You could focus on your own blog.
You could guest post like a mofo.
Or, you could live life on the wild side and publish your articles on Medium.
And no, not Medium, like, the television drama series with Patricia Arquette.
And no, not Medium, like, Hey y’all, my psychic medium told me to chat to my spirit friends when I feel lonely.
The Medium I’m talkin’ about is a different world all together.
This Medium is kind of like the magical island from Lost—a virtual isle that protects words and pushes ideas forward.
Best described by the Medium team…
“Medium is a place where the measure of success isn’t views, but viewpoints. Where the quality of the idea matters, not the author’s qualifications…
The world has reached a saturation point of shallow, thoughtless content, and half-skimming through these pages of filler is increasingly unfulfilling. Every day, your Medium homepage is full of stories with depth and meaning—stories that make you laugh, cry, and actually feel things.”
Who doesn’t want to laugh, cry, and feel things?
(I like to feel things.)
- publishing should be easy
- quality trumps pedigree—Amen!
- if you have a voice, you should use it
- la creme always rises to the top
- reading stories online can feel good, really good
- content should look beautiful
- great stories will spread like wildfire
If you’ve never seen Medium, take a peek at my home, below.
(Don’t worry, I tidied up before you arrived. Grab a cocktail, sit back, and relax.)
You’ll notice the following displayed on your Medium homepage:
- “Top Stories on Medium”, highlighted in the sidebar
- Featured tags to help you discover new stories
- Recent and popular stories from the writers and publications you follow (wanna follow me?)
Medium’s primary focus is to build an optimal reading experience for its users by providing:
- white space! lots and lots of white space—because using white space properly between paragraphs and the margins can increase comprehension up to 20%, as pointed out by Dmitry Fadeyev, creator of Usaura via fastcodesign.com
- highlights—a way for readers to share their favorite lines with their followers and connect socially
- estimated reading times—based on the average reading speed of an adult (roughly 275 words-per-minute) and created to help readers estimate reading time without scrolling down the page (example below…)
While we are talking about time—it’s worth noting that the optimal post is 7 minutes. In case you were wondering. And because the Medium team cares about providing the best user experience for the reader—I’ll warn you—it’s far too easy to lose yourself in the platform and spend hours jumping from story to story.
How-to-the-ever, we’re not talking about island hopping today.
We’re talking about whether or not Medium will help you get more bling for less cha-ching.
Mo’ exposure, mo’ money, mo’ influence.
Oh yeah—now we’re speaking the same language.
Want mo’ exposure? Publish on Medium…
You invest hours writing your article.
You’ve most likely pissed off a friend or a partner or maybe even (but hopefully not) a child by going AWOL for days at a time.
Now that your article is polished and oh-so-pretty, don’t you want to share it with the world? … to ensure that your time in absentia is worth it, in the end? Or whatever, maybe you wrote the article for you and you don’t give a *beeeeep* about what others think. Because you like it. And you have things to say and share with the world. Own it.
There’s nothing that will make you feel more alive like sharing your ideas with a community of thousands.
While the exact number of users on the Medium platform is a bit fuzzy, supposedly there’s an estimated 625K+ users on the Medium platform today. Probably more.
Imagine all those eyeballs focused on your words, thoughts, and gifs.
Want mo’ money? Publish on Medium…
Exposure leads to opportunity.
And opportunity leads to cash.
Meet Simon Owens, a Content & Social Media Marketing Consultant.
Simon is maxed out with client work.
Where did his clients find him?
“Almost all the people I work with now are people who have read one of my articles or several articles and reached out to me.
I’m full right now and can’t take on more clients, but the call-to-actions I used to include in my (Medium) articles went something like, ‘Do you want me to write for you? Click here to learn more.’
… the CTA would take them to my services page, so that was how I was getting my clients.”
Want more clients and cash? Start writing.
Want mo’ influence? Publish on Medium…
Nothing says, “I know my sh*t,” quite like publishing a post on Medium…
…and receiving hundreds of shares and recommends. And yes, when readers click on the cute li’l heart below your article, they are in fact recommending your article to their people.
(Side note: nudge your readers to click on the heart. Spell it o-u-t, if necessary, to get results.)
More hearts = more love = more views.
When you publish quality articles consistently on Medium, people and publications take notice.
Simon’s increased his influence by partnering with a handful of different publications on Medium:
“Publications started inviting me to contribute to their Medium publications … and they had their own following.
So after I published a piece of content (on my page), I would wait 24 hours for it to pick up its own traction, based on my following. And then I would submit it to a publication, which would expose it to an even larger following.”
