At a time when organic reach is declining (or dead) on many social networks, Medium is a shining beacon of hope if you're feeling like your great content is going unnoticed and unloved.
One great thing about Medium is that it's about the value of your ideas. It's not just another place where the biggest names and celebrities dominate.
Even if you aren't a top influencer with a gazillion followers, or if your niche is small, your Medium story can get tons of views and green hearts (the Recommend button). It's doable.
I’ve already showed you WHY Medium publishing is such a powerful lever for content marketers. Today I’m going to show you HOW to make sure your content on Medium performs at an awesome level.
I’ve been experimenting with Medium for a while, and I think I’ve cracked the code. Here are my best seven tips to optimize your Medium posts and get them to go hot.
1. Include A Powerful Image
A compelling image at the top of your content can help draw more readers into your post. Add an image immediately after your headline to guarantee it will appear as part of your teaser on mobile news feeds, like this:
Visuals increase engagement, whether it's on Medium or any other platform. Unless you include an image in your Medium post, your teaser will just be a few words (usually just the opening sentence of your post), which means fewer clicks and fewer readers.
Always try to include a great, eye-catching visual. The right image can help convey what your article is about and entice many more people to click on the Read More link.
2. Pay To Promote
You can run ads on Facebook and Twitter to promote your Medium posts (and check out this post about content advertising to learn more about paid content promotion). With just $50 as a catalyst, you can give your content a little inaugural push, to help it get to 200 hearts within 24 hours.
I’ve found that if you’re able to cross a 200-heart threshold within a day, there's a great chance your article will start trending and be pushed out to users by the platform’s content recommendation article. Your pageviews will skyrocket.
You'll want to target your ads to people who have Medium accounts, because targeting people who aren't on Medium is a complete waste of money if your only goal is to get hearts.
Once your post starts trending, more and more people will start seeing it, reading it, and hearting it. You want to achieve this Medium Virtuous Cycle and ride your unicorn post as long as you can.
3. Submit Your Article To Medium Publications
Why go it alone? Ask a Medium publication owner to add your article to their publication.
Getting your article featured in a publication will grow your reach beyond just your followers to reach however many followers that publication has. Getting featured in a really big publication can give you a huge boost – some Medium publications have more than 100,000 followers.
My Medium publication, All Things Marketing & Entrepreneurship, has nearly 10,000 followers – it’s already the largest marketing publication on the platform! So someone who is new to Medium and who has a small following could ask me to feature a post in my channel, which would open that person to a brand new and much larger audience. (Interested in contributing? Shoot me a note on Twitter.)
4. Delete & Repost Your Articles
Not every Medium article you post will be a blockbuster. However, if you really believe your article should have done well, but it didn't get reads and hearts for whatever reason, you absolutely can delete it and republish it.
Give your content a third chance (the first chance being wherever it initially published, and its second being its first incarnation on Medium) if it has less than 1,000 views and 50 hearts. Try again.
There is a bit of randomness to success on Medium. Some if has to do with publishing at the right time when people are active, creating a snowball of people recommending your post.
Just because your content underperformed twice doesn't mean it will suffer the same outcome every time. Hopefully the third time is the charm. If you try more than 3 times, make sure you change the title and image because at some point, trying the same thing over and over again hoping for a different result becomes a bit insane. Also, wait at least a month or two between tries so as not to drive your followers crazy.
5. Build Your Twitter & Facebook Fans
Medium automatically syncs your followers to match your Twitter and Facebook followers. So you need to get more readers into your personal funnel.
Everything you're doing to grow your Twitter and Facebook following will ultimately help you on Medium (just as, in turn, everything you do on Medium will help grow your Twitter following and Facebook fans). Even if just 1 in 10 people have an account, that will still help.
6. Follow People Who Engage With Your Content
This one is so simple. Whenever people engage with your content, whether it's through a recommendation or a comment, follow them back, which will result in them seeing a notification that you’ve followed them.
They've indicated they are interested in what you're writing about. So keep them engaged! Strike while your content is still fresh in their mind.
The odds are pretty good that the people who have engaged with your posts will follow you back. Usually about a quarter of the people I've followed have followed me back.
7. Post On A Regular Schedule
You can't just set up a Medium account, post the occasional article, and expect to gain any real traction. You'll have to work at it. That means regularly posting interesting content.
I've been publishing two or three articles every week for about six months and the results have been pretty remarkable. My posts are generating anywhere from 250,000 to 500,000 views per month, and I'm picking up a couple thousand new followers per week, which means future stories are increasingly more likely to be successful.
What's most amazing is that none of what I'm publishing is original content! It was all posted on other sites first. All the reads are incremental, meaning these people would have otherwise never read my posts.
Optimizing for Medium in a Nutshell
So that's how you optimize for Medium, guys:
- Use a great image.
- Spend a few bucks on social ads to give your post a little push.
- Work with Medium publications for more exposure.
- Kill underperforming posts and bring them back.
- Add more Twitter and Facebook followers.
- Follow people who like your posts.
- Post regularly.
Go forth and get more out of your content. Go forth and conquer Medium! (and while you’re at it, follow me on Medium!)