Care to share, and where? Should you host your long form writing on your blog, Medium or Substack?

I had a fabulous conversation recently with one of my Word Nerd Mentoring clients about maximising their investment in their content marketing in terms of time and resources. Basically, it was about getting eyeballs on their long form content, and the right eyeballs. For this particular client, I suggested Medium as a viable option for them, as this is where their specific audience would resonate most strongly with their content, generating the most ROI.

So why Medium, and not Substack, the sexy, new-ish platform on the block?

Before I answer that – let me say this. Medium and Substack are no different to the other platforms out there. You know the ones. Putting your best/sole content on these platforms is akin to building a house on someone else’s land. One change to their business model, and boom. You’re dead. Or thereabouts. So, if you’re using an external platform remember the end goal for your content marketing beyond building know, like, trust is to get people to your website to promote your biz and brand. When you’re promoting your work that’s housed on a platform, you’re going to be promoting their biz, not yours. 

Here’s what Medium and Substack have in common: an audience that values and likes reading.

Here’s where they’re different: they have different business models, they share content differently and have different features.

Medium is a good audience builder. It sells membership to readers and gives writers royalties through their monetisation features. It has a much wider reach, and it’s a lot less work in that there’s a built in readership. It’s easy to promote your own blog and support your SEO strategy. 

Substack writers get paid by selling their newsletter, and Substack takes 10% commission on the subscriptions writers sell to their readers. Obviously, this means writers need a loyal fan base to get income. This also means that it needs a fairly robust comms strategy and a lot of digital networking (on the platform) to get eyeballs and community. It reminds me a bit of the old days of blogging pre-sm platforms. 

And then there’s blogging on your own platform, your website. Your own blog gives you full control over your design and functionality. As above, you don’t/can’t control third party platforms. What’s really powerful about blogging on your own platform is your readers are just one click away from finding out how to work with you, compared to having to leave a platform to navigate across to your website. 

There are a couple of reasons Substack doesn’t float my boat. The success stories (which made it the sexy new thing) are big names that already had huge followings. A good proportion of them were paid handsomely when they launched substacks and were given extra publicity. 

What I really don’t like: their business model is more than OK with holding space for right wing nut jobs to spew their disinformation and malinformation. That’s not OK with me. If your brand values aren’t aligned to this, then why would you want to be part of a platform like that? 

Enough ranting – long form content, aka blogging, is a powerful tool in your communications toolkit. It builds connection over time, and is a way to showcase your smarts. And for word nerds like me, it’s fun to write! 

Tell me, is long form content part of your strategy?


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