5 Tips to Boost Your Readership
Conquering the Medium Platform and Beyond
As writers, it is one of our main goals to produce content that actually gets read by people. Although many of us operate under the mindset of, “No, I write for myself. I write to express my thoughts and feelings”, I think it is important that we all be honest with ourselves here- we crave the attention of others. After all, we’ve all been there before, spending hours upon hours crafting a quality blog post or article only to hit publish and… well, nothing.
There are few feelings that are as debilitating as this for writers. Although we write primarily for ourselves (in most cases) there is a lot to be said for the confidence and feeling of human connection that comes with putting our work out into the world only to watch it be devoured by loyal readers. It can be a very lonely place when you submit work that you’re proud of to be read by others only to never receive the response you were looking for. For this reason, we need strategies based around gaining, maintaining, and entertaining our readership.
Luckily for you, that’s what I’m here to talk about today.
Let’s start by acknowledging one very painful truth: creating awesome content that people love to read (and share) takes both time and money to produce. Taking things a bit further, gaining a loyal readership is all about getting your content before the eyes of your target audience. In most blogging niches, you will find yourself competing with hundreds upon hundreds of other hopeful writers all trying to do the very same thing you are: gain readers. This can make it difficult to gain the attention of the right people.
This leads me to two points regarding the best way to gain a loyal following of dedicated readers:
- You have to be really good at generating content that has something special to offer readers
2. You have to be a whiz at promoting your content upon publishing
In addressing each of these factors, it is important that you have formulated strategies that have been proven to boost your readership and drive traffic that you can depend on to your blog, website, or Medium profile.
But what are those strategies?
Fortunately, there are some tried and true techniques that you can use to build your readership. It is important to note that these techniques do demand quite a bit of hard work but, like most anything in life worth having, the results you will experience will be well worth the effort.
#1- Know Your Audience (Content Marketing)
As a content creator, you should be operating under the mindset of helping your audience in one way or another. This is something we call content marketing. If all of the hours that you put into crafting awesome content isn’t with the benefit of your readers in mind, you’re missing a huge point of what it means to be a writer and content creator.
While this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be writing about things you are passionate about (that’s key), it is important that you present these topics to your audience in a way that is largely beneficial to them.
Because that’s what your readers expect.
According to HubSpot (one of my favorite resources on content marketing), there are a slew of benefits associated with crafting content that benefits your target audience. From increasing audience retention (our big goal here) to establishing yourself as an expert in your niche, marketing your content to serve your audience is key. In order to serve your audience’s interests, however, you have to know your audience first. You have to:
- Understand who your readers are
- Know what they want
- Be able to know how to solve their problems
To address each of these questions, I highly recommend using this formula: “My website/blog/Medium profile is for____ who want to_____”.
As an example, let’s say that your chosen niche is freelancing. In this case, you might say that your website is for freelancers who want to experience success in self-employment.
This acts as a building block for the rest of your content and, best of all, you are operating with the needs, wants, and interests of your target audience in mind. The result is engaging content that not only informs your audience but assists them in building their own freelancing careers. This formula can be used with virtually any niche and is a great way to get to know your audience before you ever put pen to paper or your fingers to the keyboard.
#2- Quality is King
I’ll let you in on a little secret: knowing your audience only goes so far if you are generating terrible content. If you really want your content to get before the eyes of your target audience and keep them coming back for more, it has to be special. Your content has to give your readers something that nobody else can. This is the key to keeping your audience engaged, coming back for more, and sharing your content with others to increase visibility.
In order to truly build your readership, you have to put in the necessary time to craft well-written, top-notch content that addresses your audience’s questions and helps them. What I mean here is that, when it comes to content creation, quality is always king. That means quality over quantity. Sure, you could crank out 7 articles for each day of the week but if that content isn’t well-researched, informative, and engaging, it won’t matter that you put out content consistently. Nobody will put time into reading it.
What you really want to aim for here is long-form content. Long-form content refers to articles that are 1,200 words or more. Now, you may be asking why long-form content is the way to go. After all, our society has a notoriously short attention-span, so can we really expect readers to digest that much at once?
The answer is, simply, yes.
Long-form content engages readers for longer (as long as it is well-written and informative).
Let’s take good ol’ Medium as one example. I’m sure that if you’re a writer on this platform, you have stressed a great deal about the optimal word count to engage readers. According to data compiled by Medium, as highlighted in this WordStream post, the most successful blog posts on the platform take around seven minutes to read in total and consist of about 1,600 words. This is very telling of what your readers expect and want from you.
