How I Got 200k Views on Medium


how I got 200,000 views on medium while
spending just about an hour on each of my articles how my friend grew SEO
traffic of his brand new medium blog to 2 million visits per month in just six
months and why would you even care writing for medium when you have your
own self hosted blog sounds interesting then keep watching this episode hello
ladies and gentlemen my name is Tim Soulo and you’re watching SaaS Marketing Vlog a
place where I’m sharing the behind-the-scenes of how we do marketing
at Ahrefs in the very first episode of this blog I was talking about our
content distribution strategy and they mentioned that we consistently publish
articles at our own blog but I also write for Medium and even though I
mentioned Medium only fleetingly some of you guys left comments saying that you
want to learn more about our Medium strategy and why we bother to write for
medium when we have a self-hosted blog of our own so your wish is my command
this episode of SaaS Marketing Vlog would be entirely dedicated to our Medium
strategy and I will try to answer all the questions you might have about it
and let me start off by addressing the somewhat big claim that I made in the
title of this video and shared the actual statistics of my medium profile
with you the actual purpose of this video series is to be like super
transparent about how we do marketing at Ahrefs so I feel it is necessary that I
actually show you my numbers before I start start talking about how we achieve
that so these are the statistics of my medium account as you can see I wrote
the very first article in 2017 then I wrote a bunch a bunch more in 2019 and
in 2019 I got more serious about it so in total all my articles generated more
than 200,000 views and the read rater was anywhere from like 23% and up to
almost 40% which is pretty good now 200,000 views
in two years and 20 articles might not sound like much like big of a deal but
my goal was to spend as little of my personal time as possible on it which is
why I aimed for about an hour of my time for each of these articles so 200,000
views in exchange for roughly 20 hours of my personal time sounds like a pretty
good deal in all honesty there was also some money
involved too of course but I’m going to share that later in the episode so let’s
start from addressing the common question that my fellow marketers have
whenever we talk about writing content for medium there is why write for medium
in the first place when you have your own self hosted blog why contribute your
awesome content to a website that is owned by someone else well I think
there’s actually a better question to ask this is how are you going to get
readers to your article with Ahrefs blog we fully rely on Google search
traffic to get readers to our articles which means that we only write articles
about the topics that people are searching for in Google so if no one is
searching for something in Google we are not going to write an article about this
on a shared blog as simple as that here’s one example of an article from a
chef’s blog what is SEO search engine optimization explained according to each
chef skills Explorer tool every month there are 30,000 searches in Google for
what is SEO and our article ranks on the first page of Google when people search
for that so that is how people discover our articles they search for something
related to a show and we try to be there with our articles on the front page of
Google search results but what if no one is searching for whatever you want to
write an article about for example let’s say I just want to write a cool story of
how a chef’s is growing annual recurring revenue by plus 6 to 5 percent year over
year for two years year straight with a team of 30 and no venture capital who in
the world would search for this kind of thing in Google right let me double
check that just in case by phrasing my search query like this how to grow SAS
with a team of 30 and no VC and this search query doesn’t even exist in our
database so if I write an article on this topic
and publish it on a través blog I cannot rely on Google to send readers
to that article because like I said no one is searching for that yeah of course
there are other ways to get traffic for example I could email that article to
our email subscribers I could share it with our Twitter followers I could share
it in our Facebook group but there’s one problem with that people who are in our
email list already who already follow us on Twitter and who are in our Facebook
group already know about us so by promoting the Tarte achill to them I’m
not bringing any new people to H X which is my goal as a marketer if I want to
increase our customer acquisition I have to be consistent to reaching new people
other than talking to the same people all the time and that is exactly why I
go to medium whenever I want to write an article about something that people
wouldn’t search for in Google there are three ways how medium is going to send
readers to your article the first one is publications the second one is their
so-called recommendation engine and the third one is when you get featured by
their editorial team now let me explain each of the three in more detail
publications essentially you can look at publications as standalone blogs within
medium people on medium can follow publications that they enjoy reading and
whenever the publication would publish in your article they would be notified
about that in some way or whenever they come to medium home page they will see
like new updates from the publications that they’re falling I’m very likely to
be friends with Alli Meza the owner of the largest mediums publication called
this startup as of the time of recording this video his publication has nearly
600,000 followers and Alli told me that nearly half of them have a checkbox that
