Are you looking for a way to distribute your ideas to a larger audience?
In this post you’ll discover what marketers think about Medium, along with a step-by-step guide to using Medium.
Listen to this article:
Jay Baer, a New York Times bestselling author and well-known keynote speaker, has been posting on Medium for over a year. He uses Medium for “…posts (sometimes original, sometimes repurposed) that are more opinion-based or take a stronger stand.” He defines Medium as “…LinkedIn’s cool younger brother who wears concert T-shirts all the time, but also checks the Dow Jones average on his iPhone.”
Who can be successful on Medium? Baer explains, “I think businesses can have success on Medium, but perhaps more so as individuals rather than as businesses per se. In essence, what I do there is on behalf of Convince & Convert, through me. The same can work for other companies who have ‘thought leaders’ willing and able to take the time to post content on Medium that solicits a response.”
Mitch Joel, president of Mirum Agency, also adds, “It’s not just a place to publish, but an impressive platform for content distribution. As an infovore, it’s also an amazing place to discover new voices and content — probably more powerful than just picking up a link from Facebook or Twitter.” He plans to add Medium to his publishing schedule soon.
With those things in mind, here are some of the benefits of using Medium as your platform for publishing insightful content:
- Medium received an estimated 35 million visitors in November 2015, with 36.78% from the United States, according to SimilarWeb. When new users join, they automatically follow Medium’s account. Their current number of followers is 726K, so there are at least 726K users on Medium.
- Medium allows you and your readers to focus on one thing: the content you create.
- When you join Medium with your Twitter or Facebook account, you get a built-in audience because all of your Twitter followers and Facebook friends who use Medium will automatically become followers of your Medium account. As your Twitter followers and Facebook friends join Medium, they will automatically follow you as well.
— Jay Baer (@jaybaer) November 24, 2015
- Medium users receive an email digest with the latest stories (posts) by the people and publications they follow delivered to their inbox. Thus, all of your followers from Twitter on Medium will get notified of your latest stories (based on their settings).
- If your stories are recommended by Medium users who have large followings, your stories will be shown to their followers on the Medium homepage as well as in their followers’ email digest (based on their settings).
- If your stories become popular, they have the chance of being featured as a Top Story to the entire Medium community or as a Medium Staff Pick sent in the email digest.
Those are some pretty exciting stats and benefits for marketers looking to reach new audiences through content.
She has found that “The great thing about using Medium is also its biggest downside: Medium comes with an automatic audience that is easily tapped, but difficult to transfer. If you’re writing a post that needs 10,000 views, Medium is by far the best tool for capturing them. However, if your goal is to build an audience or brand, you should at the very least be cross-posting your content to a private domain. By posting a small piece each day I was able to reach 10,000 subscribers to my publication in 66 days. I think that’s an exciting prospect for marketers.”
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Now, let’s look at how to use Medium.
#1: Sign Up for Your Medium Account
To get started, you’ll need to sign up for a Medium account using Twitter, Facebook, Google or your email address.
If you sign up with Twitter, Facebook or Google, you’ll be asked to provide your name, email address and desired username (http://medium.com/@username).
From here, you’ll be asked to choose your interests and follow some top Medium users and publications.
Then you’ll be taken to your homepage.
#2: Edit Your Profile
At the top right of your homepage, click on your profile photo to find the link to go to your profile.
Click on the Edit link to edit your name, bio and profile photo. Note that URLs will be automatically hyperlinked.
Your Medium profile bio will also be used as the author bio at the end of your stories on Medium and in other areas throughout Medium.
#3: Connect Your Social Accounts
As mentioned earlier, you can build your Medium audience by connecting your Twitter and Facebook accounts so your Twitter followers and Facebook friends who are using Medium will automatically follow you. To do this, click on the Settings link in the menu at the top right under your profile photo.
Scroll down to the Connections section and connect to Twitter and Facebook if you haven’t already. Then choose whether you want those social profile links to show up on your Medium profile.
You’ll also want to check your other settings to configure email and other notifications.
#4: Engage With Other Stories
Your Medium profile is composed of your latest stories and your engagement with other stories. Before you write your own story on Medium, you should get to know how it works by engaging with other stories.
To find stories to engage with, review your email digest with stories from people and publications you follow. Alternatively go to your homepage to see stories that are trending and those recommended to you by people you follow or click on the tags in the right sidebar to find stories on a specific topic. You can also use the search box at the top right to find stories by keyword.
To engage with a story, you can start by highlighting a favorite quote or phrase. Popular stories will often have the most popular highlights annotated.
Click the pencil icon to add the phrase you’ve selected to your profile’s highlights. The comment icon allows you to respond (comment) on the story at that location. The Twitter icon allows you to share that quote as a tweet along with a link to the post. The private comment icon lets you leave a private note that only the author(s) of the story can see.
At the end of the story, you’ll have the option to engage with the post further. You can recommend it using the heart icon, leave a public response using the comment icon, share it on social networks using the share icon, save it to your bookmarks using the bookmark icon or click the three dots for more actions like embedding the story on your website.
These actions (highlighting, recommending and responding) will all appear on your profile after your latest stories.
