The Dark Power of Medium

darth vader with a Medium mask lures marketers to join the dark side


By Kiki Schirr, {grow} Contributing Columnist

Medium can seem like the Dark Side to a marketing Padawan. Its dominance calls to us — but we’ve been warned by our elders that owned media is the only true road to power.

Most marketing blogs will have an article about how to use Medium as a marketer. Very few of these articles go into depth on whether you should, though.

Why you should consider using Medium

Medium is a powerful tool. It comes with a built-in audience that numbers more than 1.2 million unique signups. By posting good content frequently, an author can easily get 20,000 views per month. Bigger names draw more than 300,000.

Medium allows its readers to subscribe to content. Readers can choose to follow a writer or a publication. The benefit of owning a publication is that subscribers can also be reached via email newsletter.

Therefore, editors of publications have a powerful tool to reach out to their audience personally.

Why you should consider skipping Medium

However, while Medium does allow editors of publications to reach out via email, it never allows you to own the email list. If you or one of your authors suddenly got fed up with the site and left, you would walk away with nothing.

Owned media, that is content within your own control such as a blog or your own newsletter, is undoubtedly a safer route to travel. That being said, it can be frustrating to build traffic to your own site. The growth rate is slow and while some of your content might go viral, it is too unpredictable to count on breakout content.

Many of the best marketing blogs around have built their audience over a period of years. Their consistently solid content has been the draw.

There is no good substitute for loyal blog readers and especially newsletter subscribers. Being able to reach your targeted audience when you need to is the pinnacle of a marketer’s power. But with owned media, it would seem that there’s no such thing as overnight success.

But wait…

Or is there?

Many authors, Mark Schaefer included, have begun to cross-post their existing content to Medium.

This is the best of both worlds: your loyal readers can see the content on your site, and you can reach a new audience on Medium. Medium readers don’t care if content was first published there, and appreciate it if you mention that it was also published on your blog. (This is also a great opportunity to link to that blog!)

The big question is: can you convert Medium readers to be your loyal blog readers? Many marketers, frustrated by months of trying, might tell you no, conversion is impossible.

However, as it becomes clear that this is a market need, third party apps have sprung up to help marketers gain an audience from their Medium blog.

Enter Rabbut, stage left

One of the most visible 3rd party Medium tools is Rabbut, a service that allows you to promote your own content within a post. Rabbut has three core Medium services: an email intake form, story cards that allow you to promote other posts, and an ebook giveaway service.

Rabbut has two pricing tiers, free and $10/month. I’d recommend creating a Mailchimp list for your new subscribers before you sign up for Rabbut to make the linking smoother.

Once you link your Mailchimp, you can create a form. Simply edit the given text to suit your own needs and link your Medium account, and Rabbut will give you a link to copy/paste. Mine looked like this:

an email intake form from Rabbut on Medium

To see an example of Rabbut in action, click this article and scroll to the bottom.

The more traditional route

Even if you choose not to go with Rabbut, there are a few things you can do to optimize the amount of traffic your blog sees from Medium.

  • In your personal profile, link to your blog
  • At the end of your Medium posts, mention or link to your blog
  • If you are cross posting existing content, link to the original article
  • Link to relevant personal blog posts as supporting information within your Medium post

Don’t be discouraged by low click-through rates. Many readers are loyal to the platform and resent obvious attempts to draw them away from it. However, if the content you’re providing is tempting enough, they will not mind leaving. Just be aware that blatant links to your blog will not always go over well.

The people who do click through will be high quality readers.

Join the Dark Side…

Overall, Medium is a great place to experiment with a new, wider audience. In particular, it provides marketers, early adopters, freelancers, writers, and techies. If you think you could benefit from reaching out to any of those groups, hurry and sign up today.

For a few good articles on getting started, check out:

KikiSchirrKiki Schirr is a freelance marketer. She is an avid Medium user and loves learning about new technologies. Kiki is currently focusing on a new Medium publication she calls Schirr Genius. Previously she worked on Tech Doodles. Kiki can be reached easily through Twitter.

Drawing by Kiki Schirr. Images are screen captures from real product use.

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