Medium Secrets: The Publication Letter
Do you run publications? Are you doing this?
Like many of you, I’m always studying Medium’s stats, tips, tricks, and helpful hints and now I’m finally ready to look into optimizing my publications to reach a wider audience and maintain better touch with existing followers.
That’s where the Letters feature comes in.
- A Letter allows you to contact every follower in their Email inbox.
- They have to elect to accept letters.
- It’s a nifty way to get eyeballs back to your publication where the publication notifications have to compete with a quacky algorithm (especially since Medium decided its own pubs are better than ours!).
Writing a letter is apparently super simple. Learn how here.
I started my own 7 publications long ago because after all, I’m an indie writer, I’m not a huge joiner. I prefer total freedom and control in building my audience, at least to the degree that Medium allows it.
- Having my own Email list and a CTA link to it at the end of my “futurist” articles.
- Sending occasional “Letters” to publication followers.
- Using LinkedIn’s own Newsletter and articles (and posts) feature tethered to Medium stories and shorter (2–3 min reads).
- Using big topics that have mainstream relevance not just to Medium’s paywall audience, but to the internet (and SEO) in general for the world at large. (I’m not interested in writing in a vacuum no matter how big).
Letters were actually launched over 4 years ago and it’s one of those features that’s so uncommon, many people don’t even know about it.
Here’s it’s not just a question of list building, but list management. Just as your Newsletter should have some strategy. So too then should growing your Medium publication.
Even if we are now in an era where indie publications don’t have much of a chance to thrive due to the unique evolution of Medium’s own in-house publications now featured everywhere on the front page including mostly dominating the popular section.
So what is a Letter?
It’s a way of connecting with your publication’s followers and starting a conversation.
It’s delivered to the inboxes of all the people who follow your publication.
It’s also a post, so it can be recommended, highlighted, built upon, and have a life of its own.
Followers will have the option to unsubscribe from your publication’s Letters directly from their inbox and on their publications management page.
- Connecting, cutting through the noise, remind your followers that your publication exists and why it exists!
For me this is all about followers and fan retention, nurturing that list of anonymous followers that sometimes don’t really hear from our true writer’s voice.
I’m so prolific sometimes I get lost in my own noise, and that’s not a good thing to be remembered, be memorable or stand out as authentic from the crowd.
Where the Heck are Letters found again?
As an editor, you’ll see a new option in the dropdown on your publication page called “Letters.”
If you own a publication, when you access the pub it’s just below stats.
- Do you have an announcement to make?
- Do you have a sister publication you’d like to mention?
- Would you like to remind your audience what your publication is about?
- Sharing milestones of your publication and your community.
- How about listing some of your top recent articles?
Sending a letter is about connecting with your fan base (it should not sound as spammy as some of the influencer Newsletters I’m reading). It should be more intimate and more actionable — for me, this means linking the best articles of that week or month.
After all, there’s a certain intimacy in the inbox. But you don’t want to come across as just another profiteer. But hey, that’s just me.
Yep so just to summarize:
To send a Letter to followers of a publication, you must be an editor.
- Navigate to your publication’s homepage > click the publication icon > click Letters.
- Start writing your letter in the space provided.
- Click Email Preview to preview it.
- Click Send.
Medium had the right idea with product features like Series and Letters, and it’s unfortunate they aren’t used or don’t work very well (I don’t claim to know why this might be). But Letters should be used since it’s another CTA to help your publication outlets grow.
I think Medium had intended Letters to provide what blogs used to through RSS subscriptions.
But now that growing an Email list is desirable, as well as a personal brand online, creating your own indie publications for topics you love and sending out Letters, just makes a lot of common sense.
So remember if you haven’t done so already. Here’s what I recommend doing:
- Create your own publication (you can have up to 7 of your own) and send weekly or monthly letters.
- Create your own Email list with a link to subscribe at the end of your articles.
- Create posts on LinkedIn that lead to your Medium stories.
- Create articles on LinkedIn (for instance shorter versions of Medium stories, if they are business-related content).
- Do these things, instead of wasting time on Facebook and those Facebook Groups (as wonderful as they might be).
Just my 2 cents guys!