allows the publication to send email updates to them so by publishing a
content in some publication you basically tapping into their existing
audience of followers this is where the readers are coming from a lot of people
think that if they launch a brand new medium blog of their own and start
writing articles on it readers would magically appear out of nowhere but this
is not how this works you need to write articles for a
publication that has following if you want to get immediate influx of traffic
immediately it immediate influx of followers to your article the medium
block that you have just launched has zero followers so you are going to get
zero readers when you publish your first article there so the second way to get
readers on medium is thanks to their recommendation engine if you go to the
home page of medium you’ll notice that they’re recommending you some articles
based on your previous interactions with the platform it’s kind of like what
YouTube is doing on their home page whenever you refresh it they would try
to recommend you videos that you are likely to watch actually they’re like
super good at it the other day I was browsing YouTube and thanks to some like
complicated meshing learning algorithm out of the blue they recommend me a
video about elephant toothpaste and it’s actually embarrassing how many of those
elephant toothpaste videos I ended up binge watching and sorry if I just threw
you into that same rabbit hole of elephant toothpaste videos but I think
you get the point anyway back to medium if your article is good medium
recommendation engine will start showing it to people who are likely to read it
I’m not entirely sure how this recommendation engine works on medium
and what kind of signals are being used there but if I were to guess I’d say so
they know how many people reviewed your article right they also know how many of
them have read it and in my opinion used to read ratio sounds like a very solid
indication of the quality of your content they also have this collapse
thing which is kind of like Mike’s here on YouTube it allows readers to tell
mediums algorithms that the article is cool as well as encourage the author of
the article to write more by the way please click that thumbs up like button
below this video because this way you first encourage me to record more of
these videos and be more consistent with the publishing output and at the same
time you will tell YouTube that this is quality content and YouTube will show
that video to more people like you so yeah please do that I will be super
grateful and finally medium also tracks the referral traffic to your article
which means if your article goes viral and gets tons of traffic from different
it could actually be a quality signal for medium so that was my total guess as
to which signals medium might potentially be considering when they are
using recommendation engine to recommend your article to other people who might
be interested to read it now if you’re thinking that you can just go to
Mechanical Turk and you can have like a couple thousand people clap for on your
article and this would work yeah this work like two years ago but not so much
today so forget about gaming medium algorithm it is quite smart as of 2020
which means that your best bet at getting traction on medium is to create
awesome content that people would naturally enjoy and generate those
positive signals for mediums recommendation engine and here goes the
final way of how your article would get readers on medium that is their
editorial team as far as I know not all of their recommendations on media like
when you go to their homepage are created by the algorithms some of them
are handpicked by their editorial team so do you see the top local medium
homepage that says editor Peaks this means those articles were hand-picked by
medium editors other than that there are three types of email newsletters that
medium is sending to its users medium digest recommended reading and the
addition I’m not sure how much of content of these newsletters is being
like auto-generated by algorithms and how much of it is created by human
beings but one thing for sure if you create if you write an awesome article
and it will get on the radar of their editorial team and they will decide to
feature it you can be sure that it will get a lot of readers on medium so other
any cheat codes to getting featured by middle editorial team well I’m afraid I
don’t know any because these are humans that you’re trying to trick not the
algorithms so again your best bet is to create amazing content that the indie
toriel team would enjoy so these were the three ways how medium might send
readers to your article and I guess this explains why I’ve chosen to publish
those 19 articles are without search traffic potential at medium
opposed to publishing them on hf southwestern blog the reason for that is
of course I wanted to tap into mediums audience into the followers of this
started publication and get some visibility for our company brand as well
as for my personal brand but why do I care about medium audience in the first
place well I think the name of the most popular publication on medium which is
this startup tells you something about the audience of people who are regularly
reading medium those are like online entrepreneurs
those are people who want to create things online and I feel they are a
perfect audience they are perfect potential customers for it shapes our
business because we’re a tool for marketers we’re a tool for people who
want to create things online and get customers okay now let’s talk about my
process and how we optimized it how I made it efficient with the least amount
of my personal time invested how do they manage to write those articles in just
