Not long after I hung up from my podcast call with Carol Lynn and Ralph Rivera, I of course, thought of more things I wanted to talk about. As if an hour wasn’t enough! If you want to hear the whole conversation, on content and sharing knowledge, it’s right here: Web Search Social Podcast. While you’re there, you should subscribe and listen to other episodes because it’s a great marketing podcast, and they have the best intro/outro music, hands down. So there is that. If you’re coming here from there. Welcome!
Back to my stray post-interview thoughts. The three of us discussed publishing your content in other channels across the web outside of your own website or blog such as Medium and Linkedin Pulse to name two specific examples (there are many more). Some argue you should keep your content and your audience on your home base, I’m of the camp you should share the love.
My test post on Medium was very popular. So popular, it was #1 on the Medium Home page recommendations for a couple days. In the first week of going live, it received three times the normal monthly traffic I get on my own site and 500 comments. While I acknowledge the test was an anomaly and purely anecdotal, we discussed the merits and disadvantages of spreading your content on the web.
At one point, Carol Lynn said, clearly it’s working for you because you got 500 comments. And that made me pause. Getting 500 comments, while great, wasn’t my goal. But it could be someone else’s.
So I want to follow up on that comment and provide a slightly more definitive response to, “Should you publish on Medium (or, insert other online channel here)?”
Everything starts with the goal. There is no shame in having an ulterior motive to creating content. We aren’t doing this (most of us) for our health. Do not lose sight of your ulterior motive. My post on Medium would have been a great way to generate awareness about something – a cause or a story.
It certainly didn’t (and I didn’t intend for it to) generate business for my digital communications business. If that were the goal, an article from my blog archives discussing digital strategy on LinkedIn Pulse might have been appropriate along with a call to action to connect on LinkedIn or “subscribe for more of this kind of stuff on my blog.”
The call to action is your next step. If you’re going to write something on a specific topic, and you’ve decided the appropriate channel – keep in mind, it could be a guest blog post for someone with an audience you are trying to reach, or perhaps a Huffington Post contribution – we’re not just talking about Linkedin and Medium. How does the story tie in with the next step you want the reader to take?
When you’re on someone else’s home base, asking for a purchase is going to be a trickier endeavor, unless maybe you have a book that digs deeper into the topic in which case, by all means, offer that up. But asking to hire you for consulting, or buy your product is going to be awkward in most cases.
You’ll want to get them over to you somehow or you lose them forever and the time and effort spent, might not be worth anything tangible in the long run. We like to offer something – like an ebook or a subscription to a useful email list to capture that audience and eventually convert them to a buyer.
But maybe you are simply trying to build awareness around an issue. In this case, you want people to share the story. Or donate, or sign something. So you create a moving story that compels readers to take that next step. Be very specific in telling people how they can help: “Share this with your networks,” and “donate here.” “Sign up to volunteer here and if you can’t, we understand, but we’d love it if you’d help us spread the word by sharing.”
If my post on breaking up with friends had been for a support community to join for those who lost a good friend, I am sure my article would have achieved goals.
The point being, we need to think these things through, tying the story in with the goal and the call to action. Giving of knowledge, and sharing your content outside of your own blog or website is fine, but don’t be shy about having an ulterior motive. Map that out before you do anything – think about the goal, and what you want people to do (call to action) and then figure out the story that will help get you there and place it where you think it makes sense.
Don’t forget to go listen to the podcast! and if you’re new here, I’d love it if you’d subscribe.