04.10.2017 | Beth Mayer
As content marketing becomes an integral part of a company’s overall marketing mix, identifying the right platforms to leverage for publishing and distributing content has become a key priority for many marketers.
Most companies have their own corporate blogs as a channel for lead generation, driving website traffic, customer engagement, and industry and competitive perspective.
But as additional blogging platforms, social media and other content distribution channels begin to gain traction, many companies are wondering if it makes sense to abandon their corporate blog altogether in favor of publishing their content exclusively on platforms such as Medium or LinkedIn.
In terms of process, LinkedIn and Medium are designed with ease-of-use in mind, and posting content to either site is fairly intuitive. Medium has several design customization features built in, and formatting can often make posts look as though they are posted from an independent or corporate blog. As noted on the Kissmetrics’ blog, “No matter how bad a piece of writing is, it’s nearly impossible to make something look ugly on Medium.”
As with any piece of marketing content, it’s important to stop and consider its objectives. For example:
1. Be realistic about the resources available to maintain your corporate blog. Blogs need content to thrive; readers won’t return if content is posted only sporadically. While you don’t need to post daily necessarily, companies that publish more than 16 blog posts per month, received nearly 3.5 times more traffic than those that published 0-4 posts per month, according to Hubspot. Further, those that published more than 16 posts per month received about 4.5 times more leads that those that published less frequently.
If your internal team (or external contributors) can’t keep up with the pace to contribute fresh and compelling content for your blog, it may be worthwhile to consider focusing your efforts on platforms such as Medium or LinkedIn. Alexandra Samuel, an author, speaker and researcher, writes in Harvard Business Review, “Publishing exclusively on LinkedIn or Medium is indeed the right choice for some people, particularly if you are a new or intermittent writer….And unlike an independent blog, there’s no need to commit to a regular posting frequently on LinkedIn.”
2. Evaluate your analytics needs. The blogging platform WordPress, for example, allows users to track statistics such as total posts, visitors and views, likes, comments, popular tags and categories, among other information. It also allows users to visualize trends such as what time of day or week your blog gets the most views.
In contrast, Medium has far less comprehensive analytics capabilities. Users can see how many views, reads or recommendations their posts receive over 30 days, but little else. This can be adequate for individuals posting content such as personal essays and commentary, but might not be robust enough for a corporate marketing team.
3. Understand how your audiences access and engage with content. In a LinkedIn post entitled “There’s a Platform for That: Medium vs. LinkedIn,” Christopher Navalta notes that “LinkedIn users are turning to mobile apps because they’re on the go. They’re likely to read content if it’s quick and easy (around 500 words.” In comparison, Medium has stated that (on average) the “optimal” blog post runs about 1,600 words and takes approximately seven minutes to read.
There aren’t specific rules or perfect formulas for determining the ideal length of a blog post or other marketing content, so do take those numbers above with a grain of salt. The key is to consider factors such as whether your readers will be accessing your content on a PC or a mobile device. Will they be reading a more thoughtful, complex essay-style piece or a quick, easy read while they’re waiting for their morning coffee?
4. Consider how much time you can dedicate to Liking, Sharing or Recommending your content. If you’re depending on a corporate blog alone, you’re going to have to continually work to drive traffic to your site since the content resides on your blog’s site.
LinkedIn and Medium have advantages in terms of distribution. With LinkedIn, your content is distributed to your network of connections and followers, who – since they know you and are familiar with your work – may be more likely to like or share your posts. LinkedIn editors can also assign your posts to a relevant Pulse channel, which can reach a far broader audience with minimal effort on your part. Likewise, Medium recommends posts on its site and readers can easily share content socially, making it easy for posts to spread virally and quickly. “Each blog is searchable, shareable, bookmarkable and acts as a gateway to your profile, which other users can follow…..the concept is simple: Medium blog posts aren’t just standalone articles, they’re social media posts, too,” writes Kaya Ismail for CMSWire.
5. Think of your blog’s existing readers before switching to another platform. Even if your corporate blog has a small audience, be cautious before abandoning your readership in favor of a new platform. Rather, consider extending your audience by cross-posting blog content to LinkedIn and Medium. Likewise, posting on those platforms will also direct readers back to your blog and website and drive them to additional content and resources. Just be mindful about duplicating content, which can impact SEO rankings and traffic numbers.
Ultimately, determining which platform to use for distributing and publishing content should not be an either-or discussion. In order to reach and engage your readers effectively, you’ve got to tailor both your content and your content distribution strategies accordingly.