How To Leverage Medium For Brands
2014 was thought to be the year long-form web content would hit the mainstream, and it certainly holds a more prominent position today than it historically ever has. For example, millions read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “The Case for Reparations” – a long, dense, rewarding piece of long form, signaling that the public is ready to embrace long-form works. This is exactly the kind of bet the makers of Medium, a long-form social blogging platform, were banking on. What exactly is Medium, and how can you leverage it as a brand?
What is Medium?
Medium is a blogging platform not unlike Tumblr in that you don’t need to know any code to start blogging, and there are built-in social features that allow you to interact with other publishers and share your work readily. It is different than Tumblr in the way that each post is set up to focus on the written word and include some supporting visuals.
Benefits of long form
Long form is a great option for brands that want to get into publishing thought-leadership posts in ways that a traditional press release or quoted sound bite can’t match. Long form allows you to explain how your company came to embrace a value, or how you became convinced a certain idea or practice is worth embracing. This helps to subtly promote your brand values in a way that engages readers in a larger story, while incorporating your position.
What types of content perform the best on Medium?
Any posts that would normally be longer than 400 words perform well on Medium, but there are harbingers of posts that go viral (or at the least are shared more regularly):
- Posts with a very defined (from the title on) hook: Look at an issue or point of view you have from every conceivable angle, and try to find the one with the most digestible “hook” – an idea people have to read (or hate-read) more about. These types of posts are very popular
- Posts with a unique point of view or solution to a problem: This should fit your brand’s values and vertical market. If your product solves a problem, explain why people should care about your unique solution.
- Posts that reframe assumed knowledge in a clever way: One of the most successful content tropes online is the “You’ve been doing ____ wrong this entire time. Here’s how to fix it.” Medium is no different in this regard – if you can persuasively explain why you think something in the Zeitgeist is wrong, you stand a great chance of higher readership.
- Posts that inspire people: This is the trickiest one to master, and is not recommended for first-time posters. As with anything that has a political connotation, this could backfire on you.
How to get started on Medium
To start on medium, sign up for an account (you can use your company Twitter handle to do this – which is the recommended method. Once logged in to your new account, make sure your profile is explanatory, branded, and as easy to read as possible. Make sure you delineate who writes for your company on that account, so readers can build affinity for those people and to prove that your account is actually written by real people. Make sure you upload valuable brand assets and write a good description of what your brand is and hopes to talk about on Medium. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to write.
When you post to Medium, resist the urge to be corporate or overly clinical. The most readily shared articles show real points of view from real people. If you can’t read your post out loud and make it interesting, go back and rewrite.
Make your points visual. You can plan to have explanatory images as well as thematic images in your posts. This always encourages readership and can help immerse the reader in your point of view.
Don’t forget to promote your work when you’ve published it. Include links to your Medium works on all of your social channels, in your newsletter blasts, and even in the newsroom section of your company website. Make sure you spread the word.
Something to keep in mind
You should look up what other brands in your vertical are saying around your topic so you can write around or directly opposed to those comments. This will help your piece to be contrasted against others in any ensuing coverage of your work or on that topic.
Long form is quickly becoming a force online, and while it’s harder to execute, the potential benefits of positioning your company as a thought leader and inspiring action and responses from followers is worth the effort in the end.