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Is Medium a Useful Publishing Platform for Me?



Is Medium a Useful Publishing Platform for Me?Recently I joined Medium. Medium is a social blogging site that gets its name because it has no problem with people posting content that is only medium length. Evan Williams and Biz Stone co-founded Twitter, and later founded Medium in 2012 as a place for posts longer than those  allowed on Twitter, but not as long as most blog posts.

The site promotes itself as a publishing platform where opinions and stories count more than how many views you get. You can publish content you are passionate about and encourage people to comment on it. Controversy might even invite more interaction.  Posting your words and images is very simple. So what’s not to love? There is no direct monetary reward for your posts.

So why do people publish on Medium? To be read and to interact and, perhaps, to demonstrate their authority on certain subjects so that people may be interested in reading work they publish elsewhere.

Medium has some features other sites do not have. An example is that you can highlight favorite lines of a post to share with others. Your profile page also looks different those on most other sites, which tend to list your own work exclusively. Here’s what my Medium profile looks like. I chose one of my posts (one that used to be on Bubblews long ago) to feature at the top. Other posts are listed in the order in which I posted them on Medium. You will also see that comments I have made on the posts of others are there, as well as posts I have “liked.” Each comment you make on the post of another can becomes a new post for you that you can edit and write more about later. Each post on Medium tells readers at the top how long it should take to read.

Another feature of Medium is that you can import posts from other sites. I  love this feature. It’s especially handy if you know a site you are posting to is about to close. I imported In Quest of the Blooming Almond Trees from Persona Paper. It is still also remains there. I tried several times to delete it and even emailed the site owners asking them to  delete it when it would not delete for me as other posts did. So far it’s still there. Medium doesn’t consider it duplicate content. If Persona Paper does, they might be finally motivated to delete it, since the site is closing anyway. Many people import some of their blogs posts to Medium, but there is still some disagreement about whether Google will penalize it as duplicate content on the site it came from. I’m not willing to risk it.

So why do businesses, bloggers, and freelance writers use Medium when they get no direct income from it? They hope to gain influence and exposure. Some Medium writers have been offered freelance work because someone saw one of their posts on Medium. There are over 725,000 members on Medium who may see your article, and site traffic is in the millions. You may get some new readers or even have a post go viral if some influential Medium members start sharing it. You can link to your blog or website in your post. That will help you try to lure visitors there. You may make connections with others you would not meet on other sites, although it’s also easy to import any Facebook and Twitter friends there as an audience. Medium had approximately 35 million visitors in November, 2015, and that is a lot more eyes than come to most of the other places where I post work.

Have any of my Medium posts picked up significant traffic yet? No. I’m still nosing around, finding a lot of good reading there, and commenting, and hoping to make connections.  I believe if I keep posting I will eventually find what works. I try to post well-written articles there that originally appeared from sites that have closed or are about to close. I’m importing many of my Persona Paper articles in as drafts if I have no plans to use them somewhere else. When I’m ready, or when Persona Paper finally goes offline, I will have those posts saved and ready to go.

One thing that is important if you post on Medium is that you post well-written, grammatically correct articles. People have no incentive to read or share your work if it doesn’t grab their attention or if it’s full of  errors. It may take awhile to discover what people consider interesting enough to share — or even read.

Medium is where you want to post some of your best work as a sort of advertisement of what you are capable of doing. It’s a place to offer people samples of your writing. It is a fishing hole where your posts can act as bait to get people to your own blogs. I would not recommend it as your only place to post your work, since you can’t monetize your posts. Since you don’t own the site, you also run the risk of having it disappear at some time as so many other sites have done recently. It’s always better to own your own real estate on the internet if you don’t want your work to disappear someday without notice.

I hope I’ve given you enough information to  decide whether Medium would be a useful publishing platform for you. As I learn more from my own experience, I will share it by updating this post. Stay tuned.



Bloggers Need Other Bloggers

Bloggers Need Bloggers
Share What Friends Write

One thing I’ve been learning as I’ve been blogging is that bloggers need each other. Rather than thinking of ourselves as competitors, we should be looking out for each other’s interests — not just our own. As many of us have learned, we can’t depend upon Google to send us traffic. It changes too often, and there’s always others competing for placement on our keywords who may have more money than we do to promote their listings. This is why we need to help promote each other in social media and with backlinks. Bloggers need other bloggers to help them succeed.

