There are an estimated 650,000 people follow Editor’s Picks on Medium.
There are about 130,000 new posts published each week on LinkedIn Pulse.
What do Medium and LinkedIn have in common?
They’re extremely popular publishing platforms.
The idea behind the two platforms is that people that want to write articles or blog posts and want to reach a large audience can do so on these platforms.
The platforms are free to use, easy to use and each has an established audience for writers to tap into each time they publish new content.
The tradeoff with publishing on a platform like Medium and LinkedIn is that you don’t really own the content once it’s published. The platform is the owner at least in terms of getting some of the benefit that they get to build their audience, reputation, etc.
So what should you do?
Is it worth it to publish on a platform instead of your own website?
Let’s explore the benefits and tradeoffs.
The biggest benefit of published on either LinkedIn or Medium is the established audience on each.
That’s the way LinkedIn sells their pitch. Instead of publishing content on your own and searching for an audience you have an audience of 360 million professionals ready and waiting for content.
That’s a big benefit because starting a blog from scratch is not an easy thing to do. You have to setup the hosting, design and a few other things. It can be pretty easy to do those things, but if you haven’t ever done it before it is a small challenge.
And from there you have to work to build the audience. People don’t have a reason to come to your blog. You have to sell your content to the audience you want. It takes time to build organic search. It takes time to build a network on social media.
With LinkedIn and Medium the audience is waiting if you publish content they want.
Medium sells things a little differently. Their concept is that the focus is really on the network. Yes, the platform makes it easy for writers to publish, but the community is very engaged in creating amazing content.
Your audience can interact with your post in ways that go beyond comments. They can make suggestions, add notes and do a few other things to help improve content.
The Potential Tradeoff
The potential tradeoff with publishing on a platform like LinkedIn or Medium is that you’re giving up ownership of the content.
Yes, it can take longer to build an audience on your site, but like most things in life it’s usually better to focus on the long-term benefits.
With your own website you have more control. You can change the design. You’re not at the mercy of the platform and the changes they make.
And it can be great to have a post you publish on Medium get loads of search traffic over time, but it would be better if that traffic was coming to the post on your website. And the more quality posts you publish on your own site the more it raises the reputation of the entire website. That brings traffic to your other posts and pages including your homepage.
The Syndicating Strategy
Something I’m seeing more of on LinkedIn is people republishing their blog posts from their blog on LinkedIn Pulse.
The post is exactly the same on LinkedIn as it is on the original blog, but on LinkedIn there is a sentence at the end that usually goes something like this:
This post was original published on [blog name w/ link]
I’d imagine that people are doing the same thing with Medium. Medium does allow this strategy per their current Terms Of Service.
The idea of syndicating content is not new. Local newspapers often carry national stories that are published in numerous papers.
The same strategy can work online with different blogs and platforms. The idea is to get great content in front of as many people as possible while always giving credit to the original post.
From a search perspective it always seems to be Google’s mission to bring the best content to its users. If you publish content on your own blog and republish it on Medium it doesn’t necessarily mean that Google will show your site above Medium.
Google takes into account a lot of things including site reputation. They know that a site like Medium is very trusted and while your site may be totally trustworthy it might be new and still in need of more proof of trustworthiness to rank higher.
But the benefit of syndicating is that you can build an audience on Medium or LinkedIn and still work on building your own website’s reputation.
The Mixed Strategy
There is also the strategy of publishing some posts on a platform like Medium or LinkedIn as well as publishing on your own blog.
This is kind of treating the platforms like a blog where you would guest post.
When you guest post on a popular blog you’re providing the blog owner with great content in exchange for exposure to the established audience.
Many people will publish regularly on their own blog and help build their reputation by also doing regular guest posting.
An example would be publishing a weekly post on your blog and a weekly post on another blog or on Medium or LinkedIn.
It’s a good option to build your overall profile. Instead of publishing entirely on one or the other say with two posts a week you can publish one post on your own and one on the platform.
As with anything in life there are benefits and tradeoffs with publishing on a platform like Medium or LinkedIn. You can dive fully into publishing on one of those platforms. Many have done it and are seeing great results.
You could also look long-term and publish only on your own blog and website. It will likely take longer to build an audience and you run the risk of never building an audience, but in the end you own the content and control the platform. The rewards can be high.
You could also do a mixed strategy. And that has worked out well for many.
Hopefully the explanation of each strategy above will help with your decision.