Experimenting on Medium

Stories about startups  are among the most popular in the  NRF Events publication on Medium .

Stories about startups are among the most popular in the NRF Events publication on Medium.

I’ve been reading stories on Medium since the site debuted in 2012, and became a fan of the publishing platform’s clean design and tech-savvy writers. At the National Retail Federation, we’re always looking for ways to connect with new audiences; as our programs and events have evolved with the industry, the need to reach the technology community has become more critical than ever.

After a few months of planning — and convincing internal stakeholders — I launched an experiment in publishing longform content on Medium in January 2016, with the goal of introducing our events to people who may not be familiar with NRF already. We started by publishing content that had been published in print or in a PDF download, but didn’t already exist in a web-based article format.

We reviewed engagement benchmarks monthly and optimized content to boost views and social sharing. Engagement was increasing steadily and we began creating original content for the platform, including thought leadership pieces by our head of digital retail in advance of conferences focused on user experience and e-commerce.

The results:

In the first year of publishing on Medium, NRF’s followers increased by 66 percent and an average 15 percent of readers who viewed an article shared it on social media. Thousands of Medium’s readers — many of whom work at startups and technology companies — not only read our stories, but found them valuable enough to share with their peers.