Jonas Ellison spent the last year growing an audience on Medium.com, and it worked… accidentally.
On the show today you’re going to hear tangible tips about Medium.com, which will help you decide if you should use this growing platform to grow an audience.
There are some new features on Medium that make both Corbett and Chase do a bit of a double take on using this platform.
Grab a cuppa and dive in for some entertaining education about the “youtube for bloggers”, Medium.com.
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“Tips on using Medium as a blogging channel to grow an audience”
Why is medium awesome?
There’s a built in audience on Medium, so there’s a chance you can grow quicker on Medium than you can on a self-hosted website. For instance, an article you write on Medium can take off and go viral just within the Medium platform itself, possibly exposing tens of thousands of people to your writing. So, the basic awesomeness of Medium here is that there’s a mechanism in place so that, if your writing is actually good, lots of people on Medium could easily find your article(s).
What are the bad things about medium?
The first thing is, you have to share your design, brand, experience with Medium. The second thing is that Medium is a VC backed BUSINESS, which means they can start charging you for who-knows-what in the future because, you know, even silicon valley businesses need to make money eventually. Third thing is that the stats are limiting; you can only see so much detail and only for a limited amount of time (though it looks like there’s support for Google Analytics for custom domains now). All this being so, the awesome parts have really helped Jonas, and he says he’d be using Medium again if he was starting all over (though his answer to what he’d change is really interesting).
A Medium Difference: Responses, textual comments, private notes instead of comments
The commenting system on Medium works differently than you may have experienced before. The end result is that there are several ways for readers to interact with your written material AND that interaction is not anonymous… real people, real accounts, for the most part, at least for now.
Tip: Start a "publication" on medium
A publication on Medium is like a blog, a collection of stories or a collection of thoughts under the same title (and sometimes custom domain name), and you should setup a publication on Medium if you’re going to write there. This is something a lot of people don’t do and they’re missing out big-time. On Medium, you can immediately start writing under your own name. This is a great start, but eventually, you’ll want to create a ‘publication’ of your own (which only takes a few minutes to set up). This does a couple things…
One, it puts your work under a larger topic that people can get behind. For example, when a new Medium user snoops around, they might see my name and glaze right over it, not knowing who I am. But that same person might see my publication (Higher Thoughts) and realize – like a magazine at the train station – that they’re interested. I have three times the amount of followers on my publication than on my personal account.
Secondly, with a publication, you can send out a ‘letter’ to your followers (which you can’t do under your personal profile). This is a Medium post that gets emailed out to your followers (all who haven’t opted out, at least). And you Fizzlers all know how important email is.
Tip: use the “send a letter” feature to your publication followers
If you set up a publication in Medium (see tip above) you can use the “send a letter” feature and send a private email just to your publication subscribers. You open your publication and click on letter and it’s like you’re writing a medium post. It’s emailed out to all your followers, doesn’t show up in your publication. Jonas does a monthly newsletter for Higher Thoughts readers, what he’s reading that month, maybe an offer, etc. When a reader follows a publication, they’re automatically opted in for the email. However, they can opt out when they start getting emails.
This is a big deal — this means you can use your Medium publication to get directly to the inboxes of readers. Fascinating! But nobody’s going to subscribe to your publication if you’re content doesn’t hit their heads and hearts. More email tips.
Tip: embed an email subscribe form directly in your medium post
Upscribe is a tool that enables you to embed an email form directly in a Medium post. This is amazing because one of the biggest drawbacks of using Medium was that you can’t make an offer to your reader without them clicking a link to go to a different page. With this little feature you can now embed the form right there, bang! Initial plans for Ubscribe are free, and it integrates with mailchimp or convertkit or whatever you use today.
If you were starting all over again on medium, what would your plan be? First of all, what would be your goal (followers? traffic? email conversions?)? Second of all, what would your plan be?
This one you’ll have to listen to the podcast to hear. We get into a really good conversation with lots of nuance about the stuff Jonas brings up.
More from Jonas on next week’s podcast where we hear the story about how the hell he transformed from a burnt out copywriter to swinging a following of 60,000+ followers on Medium. You can check out more about Jonas’ writing at his Medium publication Higher Thoughts. Thanks for your time and expertise, Jonas!