How Medium Success Changed My Life as a Writer: My Interview With Blake Powell

Blake Powell Medium Success
Are you a writer who has tried everything to get attention for you work, but still struggle to get people to read it, share it, and respond to it? Blake Powell knows how you feel. I found him on Medium.com and noticed he had massive success there. I chatted with him recently to find out how he did it. Here’s what I learned, and what you can do to get the attention your work deserves!

 

1. How long have you been on Medium?
I’m coming up to 2 years now on Medium. My first post on Medium was in February 2016, but I’d been on it for a bit before then. I remember tinkering around on the platform and publishing a couple posts to around 10 views and maybe 1 or 2 recommends in the early days. It was quiet back then on my profile!

 

2. What do you write about? 
In essence, I write about writing. I’m in the personal development space and my ultimate goal is to help writers pursue their dreams. In that vein, I post inspiring but practical content that my readers can take action on to build their own audience and grow their voice. Everything I write has actionable takeaways in it for my readers and is drawn from my own personal journey and things I’ve learned (and am learning) along the way.

 

3. How fast did you experience growth? 
Looking back on my growth now on Medium is a little weird. I vividly remember one of my posts taking off around May of this year. That’s also when I was taking part in Shaunta Grime’s 30-day posting challenge on Medium. Getting into posting consistently helped me find more of an audience for my work to see what was working and what wasn’t and then course correct my path along the way, as well as writing for big publications like “The Mission” which already has a bunch of readers following it for people to help see my work. All my growth culminated with one of my posts reaching over 10K views, which was such a huge milestone for me, and it’s been growing steadily ever since.

 

4. How often do you post on Medium?
Much less now than I used to. After May ended, I was averaging 2-3 posts a week. Although some of them were republished from earlier months on the site, I was trying to be as consistent as possible creating new content without burning myself out. Nowadays I only post 2-3 times a month as I’ve been focusing on other projects.

 

5. Are your posts original or do you import them from your blog?
Most of the posts I publish on Medium are made specifically with certain Medium publications in mind. I find things work better on there when you craft them with that intention. That being said, one of my favourite posts to share on Medium was a 3-part import from my blog which was 10,000 words total and my readers loved it. So I think it can work both ways, depending on how your publishing strategy works.

 

6. What have you discovered works well for you on Medium?
What works best for me is crafting a post in mind that’s suited for the publication I am planning to submit it for. None of the success others find on the platform is accidental. Even if the author didn’t intend for a post to work, there were a specific number of things that attributed to it taking off, and if a writer wants to be seen on Medium they’d do well to study the formula of others and adapt them to their own writing voice.

 

What works well for me is writing the headline first and using that to craft the body of the piece next so it flows coherently as a whole. I also write pieces people actually want to read and can use in their lives, rather than writing what I think they’d want to read or only what I want to write. The key to being successful in blogging is to find the intersect between what you want to write and what others want to read, and the only way to do that is to try new things and adapt your path as needed.

 

7. What doors has Medium opened for you? 
Medium has been instrumental in building my momentum as a writer. Not only has it made me more credible in my field, but it’s opened my work up to more eyes than my personal blog ever could. It’s helped other publications see me and ask to publish my work, as well as open me up to podcasting opportunities and interviews like this one!

 

The best thing it’s done for me is provide me with constant feedback from a large audience pool which has really helped my writing grow. It’s a great testing ground to see what works and what doesn’t, and what you can do to improve your chances of getting read by others.

 

8. In what other ways has Medium helped you – email subscribers, blog traffic, etc.?
This is weird for me to talk about because before my work was taking off on Medium, I was so close to giving up. I wanted to be a writer all through my high school and college years, but I never once wrote a word for myself in that time. My work then was always fit to some academic demands and what others wanted for me or from me. Now I get to craft work that helps people in tangible ways, and while it hasn’t been easy, I’ve loved engaging with my audience every step of the way.

