Medium.com is a free, online publishing platform that has become a popular resource for content marketers. It is essentially a blogging tool with a built-in audience. Medium connects you with your Facebook and Twitter connections automatically. You can’t exactly target certain Medium readers, but you can still be discovered by its readers.

Should you be using Medium as part of your content marketing strategy? In Episode 96 of the Bright Planning Marketing Podcast, we tackle this question and others.

For instance, we also discuss creating a publisher account that allows you to import your existing content from anywhere from the web (even your own website). You can re-post all your writing, thereby giving your blog a boost and helping to draw more eyes toward your content. There are a lot of people who will engage on Medium who may have never stumbled upon your website otherwise.

We talk about the importance of being a reader. “Fill your well,” so to speak, by reading the work of other writers. Notice how the most effective writers deliver stories that have heart. Give this same sense of heart to your stories and your business will have greater visibility.

Along those lines, we discuss the necessity of being a writer. Your writing strategy and voice become part of your brand. Be sure you develop a distinctive and memorable approach to the way you write your messaging.

Let us know if you’ve tried Medium, and if you found it helpful for getting more engagement for your brand! Email us at info@brightplanning.com.

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Continue on to read the transcript:

Catherine: I am your host, Catherine Campbell, and I’m joined by my awesome co-host and producer, Natalie Pyles. Hey, Natalie.

Natalie: Hey, Catherine. How are you?

C: I am doing great! We just recently launched Signature Brand Story, and registration is happening right now. So that’s really exciting for all of us. It’s our first online course that we’ve launched.

N: Yes. And you’ve been working on this for a really long time. You’ve put a lot of thought into it, so it’s really, mega good.

C: [laughing] Thank you. Yes. So Signature Brand Story has been in the works for a year and a half. What it is, for those of you who haven’t been listening to the last gazillion episodes, which we recently mentioned it, Signature Brand Story is an 8-week online course that you can do at your own pace. What it helps you to do is to help craft and write your unforgettable brand story, because we know that brand stories and emotional storytelling contribute to the bottom line and help grow revenue and brand loyalty for sales. What we wanted to do was create a course based on our 10+ years of experience in creative storytelling and also in marketing, and we wanted to show you all the ropes of how to craft a really amazing brand story, and then also craft a 6-month marketing plan to help you apply your brand story in a marketing campaign.

N: Yeah, and I just love the figurative hand-holding involved, and you know, really help through it over the coming months. That’s my favorite part about what you offer.

C: Yeah, so what’s really cool about this particular course is that we built in a buffer week in the middle of the course to give you, not only just a little bit of extra time to do the things you need to do to craft a really good brand story, but then you submit that story to our team, and our team will give you feedback on it. So we wanted to introduce that kind of live component to it, but we wanted to make something where you’re able to get an agency discovery process and experience even if you’re a small business with limited budget. The type of work that we do one-on-one with clients that use these particular processes in Signature Brand Story typically cost tens of thousands of dollars for this type of engagement. So I wanted to make something that outlined that process, that you could do on your own, and really be able to apply it and be successful, and at a fraction of that cost.

N: Nice. Yeah, that’s true. That’s my new favorite thing about this course.

C: [laughing] Yes, the price tag is also really helpful for a lot of business owners. So if you want to learn more, and you want to see all the nuts and bolts of the course, what it includes, what it doesn’t include, the process and the approach behind it, go to http://signaturebrandstory.com/. That’s http://signaturebrandstory.com/. Right now, because registration is open, but it’s closing on October 15th. We’re going to kick off the course for the first round of participants. So visit http://signaturebrandstory.com/ if you want to learn more.

We’re going to just jump into today’s episode. We’re talking about the publishing content platform called Medium. Natalie, are you familiar with Medium?

N: No. Mm-mmm. I don’t even know what you’re talking about.

C: Awesome.

N: Unless you’re talking about a fortune teller.

C: I am. [laughing]

N: Oh. [laughing]

C: No, I’m not. [laughing] Oh my gosh, that’s great. So Medium is something—and Natalie, you may have actually read an article on Medium and not even realized it.

N: Oh. Okay.

C: Because yeah, it is a massive publishing platform. Medium has, are you familiar with Tumblr?

N: I mean, I’ve heard of it. Is it a clickbait thing?

C: No. It’s a—I mean, well sometimes it feels like it is. [laughing] So Medium is a blogging platform that Twitter founders, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, actually founded the blogging platform Medium in 2012, and then it reached this crazy-popular fever pitch of usage a couple of years ago. Then it sort of started to taper off in its usage. It’s almost like Twitter for long-form content, and the reason why is because it’s a way for you to be able to build your own lineup of stories on Medium that you want to follow, and also you’re able to write and publish your own stories on medium, and you can do it for free.

N: Oh.

C: So you don’t have to pay for Medium, although they do have a paid version of it. And you can get paid for publishing your content on Medium.

N: Ooh, cool. Do you do this, because I know you’re a writer.

