Medium describes itself as “a different kind of place to read and write on the internet.” But unlike the traditional blogging platform, Medium presents itself as a more democratic place for any individual to share interesting stories. In theory, quality content shared on Medium trumps name recognition, SEO, and the like.
Medium also happens to be ad-free so your story gets prime screen time and real estate. This makes Medium both a mystery and a goldmine for individuals and brands alike, but smart marketers (and individuals who are invested in building their personal brand) have been able to make Medium work for themselves in some amazing ways. After all, Medium was the birthplace of Slack’s “We Don’t Sell Saddles Here” (recommended by 4,313 individuals), Elle Luna’s “The Crossroads of Should and Must” (recommended by 7,321 individuals and ultimately expanded into a book), and “I Had a Baby and Cancer When I Worked at Amazon. This Is My Story” (recommended by 5,737 individuals). And these are just a few shining examples of great storytelling on Medium.
Medium: A mystery and a goldmine
Since its inception, Medium has been somewhat of a conundrum for marketers: is Medium a platform or is it a publisher? Buffer’s Kevan Lee said it best: “The answer isn’t all that important for marketers. Know this, Medium is a cool [new] place to share your writing or to start your writing, as easy as can be.”
Unlike your company blog, Medium is a place that “seeks to give a voice to people who have something interesting to say,” regardless of who they are and whether they have the ‘authority’ to publish. This may sound intimidating to some brand marketers, but it’s actually an incredible opportunity. If you aren’t already using Medium in your employee advocacy efforts, here are some ways to start leveraging it today.
A quick primer
If you’ve used a blogging platform, Medium may feel familiar, but it has a few features that make it slightly different. Posts on Medium are interactive -- readers can highlight passages, leave comments and responses in line and follow members of the community.
Before you start publishing on Medium, or guiding your employees to publish on Medium, familiarize yourself with the platform:
First, create an account using Twitter, Facebook, Google, or your email address. Customize your profile by clicking on the M icon in the upper left corner of the homepage. Next, find and follow individuals and publications that are of interest to you. Once you start reading content on Medium, you’ll begin to get the hang of what resonates with Medium’s audience and what sorts of stories you think might translate well to Medium.
Otherwise, Medium is a dead simple publishing platform (just start typing: you can quickly and seamlessly add quotes, media, links, and more). Anyone can create an account and immediately publish a story. If your company has strict parameters around what employees can and can’t say, Medium can be a scary place, but it doesn’t have to be! Empower your employees with the knowledge and understanding of how they can use Medium and you’ll reap the rewards (and so will they).
Because Medium is centered on individuals and their stories, it’s a great place to highlight the diversity of your team. Consider reaching out to employees who you think have captivating and unique personal stories: perhaps they’ve overcome great personal or professional adversity, started a mentorship program at your company, or made a once-in-a-lifetime discovery. Maybe they’re just insanely funny. Medium’s group editing features make it easy for you to work with a colleague to refine a story and really make it shine. Once you have a couple of stories published by different authors, you can collect them into a brand ‘publication,’ which has its own link. You can share this link with would-be employees, customers, and press.
Help employees cultivate their personal brands
Emma Siemasko writes, “Before you can dig deep into your social sharing behavior, you have to decide who you want to be. Do you want to be professional in your social media presence? Would you prefer to be entertaining?” The beauty of Medium is that it welcomes all sorts of personal brands and it’s a socially acceptable place to be yourself. PR firm LaunchSquad emphasizes that Medium is a great place to be “human and relatable.” Most of your employees don’t have journalists’ phone numbers at the ready, but that doesn’t mean they can’t [engage] in timely, wider conversation. Encourage employees who have relevant perspectives to engage in conversation on Medium.
Repurpose existing content
Marketers -- especially SEO-savvy ones -- will tell you that reposting content can hurt you more than it can help you. But in the case of Medium, reposting content that you’ve published elsewhere is actually a-ok. In fact, re-publishing content on Medium can actually help attract new audiences that may have not been familiar with your company before. According to KISSMetrics, “You can either publish articles exactly as they appear on your blog or post excerpts.”
Don’t forget links
Encourage all of your employees to link back to your website anytime they publish a story on Medium. You can get even more creative by adding specific CTA’s: we’ve seen companies publish culture-oriented pieces that then link to their jobs page.
Keep an eye on analytics
As with any publishing platform, Medium allows you to monitor how your stories are performing -- but in addition to including information like Referrers and Views, Medium also offers a Read Ratio, which shows you just how much time readers spent on your piece. This insightful piece of data can help you determine which stories resonate the most with Medium’s audience; use these learnings to tweak your strategy and experiment with the types of content you publish. Try creating short-form, long-form, and visual content to figure out what’s working and what’s not.
Read up on best practices
Lucky for you, a lot of people have been experimenting on Medium and the beauty of the platform is that it is FULL of great content and learnings. Although Medium’s focus is on bubbling up the highest quality content, there are numerous tricks of the trade you can leverage to increase the likelihood that your stories will get discovered and shared. Here are just a few:
- 35 Actionable Tips to Grow Your Medium Blog
- How to Win at Medium
- Tips and tricks for Medium writers
- 3 Pro Tips to Increase your Audience on Medium
Like many things in life, showing up is half the battle. Jason Zook writes, “Creating consistent content that solves problems for your audience or inspires them to become the best version of themselves they can” can help you grow your audience.
Most importantly, share what you know and keep it real.