Not all platforms are created equal, thought leadership comes in all shapes and sizes, and there's one that's just right for you.
No matter what field you work in, writing about your industry is a simple yet highly effective way to promote your personal brand and show off your thought leadership. But don’t just stop at your personal website or company blog. A growing number of platforms exist today to help you share your thoughts with an attentive audience.
Not all platforms are created equally—and that’s a good thing, because thought leadership comes in all shapes and sizes. Some platforms are best for sharing quick thoughts, while others are more appropriate for long-form content. There are options that work well for creatives, IT workers and business professionals—and there’s one that’s just right for you.
Whether you’re posting on your own blog, a company site or posting on someone else’s, blogging is still a simple, straightforward way to share your thoughts and expertise with a targeted audience. Consider looking beyond some of the blogging giants like WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr to find fresh platforms that will help you achieve the unique goals of both you and your organization.
Ready to start sharing? Let’s look at some places where you can start writing right now.
Find Your Audience
We’re no longer sending our blog posts out into the ether, hoping someone will find them. Today you’ll find an ever-increasing variety of platforms that offer a built-in audience of readers, often tailored to your own interests and/or industry. One of the biggest players is Medium, developed by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone.
This super-popular platform presents content in a sleek magazine-like format. Readers can recommend their favorites, and a popular post even has the potential to go viral if it’s highlighted by a Medium editor and posted on the site’s homepage, thanks to its strong community of readers.
A fairly recent addition to the blogging landscape, Svbtle is similar to Medium but a little more basic—and purposely so. The focus is on the design of the interface, which is intended to help writers refine their thoughts in a space devoid of distractions. Readers are encouraged to subscribe to future posts via email.
LinkedIn's self-publishing platform, Pulse, allows users to speak directly to their followers on the networking site. It’s a great way to reach a range of people in your industry.
Quora describes itself as “the best answer to any question.” The basic mission of the site is to share and grow the world’s knowledge, with users either asking questions of the site’s network or sharing their own insight by responding to questions. The key to success here is quality, because answers will be voted on by users. This helps to determine thought leaders.
And if you have a strong social media following, Glipho might be a good choice for you. This cloud-based service gives blogging a social edge, with users following different writers and topics in a Pinterest-like format. You can write content (“gliphs”) directly on the site or import posts from other blog platforms, then choose your distribution networks and publish.
Find a Host
So what if you already have a pretty strong following, and you’re just looking for a platform to help you manage your content? You’ll want to consider some of these content-focused systems.
Inspired by both Medium and Svbtle, Silvrback is a minimalistic platform that gives users complete ownership of their content and control over their user flow.
Postach.io converts Evernote notebooks into blogs or websites. If you’re not already an Evernote user, this probably isn’t a great option for you. But if you are, this might be the logical way to go.
With Ghost, users can create everything from a simple blog to a full-scale online publication. Multiple users can contribute, making it great for larger teams. And the interface is beautifully designed and even fun to use.
If you’re familiar with Markdown, you may want to try a content management system like Dropplets, which allows users to write posts in Markdown then upload the file to the web to publish, or Scriptogr.am, which generates posts by reading files stored in your Dropbox. The bare-bones Wardrobe also stores all content as Markdown.
Posthaven was developed after Posterous shut down, leaving its users scrambling to save their content. By paying a $5 monthly fee, Posthaven users are promised a blogging service that will never go away. It operates much like its predecessor, with users posting simply by emailing their docs, photos, video, etc. to Posthaven admins.
In a hurry? Pen.io bills itself as the fastest way to publish on the web. You can create a permanent webpage without even signing up for an account. It’s a good option if you don’t want to commit to starting a more traditional blog, and it works well as a complement to Facebook and Twitter.
Related Article: Why the Company Blog is More Important Than You Think
Find Your Flow
Finding a platform that you love is the easy part. The challenge comes with making the most of it. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you start sharing your expertise with the world.
- Be consistent. If you’re posting on a personal blog or website, create a posting schedule and stick to it. Take some time each week to brainstorm a list of potential post ideas, and get into a habit of jotting down ideas and inspiration throughout the day. If you’re sharing posts on other sites, establish some personal goals to have a set number of posts published each month.
- Be original. There’s lots of content out there to choose from. Why should anyone choose yours? Make a point to stay on top of other news and views in your industry, and ask yourself what’s missing—and how you can offer something new.
- Don’t be shy. You’re working hard on your content, so don’t be shy about promoting it. Share your writing on social media, through emails, and by word of mouth. Keep your followers updated on your work, and use your content as a tool to help you build a stronger network.