If you have not yet heard of Medium, you may be missing out on something big for your brand. Last week we revealed our suggestions for writers. Here, we look at the value for brands.
Medium is a publishing platform, designed to fit somewhere between Twitter’s short-form content, and longer-form blogging. Writers like the site because it is possible to make money by publishing there. However, it also holds plenty of potential value for brands, not least because publishing there is free, and the potential audience is huge.
One of the reasons why Medium works well is that it does not use APIs. Some commentators suggest that quite a lot of fake followers and spam on other social networks is because of API use. Medium therefore contains much less ‘noise’ than some sites, and it is generally estimated that most followers are real. This translates into better engagement.
What, however, do brands need to do to get value out of Medium, and what should they avoid?
- Consider setting up your own publication. For individual writers, publishing via publications does not necessarily make sense. For a brand, however, it is an extremely good way to ensure that you can bring together all your branded content in one place, and avoid too much ‘noise’ from other people’s content. You can also import content from elsewhere and publish it on Medium. If you use Medium’s own import tool, it will include a link to the original site, which means that the attribution will be appropriate for search engines.
- Use Medium’s metrics to measure engagement for your thought leaders. Medium’s founders have taken the time and trouble to try to measure what really matters. Instead of focusing on the number of people who have seen a post, the site asks who has read it to the end, and how useful they found it. Readers can also highlight particularly useful sections, which can inform future content. These metrics are much more useful ways to measure audience engagement with individual thought leaders, and therefore for performance management purposes.
- Invite your existing Twitter and Facebook followers to follow you on Medium. Medium has an algorithm that will automatically connect to all your Twitter and Facebook followers who are also on Medium. This means that you won’t lose your audience: they can simply engage with even more of your content.
- Remember that Medium has its limitations. You can only publish ‘posts’ to Medium. You can embed other media into a post, such as videos, but that is about it. If you want to provide long-term resources for your customers, then a Medium post is not the ideal option (although you could, of course, use a Medium post as a ‘hook’). You may therefore need another website to host your longer-life resources.
- Engage with your audience. One of the biggest aspects of Medium is its ‘community’ feel. Members are genuinely interested in each other’s comments, and in engaging in discussion. You cannot, therefore, simply post an article, and leave it there. You need to engage with the responses. This is great if you have a number of thought leaders writing articles in your publication, because they can engage individually.
- Assume that Medium will be right for your brand. There are some topics that do much better on Medium than others. Technology, start-ups, business, entrepreneurship ,and politics, for example, are all popular. Do your research first, and make sure that your content will be a good fit with the platform, because otherwise it may not be worth the effort.
- Rely on lead generation tools. Medium simply does not have them. There is no landing page, no pop-up boxes, and very little gated content. You can use a newsletter sign-up form, because you can embed that in posts via a tool called Upscribe. Otherwise, you will have to rely on other tools like engaging directly with those who respond to your posts. You also can’t do very much about SEO with Medium, beyond some nice backlinks, although of course good engagement improves your chances of being found via search.
- Abandon your company website. Some brands are rumoured to have abandoned a company blog in favour of simply putting content direct onto Medium. However, there are big advantages to having your own content platform, including the ability to host other resources such as white papers. The most important factor, however, is that with your own website, you own the content. Putting all your eggs in the Medium basket could look like an easy option, but if the platform goes, so will your content.
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