C: Yeah, so actually, in my other life, I’m a creative writer. I’m a novelist and essayist, and I have taken some of my blog posts that existed on my personal author website and I republished them on Medium. I want to get into the reasons about why Medium is such a great add-on for your current marketing strategy. So we’ll go into that, and I’ll talk a little bit about my experience as well in the context of those reasons.

N: Okay, cool.

C: Medium has a lot of great benefits. First off, Medium is a blogging tool, but it’s also almost like a social media platform in itself. It has a built-in audience. There are big-time publishers, like literary and online magazines that use Medium as their publishing platform, like that’s what they publish all of their content on. Then you have individuals like me who publish on Medium in addition to also publishing on a blog or on social media and other places as well. So Medium is just, I would almost consider it like an additional social media platform slash blogging tool that you would add to your arsenal of social media platforms and blogging strategy and writing strategy that you’re already doing for your marketing for your brand.

N: Cool.

C: Yeah. Medium has a built-in audience. They also can figure out which one of your Facebook and Twitter connections are already on Medium, and they’ll automatically connect you, so then they get notifications that you’re on Medium. What’s really cool about that is that those people are sort of already built-in for you to start reading your stuff. So that’s pretty cool.

Also, the more your stories get engaged with on Medium, the more visibility you get on Medium. So Medium is kind of like, I guess the best way to describe it is almost like an online newspaper, and online salon, so social media kind of platform, as well as an online blogging platform. You can write on it, but you don’t have to write on it. You can just be a reader on Medium, and have a reader’s account. You can read other articles written by other people. You can like those articles by giving them what’s called hearts, so it’s similar to favoriting stars on Twitter, or the thumbs-up on Facebook. You can give hearts to people’s stories. And the more hearts that you give to a story, the more visibility that story gets, and then top stories get featured prominently on Medium’s website, such as in their mobile app, and also in their daily email digest that gets sent out to tens of thousands of people.

So there are a few things to understand about Medium, which is that they are individual writers on Medium. This is typically where you will start, but if you’re a brand, and you really want to be publishing most of your content on Medium, you can create what is called a Publisher account. You can accomplish a couple things, including publishing fresh content within 5 minutes or less, because Medium has an awesome, awesome import tool, where you can import your existing articles and content from anywhere on the web, including your own website—so you can take a blog post that was published on your own website and, say you’re not getting a ton of blog traffic to your blog on your website, you can republish that exact same blog post within a matter of a couple of minutes on Medium, and then that will be published to a whole new built-in audience that’s already there for you. It’s one of the many reasons why you should be on Medium. It gives your own blog a bit of a boost, because even though you’re republishing that blog post into Medium, which is Medium’s platform and they own it. You can’t own it, but you know, it’s just a great way to get your content stretched a little bit further, and have more eyeballs on it, and that’s really important. Because there are a lot of people who will engage with Medium articles, but they wouldn’t bother to click back to your website.

N: Mm, okay.

C: So that’s the first thing. You can be an individual reader on Medium, where you just like reading the articles and commenting on them, and liking them, and you can highlight different sections of the article you liked and comment just on that section, and the author of the article gets notifications of when people engage with the article, so that you can continue the conversation beyond just the publication of the article itself. There are comment sections there, too, which is fantastic. So it’s very social media in that way. You can be an individual reader who is reading and engaging with articles on Medium. You can be an individual writer. You can be publishing fresh, original content on Medium or you can be republishing blog posts or other articles you’ve written before on Medium, and you have the choice to monetize them. When you monetize you’re articles, you’re able to get paid, and they have a very transparent payment structure set up, and you’re paid monthly, and you get a little payment report at the end.

There are people who have built up big platforms on Medium, and that’s how they make their monthly income, is just by publishing really good blog posts and articles on Medium, and they’re a professional writer on there.

N: Mm, that’s awesome.

C: Yeah. As a brand, you know, depending on the size of your operation, you have the choice to be an individual writer on there, and you can monetize your articles and stuff on there just to make a little bit of an extra, almost like passive income stream. Or you can choose to become a publisher on Medium. A publisher, it’s like they give you your own little hub on Medium that you can brand, and you can publish your own content, as well as look on Medium for other really cool content that you’re like, “Oh, wow, that is really related to our brand, and our audience would really love that, and we want to republish that Medium article written by that person under our Publisher account on Medium.” And you can ask writers, you send them an automated request to say, “We want to republish this in our publisher hub,” and then authors can approve or decline that. There’s a nice way there, too, where if you’re an individual writer, sometimes you can get your pieces picked up by a big publisher that already has a huge platform on Medium, and tap into their huge audience. Sometimes you can get lucky with that, too. It’s just a matter of timing and how people discover you.

N: Sweet.

C: Yeah, it’s a really neat tool. Not only that, but Medium tells you how many people have viewed your stories, and how many people read it all the way to the end. So reading time, on average on Medium, ranges from 7-11 minutes, which is a lot longer than your typical blog post on your website.

N: Wow.