One of the best bloggers I know, Janice Wald, is also one of the most generous. You can find Janice at Mostly Blogging. You will learn something you don’t know from her, I guarantee it. She also hosts meet and greet blogs that allow you to get some exposure to her vast audience.

I have been seeing visits to my main blog increase since I’ve  been working with others to help them get more social exposure. As I read their blogs, I learn more about what works and what doesn’t and how I can apply it to my own blog. There are many Facebook groups where bloggers can help promote each other’s pins, Google+ posts, and maybe more social sites.  Janice Wald has some sharing set up for Stumble Upon, a site I haven’t used as much as I should. Check her blog I linked to above for more information. I have also found Triberr very helpful in extending my Twitter reach.

As I read the posts of others, even if I can’t think of a comment to make or don’t have time, it’s not much effort to give a blogger a G+ or a pin on a post, and it will do  them worlds of good in being more visible online. We all want to be successful. But we should also be thinking in terms of what we can easily do to help make our blogging buddies successful. If you read a good post, share it on one or two social media channels.It only takes a minute, and it’s a precious gift.  Be sure to also install sharing buttons on your blog to make it easy for others to share your posts. Every now and then look up your friends on Google + or Pinterest and give their pins and posts some love by commenting, liking, and / or giving a +1 or repinning. Let’s help each other become more successful.

How to Promote Your Blog on Triberr

Why Join Triberr?

Giraffes: Join a Triberr Tribe
Join a Tribe at Triberr.

For years now I’ve seen references to Triberr as a blog promotion tool, and three days ago I decided to join. It does two things for me right now. First, I have more people  who promote my blog on Twitter, and I have more blog readers and views. Second, my Twitter followers have increased. This is all done without buying followers or joining some sort of exchange

Triberr can help you get your blog promoted on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I have chosen to only promote mine on Twitter, since I don’t consider my blogs appropriate for sharing on my Facebook pages. It would duplicate what I already post on my Facebook business page. As you join tribes on Triberr, other tribe members see the feed for your blog and there are tools that make it easy for them to share it on social media. This results in more people visiting your blog and more people promoting it on Twitter.

How Do I Get Started on Triberr?

When I first joined the site I was quite lost. I had to understand how to find my way around. Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Sign up for a Triberr account. You can use a Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn account to log in, but be sure you use the one it’s easiest to use. Example: I connected a Twitter account that I don’t usually have in Chrome one one computer, so I opened my account using that Twitter address on a different computer where I will also use Triberr in the same browser. If you only have one Twitter or Facebook acccount, it doesn’t matter. I haven’t connected my other social networks because I only want to share my connected blogs on Twitter.
  2. Get information on how Triberr works. Once your account is active, some pop-ups will appear to help you find your way around. I suggest you read them. Read documentation in the support center to learn about streams and tribes. Learn how to join a tribe here. Learn about what you see under your stream tab at the top of your pages here.
  3. Join a tribe. This is tricky. If you click your Tribes tab at the top of your page, you can scroll down to the section that says Explore Tribes. To the right of the suggestions you see, there is a heading Finding an Awesome Tribe and there is a drop down menu where you can choose categories to explore so you can find some close to your interests. Don’t be hasty in choosing a tribe. Explore several, including their members and their streams. I will write more about joining tribes in a future post. You want to choose a tribe with a subject related to the blog you want to connect to your account. With a free account, you can only connect two blogs. They should be the best blogs and the ones you post to all the time.
  4. Connect your blogs  in the blog settings. To do this you go to your account dropdown menu at the top of the page and select settings. It will look like this. You decide which blog you  want to attach to each  tribe. Decide carefully, since you  can only  change that blog assignment once every thirty days. Click the Add Blog button. Your will want to get the Triberr plugin for your WordPress blog. There is no plugin for Blogger blogs. Once you install your plugin on your blog, you will come back to this settings page and click Show Blog Token to get the number to put in your settings on your Triberr blog plugin.  It sounds more complicated than it really is. Triberr Blog Setting Screen Shot
  5. Assign one blog to each  tribe. To do that, click the Assign Tribes button and follow the instructions.
  6. Start interacting and sharing posts of others in your tribes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Started in Your Tribe

After you have set up your blog, it is ready to feed into the stream of your tribe. But it won’t do that until your chief makes you a full member. Everyone begins as a follower.