For example, the ART + marketing publication, below, featured one of Simon’s latest articles, I tried Facebook’s revamped Notes tool for a month. Here’s what I learned.
Here are the three ways you can feature your story in a publication via Medium:
- Be the publication owner
- Be an editor of the publication
- Be an invited writer for the publication. Your story must first be accepted by the owner or an editor.
Change minds, shape opinions, and move others to take action, just like Marie…
Meet Marie Poulin, Digital Strategist / Designer / Idealist / Rock Climber. And Medium Sensation.
As an experiment, Marie cross-published one of her articles on the following 3 platforms, each with a unique headline and slightly-altered copy:
- MariePoulin.com (Marie’s blog),
- OneWomanShop.com (guest post),
- and on Medium (as The big mistake nearly every designer makes).
>>>>>>> The Medium article went viral.
It was recommended by 1.6K people and viewed by 97K people.
Turns out, Marie’s article was featured by the Medium Staff, which ended up sending Marie a ton of traffic, shares, and likes.
The Medium article also led to an actual lights ‘n’ camera crew showing up at Marie’s doorstep for an in-person interview for a book on design leadership. Aaand a speaking invite at the Gather North Conference. Said Marie:
“There’s no way I would have had that traffic and that interest from my own blog. I just don’t have that level of readership.
…You can’t get traction if you don’t get up the courage to put your ideas out there. What are you waiting for?”
That is the question.
What are you waiting for?
Check out Marie’s “viral” article on Medium…
Before you get distracted by the thought of going v i r a l, I’ve gotta confess >>> this article is not about the V-card. If you really want to understand why things catch on, read Jonah Berger’s book, Contagious. He’ll fill you in.
This article (right here, right now) is about whether or not you should publish your content on Medium. Because:
Everyone who’s anyone is on Medium, eh?
But what the hell – should you be on Medium, too?
The keyword being you. Not so-and-so or anyone featured in this article. Just you.
And if Medium makes sense for you, we’ll explore how you can maximize your Medium experience and…
- reach new audiences
- increase your influence
- grow your list
- sell your services
- feel like a D-List Celebrity
- land interviews & speaking invites
Maybe you’ve heard about blogs like Signal v. Noise – brought to us by the makers of Basecamp – moving to Medium for a handful of reasons, like this one, highlighted below by David Heinemeier Hansson, cofounder & CTO at Basecamp and creator of Ruby on Rails:
And maybe you’ve heard about the founder and host of the Unmistakable Creative Podcast, Srinivas (Srini) Rao, publishing his personal (7.6K followers) and company (1.2K followers) content on Medium religiously, Tuesdays / Thursdays / Saturdays. After Srini joined Medium in 2013 (out of morbid curiosity) his article, How Writing 1000 Words a Day Changed My Life, went viral reaching 75K people with 1.6K recommends.
The cool part?
An acquisitions editor at Penguin found Srini’s post, which ultimately led to a book deal with the publisher. Ummmm … pretty sweet. eh?
Srini also mentioned that Medium is the 3rd largest traffic referrer to his website, Unmistakable Creative. Not bad.
So if Medium sounds like such a dreamboat, what could possibly be the problem?
Ask Paul Jarvis, the writer and maker behind the Creative Class.
He’s been a fan of Medium and he’s been publishing content on the platform since the early days, as a beta user. But…
>>>>>>> Paul recently left Medium.
You can catch all the juicy breakup details in his article, It’s not you, it’s me.
While Paul agrees that traction on Medium tends to be greater than traction on his own site alone, he gave lots of reasons for leaving Medium to own the playground he plays in.
In Paul’s words:
“I noticed that Medium was kicking my ass in terms of domain authority and SEO (so my articles there were always coming up higher in searches than my own site).
And I just wasn’t getting the same amount of newsletter signups from medium articles as I was from articles on my own website.”
Paul left for other reasons too, like…
- no remarketing
- no control over the branding
- no ability to add sign-up forms, etc.
And ultimately, Paul realized that he cared less about audience growth and more about audience trust.
“I can be in control of making sure I build (audience trust) if people are consuming my work on my own site or my newsletter, but I can’t if it’s on another platform.”
Ah, yes. That reminds me—we should talk about sharecropping. What’s that? Good Q. Digital sharecropping is publishing on a platform you don’t control. In Julie Neidlinger’s article, Should You Be Using Medium To Blog, she asks, “Would you build a house on your neighbor’s lot and expect that to work out well in the end?”
Well, would you?
“The company (in this case, Medium) gets the benefit that comes from massive amounts of content: traffic, acclaim, and attention. Plus, when you don’t control where you blog, you won’t be able to do much if the system you’ve chosen to blog on decides to close up shop.”
