A Content Marketer’s Guide to Medium
Picture this: You’re a content writer, and you’ve written a masterpiece—well as close to one as you can get by writing about financial services or about how to perfect your skincare routine. You hit publish, and you wait for the likes and comments to come pouring in.
…And nothing happens.
If you’ve ever dabbled in content marketing for your small business, you know the feeling.
But, it’s inevitable. With so much content to choose from online, most of it dies a quick death with few mourners. The vast majority of what’s written on the internet gets a few views then fades into the deep recesses of digital memory, never to be seen again.
That’s where Medium comes in.
Medium is a blogging platform where users can write, read, and discover long-form content. Essentially, Medium makes it easier to connect with interested readers.
Everyone has a story to tell. Medium is the place to tell yours.
5 Small Tips that Yield Big Results on Medium
Setting up your very own Medium account is easy. Just sign up with Google or Facebook, customize your interests (this information will determine what stories appear on your home page), and write an author description.
Ta-da! Now you’re ready to start writing on Medium!
But surely there’s more to it than that, right?
Well, yes and no. No, it really is that easy, and there aren’t many hidden tricks when it comes to writing on Medium. Yes, there is a catch. Drawing a large following to your content isn’t exactly automatic. If you want to really optimize your content for Medium, there are a few things you should know to help you grow your follower list and increase your reach:
- Engage with other users: This is common courtesy on nearly every social media platform. Don’t just post your content and split. Stick around and take a look at some other stories in your niche. Add to the community by liking and commenting on other interesting content. Not only is this good manners, but you’ll also be rewarded with a growing follower list.
- Submit to publications: Medium publications are collections of articles by different authors that are all focused around a central theme. They’re basically online magazines. Users can follow publications to get updates about new content, so if your content appears in a major publication, it can boost your reach tremendously. Just make sure to check the publication’s submission guidelines. Some publications do not allow you to repost your content elsewhere (like to your personal blog) if it is accepted.
- Focus on Storytelling: If you’re having trouble figuring out what to write about, check out popular posts in your niche. You’ll find that many of them have a focus on personal experience. That’s because stories drive success on Medium. Connect with your audience by weaving in anecdotes or examples from your life.
- Keep Readers in Mind: According to a study by Medium, articles written for a 6th grade reading level receive 20% more engagement on average, so keep word choice simple and sentences under 20 words long.
- Publish on Tuesdays and Saturdays: These are the days that users are more likely to engage with articles. Articles published on Mondays, on the other hand, fare the worst.
How to Format Your Content on Medium for Maximum Impact
Seven seconds is the time it takes for people to form a first impression. Just seven seconds is the difference between, “Hey, I want to get to know you,” and “I want nothing to do with you.” It’s the reason people generally don’t show up to first dates or job interviews in stained sweatpants.
The same goes for your content. Appearance matters.There is one cardinal sin that pops up consistently among novice bloggers: long, unbroken blocks of text. #MichaelsWilder #contentmarketing Click To Tweet
Thankfully, Medium makes it very difficult to make your content look truly ugly. The platform boasts a sleek design and simple formatting features that anyone can use. With that being said, it’s not completely fool-proof. There is one cardinal sin that pops up consistently among novice bloggers: long, unbroken blocks of text.
If you want people to immediately click away from your story, then, by all means, don’t break up your paragraphs. However, if you actually want people to read what you write, you’ll want to take advantage of the formatting tools Medium has to offer:
- Headings and subheadings: Whenever you shift gears to a new topic or main idea, use headings to signal that you’re moving on. Not only does this make the text look more visually appealing, but these labels also help the reader follow your train of thought.
- Typographical emphasis: That’s just a fancy phrase for tools like italics and bold text that provide emphasis to key words in your story. Just make sure not to over-emphasize. Save it for the really important stuff.
- Images: A pictures says a thousand words. (It’s a cliché for a reason.) Pictures help people to better process information. Also, they just look nice!
- Numbered and bulleted lists: Use lists (like this one!) to highlight information and make your key insights easily scannable.
What Metrics Matter on Medium?
Anyone can have a voice on Medium. How many people that voice actually reaches, however, is another story.
Medium’s algorithm prioritizes quality content by measuring not only how many people click on a story, but also how engaged they are with that content. It’s not just about getting views; it’s about keeping readers’ attention.
So, allow us to introduce you to your new best friend: the Medium Analytics Tool. The metrics you see on your “Stats” page are the key to helping you tweak your content and figure out what makes your readers stay engaged. To see how well your content is performing, start by comparing these key metrics.
Reads vs. Views
Reads are estimated by gauging the amount of time a user spends on the page vs. the estimated time it should take to read the article. If the time spent matches or exceeds the estimated time to complete, it is counted as a “read.” However, if the time spent is significantly less than the estimated time to complete, it counts only as a “view.” Articles that get clicks are not necessarily the ones that flourish. “Reads,” not “views” are the key to building an audience. So, if you want to find success on Medium, leave the “click-bait” behind, and focus on quality instead.
Fans vs. Claps
Users who enjoy a post can “clap” for it at the bottom of the article. Medium is unique in that a user can clap for a single article as many times as they want. Think of like a golf clap vs. a roaring applause. If you want to know how many unique users clapped for a post, look to its number of “fans.” By comparing reads to claps and fans you can not only gauge the number of users who read the article, but also how much they enjoyed reading it.
Users can also highlight and make marginal notes on your article, and, while this type of engagement isn’t as influential to the Medium algorithm as reads, fans, and claps, it’s still worthwhile to keep an eye on which parts of your article attract the most attention.
You can also click on individual articles to see how well they’ve performed over time. Here, you can also see where your traffic is coming from, which allows you to gauge your content distribution’s effectiveness, along with your readers’ common interests, which allow you to better tailor your content to the people who are reading it.
Medium and Marketing
In this article, up until now, we’ve mainly talked about how to be generally successful on Medium—whether or not you’re using it as a professional tool. But what about using it as a part of a larger content marketing strategy? How do you use it to convert, generate leads, drive traffic, and do all those other buzzwords that marketers care about?
The main benefit of Medium is the ability to get your content in front of a large audience—something that may not be possible if you’re just starting out with building your blog. In fact, some people prefer to use Medium as their main branded blog rather than going through the trouble of setting up their own site. Unlike other social media sites, you don’t need to pay a fee to get your branded content in front of the right people. You just need to create good content.
However, to guide some of Medium’s huge audience of readers to your business, you’ll want to make it easy for them to find you elsewhere online by following these easy steps:
- Link your social media accounts to Medium. You can do this in the Settings menu.
- Include your brand name in your user description. This description appears at the top of every story you publish.
- Incorporate an “About the Author” section into the end of each story you publish. Here, you can tell your readers a bit more about yourself and include links to your website and social media.
Keep in mind that, if you’re already creating content for your own website, it takes very little effort to cross-post it to Medium. For a relatively low amount of effort, you get free access to thousands of readers who, otherwise, may never have read your content. Overall, it’s a small step that could really pay off.