Today’s marketplace is crowded, noisy, interactive, multi-channel.
Standing out and resonating with your story and your message has never been more challenging.
But if you’re an aspiring thought leader – a business or practice leader, a change agent, social entrepreneur or professional subject matter expert; if you have a passion to share ideas and insights with the world, to spark conversation and ignite debate around specific topics of interest; if your mission is to empower people with knowledge and encourage them to do the same – there has never been a better time to create a platform from which to build, and communicate with, an audience of like-minds.
One way to do this is to blog. I know, pretty old school, eh?
This takes effort, particularly if you intend setting up a blog on WordPress, get it designed, hosted and then maintain it by publishing a steady stream of high-quality posts.
But don’t despair: there is an alternative! Not to the publishing bit – that’s a non-negotiable I’m afraid
But the setting up bit is not a roadblock anymore.
Have you heard of Medium?
Medium describes itself as “a place to read, write, and interact with the stories that matter most to you.” It’s part publishing platform, part social network, and this is what makes it such a compelling website. Plus it’s dead easy to use – no technical nous required!
Medium was established in 2012 by Twitter co-founder, Ev Williams, and given content published on the platform tends to be long form in nature, the platform serves as the ideal bookend to Twitter and its 280-character tweets.
Importantly, Medium has a built-in audience, which makes it an attractive proposition for content publishers. According to money.cnn.com, the site attracts 25-30 million monthly visitors.
It’s often said that because of people’s increasingly shrinking attention spans, we should only produce content that’s bite-sized and short-form in nature.
While on the surface this makes perfect sense, I for one wouldn’t be recommending overlooking long-form content.
If your goal is to build a thought leadership positioning in the marketplace, it is important to often dig into topics a bit deeper.
If you’re writing, this takes words! Unlike Facebook or even LinkedIn where short-form content tends to rule, that’s not the case with Medium. Indeed, the average length of a top 100 post is 7.25 minutes in ‘reading length’.
Medium boasts a few features that are pretty cool
Like LinkedIn’s article distribution platform, Medium curates its top picks and serves them to your account. If you’re lucky (or smart) enough to be selected by the Medium editors and promoted across the platform, your post has a decent chance of going viral, thus giving your personal profile a ‘shot in the arm’.
You can also highlight sections of people’s posts and these appear on your published stream as well any comments you write. These elements contribute to your ongoing body of work.
Medium provides statistics for your published articles: views, reads and ‘read ratio’ statistics help you figure out over time what posts are resonating with readers.
And of course, like Twitter, you can follow your favourite writers, and the public can follow your stream as well. Readers can also share articles via Twitter, Facebook or email thus providing extra reach and visibility for popular authors.
Case in point: Heath Evans
Heath is Marketing & Communications Manager at Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP), part of the University of Melbourne, and a coach with Seth Godin’s altMBA program. He’s a young guy who’s kicking goals, and very passionate about human connection, entrepreneurship, and sharing stories and ideas.
Medium is a powerful outlet for Heath’s ideas (you can check out his Medium blog here). He has built a strong body of work on the platform, and a number of his articles have picked up by popular curated publications on Medium such as The Startup, the most popular startup publication on the platform and the fourth largest overall.
I asked Heath what he thinks of Medium and the opportunity that comes with publishing on the platform.
“Being published on The Startup, which has 450,000 followers, adds credibility for me. It’s not easy to become a contributor so that’s part of its value.
“I also write in a way that’s less about direct response or conversion, so I find it’s another bread crumb that connects people from all over the world to me and I’m always shocked when someone comes across something I’ve written, a recent example was a US journalist who shared one of my articles. She had over a million followers on Facebook and is described as the voice of Hispanic America.
“To me, writing has helped me articulate my thoughts and give people a sense of how I see the world which might be more unique than they imagined.”
I like that last bit. Blogging is a terrific way to work through your thoughts and ideas in a professional sense, and give the industry in which you work a glimpse of who you are and, as Heath puts it, how you see the world.
Why would you consider publishing on Medium?
If you want to write and publish articles but don’t want the hassle of setting up and maintaining your own personal blog, maybe Medium is worth a shot.
Ditto, if you just want to start writing to see if you enjoy the act of blogging before committing to a blog proper.
Syndicate to Medium
Medium is a terrific forum through which to republish original content from your own blog, if you have one, thus increasing the value of your articles by exposing them to new audiences.
If you’re after extra visibility and traffic to your website, cross-posting to Medium makes a lot of sense. This is something Heath does. Something to bear in mind though is that while you own the content you publish on Medium, you don’t own the platform itself – it’s like rented virtual land and the landlord (i.e. the powers-that-be at Medium) can change the rules at any time.
Obviously, this scenario is similar to all third-party platforms and social networks. At the very worst, Medium is shut down and with it, your content. I’m not predicting this will ever happen and it’s not to scare you off, it’s just something to be aware of.