What is Medium, anyway?
Medium is a publishing platform created in 2012 by Twitter co-founder Ev Williams. Unlike most traditional blogging platforms, content on Medium is sorted by category, not by author, and is curated by the site using unconventional metrics such as a users “read-ratio” (more on that, later).
Basically, when you sign onto Medium, you see a personal feed full of stories that can range from political tirades to high-level discussions of SEO strategy. The content is variable in the extreme: posts range from a single cartoon to literal novellas. But it all has one thing in common, too: the quality is unbelievably high, across the board.
Readers can curate their own feeds by following specific writers or “publications,” hand-picked selections of related content (formerly known as “collections”). The site has some unique features such as the ability to comment in the margins of a post to highlight specific points.
Here are a few others:
- You can ask other writers to review and give feedback on your post prior to publishing.
- Writers can “respond” to a post with another post.
- The site shows readers approximately how long it will take them to read a post—before they click.
There is also an enviable element of design to their interface. Not only is the text editor beautifully simple, but writers can include photos in a multitude of gorgeous spreads or even embed content directly from sites like Instagram and Youtube. Content this good-looking is simply a marketer’s dream.
With approximately 30 million visitors every month, Medium has more to offer than a pretty interface. Some particularly brave businesses have even chosen to completely move their blogs to the platform, citing lower development and distribution costs, among other advantages.
BlogMutt’s own Patrick Armitage explains that, “Tomorrow’s successful content marketing campaigns will happen on third-party distribution platforms instead of owned ones.” He cites the fact that 77% of BuzzFeed’s views come from third-party platforms.
However, this can only work for sites that already have a well-established following, since Medium alone will not drive your SEO. Unless you’re already a media giant, it remains the best SEO strategy to house your blog on your own site.
Getting Started with Medium
Accounts are free on Medium, and sign-up is a breeze. You can link the account to Facebook, Twitter, or simply sign up using your email address. The BlogMutt account is linked to our Twitter page.
Once you’re in, Medium will prompt you to choose topics that interest you (or that are relevant to your brand), then suggest other writers that you might want to follow. Don’t worry, you can always add to this later.
Medium profiles couldn’t be simpler. Choose a photo, write a super-short bio, and start publishing.
Using Medium to Promote Your Existing Blog
Why is publishing on Medium different than publishing on my blog?
If you check out our content on Medium, you might notice that we often cross-publish the same content on both sites. But why?
Publishing posts on Medium allows us to get that content out there for a whole new audience of readers to discover. However, those people aren’t necessarily coming to our blog to get that content. This has two repercussions:
1. We can’t control the user experience.
2. We get the same information about readers.
The primary goal of our blog is to drive SEO traffic to our site. From there, readers can click on our side bars or CTA and look at our other content offerings. There is a great deal of value in being able to control your reader’s total user experience if your goal is to help them understand how your product can help them.
On Medium, readers don’t have to visit your site to consume your content and there is a lot of other unrelated content to distract readers away from yours. Without a visit to your site, you lose the potential to collect data from future leads or offer visitors a sample of your product.
It should be noted that Medium does have some ways to help you drive traffic to your site. You can embed CTAs in your stories and provide links to other relevant content.
An additional benefit here is that the amount of views you get is much less related to keyword rankings and SEO—and much more related to the quality of your content. If you think your content is good enough to drive readers to seek out more on your site, Medium can be a great way to get that content in front of the people who should see it.
Simply put, you need to be the Beyoncé of blogging in your industry:
As for metrics, Medium provides numbers that are somewhat unorthodox in the world of content marketing. You will be able to track three basic metrics on your stories: views, reads, and read-ratio (the percentage of viewers who actually read your content, determined by a proprietary algorithm).
Medium has intuited that the read-ratio plays an important role in how they sort and prioritize content on the site. Basically, what this comes down to is that you aren’t rewarded for clickable headlines or for using the right keywords.