about one hour and getting so much traction with them so let’s be real you
cannot hope to produce amazing content unless you put either a lot of your time
there or a lot of money there so in my case since I wasn’t spending a lot of my
time it means that was money investment behind it so tip number one hire an
editor you might have an amazing story to tell but the odds are you’re not very
good at storytelling which is exactly my case apart from the fact of course that
I’m not even a native speaker so we have some problems there as well luckily my
friend Ali who runs that medium publication called the startup he also
he also owns a content marketing agency so he has quite a few professional
editors and monkey stuff so what I did what I needed to do is just write an
outline of the things that I want to say in the article and then I will just
launch my screencast software and I would talk through all those bullet
points which is kind of like people record podcasts they would outline what
they want to say and they would talk over their outline and then I would send
that outline to my editor and within about a week turnaround time I would get
the first draft where I would leave my woman’s request some changes and maybe
ask for any additional research and then after this in a couple more days I would
get a final article that is ready to be published on medium so in total my
personal time investment would be about an hour and all the heavy lifting would
be done by the editor who would polish the article and make it perfect for
medium audience now hiring a professional editor is of course not
cheap but in my case it made a lot of sense because it freed my time to work
on other things they that needed my attention tip number two publish your
articles to a publication within medium I already explained why but I think it
is important to repeat that once again real quick publications have a following
people who will be notified whenever you publish an article there if you create
your own medium blog brand new and publish there there is no following so
no one will be notified so you will know you will not get any readers and tip
number three promote your article to your loyal audience even if it is
published at medium I know it actually might sound like a no-brainer because
why wouldn’t you promote your article to your to your followers but the thing is
your loyal audience can generate that initial traction for your article they
can generate a lot of quality signals for medium they can collect the article
they can leave some meaningful comments now they can tweet it out bringing more
referral traffic to that article and medium algorithms can pick up your
article and promote it more and eventually it might appear on the radar
of their editorial team and get featured on their home page across their
newsletters etc so if you have an audience or even if you have a budget to
promote your article now on Facebook and Twitter do this because for every dollar
you spend promoting given that it’s a quality article and it will resonate
with the audience that you promote it to for every dollar you spend you will get
a little more bang from medium because if it will generate quality signals for
medium it will promote it to their native audience even more so that was my
medium strategy in a nutshell please let me know if you still have any questions
left that they didn’t answer in this episode type them in comments and I will
be happy to reply to you but there was one more problem
that I made in the very beginning of this video that was left unfulfilled
still and that is a story of my friend who grew his brand new medium blog from
nothing to 2 million visits per month from Google in just six months yes here
in Ahrefs whenever we have an article that has search traffic potential that
can rank in Google and bring us traffic from Google we would publish it on our
own blog but the thing is if you have a brand new website if you just started it
the odds are you’re more likely to rank in Google if you publish your content on
medium because medium is a big website it has some authority in the eyes of
Google and all that while your website is brand new so Google would be
reluctant to rank any pages from your brand new website and Google so this is
why you might consider starting things at Medium and then moving them to your
own blog so yeah I’m about to show you a short conversation with my friend where
he explains how he was able to achieve that but please note that I had to
conceal his identity and we didn’t talk about the niche that his blog was
dedicated to that’s because we didn’t want to create any competition for him
as as people will see this video but you can trust my word that his story is 100%
true let’s start with the first question how long how long did it take you to
cross 2 million visits from Google on your medium blog 5 to 6 months I was
checking so I was writing actually on this year March and by August it’s kind
of which it’s big ok and you said you you wrote how many
hundred articles during the time hundred articles it was basically one month like
maybe a half months but pretty much name was one month but it was like crazy
crazy crazy active writing so if you’re thinking like hundred eyes was this
three articles a day but it was like every write who was taking three to four
hours so I was working every day at least nine ten hours actually I think
the article and this was a brand new medium blog so you just kind of start at
the medium blog started writing for it and within five months you reached two
million visits Google normally technically it wasn’t
here yeah but I started working on it yeah yeah okay so uh about your content
strategy we discussed that you only targeted topics with low competition I
know you were using keyword difficulty metric from which revs and it doesn’t it
