When I first started getting serious about writing on Medium.com I hoped to be the next Benjamin Hardy. I mean I have good content. I know what I am talking about. Darn, when people hear me speak or hire me to consult they often love my work.
So, yeah, going viral on Medium should be natural. I mean Benjamin Hardy’s 6th article got over 2 million views. Shouldn’t mine?
Time to settle in for the long haul.
Lucky for you I’ve learned some quick lessons – largely from the supportive community of writers on Medium. More on them later. First, let’s jump into some other lessons that might help you, too, build some momentum.
What Is Your Topic(s)?
One of the first things you need to figure out is what you want to write about. Now Medium is unique in that you don’t have to write about one topic. You can write about many.
But a little focus will help. As Christina Ward points out your audience will benefit if you are more focused.
Having a good topic focus will let your followers find you. It’ll also let you build a body of work. For instance, if you look at my work, you’ll see it’s about the Future of Business (though I take a broad brush with that).
What will tie your work together?
Who Wants To Hear About That?
Seriously. Who wants to hear about what you are going to write? Not being critical here but if people want to hear about it you’ll have more readers and fans.
So now we want to take your possible topics and relate it to things people actually want to read to drive results. The more you can discuss real issues of other – and solutions – the more you’ll be creating an audience and fan base.
How do I know what people might want to hear about? I read the comments to my articles and I see what other people are asking about. Those are great clues as to what an audience might want to hear about.
Using Your Own Social Media
The reality is that in your early days Medium isn’t going to give you too much support. There are just too many other authors and ideas and they don’t know you are worth sending traffic too.
After I had a long discussion with “Matthew” of Medium about curation (more on curation later) it became clear it is beneficial for each of us to send our own traffic to Medium. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter may all direct users to your account if you give them something beneficial to learn about.
Also, your own social media is likely your only way to get a Medium article to go viral. Medium doesn’t have a direct sharing tool for sharing within the platform. Someone could tag their friends in the comments on Medium but that doesn’t seen to happen often. So if an article is going to be shared and reshared that’s going to have to happen outside of Medium on a channel like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
So write your articles on Medium but also think about what your contacts and connections on other platforms may want to see. How can you service them and get them to be your readers and followers on Medium?
Curation Is Not All That
In the Facebook groups on Medium there is a lot of discussion on curation. I’ve been told, basically, that I’ll never be curated. A lot of my friends have been curated – a lot.
But one thing they tell me is that even if you are curated your numbers don’t necessarily bump up. So definitely go for curation if you can meet the guidelines and standards. It’s not going to hurt.
However, as I’ve been told many times, don’t expect curation to build your Medium numbers or following as those that count on that are often disappointed.
If curation doesn’t help much it seems that followers do. My follower count is still low but it’s growing.
Since my articles are very targeted I should be building a targeted follower base. If I write about the future of business my audience and followers should be interested in the future of business.
Medium sends me emails on articles I might want to read based on who I follow and what I read. So I hope, in turn, it is doing the same thing for my users.
More followers should mean more built-in readers and increasing numbers. The early correlations in numbers I am seeing seems to prove this to be the case.
Curation doesn’t seem to help most as much as hoped. But getting published in a decent publication does seem to make a world of difference. In theory when you are published you are getting to new eyes – the reader of that publication.
Not only might those readers read and clap for your article they may also become your next round of followers (see above).
So think about what publications might have your fans in it and how you can serve that publication with a quality piece of writing they can use.
The Community Is Key
Through all of this, the community is key. I now belong to a number of groups that support Medium writes. We share stories, notes on what is happening and thoughts for the future with each other.
I highly recommend you find a few communities you fit in so you can help each other become better writers. You can also support each other emotionally and answer questions.
Learning about my fellow writers, reading their articles and exchanging ideas with them has definitely made me a better writer. It’s probably driven my numbers too.
Those are some early ideas on what you can do to be more effective on Medium and build moment.
I know I am new to this game so I’d love your ideas. What are you doing to build momentum? What has worked for you?
By: The Our Shawn McBride, is the man you call when you want a keynote, training or a consultant to get your business ready for The Future of Business. He’s the host of The Future Done Right(TM) Show and a long-time business attorney. If you want regular content on the future of business subscribe to get new blog posts from us here.
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