LinkedIn vs Medium: The Struggle is Real

— Kate Kohler, WE 

Thought leaders and executives are all over Twitter, sharing 140 characters worth of wisdom and insight. But what if you need more than 140 characters? Medium and LinkedIn are two we often recommend to help expand the dialogue. Knowing which one to use can be a hang-up for many, though. So we’ve taken the liberty of jotting down what you need to know, and knowing is half the battle.

Medium lets anyone to post long-form content about any topic. Medium’s algorithm delivers relevant content directly to readers’ homepages. Anyone on Medium can see your content, whether they follow you or not.

So when should you use it? We’re glad you asked:

  • Current events: Medium has constantly changing categories on their page. A recent sampling ranged from the Refugee Crisis to Brad and Angelina’s divorce.  An example of a thought leaders zeroing in on timely topics is Howard Schultz & Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s post about Breaking the Prison Pipeline.
  • Widespread Impact: For thoughts on widely relevant topics like climate change and the evolution of transportation, John Kerry and John Zimmer drove attention and gave their unique perspective on the societal impact.
  • When you have something unique and of value to share: There is no guarantee that people on Medium will read your content. The platform has “reading roulette,” allowing any article to pop up for those browsing the site. The best way to get your message through on Medium is to be interesting, to share a different perspective and to write about topics that matter.

LinkedIn is a social network primarily used for professional growth and thought leadership, where groups of like-minded professionals can network and read about industry trends. But do all of your posts belong there? Not really. Here’s when to use it:

  • Career advice: LinkedIn is a natural place to share career advice that provides tangible benefit to your audience. Check out Bill Gates post on 50 Years of Warren Buffett’s Wisdom.
  • Commentary on your industry: LinkedIn is a great place for execs to share perspective on their industry based on their own experience. WE client company Microsoft’s Chief People Officer, Kathleen Hogan’s piece on how Millennials have changed the workforce details trends she’s seen as she helps Microsoft attract the best and brightest young talent.
  • The story behind announcements: While it’s fine to share your company’s latest announcement on LinkedIn, this is not using the platform to its highest potential. Writing about the details behind your news, what it means to you personally and how it will change lives.

Using LinkedIn & Medium together effectively

It makes sense to use Medium and LinkedIn in tandem when you have the time and variety of content to post multiple times per month. Content on one platform should not just be reposted to the other – but instead, each piece should be crafted for the platform and audience where it will be published.

A couple of examples of leaders who are doing this well - creating original content designed for each platform that generates conversation and attention – include Sallie Krawcheck, CEO & Co-Founder of Ellevest (LinkedIn & Medium) and Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and Democratic nominee for President of the United States (Medium & LinkedIn).

When considering a platform for long-form posts, think about the audience you’d like to reach and the type of content you’d like to share. As storytellers, we always keep in mind several key things: What problem are we solving for, who is our audience, and so what? Think about these when assessing your objectives. Does one help you meet your goals better than the other? Do you have enough differentiated content for both?

It’s is always best to execute on one platform well, as opposed to two platforms poorly, but if you have the time and dedication, using Medium and LinkedIn together can be an effective way of reaching very different audiences.

Have more questions? Let’s talk: WESocial&