Back at the beginning of the year I decided my months-long experiment with publishing daily (or close to it) on Medium, using that as my outlet for writing about writing, wasn’t working. More than that, the whole idea of bifurcating my publishing seemed to make less and less sense. Not only that, but I was frustrated and unhappy with my decision years ago to cross-post material from both here and Cinematic Slant on Medium.
My intent in doing so was simply to increase the reach of my writing. After all, the overall goal of all this is to keep getting freelance writing gigs or find other work. So I wanted to take advantage of Medium’s network spread to bring more attention to what I was doing. After a few months of doing so I was getting no traction. A reconsideration was in order.
I went back in my head to a core principle of content marketing: Make sure each channel you operate has a unique value proposition. Looking at what what I was doing it was clear I wasn’t meeting that low bar. Neither was I being true to my belief in the hub-and-spoke publishing model as the most powerful one for a content marketing program. I understand the appeal of distributed, unowned publishing on Medium or LinkedIn, but don’t subscribe to it, though I’ve played around with both at various times over the years.
Over the course of the last month I deleted everything on Medium that wasn’t original to that platform, basically just the posts published in the last months of 2017, reducing my profile there from 450+ posts to just a few dozen. At the same time I deleted probably 100 posts on Tumblr that were largely duplicative and, quite frankly, not the kind of thing I would add to a portfolio.
That spurred me to do even more cleaning. So I’ve deleted about a dozen profiles on apps and networks I wasn’t using at all and had only created to claim my username or try out the app for a brief period of time. The only ones that remain are those I use regularly or have decided are important outposts to maintain.
The process has helped me feel 30 pounds lighter emotionally. Whether they’re constantly in front of my face or are all but forgotten for months at a time, having all that detritus hanging out there was weighing me down. I’ve always told clients “there’s nothing sadder – or more detrimental to your online reputation – than an abandoned profile” and need to live that truth, to borrow a phrase from evangelicalism.
Again, it was important for me to remember that what I’m doing here is a content marketing program, albeit one that’s focused solely on myself. If I’m not adhering to the best practices and guidance I would encourage anyone I work with to embrace, I’m not actually doing what I need to do. And I’m not showing I have faith in the advice and counsel I give.
It took time. There were a lot of “Forgot your password?” links clicked on websites I hadn’t visited in two years. And Medium, for as much as it wants to be a easy-to-use publishing platform (is that still the goal?), doesn’t make profile management simple, lacking any sort of batch-editing tools. But now I’ve decluttered and minimalized and am happy here on WordPress while I figure out what, if any, role other platforms like Medium and Tumblr might play going forward.
Whatever that winds up being, it will be intentional, much more so than previous efforts.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.