Note that you can remove highlights and recommendations by revisiting the stories. But you can’t delete responses.
#5: Write Your Own Stories
Once you’ve perused the top content on Medium and have a good idea what Medium users consider great content (based on highlights, recommendations and responses), you’ll be ready to write your own stories on Medium. To do so, click on the Write a Story button at the top right of the Medium homepage.
The interface for writing a story on Medium is minimalistic to help you focus on one thing only: your content.
To start, simply enter your title. When you do, you’ll be able to access the menu items under the three dots next to the Publish button.
The editor hints and shortcuts will reveal the basic keyboard shortcuts you can use on Medium when writing a story.
There are also advanced keyboard shortcuts you can use on Medium when writing a story.
You’ll also get some tips on editing your text.
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Plus there are tips on how to add media to your story.
And you’ll find tips on how to add links to your story.
You can even add mentions of other Medium users in your post so they get notified (based on their settings).
Your draft is automatically saved periodically when you make changes. You can click the Share button to send a private link to your draft to others. They can use that link to add notes to your story so you can revise it before publishing.
You’ll get a notification when someone you’ve invited to your draft leaves a note.
You can find your Drafts and Stories by clicking on your profile icon at the top right and selecting that option.
When you’re ready to publish your draft, click on the drop-down arrow next to Publish. This will give you the option to add tags to your story and edit its privacy and licensing.
You can use those options to make your story publicly visible or unlisted. Unlisted stories will be visible to anyone who has the URL to them, but will not be listed on your profile. Note that people can still create public responses to unlisted stories. With licensing, you can choose to copyright your content or share it with Creative Commons licensing.
If you chose public visibility for your story, your followers on Medium will be notified in their digest (based on your settings) that you have recently published a story. You can also share the link to your story and promote it like any other piece of content.
To feature your new story on your profile, go to the story on your profile and click on the drop-down arrow.
This will move your story to the top of your profile until you use the same arrow to unfeature it or feature another story.
#6: Import a Story
When you click on Drafts and Stories in the menu under your profile icon, you’ll notice the option to import a story. Click Import to import articles and posts you’ve written on other sites to your Medium account.
Note that Medium’s terms of service specifically say that “If you own the content, you’re welcome to copy it from other places and publish it on Medium (and vice versa) as long as you didn’t give exclusive rights to other platforms or publishers.”
When you enter the URL of an article or post you’ve authored on another site, you’ll be given advice on how to edit it for Medium.
From there, you’ll be able to edit the draft of your imported story before publishing. Note that a lot of styling elements from other websites won’t carry over to Medium, so things like tables and columns will need to be adjusted accordingly.
#7: Create Publications
In addition to creating stories on Medium, you can also create publications. Think of publications like Google+ collections or Paper.li newspapers. They allow you to group your content in a specific way and allow people to subscribe specifically to the stories you add to those publications.
The biggest advantages of using publications are:
- Send letters to your publication’s followers. Letters are stories that are added to your publication and emailed directly to your followers (based on their settings).
- Invite other Medium users to be writers and editors of your publications. Writers can submit stories to the publication and editors can submit and approve stories to the publication. If you don’t invite other writers and/or editors to your publication, you can only add your own stories and responses to other stories to the publication.
Click on the publications link in the menu under your profile icon to create a publication. There, you’ll see the publications you’ve created, the publications you follow and the button to create a new publication.
After you click on the New Publication button, click on the arrow at the top right of the page to reveal the main publication settings.
In the Info section of your publication settings, add details about your publication: an avatar (image), name, description, contact information, tags and logo.
In the People section, you can invite writers and editors to your publication.
Once you edit the settings of your publication, you’re able to edit the layout and design. You can add new sections by clicking the plus icon and change the layout of each section using the icons at the top right of the section.
Use the Stories drop-down menu to determine what stories will appear in your publication.
Once you’re finished designing your publication, click on the arrow at the top right of the screen again and click the Create button. Whenever you need to edit your publication again, visit the publication and click the drop-down arrow to find the Edit link.
Once you finish your edits, click on the arrow at the top right of the screen and click the Save button.
To add stories to your publication that you’ve already published on your Medium profile, click on the story’s timestamp.
Next, click on the three dots at the bottom of your story, and select the option to add it to your publication.
Once added, you’ll be able to see it in your publication.
Also note that the link to any publications you create or contribute to will be linked on your profile.
To send letters to your publication’s followers, click on the drop-down arrow at the top of your publication and then click on Letters.
On the next screen is an editor similar to the one you use to publish new stories, with a few features specific to email.
Click the Email Preview button to send a test email to yourself. When ready, you can send it to your followers.
Keep in mind when you send the letter, it will also be published to your publication. To see your letter in your publication, you’ll need to click on the More Stories button.
If you want to remove the letter from your publication, click on the timestamp for your letter. Then click on the three dots and select the remove option. Note that this will not unsend the letter, just remove it from your publication.
Medium is more than just a blogging platform. It’s a place where marketers can collaborate, share viewpoints and explore ideas.
Have you used Medium for yourself or your business? What has your experience been? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
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