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Open Thread

8 Ways to Connect With Readers After You Publish

Medium writers share their best tips

Photo: 10'000 Hours/Getty Images

In our latest open thread, we asked “How Do You Connect With Your Readers Beyond Publishing?” This can be a difficult area to figure out and manage. In the responses, a common thread surfaced — connecting with your readers outside of publishing helps support the publishing itself.

Here’s a few highlights. If you have ideas, share them in the responses of the discussion here.

Check out what your readers are up to, and support them.

I try to engage with the readers as people, and to check out what they are up to. I’ve connected with some great writers and interesting people just by following back readers on Twitter or Medium. Readers are so often writers themselves! Here’s an example: many years ago I was really into Pinterest and there was this person who was always commenting on my pins and reposting them and whatnot. I checked out her Pinterest profile and turned out she was a writer too, she just hadn’t published a book yet — but she published a novel the next year I think, and anyway, her name is: Celeste Ng. !!!!! So! You never know who those readers/followers/commenters are — stay curious about their work and engage with them, and it may prove creatively fruitful for everyone involved!

from Amy Shearn

Hop into the comments section.

This is very meta, but the comments section! I still remember when I first started blogging in 2002 and got instant feedback on my writing for the first time. It was such a thrill. I always try to respond or acknowledge comments because if someone takes the time to write one, that’s the very least I can do.

from Megan Morrone

Spark new conversations and continue discussion threads.

I use a couple of different ways: email lists, reading their work, responding to their questions on Medium or social media, writing shorter posts that are more like social media posts that sparks conversations, and writing content they ask for or are curious about.

from Aigner Loren Wilson

Go beyond reading online to explore live events (and other senses).

Achieving harmony in online and offline interactions is the truest form of connection. As such, taking one from Rupi Kaur’s books (pun intended), is running live performances or engagements at relevant venues, to build deep connection. It is a relationship, after all, and should be treated like one — entering the physical realm keeps both parties interest.

Introducing the other senses, in addition to sight (reading), such as sound (example: voice readings) and touch (example: art) are some other ideas which also come to mind.

from Johnny Bhalla

Run workshops based on the topics you write about.

Another way I reach readers (and potential readers) is through online workshops on the topics of my books. Participants appreciate advice on best practices for reducing waste at their home or business. I answer their questions live, and many of them join my mailing list.

from Julia Goldstein

Use the stories to share ideas and start discussions in groups you’re in.

I am an artist, and have been blog writing about my paintings for a while. I started expanding on the blog posts to create articles. I also invited artists in my circle of contacts to share their art and stories with me which I turn into articles. I’m just starting with Medium so I don’t have a large catalogue of articles yet. But each post gives me (and the other artists) another piece of content to share and talk about in their circles, which I hope become like pond ripples, reaching farther than my initial blog posts ever could have.

from Sarah Stone

Host a virtual meetup.

A virtual happy hour once a month might be fun. I actually think your idea of a game on a zoom call is really interesting. That way there’s less one-directional focus and we can all just hang out and do something together. And if people have questions I can answer them too. One other option is doing some type of writer meetup where there isn’t any selling or courses. Just a hangout session.

from Sean Kernan

Explore the opportunity of writing among groups or events you’re already a part of.

Rather than beginning with writing and then finding a way to connect outside of it, I moved connections from outside of writing towards my writing. I was running recurring virtual events, and soon the event invitations expanded to newsletter posts. I started publishing these on Medium and used the events to support my writing. The events were virtual drawing parties where we’d gather on Zoom and I’d share a few writing prompts and everyone would draw. At the end we’d share our drawings. It was a ton of fun. Each week I’d pick a different theme and set of prompts. Through the weeks a general theme emerged around using creativity to further understand ourselves and express ourselves. This became a theme I could explore through writing.

from me 😄

For more ideas, check out this Jenna N. Chambers article that inspired the discussion:



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Kawandeep Virdee

Author of “Feeling Great About My Butt.” Previously: Creators @Medium, Product @embedly, Research @NECSI.