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How to Blog on Medium (and Why Your Business Should)


Imagine a website based on a combination of an intuitive, easy-to-use blogging platform and the viral power of social media.


A website on which, by regularly publishing content, you could build up thousands of followers keen to read your next post.


A website with tens of millions of regular users and—thanks to the quality of its content—high levels of authority from which you can siphon off traffic and leads for your own business, as well as support your own website's search visibility.


That website is Medium. Over recent years it's risen to become one of the top places to publish content and grow your online visibility.


In this ultimate guide to using Medium for your business, you'll learn:

  • What Medium is and how it works.

  • How to publish content on the platform.

  • 15 top tips for using Medium to help market your business.


Firstly, What is Medium?

As indicated in the introduction, one way to think of Medium is as a blogging platform, but one that's been infused with some key characteristics of social media channels.

For example:

  • It's open to everyone.

  • You can grow an audience.

  • Content can be 'liked' (on Medium, people 'clap' for content they like).

  • An algorithm ensures the content you're likely to find most interesting floats to the top.

In fact, Medium was created by two original founders of Twitter, Ev Williams and Jason Goldman, so these social media-like roots to the site aren't too surprising.


However, Medium's focus is on "quality over quantity", and, while other social platforms are often plagued by low-grade content, avoids "submitting to the lowest common denominator".


In terms of usage stats, according to Alexa it's not far off becoming one of the top 100 sites worldwide.


According to Ev Williams in an email to Medium members in 2021, Medium attracts 120 million readers a month.


It's "reputed for attracting a well-educated, tech-savvy audience of early adopters who value high-quality storytelling content" (source).


While it's free to open an account and write content on Medium, you'll find some of the content is behind a paywall.


Members pay $5 a month for full access—this is how the platform is funded. With an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 paying members, it's a model that appears to be working.


Writers can choose whether to put their content behind the paywall. If they do, they can benefit from potentially higher visibility and a slice of Medium's revenue via their Partner Program. More on that below...


In general, the platform is constantly working to improve what they do, and has risen to become one of the top content platforms you can freely publish content on and grow a large audience.


Why Should You Blog on Medium?

The role of your own website in reaching people in your marketplace is declining.

People spend an increasing amount of time on social media and related content platforms. That's not too surprising when you consider they're specifically designed to be as engaging as possible to keep users from going anywhere else.


For the average user in the US, social media usage has shot up from around 37 minutes per day on average in 2012 to two hours and three minutes by 2019.


And social media usage around the world continues to grow.


If you're not regularly and systematically publishing content on these platforms—content that's designed to attract and engage your market—you're missing a huge opportunity to connect with people in your marketplace and let them know about your business.


In fact, doing so is now a key component of effective content amplification.

(And the good news is, it's easier to do so than you think).


As a rule, your content must be wherever they are, rather than where you want them to be.


Medium is no exception.


By regularly and consistently publishing content on the platform, the end result is an asset for your business that delivers increasing rewards over time, including leads and traffic.


The high authority of the platform means your content can perform well on search and achieve high rankings.


Even if you don't have much of an audience yourself just yet, you can potentially contribute content to existing Publications on Medium that have large audiences.


In addition, publishing content on Medium can deliver indirect SEO benefits (links are nofollow, as with other social platforms) that can boost the authority of your own website.


While it's unlikely to be a primary motivation, as already mentioned, you can also develop an additional income stream from your Medium content.


The amount paid is based on how much time users spend with your stories. Here's more info on how they calculate earnings.


However, none of this means you should publish on Medium at the expense of publishing content on your own website, such as via a blog.


As with other platforms, while the rewards can be high, ultimately it's not a platform you control.


Instead...


Approach Medium as an additional powerful platform to grow an engaged audience and build online visibility.

Here's why:

  • Your primary goal should be to build the authority of your own website on Google—rather than to give Medium the exclusive benefit of your content.

  • You can grow your email list on your own website more effectively with a wide variety of different opt-in mechanisms designed to maximize your conversions.

  • Similarly, you have more scope to encourage social sharing of your content when it's on your own site, including the ability to test what's most effective—on Medium, they control all the options.

  • You don't have full control over the content. A change in ownership or publishing policy could see you lose both your content and an audience you've potentially spent years developing. Or perhaps require you to pay to reach your audience (think Facebook).

  • With content on your own blog, you control recommendations on what visitors should read next. In contrast, Medium shows recommendations for content from other businesses.

  • The user data you get from Medium is limited. On your own site, you can integrate with Google Analytics and see all the data you need.

In other words, do both. Publish content on your site as well as platforms like Medium.


Before you throw your hands up in horror, that's not as time consuming as you might think. You can either...


Republish the Same Content on Medium...

Obviously, this is the quick and easy approach, and largely copy and paste.

If you do this, it's best to:

  • Wait until the content on your website has been indexed by Google.

  • Provide a link from the Medium post back to the content on your website.

By doing so, there's more chance that Google will see the original content on your site as the most authoritative, and rank that rather than the same content on Medium

However, as easy as this approach might sound, there are disadvantages which can be significant:

  • There's a risk that Google will still see the Medium post as the 'original' and list that in its index rather than the content on your own site. This reduces your ability to generate leads (you'll get higher conversions on your website), and lowers the overall authority of your website, harming your overall rankings.

  • Rather than two separate listings in Google's index for separate pieces of content, you end up with just one. For a single post, it doesn't sound like much. However, as you continue publishing content, that impact grows.

  • Longer blog posts (2,000+ words) can work very well on your own website, but shorter content (e.g. 1,000 to 1,500 words) tends to perform better on Medium.


How Do You Build Your Medium Audience?

As with other social media and content platforms:

  • The size of your audience has a huge influence on the exposure your content receives on the platform.

  • Growing your audience requires patience, diligence and consistent action.

Your audience consists of the people who follow you. They may follow you as an individual and/or a Publication you create.


It used to be the case that connecting your Facebook or Twitter account to Medium would mean your connections on those networks became part of your audience (if they had a Medium account).


However, that no longer works, and the main activity that will grow your audience over time is regularly and consistently publishing content on the platform.


By doing so, of course you become more visible and there are more chances for others to find your content and to be able to connect with you.


Other tips include the following:

  • Study the analytics data for your Medium content (more on this below) to see what's working. Do more of it to reach more people.

  • Follow other users on Medium who show an interest in content similar to yours. Some will follow you back.

  • Engage in other people's content, particularly that which is similar to your own.

  • Share your Medium content regularly through your other social networks.

As your audience grows, so will the stats for your content, making the platform increasingly effective over time (as with many such channels).


For example, Medium users receive regular email digests publicizing content from the people and Publications they follow and show an interest in.

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