Before you join a tribe, click the Members tab. See how many people have been promoted to members. The more that have been promoted, the more likely it is that the chief is active and approving people quickly. You can also see under the Conversations tab how quickly the Chief answers questions. I was approved within two days for full membership in five tribes. I’m awaiting approval in some others. At the end of each profile page you can see what tribes the member belongs to in case you want to check out some of those tribes. You will see my current tribes at the very end of my profile after all my blog posts.

If you demonstrate that you plan to be active by sharing the work of others, the chief may promote you to member status. Then your work will start feeding into the stream for other members of your tribe to see. You can speed up this process by making sure your profile looks good. Change the default cover profile cover photo and upload an avatar. Here’s my profile. Then comment in your tribe under the Conversations tab. Explain a bit what your blog is about, your interests, and anything else that might convince the chief you’d be an actively sharing member. What you write should be tailor-made for the tribe you joined. Pasting the same comment in a bunch of tribe pages won’t cut it. Each comment should be unique to that tribe. Here’s an example of what I wrote for my favorite tribe, A Thing of Beauty.

I write daily about photos I take around my local area on the Central Coast of California. My special interests are the vineyards, the river, native plants and trees, gardens, and local art. I look for anything beautiful or unusual. I’d love to be a full member here.

The chief there is very active and helpful. She will also explain why if she doesn’t promote you to member.

I hope I’ve given you an idea of what you need to do to get started at Triberr.  If you have questions, feel free to put them in the comments. If you are a member of Triberr, feel  free to link  to your Triberr profile in the comments. If you aren’t a member and you believe your blog is worthy of a wider audience and just needs to be discovered, join Triberr and see if it does for you what it’s doing for me. If you join a tribe and it isn’t a good fit for you, it’s easy to leave it by clicking leave next to your name on the member list.

Now go have fun  exploring Triberr.

Using Twitter to Bring traffic to Your Blogs

Let's be social on Twitter
Let’s be social on Twitter

Everyone would like to get more traffic to their blogs. Most of us use social media to do that. It is wonderful that our sites have sharing buttons on them, but they won’t bring in much  traffic if we don’t use them wisely. Today I will focus on using Twitter wisely. What I say may not follow what you’ve  heard before.

Most of the people I follow seem to use Twitter like a huge bulletin board on which they post links for the world to see. Do you also use it that way? Do you post your links and then go  back to whatever else you were  doing? Or do you stop for a few minutes to repost what someone else has posted, follow a link, and maybe comment on a blog they posted? Do you retweet posts you like? Do you ever respond to a tweet by answering a question someone has asked or asking them a question about what they posted?

 

Doing those things is interacting. Doing those things makes you stand out among the hundreds or thousands of followers who never given any indication they have noticed the tweets those they follow post.  What good does it do to have 5,000 followers if none of them read or respond to your tweets? It would be better to have 50 who did.

Tweet Cloud
In public domain courtesy of https://pixabay.com/en/cloud-blog-tweet-like-share-parts-709148/

Let’s say you wanted to retweet someone else’s tweet. How would you pick which tweets to retweet? Well, you might want to retweet a funny one. Or one with a beautiful photo attached that would make your feed more attractive. Maybe you would look for a clever quote. Or maybe you would look at the feed of new followers or people who have retweeted you and try to find something of theirs to retweet so they know you are listening and won’t stop following you. I have a couple of people mention me occasionally as one of their  top interactors. That kind of motivated me to keep retweeting them. Sometimes they retweet me, too, to return the favor.

How can you get people to interact with your tweets or retweet them? Interact with them first. If you find some live ones, keep interacting with them so that some back and forth develops between you.  This will build positive energy between you.  You will become people to each other — not just Tweeple.

But all the positive energy in the world won’t get you retweeted if you haven’t posted anything but bare links to blogs or links to products you are selling. Something in your tweets has to get someone’s interest enough to make them click on your link or retweet a photo or quote or remark. Posting automated links won’t always do it. I remember back in my Squidoo days when there was a share link that would tweet something like “I just updated this Squidoo lens (link).” It didn’t even have the title of the lens or topic. I don’t think many of those links got clicked on. We don’t have to post  links the way they are automated. Here’s what pops up when I want to share a BlogJob post to Twitter. Here’s what I do.

