Medium’s value to B2B marketers

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Medium is an online publishing platform. So far, so LinkedIn. But it’s also quite different from other platforms, and if you are thinking of using Medium for B2B marketing, here are a few points to consider.

It evolved from a combination of blogging and Twitter. Medium was developed by one of the Twitter co-founders, and was originally conceived as a place to publish articles that were longer than Twitter would allow. It is often described as a blog host, but in fact is more like a social journalism site, with content from individuals and publications, both amateur and professional.

Medium aims to make its content attractive for readers. Medium is focused on design, and emphasises the reader experience. It is therefore easy to create content that looks good using it. You can see how the content will appear as you are creating, which makes it very easy to get the look right. Text and image formatting are controlled, and Medium leaves plenty of white space around the article, which makes it look nicer.

Medium works hard to manage what visitors see. Medium was designed to be a platform for good quality content by writers without thousands of Twitter followers. It therefore rewards quality, rather than author popularity. Its editorial team and algorithm work to make sure that the best quality writing is seen by more people, and that substandard content never really sees the light of day.

Medium provides estimated ‘reading time’ for each article, and supports engagement. Based on the average adult reading time of 275 words per minute, Medium provides an estimate of how long each article will take to read. Apparently, the ideal length for optimal engagement is about seven minutes. The platform also allows readers to highlight and comment on particular sections to their followers.

Content distribution happens naturally. As a blog platform, especially for businesses, Medium has a lot of pluses. In particular, Medium’s quality focus means that publication date is much less important than quality. The more something is read and recommended, the more people will see it. This is content distribution made simple: get the quality right, and the rest will follow.

Medium has good statistics and metrics to tell you how people are reacting and interacting with your content. Medium can tell you how many people have seen your content, how many have read it, and how many have recommended it. This means you get a good idea of whether you are attracting people, retaining them to the end, and then whether they like what you have written enough to pass it on to others. These are also the stats that are used to ensure that the site rewards quality, rather than intriguing headlines that do not deliver for readers.

Medium allows you to suggest that your content is included in a themed ‘collection’. Collections are categories or topics, and are curated by Medium users. Once you have created your content, you can submit it to several collections. It will be reviewed and accepted (or not) by the curator within a few weeks at most. Users subscribe to collections, so this means that your content is very likely to be seen by your target audience.

Medium is a platform, not a publisher. Medium does publish its own content, such as magazines, but recent evidence suggests that these were very much designed as examples for others. Its focus is now shifting away from publishing, and towards providing a platform for others to publish their content. This may include hosting magazines published by others, as well as content from individuals and organisations.

Medium’s focus on long-form content is unique. Other sites are focusing on shorter and shorter content, but Medium’s ability to publish longer, high quality content seems to buck the trend. In other words, it is offering something different. And in doing so, it has built up a unique network of followers from some influential places. Some commentators have even suggested that it could be the friendliest social media site on the internet.

You have to remember that you don’t own the platform. For all Medium’s plus points, it is also important to remember one thing: if you are publishing on Medium, you don’t own your platform. Those who remember changes to Facebook’s algorithm that changed the way the newsfeed worked may already be shuddering, but this isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. It is simply worth bearing in mind as part of your decision process.

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