Beginning Note: Hi everyone! I’m starting a series called Metric Magic where I will be writing about SEO Optimization, tools and other tips I believe should be known. I will be contributing to this series often as SEO is one of the few things I have a deep-rooted interest for.
If there is anything you want me to research and cover, please reach out to me and I will do my best to make it happen. I want this series to benefit you as much as it can. Thank you.
“All the information in the world has been pretty dispersed, but Google’s mission has been to organize it and make it universally accessible,” Bill Maris.
I’ve written a lot about writing and why I believe my writing has been one of the only things I can come back to consistently.
What started as a small journey ended up in the creation of something I cannot give up and even with the long break from writing I took, I still felt the need to come back.
Having an audience read and comment on what I write is enough to keep me going and having an audience at all has always been a goal of mine.
Different methods of outreach have helped me greatly. Some more than others.
With that being said, these are the five most effective methods of outreach I have used to gain more followers and to grow an audience.
Method 1: Consistency in a goal
Beyond actual initiative to grow an audience, consistency needs to be addressed.
Bringing viewers to something you have done is great. The attention is nice and it makes you want to do more.
But while getting attention to your creation can be somewhat easy when you know how to market your creation, keeping an audience is not.
I might find an article on Medium entertaining and I might clap for it. But until I stumble upon the author’s other work, I might not feel obliged to follow them until I see them once more and say to myself, “Oh, this is the person that writes about XYZ. XYZ is interesting. I will follow them to hear more about it.”
It’s not until they have proved their account is worth following and they didn’t just make it to do a one-off post as part of a platform analytics assignment.
(One assignment I had was to do this and, of course, I don’t expect to gain followers with a brand new account that has one and only one story)
However, looking at an account and seeing that they post frequently or on a schedule is what will make me want to follow them.
While this isn’t necessarily a tool for outreach, it is more important than outreach itself.
Anyone can stumble into something you’ve done online, it’s not hard to anymore. But keeping that person there is what will make outreach worth it in the first place.
No one wants to subscribe to something and never hear from it again. And no one wants to follow an account on any platform that hasn’t given any reason for you to follow it yet.
Start with a goal. Work toward that goal. Then take into account spreading what you have done so far.
When I started writing for Medium, I didn’t try to do any outreach at all. I didn’t see the point. You don’t pay for ad space to sell something you only have one of.
Being consistent is more important than outreach because anyone can stumble into what you have made. Making a base and attracting people to follow makes outreach worth it later on.
Method 2: Keywords
Keywords are the first step in outreach.
Passive outreach, as I would call it, makes what you have done stumbleuponable.
Yea that’s not a real word, but whatever, it makes sense.
Spreading something to others has to be done by taking into account that what you make might just be another tree in the forest.
When you are on a road trip and look out the window at the forest, the trees all might look the same.
The trees you might look at for a few more seconds than the others are the ones close to the road.
And the ones hidden in the back, unless they are leaves of some other color, won’t be noticed.
Do one or the other. Plant your tree right next to the road or change its leaves.
I wrote a story explaining how keywords can be used as a tool and how obvious it becomes once you understand what needs to be done.
The story I wrote, which you can find here, talks about using tools like Google Trends to see that even after you have created something, titling it with the words that are searched for the most make it appear more frequently than others.
Here’s a picture of Google Trends with a snippet of what I talked about in this article as an example for someone who has just written an article about “Fixing Your Workload”.
You can see that even though you might be talking about fixing your workload, that might not be the best word to use when trying to attract people’s attention. Mediation is steadily search for, but is beat by simpler words like stress.
Even though these words might not co-align with each other and can be completely different depending on the context, you can see my point with using Google Trends for finding out what word is the best to us.
I use the online thesaurus a lot. In using it, I come up with other words that I can put in the title. And by doing that, I can put those words into Google Trends and see what word is better than another.
It’s not changing the article, it’s not changing the meaning, but it is changing where it will appear on Google based on what people search for.
Making a title of something too complex won’t get people to search for it.
Keywords are essential and learning about them can even bring ideas when you see what people are searching for and if you have something to contribute to that search.
Method 3: Categorize your work
Some people might think mass spamming links and flooding platforms with outreach is the best way to go about getting viewers.
That is not the case.
Something I’ve done that might have been a stroke of luck or just appearing on Medium at the right time to gain followers was that I came to Medium to write about writing.
I could write about anything I want on Medium, but I was looking for a platform to help me practice my writing and the things I enjoyed writing about was writing itself.
What I didn’t realize, is that a lot of other people on Medium are doing that same thing.
What might be one of Medium’s largest niches is writing. On a writing platform.