When you generate long-form content that is clearly well-researched and written in order to engage your audience and answer their questions, you will see your total number of reads soar. The more often you produce content that meets this need in your reader, the more quickly you will build a readership that you can rely on to come back time and time again. This brings me to my next point…
#3- Keep it Consistent
Whether you choose to post your content multiple times a week or just once a month, it is key that you remain consistent. How often you post and how well you stay on this schedule is telling to your readers.
Let’s say that you maintain a posting schedule of twice a week. On one particular week, your full-time job demands more of your attention than usual. This causes you to skip your scheduled posts for the week. Skipping one week turns into two. Two weeks turns into a month.
Think about what this says to your audience. Put simply, it gives them the impression that you don’t have time for them. Further, it translates to your readership that you aren’t committed to consistently publishing quality content for them to enjoy. So why would they bother subscribing? In fact, why would they ever return to your website, blog, or Medium profile ever again?
Consistency is a central component of your efforts to boost audience retention. There’s proof of it. Take a case study by famed marketing guru Neil Patel as an example. In this case study, Patel admits that after posting 4–5 blogs a month consistently, he got lazy and failed to post anything for an entire month.
A whopping 21 percent decrease in traffic to his blog for the month.
Even worse, Patel reported that it took him a total of 3 months of consistent blogging for him to recover the traffic that he lost. This proves that if audience retention and engagement is key to building your readership, consistency is required. No matter how busy you may get or how much motivation you’re lacking to publish your scheduled content, keep in mind the dramatic effects that your choice can have on your efforts to build your readership.
#4- Engage With Your Readers
Nobody likes to feel ignored. Your readership is no exception to this rule. If you’re really serious about building your readership and forming a true connection with them, you have to engage with them. After all, if you want to keep your readers coming back for more, it is important that they feel heard, seen, and appreciated by you.
Reading and replying to comments posted by your readers is a surefire way to get to know them, forming a relationship with your audience. Not only will you form a connection with your audience that works to build your community but you might also receive some valuable feedback. Even if you are unable to respond to absolutely every comment (something that should be required practice for content creators with smaller audiences), you should be putting your best foot forward to reply to as many as possible.
Even if you’re just thanking a commenter for reading, replying to comments is the best way to make your audience feel seen, heard, and appreciated. This forms a connection that makes them much more likely to return to your blog, website, or Medium profile to read more of your content. Lastly, always be kind, courteous, and professional in your replies. Put the same amount of thought into your replies as you do when crafting your content. It’ll pay off in leaps and bounds.
#5- Don’t Be Afraid to Promote Yourself
Finally, it is important to keep in mind that your content won’t mean much if you aren’t putting in the necessary time to promote it. If things were only as simple as hitting “submit” or “publish” and forgetting about your content, we’d all have a much easier time gaining a following. Unfortunately, things just aren’t that easy.
As a content creator, you have to also be a marketer. Now, I know that probably sounds scary if you have no experience in marketing. But don’t worry! Promoting your content doesn’t have to be a complicated, technical marketing practice. It’s actually quite simple.
Firstly, it is important that you put some time into sharing your content across multiple social media platforms. I’m talking about Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Instagram.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Don’t be afraid to promote your content. After all, you put some serious hard work into crafting content that benefits and informs your audience. Don’t sell yourself short. If you truly believe in your content’s ability to help your audience, you should be thrilled to promote it and get it in front of the eyes of as many people as possible!
For this reason, I highly recommend sharing your content multiple times. There’s a strong chance that many of your social media followers will miss your post, never see it again, and never even know that it exists. That means that they’re missing the chance to read the content you put so much effort into! Sharing your content multiple times on each social media platform significantly increases your chances of catching the people who didn’t see your content the first time you posted it.
That being said, it is important that you don’t simply just copy and paste the same post when reposting your content. Not only does this create the impression that you’re a bit lazy for followers that have already seen you post your content once, but it also can be a bit irritating to them to have to see the exact same post in their feed once again. Get creative. Mix things up. Reformat your call to action. This will result in greater engagement and, as a result, greater audience retention.
Time to Get to Work!
I hope that each of these tips have been helpful to you. Although each of these strategies involves a lot of hard work, it will pay off in ways you can’t imagine if you fully subscribe to implementing them.
Best of luck in building your readership and creating a community of readers!
As always, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to leave me a response concerning how you implement these strategies into your own readership building efforts. I’d love to hear about your experiences.
Want more tips on the best SEO practices, guides to boosting your freelancing career, and the tools you need to jumpstart your career as a self-employed professional? Check out my website.
My name is Renee Rose and I am an SEO expert and freelance writer. I have a passion for helping clients achieve success in reaching their target audience, driving sales, and boosting online visibility. Stay tuned to my Medium page and website for more useful information. Thanks for reading.