Every new blogger has the exact same problem.
No one. Reads. Our stuff.
Once you have a little attention, you have something to build on. People start talking, and the rest is history.
But those first thousand readers are tough.
If you’re smart, you’ll start with who you know; but for most of us, that well runs dry at around 100 folks.
So where do you go from there?
One great option is a website called Medium.
Medium is a massive community with thousands of bloggers and millions of readers.
I’ve attracted hundreds of new readers to my blog by posting on Medium. It’s easy and fun. So in this post, I’ll show you how to do it too.
First things first, I’ll teach you the basics — how to create an account and start posting.
If you already know that stuff, click here to jump to hyperspace (you’ll pop out for the advanced strategies further down this post).
First, you’ll need a free account.
Posting on Medium is absolutely free. Just go to Medium.com and click “Sign In/Sign Up” at the top right corner.
Then, you’ll need something to post.
One of my favorite things about Medium is the content you post doesn’t have to be original to the site.
By that I mean, you can write something, share it on your blog, and repost it on Medium — killing two birds with one stone.
I personally repost all my blogs on Medium.
Finally, you’ll need something to persuade people to join your email list.
Remember, our goal is to get more people reading your blog. And the best way to do that is getting readers on an email list.
Then, every time you post something new, you can send an email reminding them to check it out.
(If you don’t currently have an email list, we recommend ConvertKit because it’s so simple to use.)
But before you can get people on an email list, you need to give them a compelling reason to sign up. This free giveaway is often called a lead magnet.
It can be a short ebook, a checklist, a video training, an assessment — whatever you think your ideal readers will want to sign up for.
Here’s what I use on Medium:
Once you have these three things, you’re ready to start posting. Just click “Write a story” in the top right.
Drafts save automatically. You don’t have to publish in one sitting. When you get back, just click your picture and then click “Stories.” You’ll find the post under “Drafts.”
When you’re proofread and ready to go, click publish and start broadcasting your writing to a new group of readers.
That’s how easy it is to start publishing on Medium. Writers who take this strategy seriously have been known to build email lists of over 100,000 readers in just a few years (or sooner).
If those are the results you’re looking for, you’ll need some pro-level tactics.
I don’t claim to perfectly understand the Medium algorithm, so what follows is my imperfect opinion. But it’s based on my personal experience of growing on Medium and the advice of close friends who are wildly popular on the platform.
On the surface, Medium works a little like Twitter. People follow you, and when they do, your posts appear in their feeds.
The best way to gain followers is writing good posts, but you can take a few shortcuts if you know about them.
Under account settings, you’ll find a section where you can connect your Twitter and Facebook accounts to your Medium account.
Here’s what’s crazy…
When you connect the accounts, take Twitter for example, Medium will automatically convert your Twitter followers into Medium followers (the ones who have a Medium account).
I had my Copybot partner Jesse do this and look what happened…
Here’s before he linked the accounts.
And here’s after…
Honestly, I can’t believe Medium does this. But it totally works and it’s free followers.
Plus, people who follow you on Twitter tend to be targeted followers since they’ve already expressed an interest in what you have to say.
If your Twitter account is already connected, not to fear. Just disconnect it and reconnect it. I do that every few months.
You can write a viral Medium blog post even if you have very few followers. The secret?
Get in a publication.
Publications are more or less to Medium what group boards are to Pinterest. They have their own followers (sometimes several hundred thousand), and multiple contributors can write to those followers.
Similar to guest posting, you get published in a publication by pitching the editor.
Publications are expected to provide way more content than the average blog, so they’re generally open to quality new writers.
If you have a personal connection or know someone who does, start with those editors.
If you don’t, you can email some pitches. Always start by familiarizing yourself with the publication so you can make an informed pitch.
Look for publications that have the attention of your target readers. And remember, the bigger the publication, the better for you. But don’t be afraid to start small and work your way up as you gain a bigger presence on the platform.
Don’t like emailing strangers? I get that, but you need to get this…
My first six Medium blog posts (not in a publication) got a COMBINED 48 views.
When my 7th post was accepted into a popular publication, I got almost 11,000 views for that ONE post.
I also grew my email list by roughly 300 people.
One of the coolest features of Medium is the one click recommend. When a reader clicks the little green heart on your post, they’re endorsing it to their followers and to the Medium algorithm.
I don’t think it’s exactly like a retweet, but the general rule is, more recommends means more people will see your post.
The easiest way to get quick recommends? Send the post to your friends. A great strategy is to collaborate with a few other Medium writers by reading and recommending each other’s posts.
Two of my friends who are huge on Medium also think the number of comments on a post impacts how much Medium will show it. So you should ask your friends to comment and encourage comments in the post.
Sharing on social media and encouraging other people to share adds a little bump to your Medium traffic. Obviously, this is also true of posts on your blog, but Medium traffic leads to recommends, which can lead to way more traffic.
Simply put, you’re more likely to go viral with a Medium blog post than on your own blog.
Which is why you might want to…
If you already have an email list, consider sending your traffic to Medium instead of your blog, since your odds of going viral are much higher on Medium.
One of the biggest writers on Medium used this trick, and it helped him get over 100K subscribers in roughly two years.
This is a drop in the bucket, but you can click your own heart. And despite what you might think, I’ve watched a writer with over 160K Medium followers still use this little hack.
Remember, no matter how good your post is, bad headlines repel views.
So obsess over your headline. Always come up with a few options and pick the best one.
Lists and how-to headlines do very well on Medium. But they’re not your only option.
My friend Dave Schools wrote an awesome post called “The 60 Most Recommended Medium Stories of All Time.”
Reference that post when you’re picking your next Medium headline.
Before you publish a post or submit it to a publication, you can add up to 5 tags. Tagging a post makes it more likely to be seen by people who follow those tags (it’s kind of like a hashtag).
So when you write a post, tagging will help you reach targeted readers who are more likely to enjoy and recommend your writing.
Medium takes work. You are not guaranteed anything. But in my opinion, it’s one of the simplest games to play when you’re building a following online.
Medium has produced huge email lists, profitable book deals, and a new scene of influencers. It’s a great way for bloggers to get noticed and grow their reach.
My first six posts did jack squat on Medium. Now I get roughly 200 recommends per post.
So don’t give up after one try.
And remember, the tips you’ve read can get you more views, but it’s up to the post to turn those views into recommends. So keep improving your writing.
We have a free resource below to help you write the kind of posts that hold attention online.
Whether you’re writing a Medium blog post or your own blog, you have to be good to rise above the clutter.
Hone your skills with our free email course “5 Days to Writing Blog Posts that Demand Attention.”