While this might be a bit weird, it’s this parallel that helped me to understand, all of my writing could go unnoticed if I posted it somewhere else.
Or in contrast, if I wrote about something else as well.
I like gaming. I like talking about gaming. I even thought I could write about gaming.
Until I looked at Medium’s gaming articles.
Now, no offense to Medium, maybe the platform just hasn’t reached that type of audience, but everyone is on here for productivity, self-analysis and improvement, writing and maybe a bunch of other categories I haven’t looked too much into.
But I did look into gaming, and what I saw wasn’t that appealing for me to want to write about it.
What I do write about, however, does decently well because the niche I am writing for is on this platform and can bring in more viewers just by being consistent and posting.
In a later part of this series, I’ll be talking about who the audiences on Medium are. And for this one example of gaming, on Medium, there isn’t much of one.
By categorizing what I’ve done, I was able to see that when I do write about writing, I’m bringing it directly to those that are looking for it (which might even be you) and the niche here is present.
If your niche is something that is present on a different platform, post it there.
Something you have made might be a holy grail to an audience that isn’t where you are.
Find out where they are and bring it to them.
Method 4: Outreach from your own platforms
I’m cheating a bit here by mentioning this, but I don’t share any of my stories.
I post them on my WordPress and I cross-post them on Medium.
I don’t share them on Twitter. I don’t share them on Facebook. But I have thought about sharing them on Reddit.
The platforms you can use are still important to address though.
There are platforms within platforms that I can share to, I just haven’t, so learn from me withholding this opportunity because I’ve seen it work.
An example of a platform within a platform is right here on Medium.
Publications on Medium are a great way to take something you’ve done (if you’re a writer here on Medium be sure to do this) and give it to a distributor.
When I was in Film School for the short 2 semesters I was until I switched to Journalism, I was taught about when production companies separate from distribution companies.
Those by themselves are two completely separate things that, for something like a movie, do need more help.
Publications on Medium give you the opportunity to not worry as much about distributing your work and allow you to work with those who can do it for you.
I’m a writer for three publications and sometimes one publication doesn’t want a story I’ve written, but another does.
With that in mind, my only outreach is finding a publication that wants what I’ve written and presenting it to them. And I can’t thank them enough for it.
Another form of a platform within a platform is subreddits.
Recently I became a mod of a subreddit with over half a million subscribers.
I help to manage what gets posted and what doesn’t follow the rules or doesn’t fit the subreddit. I’ve seen through those eyes.
If you want to reach out to people on Reddit, you need to find the subreddits that will see what you’ve done similar to a post on the subreddit and worth keeping it up.
Posting a story you’ve written on http://www.reddit.com/r/writing isn’t going to be liked.
That’s a subreddit for talking about writing and will obviously be a form of self-promotion.
But if what you’ve written talks about philosophy and you think can spark some discussion, http://www.reddit.com/r/philosophy might greatly enjoy it.
Understanding the platforms you are using for outreach can turn it into an even more useful tool when you see the parts of a platform that will help you benefit from you sharing it.
Method 5: Engagement with your own audiences
I have this method last on the list as there are always ways to improve and things to research.
Having others help you with outreach is something I am not so knowledgable about just yet, but I understand trying to figure it out is something I need to do.
The whole goal of outreach is to get people to engage in what you have made and to visit your pages or your content and decide to become engaged with what you create.
The examples I have been aware of is engaging in Medium comments.
I have had people start discussions with me by commenting on my posts and asking me further questions. I happily engage. And then, I see they are also interested in what I am interested in and this gets me to check out their stuff.
The collaboration of starting a discussion has helped not just me, but them as well, and I might start discussions on their posts and their readers might see it and visit my posts.
I have also seen my articles hyperlinked on other Medium articles.
Just by being present and having an audience, my audience has helped me to reach out to others and by following everything I have mentioned before, the acceleration of bringing in other viewers goes beyond my own control.
Engagement brings out the opportunity to bring others into your networking team and this is something I am looking forward to doing more of.
Until then, seeing it as a benefit without fully understanding it gives something for you and me to work on.
Sometimes the best methods of outreach might be not something we can do, but what others can do for us.
In conclusion, outreach is easily understood. The meaning behind the word is something we can visualize. Posting to other platforms, sharing to social media and making an effort to show something off.
Although, doing it is a whole other thing that does require practice and research.
Never assume you know everything, but always assume what you have done is worth something and make an effort to share.
Metric Magic is a series documenting different aspects of SEO Optimization, tools and other tips used to help your content reach a bigger audience.
Suggestions on what to cover for the next installment of Metric Magic are greatly appreciated and will benefit content creators like you.