Twitter Interface in BlogJob

As you see,  I have lots of choices. I can click “tweet” and my post will go up as is right away. I can also choose the Hootlet or Buffer button if I want to schedule my posts for later. (I have free memberships to  both apps.) I can also change the wording of what’s posted to make it catchier or more enticing. I can add hashtags to make my tweet more searchable. Here’s what I did before taking the next screenshot.

Revised Screenshot of Twitter Interface

As you can see, I changed everything but the link itself to try to engage my followers. I also added a very important hashtag that I can only use when I post on Monday. I only use it on my best blogs. #Mondayblogs is a special hashtag invented by author Rachel Thompson for bloggers to share their blogs on Monday and retweet other blogs with the hashtag on that same Monday. Read the Mondayblogs hashtag rules here. Again, only use this tag on posts you are very proud of. Most of the people following and retweeting links are writers, many of them published in print, and if your blog is not well-written, they will remember and not follow your links again. Retweets from using the tag can help you, since many of those who use and retweet it have more followers than you might have. The other side of this coin is that you should follow the links that look interesting and retweet them. It’s a two-way street where bloggers help each other.

That’s what we ought to  do here, too. I have one of my three Twitter account feeds in my sidebar on most of my blogs here. It’s in the bottom of the right sidebar on this blog if you want to see my  current feed and follow me. I try to practice what I preach. You will notice that only a few of the links are to my work. I also tweet out all the links to articles that are posted on a site I contribute to once a week, many BlogJob blogs I’ve enjoyed, and many links I’ve found on my Facebook Bloggers groups. I try to promote any good work  I see that my online friends do. I have no idea if they return the favor, but it doesn’t matter. It’s not all about me.

I think carefully about what those in my Twitter accounts will enjoy seeing or reading and I post it. I don’t always post everything to each group because they have different audiences. My religious and political views are expressed more on my @Gale427 account. My @barbsloco account focuses most on what’s going on in California and my local  community and I follow mostly people from California there or those interested in my community and the wine country around it. My @barbsbooks account is my original account that was connected to my book business and contains more posts about books and education than the others. Handy hints and recipes, etc., might be of interest to those in all accounts, but not everything else is. I try to aim my tweets at my specific audience.

How do you use Twitter? Do you have any hints to add to these?

All About Groups on BlogJob

Groups Are a Great Way to Get to Know Other Members So You Can Help Each Other

BlogJob Group Members Help Each Other
BlogJob Group Members Help Each Other

If you recently joined BlogJob, you’ve probably been invited to join one or more groups. Maybe you have even started your own group. Groups are a wonderful way for those of us using BlogJob to get together and talk about a common interest. To help make the site function well for everyone, I have some suggestions for both those starting groups and using groups.

Should You Start a Group?

Before you start a group, click on the forums button at the top of whatever page you are on. This is especially important if you just have a question to ask. The place to ask it is in one of those forums. If you don’t see your question in one of them, start a new topic in the appropriate forum. Don’t rush to start a new group to ask a question like ‘How do I change the default tagline in my blog.” Those kinds of questions can be asked in the Website Design forum. There is also a Support Forum for questions about how the site works, payment, etc. Ask simple questions in the forums.

If you start a group just to ask a question, once it’s answered, there’s nothing left to discuss in your group and it will be dead. Groups are all about discussing subjects many people are interested in. If you start a group just to ask one question, many people will think you are just trying to get points. Your group will also die soon because there will be nothing to talk about anymore.

If you would like to get many members with a common interest together to discuss many aspects of that interest, it’s appropriate to start a group. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found a good way to search for the existence of groups already formed here. I’d love to have a list of all public groups available so that all people with the same interest could join one large group that is more active. If you suspect a number of your friends share your interest, it might pay to start the group and invite them.

How to Manage a Group You Created

Starting a group and inviting people to join is just a beginning. The directions on how to set up your group are under the rewards tab. Some group leaders think that after they set a group up, their responsibilities are over. That’s simply not true if you want your group to thrive.

A group needs an active leader to keep the group healthy. One way to do this is to take leadership. Open the group forum. Start a few question topics. Use the group home page to link to new forum topics so that people will participate. Check your group for new activity at least every two days to respond to new questions and comments. Allow members to invite others to become members. The more people you have in a group the better the discussions will be.

