The notion of ownership is at the heart of self-publishing. You should hold on to the rights to your work, own your email lists and put out the bulk of your original content on a platform that you control. As a result, conventional wisdom dictates that most author’s blogs are integrated into their websites. That’s efficient — it’s likely that readers who find your posts will check out the rest of your site and learn more about your projects. The operative part of the previous sentence is “finds your posts”. If no one knows you even exist, why would they be on your website? Discoverability is the steepest hill self-publishers have to climb. Sure, you can add hashtags to your tweets and Instagram posts to help, but being on a platform where your posts get recommended to readers can have a huge multiplier effect. If you’re on a micro marketing budget, you have to find every advantage you can. You should put your content where people are actually looking.
Being in a place where people are actively looking for content increases the possibility of you getting a high-value share and building awareness for your work.
That One Piece of Content
“That One Piece of Content” is the post or tweet or video that widens your audience significantly. That’s hard to accomplish with writing. It’s even harder to accomplish if that writing is in a place that’s tough to find. My most-read Medium post, How I Went From 350 to 10,000 Reads on Wattpad in a Month, languished for some time, then heated up several months ago and has been picking up reads at a steady clip. The more it gets read, the more it gets recommended, and the more people read it. It’s also had the added benefit of getting me some new Wattpad followers (I’ll discuss the concept of cross-pollination across social media accounts in another post.)
In addition, Medium’s stats are incredibly helpful. You can see what sites are the top referrers to each of your stories. Most CMSs don’t go into that level of detail for individual blog posts. It’s always useful to know how readers are finding you, so you can build on what’s working and spend less time on what’s not.
Being in a place where people are actively looking for content increases the possibility of you getting a high-value share and building awareness for your work. The noticeable spike in views in the chart above came from The Digital Reader including my post, “F*ck All the Publishers?”, in its Morning Coffee roundup. That’s the benefit of being on a platform like Medium — multiplication of the multiplier effect.
You can always cross-post to your own blog, and if you gain a wide enough following, you can move everything over to your own platform when the time is right. Ignore all the moaning about how Medium or Facebook or Twitter could “disappear overnight” because it’s overwrought. Plenty of people who were killing it on Vine are doing very well for themselves on Snapchat. The world will continue to change faster than we’d like, and we have to adapt.