doesn’t matter what what exactly was the threshold of keyword difficulty that you
targeted but yeah it’s interesting to hear about any other insights of how did
you pick topics did you look at anything else other than the low keyword
difficulty of your topics did you study the search results or something yes so
the first first kind of filter was that keyword difficulty like one is I found
the good sites in my industry and like really big sites and then I just filter
their top like organic keywords by the keyword difficulty right and by the
volume and keyword these cookies so that’s how I found those keywords and
then I did the next level of research you clicked those main keywords one by
one and then you see in the keywords Explorer the top ten results you know
then I was shaking like okay so how good is the content like how many eyes do
this and the next thing obviously how many backlinks and and the domain
Authority as I was looking if there were any like really big sites with really
good content because medium domain Authority is like ninety ninety
something zones I was looking for the content that would rank on the first
page just using medium Sorority without building any okay so you were basically
using the classic steel competitors content ideas by analyzing websites in
your space are filtering for low keyword difficulty and then analyzing if the top
pages have links and leave the domain rating of the top ranking pages is low
lower okay okay this is very cool and you said you didn’t do any link building
so basically your strategy was to find those low competition topics write about
them on medium and it started ranking on its own you didn’t do anything
well I mentioned that I can’t is too like domain to rethink that website so I
kind of just made a table of contents page there so at least there is some
kind of little labels going but but that was about it and I did after I wrote
those articles I did interlink so some time on that as well okay okay now once
outside was pretty good and yeah you definitely optimized those articles for
the keywords so you had keyword in title you had keyword in the article yeah we
won’t even touch upon this and the final one you mentioned that with most of your
articles you actually updated them a couple times so the first the first
version of the article wasn’t very good but then as they started ranking you
updated them and they ranked even better so tell me a little bit about that and
that would be okay actually also wanted to tell about the the reason why I think
the articles rank was that I was really focused on satisfying the searchers in
them meaning that I really spent time on researching the surrounding keywords
under the main keyword so I would address everything that people actually
searched for in the article I think that was a big contributing factor on making
it rank but because it was three hours but I spent writing each article III was
seeing like its receive traffic but like it was making it wasn’t there any making
any money right so that was the next step I at first I wanted to figure out
okay what can I rank for it even if it wasn’t all just money keywords I went
for some just educational topics as well but that was the next stage then I was
like okay how can I work on conversion so that’s why I did the updates on them
and and it kind of worked out as a strategy but it was really just me
trying to now make money with it right but you notice that after updating an
article and year making that article better but still after updating it it
jumped by a few positions in Google yeah yeah yeah after each realized there is
the next jump and this was just funny because the article was there barely
three months old the real ouch and I saw the rankings
really spike and I was really just hallway – okay so the bottom line is
that you can get SEO traffic with medium blog quite easily if you find low
competition topics right about right about those topics on medium do some
interlinking and basically update your articles to be quality and like cover
topic in depth that’s pretty much only all you did no link building involved since all the articles are under mediums
domain then if someone already did article and perfectly optimized that or
or that thing like you’re not gonna rack for it well like you’re gonna be
competing it’s kind of like double contents in the same page right so you
can make sure that no one on medium has covered this this topic already okay
that’s yes yes okay thanks for sharing your experience that was super comfy and
now it’s time for the traditional giveaway that I do at the end of each
episode of sass marketing blog so as usual you can win a 30 minute Skype call
with me where we can talk through your online business any marketing challenges
you might have and basically you can ask me any questions you want and I will try
to be as valuable as possible so if you want to win a Skype call with me please
leave a meaningful comment with your thoughts about this episode and add
hashtag team 30 so that I would know that you’re participating so have you
ever tried writing for medium how did it go
or have you at least considered it please share what you think about
writing for medium in the comments I always read all the comments and
whenever people ask questions I try to reply to be helpful so yeah let’s have
some kind of discussion there and finally let me give shoutouts to the
winners of the giveaways in previous episodes so episode number one it was
evolved as mokos episode number two Nicola Baldy curve episode number three
Alban Brooke episode number four premise love cars chick episode number five Ryan
Pryor and that’s it I’ll see you guys in the
next episode and make sure you subscribe to this channel so that you won’t miss
the next episode bye you

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