How to Decide Which Articles You Should Promote for Maximum Reader Engagement and Earnings
When you write and publish a lot of content, it’s important to know which stories you should spend time promoting to generate maximum reader engagement.
Many of us who write online realize the necessity of producing a lot of content in order to publish as frequently as possible. One of the main reasons for this is that in today’s digital world, there are so many writers that it’s important to remain visible to readers or they will to prevent them from forgetting you or turning their attention to another writer instead.
Establishing a presence is crucial to building an audience who engage with your work. But doing so isn’t enough to create a following. You have to get noticed by readers. In order to do this, you have to promote your work. Yet with so much content, it can be difficult to determine if you should promote all your work continuously over time or if there is a more effective method of engaging readers and increasing income.
Choosing Which Articles to Post
When you have a large body of work that you hope will attract a readership and generate earnings, It becomes impossible to promote all of your articles daily. This would soon become overwhelming, leading little time to actually write new content. Yet, it can be a struggle to determine which articles you should focus on promoting.
When I first began marketing my work, I used what seemed to be logical strategies to select which articles to promote. Some of these strategies worked and some didn’t and over time I created a method that I use to choose which stories I’ll market.
Promote Your Newest Stories
In keeping with Medium’s policy of focusing more on new stories rather than older content, I always make a point of promoting my latest stories first. I generally keep actively marketing new stories daily for four to five days on average. Since they haven’t had the chance to be read by as large a number of people as articles that were published a while ago, they have the best chance of resulting in new readers and greater earnings.
Additionally, while it’s not impossible for older stories to get curated with a sudden increase in views or if a curator happens upon a story they hadn’t previously read they like, new stories are more likely to be curated. Although this depends in part on whether a curator genuinely likes a new post and thinks it’s well written, I’ve found that my articles with a larger number of readers over the first day or two are far more likely to be curated than those with less engagement.
Promote Your Most Popular Stories
Originally, I made the decision to promote stories that had the lowest engagement. This was for two reasons. First, for some reason I assumed that all my pieces were created equal, so if I posted the ones that had the lowest engagement, it would bring them up to the same level as the others.
I also thought that since Medium was a limited audience, albeit a large one, that the members who would be interested in certain stories would be static. So the more people that had already read one of my stories, the less there would be that hadn’t.
Obviously, these two things aren’t accurate and once I thought more about them, I realized where I had gone wrong. First, not all stories are equal in terms of what will interest readers. Some topics are more interesting to a greater number of people than others.
Then there are things like voice, point of view, use of humor, whether the story elicits emotion and how personal a story is that contribute to this. We all have stories that are more interesting and less interesting to readers.
Then there was the matter of how many Medium members there are to read. Obviously, new people sign up every day and some members that may have been previously active drop out. This means that there are always new potential readers for all of our work including older work they haven’t read yet.
I changed my strategy and instead of marketing those stories with the least amount of engagement to get them to the level of my more popular ones, I reposted ones that were the most popular. If readers had found the story engaging before, then perhaps new readers would as well.
I’ve found this strategy to work better at increasing my audience and earnings. Although it’s not reinforcing to see the stats on those stories that haven’t generated much engagement, sometimes we just have to forget about those stories and move onto something else that might be more appealing to our readers.
Promote Your Older Articles
When I first began to write on this platform, I read that Medium focused on new material. I took this to mean that they weren’t interested as much in helping older material to grow, which is somewhat accurate.
But I assumed this meant that we were discouraged from marketing older material and that it wouldn’t be rewarded at the same rate that newer material was for the same amount of reader engagement. This part isn’t so accurate.
When I started trying to market my work and understood the value of there always being new eyes to read my less recent stories, in keeping with what I thought Medium wanted I only went back to stories that I had written the previous month. But then I realized that the longer it had been since a story had been published the greater the number of new members would have joined and the greater the possibility of attracting new readers.
There are also other benefits to posting older work if done conscientiously. In the beginning, I sometimes wrote about things that were timely. For example, I wrote an article about a past Trump policy. While it still might be of some interest and gain organic views, I’m not necessarily going to promote it.
Thinking about which posts to promote has helped me better learn how to write evergeen content. It has also helped me strengthen older articles through revisions. When posting older material, I always make a point of reading through it first. This always leads to revisions. Sometimes this just amounts to correcting typos, but other times it means that I revise the content. This process constantly improves my articles. I am less likely to revise older articles that I don’t focus on promoting.
Promote Your Strongest Work
Sometimes we can forget that every time we put our stories out there we are influencing the image others have for us as writers. We all have those days when we write things that aren’t our best work but which we think is good enough to put out there. Yet engaging writers and establishing a readership isn’t a matter of just remaining visible. We also have to write things that readers want to read and enjoy engaging with.
So the best way to succeed at this goal, is to promote your best work, not just any work. Popularity can help you determine this, but you know what your strongest work is. At times we may just want to increase our audience and think promoting the greatest variety of different stories possible is the way to do this. So we promote stories that are cleanly written but don’t say much, which say nothing new or which don’t quite make the point we were hoping to make. It’s better to focus on marketing the work that is your best even if that means a lower number of articles which you promote repeatedly.
Don’t Forget Your Seasonal Content
When we want to publish frequently, it is common to sometimes have trouble coming up with new topics to write about. This leads most of us to use obvious ideas that come from specific times of the year or holidays to generate new content. If you’re stuck for a topic in Late December, New Year’s is an easy topic while if it’s February, Valentine’s Day is an obvious option. The year’s first snow and summer activities are also common themes writers often use as the subject for articles.
Once the season or holiday is past though, we stop promoting these articles. I wouldn’t promote an article or poem about how wonderful the advent of Spring and warm temperatures are if there are months of winter left. By the time that time of year or day comes around again, I have often forgotten about the article because of all I’ve written in the meantime.
However, often, these articles will be popular because they specifically talk to something many people share, such as a season or celebrating a certain holiday. This means that they will appeal to a lot of different individuals. Plus, as previously mentioned, there will likely be a lot of new readers who didn’t read the article the first time you promoted it, providing a fertile ground for new readers.
The way in which you promote your poetry will depend on your goals. If you are specifically seeking to grow your audience for your poetry you can follow the advice above. If your goal is to improve your overall engagement for a collection of pieces consisting mostly of nonfiction and increase your earnings, spending a lot of time trying to promote your poetry may not be the best strategy.
This is because, overall, poetry doesn’t have as wide a readership as nonfiction articles which address a common question or help teach readers a desirable skill. Also on Medium, since earnings are now determined by the amount of reading time, since poems are usually shorter, even with a large number of readers you will not earn much from them.
When you produce a lot of content and publish it frequently, it can be hard to decide which pieces you should focus on promoting. But with a well thought out and tested method of choosing stories to market you can increase your readership and earnings in the most efficient manner possible.
Natalie C. Frank, has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and is the Managing Editor for Serials and Novellas at LVP Press. She writes about psychological issues found within everyday life. Her collection of poetry, Disguised I Breathe, In Love I Hold, can be found on Amazon.
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