Medium is a great website for aspiring writers. It’s a great way to practice your craft, reach out to people, and build your audience. You receive a lot of feedback, in the form of comments and stats, which you can use to improve your writing.
Since their import tool uses canonical links, importing your content to Medium is believed to be not causing any duplicate content penalty and to benefit the SEO of your blog.
Since the Google algorithm is an ever-changing black box, no one can say anything definitive about SEO, but in either case, I have read the statements above from Medium’s own documentation.
How to Use the Medium Stats
I appreciate the responses and claps very much and I find the Medium stats insightful as well. The Medium stats include views, reads, read ratio, and the number of fans. The only stat that I focus on is the number of fans.
I sort my stories, i.e. my Medium posts, according to the number of fans and analyze them in that order. I use those stats to populate the featured articles on my blog, welcome email of my weekly newsletter, Medium, and Twitter profiles.
I also try to learn lessons from my stats. Here are 8 lessons I learned so far.
Lesson #1: Get Published in a Medium Publication with a Big Following
There’s no way around this. There’s a huge difference between my stats before and after I was started to get published in the Startup publication.
How to get published in a publication?
Please refer to my post about How to Succeed in Your Craft in the Age of Technology for the answer to that question.
Lesson #2: Publish Every Day, At Least on Working Days
If you don’t publish at least on every working day, you’ll have a difficult time building a following. Publishing every day helps people getting familiar to you. When people get familiar to you, they are more likely to read and like your content.
There’s a balance between quality and frequency. Ideally, you have to deliver both. If you mess up with the quality, you’ll lose followers. If you mess up with the frequency, you’ll lose your followers’ goodwill. It’s like a dating partner that doesn’t show up on a date.
So, if you can’t hold that balance, tilt it slightly towards frequency, but not too much. Otherwise, you’ll be risking losing your followers altogether.
Publishing every day also helps you building momentum. Once you build your momentum, writing a post becomes much easier.
In a sense, publishing every day is easier than publishing every once in a while.
Lesson #3: The Title is the 90% of a Post
This is a lesson I learned from Tom Kuegler and unfortunately it is true. Only your diehard fans would read whatever you post online and your diehard fans are probably only 1% of your audience.
The rest is going to make a split-second decision about your content just by the title. If they like the title, they are going to read the rest of the post and probably like that too, unless you mess it up.
This lesson might sound like a click-bait, but it’s not the same. With a strong title, you’re making a promise. It’s up to you to follow up on that promise with your content. Otherwise, your credibility with the readers will erode and they won’t click on your posts no matter how great your titles are.
Lesson #4: Offer Silver Bullet Solutions
We are living in the age of distraction. People are bombarded with information from all directions. They don’t have the time to read a book, digest a complex personal development or weight loss system, and apply it in their own lives. Or at least, they think so.
As a result, people are looking for simple solutions. They are looking for one simple solution, exercise, practice, or principle to turn around their lives. That’s why posts like, The Principle that Explains All Human Behavior, This Is the Only Way to Solve Problems, Create Your Dream Life, 15 Minutes a Day receive a lot of claps.
Make no mistake, it’s not sufficient to promise those solutions in the title. You have to deliver on them. The solutions you promise should indeed solve the problem that the user has. So, you better think very hard or do your research to come up with those solutions, principles, and practices that are actually silver bullets.
Lesson #5: Offer Counterintuitive and Original Content
Everybody knows that they have to save money and invest. So, if you write a post about that, it won’t be read by many people.
But if you write about using Buddhist principles in business, a lot of curious readers will flock to your content. Curiosity is an important motivation.
Again, you have to deliver on your promises. You can’t publish nonsense just for the sake of being counterintuitive and original.
Lesson #6: Lists of X Lessons, Secrets, Principles
People are drawn to lists posts. They are easier to digest. People also assume that they could find at least one useful idea even if the rest of the list is useless or irrelevant. That’s why posts like Four Secrets of Leadership attract readers.
Then again, make sure you deliver what you promise.
There are posts that consist of extra-long lists, such as 100 lessons, 50 principles, and so on. I haven’t experimented with them and I’m not opposed to them. If you can deliver on those promises in a blog post, more power to you.
To me extra-long lists seem to be more appropriate for a book title and who knows I might structure my book using the extra-long list method.
Lesson #7: Use Strong Language
Titles that include powerful words attracts readers. By strong language, I don’t mean using explicit language. It’s a matter of style and I don’t use explicit language often, but that doesn’t mean I have to use weak words. There’s a difference between strong language and explicit language.
Strong language attracts the attention of people. That’s why titles like How to Boost Your Mind Power, How to Develop Superpowers in Business and Relationships, and A Billion Dollar Disaster of a Business Model work.
Lesson #8: Combine These Lessons
If you can combine these lessons, you’ll boost the impact of your titles. Consider the title One Habit That Can Turn Around Your Life. It’s a combination of lesson #4 and #7. As a result, it’s more powerful than One Habit That Can Improve Your Life or How to Turn Around Your Life.
Aren’t These Click-Bait Techniques?
Not necessarily. As I have repeated multiple times before, it is only click-bait if you fail to deliver on your promises.
If you’re confident about your content, you might as well take your time to come up with several titles using these lessons and choose the most powerful title.
Moreover, as a writer, I truly believe that my content can make a positive difference in people’s lives. As a result, it’s my responsibility to get it in front of as many people as possible without hurting the message. If I didn’t want people to read my content, I’d write it down in my Evernote and be done with it.
So, if you want people to read your content, you better take your time and make the necessary effort to use these lessons to reach as many people as possible. Otherwise, you might write your ideas down in your journal and be done with them.
If you want your blog to be read a lot, import your content to Medium and work your way up to get published by a Medium publication with a large following.
Publish at least every working day to build momentum as a writer and to get familiar by readers.
Make sure you pay as much attention to your post titles as you pay to your posts. Come up with silver bullet solutions and counterintuitive, original content that delivers what it promises.
Using strong language in the title, coming up with list posts, and combining any of these lessons will improve your results as well.
- What do you think about these lessons?
- Are you going to give them a try?
- What are the lessons that you have learned about blogging?
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.