Over the last two years,Chad Grills started to take notice of Medium. This new publishing platform and social network was created by Evan Williams. Evan built Blogger back in 1999 and then co-founded Twitter in 2007. In 2012, Evan launched Medium to as their tagline says, "Move thinking forward."
Chad is an Army Infantry Veteran turned entrepreneur. He has shared the stage with Tim Ferriss and created apps featured by Apple. Now, he's working on a stealth startup in Education and growing the publication he started on Medium called Life Learning.
Life Learning is devoted to: accelerated learning, antifragility and definite optimism.
As Chad began on his journey, he had a feeling that Medium was going to turn into a massive success. He knew that he could build a top tiered publication on the platform as well. From nothing, grew Life Learning to 100k+ followers, read by millions of readers each month.
Recently, I had a chance to talk with Chad about how he built up the publication. He shared five big takeaways from his experiences. Whether you want to build your own online publication, or grow your company's blog, there is serious value in these recommendations:
1. Align yourself with a winning team
Evan Williams already had success with Blogger and Twitter. The chances he was going to have success with his next project, Medium, were high. He has been thinking about how to make online publishing better for decades. Because of that, Chad decided to build his publication on Medium's network. Now, Medium is making big strides in creating a great platform and tools for publishers. Chad is excited to see how the platform continues to evolve.
2. Align your goals with the company hosting your content
Before even starting the Life Learning publication, Chad took a hard look at what the team at Medium was seeking to build. He knew that if he was going to be building on someone else's platform that he needed to be really careful to ensure that their incentives were aligned with his own.
3. Recruit undervalued writers
Chad is always looking for personal stories of triumph over adversity. He gets a lot of submissions to his publication, but they usually don't match what his publication is looking for. So what he does is spend a few hours each day scouring the Internet, looking for writers who have undervalued writing and insights. Once he finds them, he asks if he can help promote their content on Medium. Most tend to accept his offer. The best content Chad finds though is through referrals and recommendations.
4. Build relationships
Some of the top writers in the world contribute to the Life Learning publication. But it didn't all start out that way. Unlike most people in the startup world who are frantically racing to grow, Chad built his relationships with his writers methodically and slowly. He takes time to personally connect with writers, then invests into building out mutually beneficial long term relationships.
5. Constantly experiment
By experimenting, and studying how he can help others, Chad has been able to grow his publication. As the Life Learning publication has grown, he's now able to deliver more value to his writers. Some of the writers in Life Learning have had their articles hit the #1 spot on Medium, get picked up by other media sites, go viral on Facebook, or even get contacted by book agents. As his publication has grown, so has Medium. Now they are offering brand new tools for publishers which will help him grow and expand his reach into new areas.
What other ideas do you have to grow an online publication? I'd love to learn more! Comment below.