blogging on Medium
Over the past 10 years or so statistics show that the amount of time users spend on social media has grown markedly. As an example, in the US an average user spent 37 minutes per day on social media in 2012. By 2019 this had increased to two hours and three minutes.
Just having a website is probably not going to cut it any more. You are going to have to engage with your potential audience on multiple different platforms. This is even more applicable to new sites which are going to find it difficult to compete in the search engine rankings. They also don’t have the budget for paid advertisements.
It is a lot easier to put content in front of people where they already spend their time. If your content is interesting then they should seek you out elsewhere.
Indeed Medium’s high domain authority makes it a rich source of search engine rankings for new sites. Sites that otherwise don’t have sufficient authority of their own.
However you do need to maintain a balance. While it is nice to get a bump in the rankings by leveraging Medium.com’s authority, ultimately you need to increase the authority of your own website.
Never put all of your eggs in one basket particularly if you don’t own the basket.
You should consider Medium as an additional resource (rather than a primary one) for the following reasons:
- You don’t control the platform. Medium could change the rules meaning you lose your audience and possibly your content or both. It’s the same as any other social media following you build up. Youtube, Facebook, Instagram et cetera could shut down your account for little or no reason overnight.
- When you publish content on your website you control the social media sharing options which will benefit your site. On Medium you have no control.
- Medium’s primary concern is keeping people on their platform. They may recommend articles from anyone. On your own site you control the content suggestions to the reader.
- On Medium you won’t be able to generate an email list. This is still an important asset. Some measure the value of an email list at as much as $38 per subscriber.
You might already be worried about the cost in time or money producing extra content for all these different platforms such as Medium.com.
Don’t sacrifice producing new content for your own website in order to produce content for Medium. Your primary focus should be growing the reputation and authority of your own asset.
You should always focus on producing high quality content on your own blog.
What to Publish?
The quickest and cheapest solution is to republish the content you are already producing for your own website.
If you are considering going down this route then it is best to wait until Google has already indexed the article on your own site. You should also place a link back to your own site in the article on Medium. This way Google should rank your article higher than the version on Medium. It’s best to use the import tool. When importing an article Medium should use the rel=canonical flag to identify the original post (ie your website).
Even doing it this way though might still pose certain risks:
Google might publish the Medium article higher in the rankings than your own article. This will reduce your chances of increasing your domain authority.
Google might decide that it is duplicate content and only show the Medium post in the search results so that is even worse.
You might write an article to your site that is 2,500 words. Now this might be fine for the topic you are covering but posts on Medium tend to perform best when they are around 1600 words or so.
You could outsource the creation of a Medium specific article using your own article as a basis for the right to work from. This doesn’t add much to your workload.
The benefits of doing it this way are:
You have two unique pieces of content so you double your chances of creating something that will rank.
You can amend the content to better suit Medium. For example length.
How to Publish on Medium
First of all you need to create an account. You can sign up as either an individual or a business. You may find it better to sign up in the first instance as an individual and then you can create a ‘publication’ that reflects your business.
Like any other social media platform you will need to build an audience. The most important thing to remember is consistency. As with most other forms of content marketing you will need to produce content on a regular basis. The other thing you will need is patience!
At one time you used to be able to connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts to your Medium account. Anyone that was following you on those platforms would also follow you if they had a Medium account. Unfortunately that is no longer the case.
Really the only strategy that works is to regularly and consistently publish content on the platform.
Some other tips to help boost your audience include:
Follow others. Find Medium users that are currently interested in content similar to yours and follow them some of them will follow you back. (I’ve used this strategy on Pinterest with some success)
Share your content. Leverage your other social networks to publicize your Medium posts.
Analytics. Determine the posts that performed best using the analytics provided. Try to create more posts along those lines.
Engagement. Look for other content similar to your own and engage with it.
Posts on Medium are known as stories. To create a new post click your profile icon and then select ‘write a story’. Alternatively you can start writing from the homepage by clicking on the ‘write’ button.
Their editor is simple to use and offers a minimum of formatting options to avoid you getting lost. Unsplash is integrated with the platform so it’s easy to add images to your story. If you include a mention for someone using their @ handle then they will receive a notification after you publish the article.
Tips for businesses
What you can use Medium as a platform to publish articles, or even earn money via the media Partner program. Many will look at the platform as a means of promoting their business or brand. Here are some tips that should help you in that goal.
- Create a publication. If you’re looking to build momentum around your business the publication is likely to be the best way to go. You have a certain amount of leeway with the look and feel of your publication so you can tailor it to better match your brand.
- Regular and consistent. As with pretty well every other form of content marketing you are advised to publish on a regular basis and to maintain a consistent schedule.
- You may already be syndicating your blog content on your other social media channels. You should make sure that you also include Medium even if you have to spend a little time or money tailoring the post to better fit the platform.
- Quality. You need to focus on producing quality content. In addition to its algorithm Medium employs human curators. They review content in an effort to push higher quality articles to the fore and keep lower quality content away from users.
- Grow your audience. In order to increase knowledge of your brand and get more people to your website You need to increase your audience size.
- Share your content on your other social media channels.
- While it might be tempting to just follow others in the hope that they follow you, that’s not likely to give you the sort of audience that you want. I certainly found that on Pinterest. First and foremost you need to produce quality content that people are going to want to read and that will lead them to keep coming back for more.
- Engagement. You should comment on other content on the platform where it is relevant to your audience and your comments can add value to the piece. You should also respond to any comments on your work. You can also interact with other Medium users by including their Medium handle in your stories or comments where relevant. They may end up following your work as a result.
- Consider publishing stories for other publications in an effort to increase your audience that way. Find other publications with audiences similar to your own and see if they accept guest writers.
- Lead generation. Regularly publishing content on Medium should result in more visitors to your website. Link to content on your site where visitors are able to opt in to your mailing list. Alternatively you could come up with some sort of lead magnet and link to a squeeze page from your Medium article.
- Embed content. Reuse content from your other publication channels and embed it in your Medium article. This means you will increase the engagement with the embedded content. Potentially increase the following of your other social media channels. It should increase engagement with this Medium story. This should hopefully improve the visibility of your other stories as well.
- Links. Provide relevant links back to content on your blog or other media channels such as YouTube. This should hopefully improve your audience on those other channels.
- You should also link back to your blog from your profile.
- Cross links. You are able to link your Medium stories and even embed one Medium story in another. This is a simple way of increasing the number of views for your stories.
- Tags. Effective use of tags will allow users to find your content more easily. It works in a similar way to hashtags on Twitter or other social media sites. When you create a story you will be prompted to add tags. You have the option of including up to five.
- Ask nicely. At the end of your story have a call to action to share your work or follow you. If someone has taken the time to read the whole of your article then there is a reasonable chance they enjoyed it and found it useful. They may therefore be more inclined to follow you or to share your work with their contacts.
- Images. By default, Medium will select an image from your story to show when the story is listed in public places. You may decide to pick a specific image that you feel is more likely to attract attention. In the same way you can also amend the title and subtitle of the piece when you go to publish it. You are not changing the actual title or subtitle merely what someone will see in the preview in any public listings on the site.
Medium offers you a built-in audience of 200 million visitors per month. You could, if you wish, post content with basically no extra effort on your part. Theoretically at least you could grow your other social media channels along with Medium. All of them would then bring a boost to your main website.
I think Medium has the potential to help your business grow and for that reason I’m going to give it a try over the next few months.