Maximizing Blog Post Reach: An 8-Step Plan

My brother John called me the other day asking for advice about getting a blockchain-related blog post out into the world. Since I’ve been blogging for a long time on various platforms, I had some specific thoughts on how he should proceed. Once I took him through my process, he said, “Wow, that’s pretty detailed. You should write a post about this.” I’ve never blogged about…blogging. But I do have some experience at this, so why not share it. Here’s the process I use to maximize a post’s exposure on Medium and LinkedIn. There are lots of blog platforms, but I love Medium’s UI and format. And it’s easy to then take a Medium story and transfer it over to LinkedIn.

While “how to write a good blog post” is an entirely different topic, I would encourage any beginners to write and share ideas that bring value to others. Even if the idea you’re sharing is incredibly niche and will only appeal to three people. Still get it out there. The key is to keep writing, get better at the craft and put your thoughts out into the world. Moreover, I find that having to write out what’s in my head forces me to better understand and organize my thinking on any topic. Even if nobody ever reads the post, I’ve gotten upside just from the writing and organizing process.

So let’s say you write a story on Medium, what’s next?

1. Write a good title. The headline is really important, and it should invite people to read the story. It’s not that you need a full-on clickbait headline (“Use This One Trick to Get Rid of Belly Fat”), but you do need to make your writing sound interesting and worth a look. Here are some titles from recent stories I’ve written that got a lot of traction:

  • Why Bentonville is America’s Next Boom Town
  • The Olympic Broadcast Model is Doomed
  • WeWork is in Trouble, and Here’s Why

2. Formatting: display image. Once you’ve finished the story, and given it an edit and a check for typos, it’s important to set the display image and and subtitle. Medium will use the first image (going top to bottom) in your story as a default when you put a link on another platform. But you may or may not want that image to represent your story. Here’s how to change the default image. Up on the Medium header, click on the three dots. First, select “Change featured image.”

As an example, in my recent story about Bentonville, Arkansas, I selected a display photo (my friend Rahsaan Bahati showing a young rider the proper line in a bike park) that was not the first image (establishing shot of downtown Bentonville) in my story. Medium would have defaulted to the downtown shot had I not changed it.

Here’s the first image in my story, but it felt a little flat, so I chose another as my display image
This is how I selected another image for the display; I wanted something bike-related
And here’s where Medium puts your chosen display image, in this case showing my Twitter post

3. Formatting: display subtitle. Once you’ve chosen the right display image, use the same dropdown menu and click “Change display title / subtitle.” If you don’t rewrite this yourself, Medium will just grab the first 100 or so characters from your post and use that.

Click this on the dropdown menu
Here’s the new copy I typed into the display subtitle section
What Medium would have written by default, had I not changed it
Here’s what the post looks like on Twitter, including my edit of the display subtitle

4. Share the Medium story. Once I hit “Publish” on Medium, I’ll use this link to send the story around as a Twitter DM, in emails or as a text message. I like the Medium format and analytics, so I tend to share the Medium version of the story (not the LinkedIn one) on other platforms. Medium also gives you the option to add up to five tags to go with your story. I generally pick some broad topics (“cycling,” “marketing,” etc.) which may help with SEO. I’ll also share a link to the Medium story to relevant Facebook groups I’m part of. I find there’s more conversation about topics there than on any other platform. But we’re not done yet.

5. Transfer the Medium story to LinkedIn. I then cut-and-paste the text straight from Medium into a LinkedIn article (not a post, which is a shorter message in your feed).

Use this button on your LinkedIn home page to start an article

LinkedIn’s article feature is not nearly as user-friendly for writers as Medium. But it works well enough. Note that when you paste your text into LinkedIn, the hyperlinks will come with it from Medium but the images will not. So you’ll have to go back and add those one by one. In addition, LinkedIn does not have a good image caption feature. So I just add a line of italicized text under photos as a caption:

6. Publish and post the LinkedIn article. Once you publish your LinkedIn article, you need to write a post in your feed with a link to the article. LinkedIn will prompt you to do this automatically, and you’ll be given the opportunity to add hashtags to your post. I question the value of hashtags on LinkedIn posts, but I usually add up a couple. I also may tag some relevant people (using their @ name) in my post in order to increase reach. When someone is tagged, then your post is visible to all of their followers & connections.

The last step before publishing a post on LinkedIn

7. Post to LinkedIn Groups. There’s more you can do on LinkedIn beyond a post in your own feed. I’ve joined a bunch of different groups there, and I’ll add a post to each group that’s relevant. Just go to the “Work” dropdown menu on the top right your home page and select “Groups.”

The article I’ve used as an example is bike-related, so I went to each bicycle group I’m in and posted a link to the article separately there with a short piece of text. This just takes a few minutes and can exponentially increase the spread of your article. LinkedIn’s feed is algorithmic, so the more people who engage with your post (read it, like it, comment on it) the more reach the platform gives you.

Some of the LinkedIn groups I’m in
Here’s what I posted to the Professional Cycling Network group

8. Pay attention to analytics. Once your posts are live, make sure to check the analytics dashboards for both Medium and LinkedIn, as well as Facebook, Twitter and wherever else you’ve posted links to the story. An engaging article on LinkedIn or Facebook can be the start of dozens or even hundreds of comments. It’s important that you join the conversation, reply to questions and thank people for taking the time to read your story.

LinkedIn shows me who liked the article and how many comments there are
The Medium dashboard for the Bentonville post

I hope this helps you share your ideas and writing with the world. You’ll be amazed at how an impactful blog post or story can attract people into your orbit and bring value to others.

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