I love the concept of a blog.
The fact anyone today can establish their own digital soapbox using a domain name they own and then set about publishing stories and sharing insights and ideas with the world – well, let’s just say that even though blogging is positively ancient in social media terms, it is still one of the most powerful ways individuals can raise their professional visibility and influence in the marketplace in which they operate.
But what if you don’t want to go to all the hassle of establishing and maintaining a blog?
Fair call. Blogging takes time and effort if your goal is to have any sort of impact with your publishing.
But all is not lost.
Now, while I’m a huge believer in owning your own ‘digital land’ (i.e. hosting your site on your own domain name) and would always advocate this path first, there are a couple of fall-back positions (that are not mutually exclusive):
- PUBLISH articles to third-party blogging platforms e.g. LinkedIn and Medium.
- WRITE for other people’s blogs and online publications that have audiences you’d like to reach.
Let’s break these down a bit …
Post articles on LinkedIn’s publishing platform
Writing articles and publishing them on LinkedIn can be a powerful way to enhance your reputation as an expert in your industry or the niche in which you operate. LinkedIn’s blogging platform is easy to use and articles are, according to LinkedIn, “distributed through member engagement such as views, likes, comments, and shares”.
If your articles are well-received by your immediate network and engagement from connections is high, LinkedIn may broaden distribution to people with whom you have no connection. If LinkedIn curates your articles on its Pulse content network, the potential of picking up additional readers (and hopefully followers) will increase.
For extra tips, Australian copywriter Andrew Hutchinson has written about what he learned from his first 20 LinkedIn publishing platform posts.
Post articles on Medium.com
Blog publishing platform Medium is “a place to read, write, and interact with the stories that matter most to you.”
It was established in 2012 by Twitter co-founder, Ev Williams, and given content published on the platform is long form in nature, it serves as the ideal bookend to Twitter and its 140-character tweets.
Medium has a built-in audience (believed to be around the 650,000 mark, according to this Buffer blog post) making it a viable option for those wanting to increase their reach and influence. I think you could safely say that by and large, Medium readers are an informed lot who enjoy reading and are interested in opinions, perspectives and ideas.
Write for other people’s blogs (‘guest posting’)
Increase your reach by writing articles for other people’s blogs. This practice is known as ‘guest posting’ and is a great way for subject matter experts and aspiring thought leaders to build their profile outside of their immediate professional circles.
A blog might mean different things to different people but let’s not get bogged down in semantics otherwise we’ll take our ‘eye off the ball’ of what is a very effective profile-raising strategy. I will, however, break down the various categories of blogs/publications to make it easier for you to zero in on what are the most relevant outlets for you and your cause.
Firstly you have blogs published by individuals – other bona fide or aspiring thought leaders potentially – who are often open to having other professionals write on their platform; not only does this give the blog’s readership another perspective on a particular topic or issue but it also shows the blogger to be more open-minded and big picture in their thinking (i.e. they don’t want to make the blog just about them).
Then you have what I like to call ‘hybrid media’, which are essentially blogs but are run with journalistic intent (often by former journalists or entrepreneurial media-types) – they’re digital only and don’t have the legacy of a hard-copy edition i.e. traditional newspapers. Hybrid media outlets are professionally run and produce a lot of content around the clock, but usually lack the resources in terms of in-house writers and therefore are generally open to submissions from external writers.
Then there are online versions of traditional media outlets. These are publications that have often been around for some time; some still publish a hard-copy version but a growing number are now digital-only as media proprietors eliminate print as a means to cut operating costs.
For the ambitious …
Of course, if you’re ambitious you can operate your own blog on your own domain, and repurpose content across LinkedIn and/or Medium.
Alternatively, you could write a guest post for another online publication, and then re-publish on your own blog down the track. That’s what I do with Firebrand Talent’s Ideas Ignition blog; it works well as a strategy as I reach a large and relevant audience via Firebrand, and then back it up on my blog some months later.