Are you building your voice through Medium, but Medium isn’t helping?
Looking for the best resource on Medium, but the lack of helpful navigation makes it seems impossible?
Or are you finding the right person to engage with your ideas and thoughts?
I’m all of the above.
I struggle to grow as a Product Manager without sharing my thoughts with the community in the form of writing or finding helpful resources without crossing content-repackaging Substacks or ghost-filled slack channels.
Let’s face it, growing is painful. And luck isn’t always there.
Not everyone gets to work in a well-funded startup, MNC, or a growth-driven company where decisions are data/customer feedback-driven. Nor having seniors that take pride in grooming your career.
Medium was my attempt to chew through the thorny path by getting attention and learning from the best.
It’s no piece of cake to come up with ideas that are unique enough to entertain the readers, yet not too much of a cliche that feels like beating the dead horse. (Yes, agile, scrum, OKR, I’m talking about all of you) And now, I have to become an SEO specialist and data scientist to create good content and find helpful content.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Medium. In fact, I’ve been subscribed to Medium since the day they started to put their content behind the paywall. I use Medium’s bookmarking feature like a truck to a hoarder; I hoard helpful articles and posts for future reference almost every day.
But hey, we are product geeks, aren’t we? There must be a better way.
In fact, yes, there is.
In 3 weeks’ time, I analyzed 41,584 product management posts, covering 17,903 authors and 4,035 publications, and here’s what I’ve learned.
1. 4 ~ 8 words header works best
Optimize for mobile and email previews. Also, short headers force you to be concise with what you want to share.
2. Use “How” or “How-to” to start your header
3. You don’t need the word “product” in your header
Product management isn’t always just about the product, but it’s more about solving a problem with multiple lenses. According to Justin Welsh, in its LinkedIn playbook, we can appeal our contents and professionalism to 4 different niches with different approaches.
4. Start with a number
Ambiguity breeds mediocrity
The average human attention span is getting shorter than ever. The sooner the audience knows how they can benefit from committing to your offerings, the lower the odds that they lost interest while guessing.
I’m sure Johnny makes ⚡, Xiaoyin Qu, and Jon Moore had the same thought when they were writing “5 things I learned as a designer at LEGO”, “4 product management interview tips that ‘strong hires’ should know”, and “50 things you [probably] forgot to design” respectively.
5. 530 ~ 1325 words work best
Readers are opting for bite-size content, not only because they are easier to consume, but because they are relatively easier to resonate with their readers.
Also, for that same reason, those bite-size contents are repurposed on social platforms like LinkedIn as part of anyone’s branding effort.
6. Try other languages
Traditional Chinese, Norwegian, French, and Portuguese are some great alternatives when it comes to diversifying and magnifying the reach of your content.
7. Avoid certain languages
Myanmar, Dutch, and Simplified Chinese yield some of the lowest engagement rates. You can still write to them, but just don’t write about the traffic.
8. Personal followers are overrated
Medium isn’t what Twitter used to be when it started, good’ol follow-unfollow strategy isn’t going to help you grow your traffic.
9. Stand on the giant’s shoulder
Since personal followers aren’t a huge factor in reaching a larger pool of audiences, posting on well-established publications like UX Collective, The Startup, Product Coalition, and Towards Data Science.
See for yourself
The results are built into a data dashboard that’s powered by Google’s Looker Studio; a free alternative to Microsoft’s Power BI.
Try clicking around to discover more insights for yourself.
What do other people say about this…
It wouldn’t be a good MVP if I’m the only person who finds this useful. Here’s what other people whom I’ve reached out for a test ride have to say about the research.
I hope these insights are useful to you. I know you will because that’s how others feel about the insights.
To explore the insights with the full extent of the 41,584 posts, or if you are a product geek who writes, I’m looking for the best way to support you. Get in touch and help me shape the future of writing on Medium.
This article was featured on Towards AI on Aug 19, 2020.