The Content Hacker’s Handbook

By Tomer Dicturel

Most of you won’t be familiar with me — I’m a Medium rookie with only a couple weeks under my belt. But over the last few weeks I’ve racked up over 20,000 views and 10,000 reads — so how is a newbie like me stacking up the numbers?

I started by researching different content channels and ways of releasing material, and from the data I collected from thousands of successful pieces I’ve developed a list on content hacking strategies.

This will be the beginning of (hopefully) a series of posts on Content Hacking, and how it can supercharge your content channels. Without further ado, the beginning to the Content Hacker’s Handbook!

The first channel I’ll focus on is Medium. Medium content has several channels it can be pushed through and is generally easy to get eyeballs for, so it’ll be a nice beginning exercise — the bunny slope.

This is easier said than done. It can often be difficult to pick out the perfect article topic.

My advice is to pick a subject that you know so you don’t need to research as much. Your domain knowledge is your unfair advantage — make use of it!

Be sure to make the article personal — share your own experiences and anecdotes from industry. But be careful not to come off as a marketing post! Ultimately, this is content that is meant to provide value to the larger community, not an ad for your business. I’ve seen this mistake happen over and over across Medium; provide value and business will come to you, do not sell!

If you’re a new writer like me, you won’t have much of a reputation or following on Medium. So how do you get eyeballs and build your credibility?

You don’t. A publication does.

One of the greatest things about Medium is the “publication” effect. Writers can submit content to publications that will then curate and show content to their followers. These publications have a level of repute, so to get in front of people and show credibility, all you need to do is convince these publications to feature you!

Of course, this is again easier said than done. The first step is to look for publications in your field — a large, related publication that has a following interested in the type of content you’re pushing. Go to their site and request to post.

They’ll do their due diligence — they’ll ask for social profiles, information about you, previous content, etc. and you might get rejected. Don’t be discouraged. Becoming a writer for a publication is largely hit or miss and the first few times, you’ll probably miss.

A good resource in your search is Top Pub — they keep a list ranking of the top Medium publications:

Just because you wrote something doesn’t mean people will read it!

You need to show them your content and prove to them it’s valuable and worth their time — for example, my audience is a software engineer, who on average makes $31/hr, so reading my piece will cost them $3 to $5 of time.

In addition, showing immediate traction and a steady growth will land you closer to getting curated by Medium, which will increase your reads even further! When your content is curated, it’ll appear under topics and even on the front page for those who follow those topics.

So, how to market? That’s the easy part! You’re building your network at the same time so this is doubly beneficial.

I’ve listed three that have worked spectacularly well for me:

  1. Twitter — it’s not the best network, but it’s a great source of views and can quickly multiply as people like and retweet. Maybe tweet at someone you mention in your piece!
  2. LinkedIn — if you’re like me and have a large professional network, it’s great to get this content in front of them by posting it to your feed. This will not only get you reads, but will provide content to your network and increase your influence on LinkedIn as well.
  3. HackerNews — Y-Combinator’s child, the news outlet for tech. This site receives a tremendous amount of traffic on every page; even if you get 3 or 4 upvotes on the newest feed, you’ll still rake in well over 200 views/reads. Post on HackerNews, and over time you’ll build karma and repute that will only increase your traffic.

Go share your masterpiece — let some friends know you posted and have them show their love!

Sit tight and enjoy the love. You’ll get views, reads, and claps and can analyze them all via your Medium stats page. I’ll write another post soon on how to make the most of these analytics, but for now take a look at your traction and enjoy the love!

With a few blogs behind you, it’s time to do some outreach. Contact people with large social media followings, and interview them — you’ll get great material for a blog post, while also making use of their network to maximize your traffic. Write 5 great questions and you’ll get at least a 4 minute blog out of it.

Post it and ask them to promote — they benefit from this too, so they’ll be more than happy to get you on their stage!

Follow along and you’ll be sure to end up with great traffic in just a few weeks! Keep writing and keep content hacking! 💪