How to Use Groups

Use BlogJob Groups wisely.
Use BlogJob Groups wisely.

Groups are a great way to get to know other BlogJob members with similar interests. Don’t join groups just to get points. Join groups with topics you are really interested in and then check them often and interact. See if there is a new topic in the forum. Maybe you could even start one and then announce it on the home page so other members will notice. Your group creator may not know how to use the forum yet. Help out. The more you are able to interact in the forum and encourage others to do so, the more points everyone will earn.

I would recommend that you only join groups with creators who have demonstrated they are active in participating in the discussions on people’s walls and in some of the established forums. Join just a few groups at first. After all, ten is plenty to help you make friends and get participation points if the groups are active.

I belong to 67 groups now and many of them were mistakes to join. I’d leave them, but I lose points if I do. If you reject an invitation for an iffy group, you will probably get another invitation later. You don’t have to decide immediately to accept or reject. Take some time to think it over. You won’t be sorry. I think 25 groups is a good number to ensure you always have an interesting topic to talk about.

Whether you create groups or join the groups of others, take an active part and have a good time. You will be helping each other meet your goals here while you learn from  each other.

 

Making Friends and Getting Followers At BlogJob and Other Writing Sites

Making Friends When You Are A Newbie on BlogJob

How to Make Friends in Online Writing Communities
How to Make Friends in Online Writing Communities

Everyone wants to make friends on a new site. That’s the first thing many people think about when they join. Just as in real life, online friends are the relationships that help you succeed in your writing life and on any given site. It would seem, then, that making as many friends as possible as soon as possible is good stategy. You should plan that strategy carefully.

There are many styles of making friends and accepting friend requests. Some people join a site and start sending friend requests to every name they see before they do anything else. I don’t think that’s a good idea. Many people are like me and only accept friend requests when they think  they will want to interact with that potential friend and read his writing. The only way to judge that is to have something to read. When I go to a potential friend’s wall, I want to see more than a row of “X and Y are now friends.” I want to see some activity in groups besides just starting or joining them. I want to see if you have set up a blogging site yet and posted to it so I can sample one of your posts. I want to see if your blogs will be on any subjects I’m interested in.

My Strategy for Making Online Friends in Writing Communities

Face on WallHere’s a stategy I recommend to newbies on any social site where one wants to become connected to others.

  • Send friend requests only to people who already know you from another site until you’ve posted something to read that tells people more about you.
  • Be sure you post your photo before trying to make friends. Otherwise it seems you aren’t serious about being active.
  • Post an update on your wall to introduce yourself. In it you might want to list the sites where you have been and your user names there so that old friends from other sites will recognize you. Mention the interests you will be likely to write about. You might want to mention whether you are young or old and your marital status or information about your family or job. Maybe you could mention a bit about where you live — urban or rural area, big city or small town. This gives potential friends an idea of what they may have in common with you.
  • Join a few existing groups and be active.
  • Send friend requests to people you see posting and commenting in groups and forums if you feel a connection with them. If in doubt, check their walls to see what’s there.  Respond to what they’ve posted on their walls. That gets you noticed in a positive way. Read a blog post they’ve written and comment. That will really get you noticed in a positive way, as long as your comment is thoughtful and not spammy.
  • Check the walls of people who send you friend requests before accepting if you haven’t noticed them being active. See the last dates of their activity. If it’s more than a week ago and they don’t have blogs, they may not be planning to hang around. People often have good reasons for an extended absence of a week or more when they are normally active, but if a person joins, makes a few friends and joins a few groups and doesn’t post much in those groups, chances are that person will drops out soon and the relationship won’t help either of you in the long run.

Maintaining Online Friendships

Share What Friends Write
Share What Friends Write

Once you have started making friends, pay attention to them. Try to visit the walls of at least three active friends a day and read their blog posts and updates. If they are good for a general audience you connect with on social media, share their work. You can see which friends have the most recent activity by looking under the ad under the points history on your wall, profile and invitation pages. Try to visit one or more of your groups every day and try to post or respond to something in them. Visit groups you have started every day to make sure they stay active.

If you do these things, you will soon have more geniune friends in writing communities than you can keep up with. Do the best you can to help others succeed, and they will help you, too. That’s how social networks and writing sites are supposed to work.

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