You’re really only rewarded for having great content that people want to read from start to finish.
The Cross-Promotional Potential of Medium
Where Medium really shines as a marketing tool is in its potential for cross-promotion of blog content.
Reposting content on Medium is quick, simple, and puts your content in front of new eyes. You might be wondering if it’s too good to be true: “Isn’t this considered duplicate content by search engines?”
Answer: Nope! It’s not. Not if you do it right, at least.
To avoid any risks associated with publishing the same content twice, you simply need to make it clear to search engines which copy is the original (your blog). To do that, simply add a canonical tag to the link directing readers back to your blog from the Medium story.
An important note, here: if you use Medium’s official import tools, canonical tags are included automatically.
Can you publish BlogMutt content there? Absolutely. You own the rights to that content, and you can re-post it as much as you’d like. It’s no different than sharing that content on Twitter or Facebook, which we definitely encourage you to do.
Does marketing on Medium make sense for me?
Marketers Already Using Medium Successfully
The Buffer blog did an experiment to figure out what type of marketing works on Medium for them.
Here are their top three tips on how to use Medium successfully as a marketing tool:
1. Repost evergreen content from your blog.
Buffer found that by reposting older evergreen content—from as much as a year or two ago—they were able to avoid showing readers duplicate content on their blog and Medium, but they were also able to reuse that old content to get new views.
This increased their Medium views by over 1000%. 1000%!!
2. Send Medium letters.
They recommend trying out roundup-style letters that can help drive viewers to other content on your page or in your publications. Other tips include using lots of visuals, and using your name to make things personal. Here’s how to get started.
3. Perform biweekly experiments, yourself.
Try different strategies every other week, and be sure to track which ones work, and which do not. For example, try changing up the time or the day that you post, use different content lengths, or promote your Medium articles on other platforms.
Are You a Thought Leader in Your Industry?
One big takeaway from my research about marketing on Medium is that the platform simply does not work for everyone.
If your content isn’t positioning you as thought leadership in your industry, it’s probably best to stick to blogging on your own site, and promoting that content on Twitter and Facebook.
However, Medium does have a huge potential for small companies with really solid, high-quality content. If your company is looking to position itself as a purveyor of fine content, Medium can go a long way toward expanding your reach and introducing new readers to your brand.
Should I use Medium?
3 Factors to Consider:
1. Who is your audience? How do they most often find & use your content?
Do readers often find your content while looking for in-depth answers to questions about your field? How often do readers stumble upon your content through organic searches? Does your blog content drive conversions on your site?
We get it: Companies blog for a huge variety of different reasons.
Medium is only worth the work if you are ready to offer readable content that offers value beyond your brand-story. Kissmetrics puts this nicely in their post about Medium marketing:
…if your stories don’t resonate with Medium readers who aren’t familiar with your brand then they counteract one of the major benefits of being on the website in the first place: visibility to a larger audience.
If you are prepared to put in the time and money required for producing blog works of art, Medium can take your content to the next level.
2. Do you already produce ultra-high-quality content?
If you are producing content that truly provides value to a sizeable audience, Medium might be a great way to cross-promote and share your brand.
If, on the other hand, your only goal is simply to drive SEO traffic to your site, Medium may be a waste of your time. As I said earlier, Medium rewards great content, not SEO. So, unless you’re prepared to offer what they want, I’d recommend putting your resources to better use.
3. How much time can you reasonably dedicate to your Medium promotion strategy? Will it be enough?
If you are already running out of resources for content production and promotion, adding Medium to your strategy bears the risk of spreading those resources too thin.
On the other hand, if your marketing team is searching for new avenues and is ready to start experimenting, it is incredibly easy to get started on Medium. Just please do not take those first steps unless you know you are ready to follow through.
Friends don’t let friends promote content without a plan.
Interested in using outsourced blog content to promote your brand on Medium? We have 3,000+ U.S.-based writers ready to create high-quality content in your industry.