 

Whenever I receive a comment or email from a reader telling me that my work has changed their lives, it helps remind me why I’m doing this and keeps me going when things get hard. It’s like I have the power to look into my reader’s minds and know what they’re thinking and be able to provide a tangible answer to their problems, so much to the point that they identify with what I say on a deeper level. It’s the difference between having readers that are hot or cold or engaged with what you’re saying or not. I mean, that’s every writer’s dream, right?

 

Additionally, my traction on Medium helped feature me on Instafreebie, which helped boost my email list to over 1600 subscribers. Before Medium, I was stuck at about 300 subscribers and was wondering if I should just quit and give up.

 

9. What other projects are you working on?
Lots of exciting stuff! I started working on a book last month that will specifically help writers sit down and get more work done. A lot of it is practical tips and advice, and a lot of it is just dispelling the harmful myths out there that writers these days are being force-fed that are just not true. I mean, you don’t have to publish every single day to get noticed. You don’t have to work 20 hour days to be successful as a writer. You can have a full-time job and still find joy and your own idea of success in your work. I’m living proof of that.

 

I’m also creating an online course which I’ll be launching a “beta” version of in the next couple of months. If your readers would like to check it out, they can sign up to my list at my website below [http://bulletproofwriters.com].

 

Blake is a writer, entrepreneur, and dreamer. He enjoys drinking metric tons of coffee daily and helping writers unleash their inner creative greatness. If you’re looking to grow your writing, you can download a free copy of his eBook “12 Stupidly-Simple Ways Guaranteed to Cure Writer’s Block Forever”  on his blog today.

Now It’s Your Turn

Are you on Medium yet? If not, sign up today.

 

 

Share your comments, your questions, and your success stories on Medium in the comments below!

 

10 Comments

  1. Thanks for this great article, Blake! I love stories like this, and I’m also not on Medium yet. I keep thinking about it, but haven’t done it yet. This is very helpful information and I appreciate all your thoughts and encouragements! Frank, thanks for hosting Blake and for all your informative articles!

    • Blake Powell

      Thanks Leslie! We do Medium Experiments every Monday in the group which would be a great way to get into the fray. Medium right now is a growing platform so it’s a great place for any writer to be. Glad you found it helpful and let me know if I can help with anything else 🙂

  2. Really enjoyed your interview with Blake, Frank. Blake I am consistently putting my content out there through Medium and I am seeing it make a difference with my numbers. I have more than one area where I’m writing and I keep thinking if I could just get all the dots connected. Did you also have more than one outlet, or as you’ve been with Medium would you say you focused on that alone and the others were taken care of afterwards?

    • Blake Powell

      Thank you Anne. Medium definitely rewards writers on the platform who publish consistently and regularly. I did do guest posting before focusing on Medium, and also published lots of content on my own blog so I’m not just on Medium, but I’ve definitely doubled down on the platform since experiencing some great results on it myself. However, before seeing much results, I was on there on and off and not really being consistent with my work, so it really depends.

      To me, Medium complements the work I do with my blog and other efforts, so I’m not relying solely on a platform I don’t own to promote my work. That being said, it is a great platform and definitely worth the time and attention it takes to build up your own audience through it. Publishing on relevant publications with large amounts of readers is probably the biggest thing that jumpstarted my growth, so if I had to start again from zero, I would focus more on that rather than publishing to my own platform or Medium profile in the beginning. Hope that helps.

  3. Yes, that does help, Blake. In the beginning, I used to get a lot of followers and even sales of my book when I wrote for one large site. But then they changed their format and that changed things for me. I will keep doing whatever I think will work and I’m going to grow my audience. I am already seeing growth there on my author page as well. Not big numbers like yours yet, but I’m moving up.

  4. You’ve just about convinced me I need to get back on Medium again. I mean, I’m on already but I’ve ignored it for so long that I cannot even recognize it now. Haha. I need to figure out what to write for Medium and get busy. 🙂

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