As I have explained in my previous post, blogging is a great start to entrepreneurship and online business.
You can practice the basics of entrepreneurship and online business with little risk and gain valuable experience. You can build an audience and a platform to build further businesses upon.
There is a catch though. When you first start blogging, it is easy to get overwhelmed. There are countless tools you can use, numerous social media platforms where you can promote your work, and a multitude of blogging advice out there.
Moreover, you might see some bloggers with tens of thousands of followers. You might think that you can get to those numbers within a few weeks and start making a living from blogging.
After a few weeks, you might end up with a few followers despite all of your work trying to keep up with multiple social media channels and ticking off a long daily to do list. You might get discouraged and quit.
Blogging doesn’t have to be complicated or hard. There are a few stats that matter, a few tips that work, and a few platforms that actually contribute to your audience. Here’s the only tip you actually need in 2018 to grow your audience as a blogger.
Get published in major Medium publications on a regular basis.
That’s all you need to do. Nothing more, nothing less. I know that it is easier said than done and I’m going into details later, but first let me start with some common bad advice.
Bad Advice #1: Promote Your Blog Everywhere
When you first start a blog, it’s common sense to promote it. As a result, you might end up promoting your blog on various platforms, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and so on.
Each social media platform has their own unwritten rules that you aren’t aware of. In order to make a significant impact on those platforms, you have to put in considerable amount of time into them.
As a result, you end up building your presence on those platforms, instead of promoting your blog. They cease to be promotional tools, but become ends in themselves.
You end up spending immense amount of time on promoting your blog, which is in its infancy. You better concentrate all of your time and energy on building your blog first.
If you don’t put as much time and energy into those platforms, you are just contributing to the noise that people eagerly ignore. So, why waste any time on that at all?
Medium is a whole different platform for bloggers and I’m going to explain why in a second.
Bad Advice #2: Spam Follow People
Here’s another time and energy waster. You might read the advice that you have to follow as many people as the system allows and then periodically unfollow them.
Nothing can be a greater waste of time and energy. The people who follow you back aren’t interested in your content at all. They are just returning the favor. Most of them aren’t going to read a single post of yours.
If you think that a great number of followers are going to bring you authority, think again. Those days are over. Nowadays, everybody knows how those followers are acquired.
If your content isn’t interesting, original, and high quality, people are not going to consume it, no matter how big your following is.
Don’t waste your time and energy and don’t waste other people’s time and energy. It doesn’t add any value, neither to your blog, nor to other people.
Bad Advice #3: Comment Other People’s Posts
Here’s yet another time and energy waster. The advice goes as this “find people with a small audience in your niche, follow them, and comment their posts.” The idea is that those people are going to return the favor, follow you back, and comment your posts.
Nope, it’s not going to happen. You’ll only end up wasting your time reading a bunch of low quality, uninteresting, not original posts, and thinking hard how you can comment them. Complete waste of time and energy.
If you try to comment some interesting, original, quality posts, your comment will get lost among dozens of other comments.
So, read a post only if it is a compelling post to read. Comment a post only if you really have something to say.
All of these tips make me think:
Why can’t we act natural? Why do we have to pretend as if we care about stuff that we don’t care? Why do we have to make an effort to contribute to noise?
The Only Tip That Works
As we went over the tips that don’t work, let’s dive deep into the only tip that works. That tip is to get your blog posts published in a major Medium publication regularly.
Medium has a huge advantage over other social media platforms for bloggers. Medium is a blogging platform itself.
When you promote your content on Medium, you’re not trying to figure out the unwritten rules of yet another platform.
When you promote your content on Medium, you’re actually trying to figure out what works in a blog. That means if you can figure out what works on Medium, you’ll figure out what will work on your blog.
Have Your Own WordPress Blog On Your Own Domain Name
I strongly recommend that you have a WordPress blog on your own domain name and use Medium as a promotional tool, instead of using Medium as your main platform.
Having your own WordPress blog on your own domain name has two advantages. First, you have more control. You can configure it anyway you want. You can monetize it anyway you want. You can design it anyway you want.
Second, you don’t know what Medium will do in the future. Maybe, they will cease operating. Maybe, they will serve only paid customers. Maybe, they will serve only paid publishers. We can’t predict what they’re going to decide in the future.
So, it’s better to build our own platform as our main platform and use Medium as a promotional tool.
You can easily import your WordPress posts to Medium using their import tool. Since Medium uses canonical links, this practice is unlikely to hurt your SEO.
How to Find Major Medium Publications
There are two ways of approaching this. The first way is to sign up to Medium, browse through topics that you’re interested in, and find interesting, original, quality content.
When you find those posts, check if they are published in a publication. If they are, then those are the publications you are aiming for. Just check if they have any submission guidelines. If they don’t, Google the name of the publication and the phrase “submission guidelines.”
The second way to find major Medium publications is to go to Smedian and check their top 100 Medium publications list.
Don’t get discouraged if you can’t find a major publication that accepts submissions in your niche. Just start with smaller ones and try to work your way up. As you improve your skills and as the quality of your posts increase, publications will reach out to you to include your posts in their publications.
Blogging 101: Submission Guidelines
When you find those submission guidelines, study them meticulously and apply that knowledge in your posts, even if those publications don’t accept submissions. Those submission guidelines include invaluable knowledge about how to blog.
Moreover, read popular posts on major Medium publications. What type of posts do you like to read? Study those posts. How are they structured? How do they discuss the topic at hand? How are their titles constructed? Try to learn as much as possible from those posts.
Published or Unpublished Posts?
Some publications accept only unpublished drafts. Other publications accept published posts as well.
If you have the choice, it’s better to choose a publication that accepts published posts. That means you can use your posts from your own blog and you don’t need to write extra posts for those publications.
If you don’t have the choice, you might need to write unpublished drafts specifically for those publications. The effort is worth the exposure you’ll get from those publications. You can include links to your own posts and to your own email newsletter.
By the way, having your own email newsletter is a good idea and you can easily set up one with MailChimp.
When you first start blogging, don’t spread yourself too thin by participating on numerous platforms. Focus your time and energy on improving your writing and blogging skills. The only promotional tool you need is to get published in major Medium publications.
Don’t waste your time spam following or spam commenting people. Just read the posts you enjoy and comment only if you have something to say.
Blogging is a marathon. You won’t see results within a few weeks no matter what you do. So, you better do what you like, read the posts you enjoy, and comment when you have something to say.
In blogging, results come over time. Just focus on growing your following and email newsletter subscribers by a minimum of 5% per week and you have a healthy growth rate.
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 roundup of my latest posts.