I thought this discussion was over, but I still receive comments in favor of this. Some people think that commenting other people’s posts is better than getting published in a major Medium publication.
I tried both approaches. In my experience, the results are not even close. That’s why getting published in a major Medium publication is the only tip you need to grow your audience as a blogger.
Where does the “comment other people’s posts” advice come from?
Commenting other people’s blog posts was something back in the day, like ten years ago. We live in a completely different era now. Don’t expect to read and comment a few posts every day and let those comments return to you as followers.
In order to make it work, you have to read and comment a lot of posts, something like 90 posts a day. Who says that? Gary Vaynerchuk, the ultimate social media expert of the day. And I don’t take him lightly. I read and listened to all of his books and follow his YouTube channel.
How can you leave 90 comments a day?
You can do that on Twitter, Instagram, and to some extent on Facebook. You can consume a post on these platforms in an instant and leave a comment in a minute. That makes spending 90 minutes a day on commenting. With that approach, you’ll leave a good trail on social media.
Would that work on Medium?
How long does it take to read a Medium post? 5 minutes? How long does it take to comment it? 2 minutes? That makes 7 minutes in total.
In order to leave 90 comments on Medium, you have to spend 10.5 hours. If you want to do it right of course.
Sure you can skim through posts and write comments such as “ha ha, nice post, keep up the good work.” I wonder if such an approach would work on Medium.
What is worse is to receive angry comments from people who read a single paragraph of the post. Lashing out after reading a paragraph won’t make you popular on Medium.
Your Options for Commenting
Now, let’s break it down. Some Medium experts recommend the following:
- Find less popular authors in your niche.
- Read their posts.
- Comment their posts.
I followed that advice in the past. It was painful to say the least. Those posts are unpopular for a reason.
I ended up forcing myself trying to read a bunch of bad posts every day and trying to comment them. I don’t want to spend my time doing that. There are millions of better things to do in life.
Make no mistake, I published a lot of unpopular posts myself. However, I went through my most unpopular posts and learned my blogging lessons.
Most of the less popular authors in Medium don’t respond to the comments they receive. Probably, they published a post out of curiosity and then forgot that they have a Medium blog.
The alternative is to comment on popular posts. There’s a problem with that approach as well. The comment sections of those posts are already crowded. Your comment won’t stand out among others.
The authors of those posts don’t have the time to respond to every comment. That’s a waste of time too.
How do I treat my commenters?
This section contradicts with the rest of the post, but I’m going to be honest anyway. Being honest is the fundamental requirement of blogging.
I follow three types of people on Medium.
- People who leave an interesting comment to one of my posts and have interesting posts in their Medium or Twitter profiles.
- People whose posts I find organically and like.
- People who are mentioned as new followers in the weekly Medium stats email.
That list is sorted according to the probability of me following someone on Medium. That makes it look like commenting works to grow your audience on Medium. However, that’s not the case.
I’m just one person. I don’t think everybody has the same priorities on Medium. And I don’t think it’s an efficient strategy to grow your audience one person at a time. You’re better off writing great posts and getting published in a major Medium publication on a regular basis.
If you doubt it, here’s the proof. I regularly receive emails from Medium that my posts reached 10 fans. Sometimes, I receive 50 or 100 fans emails. So far, I have received only one email about one of my responses reaching 10 fans. No emails about a response reaching 50 or 100 fans.
Do I never comment?
You might think that I never read or comment other people’s posts. I do read and comment other people’s posts, but I do it organically. I don’t read and comment to get followers in return.
I read a post if I’m genuinely interested in it. I comment a post if I can genuinely add something to the discussion. When I comment a post, that’s it. I don’t expect anything in return.
I try to reply to every comment I receive. Sometimes, there are exceptions. I don’t reply to hate or troll comments. Sometimes, Medium doesn’t notify me of a response. I’m sorry if haven’t replied to one of your comments that wasn’t a hate or troll comment. Now, you know why.
Every social media channel has its own unwritten rules. Some strategies work on some channels, others work on others.
Leaving 90 comments a day might be a reliable strategy on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. It is neither feasible nor reliable on Medium.
The best strategy to grow your audience on Medium is to get published in a major Medium publication regularly.
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly overview of my latest content on personal development and life lessons.
Hey Joel, great post. I have a question regarding the difference between hosting and website building. I started a website with WIX however, it offers its own way to upgrade to having a personal domain name and such. What is the difference between upgrading, and having a host? Any clarification will be useful.
I haven’t worked with WIX. Therefore, I don’t know what the differences are. I can only talk about having a personal domain.
When you have a personal domain, you have more control on it. You can install a content management system like WordPress. You can make decisions like adding or removing advertisements, and so on.