Where’s the best place to publish a blog these days?
Photo credit: Richard Donelan www.RichardDonelan.com
When I first embarked on this New Year’s writing project I wasn't at all sure where I should be posting my stories. I’d seen some decent traction on Medium in the past and was aware that LinkedIn was also supposed to be a good platform to publish on. I was also aware that Tumblr is popular in some parts and Facebook now have a “notes” feature for those of us with a Facebook page.
Before I knew it I was publishing to five different locations every night: My own website, Medium, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Facebook. I’ve also been keeping a local backup on my computer (just in case the internet collapses). It’s funny but a buddy recently got in touch to ask me “how sustainable” writing a post every day could be… It turns out that the writing itself became a lot easier than the actual publishing which started to become a bit of a time sync.
The worst part of all of this publishing was when I’d notice a spelling mistake and then I’d have to go and fix that across so many platforms! Another question (in a Facebook group for journalists) got me thinking — where actually is the best place to publish and what would justify that or those destinations?
Considering this carefully my answer is that you should either publish where your audience already hang out or else where you want them to hang out. Publishing in the later location takes even more effort but maybe worth it in the long run. Let me explain: In my case what I really want to do is build up a readership, or audience, of my personal website for the simple reason that this is much less likely to be at risk of being affected by some external shock.
For example, you could spend months building up an audience on ‘X’ platform only to find that those guys suddenly decide to change their publishing rules or even turn of that feature completely. Where would that leave you guys then? Ok, so maybe this would be a fairly extreme scenario but how many people remember Bebo or MySpace (at least in their original formats)?
Back to the question of where your audience hang out — you’ll have to largely figure this out for yourselves through a mix of trial and error. I’ve really loved using Medium from the very first time I used the platform and it strikes me that, not only does it already have a really strong community, this community is also already a very positive and extremely engaged group. This means that there are always really interesting things to read and one feels like one can trust the platform itself.
A great example of that trust was when they recently tried to put up a pay wall. The Medium community almost immediately reacted loudly, and negatively, voicing a strong concern about the proposed direction that the company was planning on pursuing. What amazed me was how quickly and how positively the company reacted to this audience revolt.
Instead of making a fuss, the company apologised almost immediately and proceeded to focus their attentions on figuring out an alternative business strategy that ultimately resulted in the online publishing world’s first voluntary paywall. They found a compromise position that could help their business to survive but in a way that didn’t come about at the expense of their community Very well played Medium, very well played indeed!
After 36 days of daily blogging, it’s now time for me to also find a compromise position. After looking at the data, I’ve decided that I will no longer continue to publish to Tumblr, LinedIn or Facebook. However, I’ll be continuing to post to Medium because, as already alluded to above, I believe in it as a platform and know that there are a lot of cool people that hang out here.
Of course, and most importantly, I will continue to publish to my website on a daily basis. I’ll largely be promoting these posts via LinkedIn and Facebook. From time to time I’ll also promote some posts via Instagram and Twitter when I feel a particular post will be relevant to my audiences on those respective platforms. If you’ve been tuning in to read my stories here on Medium then please continue to do so (and/or) you can also visit my website www.RichardDonelan.com if you prefer!
Speaking specifically to both the ‘sustainability’ and the ‘where should I publish ‘ questions — start publishing to a couple of places and after a few weeks of consistent effort you’ll be much better placed to figure out where your energies will be best placed! Personally, as already alluded to above, the only thing I’ve found draining about this daily sharing of stories has been the actual physical publishing rather than the writing. I’m delighted that I can now put that energy drain behind me…
A massive shout out, and an even bigger thanks, to those of you that regularly get in touch — your support and encouragement means a huge amount to me! For everybody else, thank you also for tuning in regularly to read my stories. I hope that I will continue to bring you value and, as always, please do feel welcome to get in touch any time if there’s ever anything that you feel I can help you out with. I’m especially interested to hear from you if you have a video, photography or online publishing / technology related question that you need help with!!