C: So you can see your engagement on there. I think one of the reasons why is because Medium is really nicely designed for reading. It’s easy on the eye. It’s easy to follow. Most of the stuff you’re going to publish on there isn’t going to be really crazy long-form content, like don’t go past 2,000 words, but it’s just really nice to read. It just feels good to read it.

N: Yeah, now that you mention it, I think I did go on there once. I think it was probably even because of something you posted on Twitter, or something you said. I think I did go on there, because I remember reading some poems or short essays.

C: Mm-hmm.

N: Was that probably what this was?

C: Yeah, probably.

N: I love that kind of stuff, and we don’t really do enough of that kind of reading, so this is awesome.

C: We don’t, and you’re absolutely right. There are a lot of creative writers that Medium is their doorway to get that kind of readership going. So it’s really cool.

So these large publishers are always looking for popular authors on Medium, so you could get one of your posts either syndicated to a larger publisher, or you could even be asked to become a regular contributor for a larger platform on Medium. That’s pretty cool.

So Medium doesn’t offer an API, so what that means is that the signal-to-noise ration on Medium is really good. For the most part, your followers and your engagement’s going to be really legit. That means you’re not going to have any fake followers on Medium. You’re not going to have to compete with the website that’s churning out 20 articles a day that are just pumping them into Medium via API. Everything on there has to be hand crafted and hand published.

N: Okay.

C: Yeah. It’s really awesome. And then of course it’s a great place to discuss hot topics. People love reading stories right now about business, entrepreneurship, startups, culture, technology, politics, and then lifestyle. So you can talk about your personal journey as a brand, or as an entrepreneur on Medium, and it would do really, really well.

What this means for you as a business owner is one, you can republish your blog posts on Medium and through their analytics, you can see which of your blog posts are getting the most engagement, how much time people are really spending on them, and what topics might be worth your time talking about on your blog in the future, should you decide to ever leave Medium.

Another thing you can do is you can create native, original content, just for Medium, that talks about the flip-side of what it’s like to run your business. You can kind of make it a little bit more personal, a little bit more vulnerable, a little bit more voice-driven, and not just be publishing your brand’s blog posts. Or do both. You can do all that under a Publisher hub on Medium. It’s pretty cool.

N: Yeah.

C: Also, you can gain new social media followers, because people who fall in love with your awesome Medium content will follow you on social media networks because you have links to your other social media profiles in your Medium profile, so they can easily click and follow. It’s a very easy thing to add, and test, and see if it gets you a little bit more engagement for your brand. You know, just a little bit more of an audience growth for your brand.

The thing about Medium is that you can’t easily target specific readers on there, but you can have other people discover you. There’s a really nice discovery component to the platform that helps a lot.

I suggest that if you want to try out Medium, try it out and pledge to have a content strategy for Medium, where you’re going to be publishing at least one article a week on Medium, and run that for three months. At the end of that, look at the reports, look at the analytics on Medium. See if it was worth your time, if it helped contribute to your social media growth, if it helped contribute to your website traffic growth. If you monetized it, was it worth your time and effort to get paid? Because they don’t pay a ton, but you know, a few cents here and there is helpful. It’s kind of like having an Amazon affiliate account, that sort of thing, where it’s just nice to have.

But take a look at all those and see if it’ll work for you after 90 days, and if so, try it for a year and see how it goes.

All right, so I hope that helps answer everyone’s questions about Medium. If you have any other questions, you can write into info@brightplanning.com. We love getting questions, don’t we Natalie?

N: Yes, we do, because then we can make sure we’re customizing our episodes to feature the topics you want to hear.

C: Yeah. This isn’t something that we planned 6 months in advance and it’s this crazy-big production. You know, we treat it professionally, we treat it seriously, but we want to customize the topics for you.

N: Yeah, and lots of these things are pretty timely, because if you want to learn about Medium, you don’t want to learn about Medium in December, you want to learn about it right now.

C: Yeah, exactly. [laughing] All right, and if they liked the episode, what should they do?

N: Yes, please leave us a rating and review. We are on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, and TuneIn, and we would just love if you could help spread the word about our show.

C: Yes, please. For some reason I can’t talk today, everyone, so pardon my strange pauses and my sentence structures. But I’ll be better next week for Episode 97, which I’m really excited about. We’re going to be talking about public relations, PR, and breaking down the timelines for how you should time your public relations outreach efforts so they’re actually successful. This is a big one that a lot of people struggle with, and they try to launch public relations efforts too little, too late. So we really want to help you get that timeline that’s right for you, and for your product or service launch. So tune in to Episode 97 to learn more about that. In the meantime, again, go visit http://signaturebrandstory.com/. The registration window’s only going to be open a little bit longer. We don’t want you to miss it because we’re not going to be opening the doors for the course again until 2019.

N: Right. This is your shot.

C: This is your shot. All right everyone, we hope you have a great week. Market better, be better. We’ll see you next week for Episode 97.


We recently launched Signature Brand Story! Our registration closes in just two weeks, and then we’ll kick off the course! Don’t miss out: signaturebrandstory.com.