Before you get scared off by this feudalistic farming practice…
Let’s talk about the pros and cons of publishing on Medium…
Should you abandon your existing blog? Should you invest all of your writing / content time into Medium, a site you don’t know that could take all your traffic and close down tomorrow? To help you out, I’ve developed this list, thanks to endless hours of research:
The PROs of Publishing on Medium:
- Reach new audiences with the tag, follow, and @mention features.
- Stay connected and social with your followers using the highlighter feature.
- Attract attention – your followers are notified every time you publish a new post.
- Move your domain to Medium easily.
- Look gorgeous with the attractive, clean aesthetic.
- Access an easy-to-use front-end interface.
- Connect to your Twitter and Facebook networks to boost your following from day one.
- Import your content with a click of a button.
- Add up to 3 tags to your story to reach people interested in your content.
- Schedule your articles by picking a date and time to publish.
- Publish in multiple languages with Medium’s 20+ different languages.
- Do all of the above for free (’nuff said).
The CONs of Publishing on Medium:
- No Google Analytics. Medium does have a built-in stats feature so you can track views, reads, recommends, and referrals for every post.
- No control. It’s a 3rd party platform, which means the rules could change at any point.
- No list-building widgets. If you want to use Medium to grow your list, you need to get creative and figure out how to direct the Medium readers to your website to sign up for your newsletter. You can’t add hello bars, pop-ups, visual CTAs.
- No monetization or advertising opportunities. If you want to make money via your content, Medium is not the right place for you.
- No guaranteed life expectancy. It could disappear overnight, like Myspace. Good ol’ Myspace.
This is how you’re going to publish on Medium, mmmkay?
If you want ‘mo exposure, ‘mo money, and mo’ influence – which you’re very smart to want – follow these super-simple steps:
- Write a killer article.
- Post the article on your website.
- Repurpose the article and use Medium as a secondary content platform. << important!!
- Focus on growing your following on Medium.
- Guide your Medium readers to your website, using a Call-To-Action and links back to your website.
Whatever you do, don’t ditch your own blog.
Maggie Patterson, co-founder and communication strategist at Scoop Industries, recommends that you never rely solely on someone else’s platform as the backbone of your brand. So if you’re publishing on Medium, you should definitely publish content on your own website as well. Maggie told me:
“You need something on your site when people visit and for them to have a reason to keep coming back to your site.
Blogging is so far from dead in my opinion, no matter what experts out there may have you believe.
The truth is your blog is yours, and it’s your hub. You can be successful guest posting or on social, but if you can’t move those people back to your turf and convert them into subscribers or buyers, what’s the point?”
And while you can’t add pop-ups or a hello bar to Medium, you can include a brief bio at the bottom of your article.
Remember Marie Poulin, mentioned above? Marie promotes her online mentorship program, DIGITAL STRATEGY SCHOOL, in a graphic at the bottom of many of her Medium articles, with a link to the sales page, like so:
You can also include a link to a lead magnet to help drive email sign-ups and grow your list.
Speaking of which… Whenever Dorie Clark, CEO of Clark Strategic Communications, guests posts for publications like the Harvard Business Review or Entrepreneur, she includes a free giveaway or lead magnet (example below) that incentivizes people to sign up for her list. (Some call this opt-in bait. Others, like Brian Clark, call it “ethical bribes.”)
Like Dorie says:
“No one wants to subscribe to another newsletter, but they are interested in excellent free content.”
Focus on creating excellent free content and building a lead magnet for your readers, using a platform like LeadPages. Easy, right? Suuure…
How to maximize your experience & get read on Medium
Don’t post to Medium and vanish! Like posting in any social space, Medium posts are more likely to rise to the top if you:
- Link to Twitter and Facebook to instantly gain a ton of followers
- Use the tagging feature so followers can find you
- Pitch yourself to publications to gain even more exposure for each post
- Import your best blog content into Medium to show off your stuff
- Post consistently (duh!) – the more you post, the more you’ll build a following
- Select a high-quality photo (minimum 900 pixels, or 900×900) for the top of the story. TIP: Horizontal images work better than vertical.
- Write a compelling headline for your article – headlines absolutely positively matter
- And don’t forget to create your own opt-ins within your article, like Simon Owens did:
If you’re putting in the work and creating original content, why reserve it just for a select few?
So why not share your best ideas and your best work with the 625K+ people on Medium?
Which leads me to a challenge for you:
I challenge you to take one of your best blog posts from your very own website and publish it on your own Medium page / publication. Then share the link in the comments below.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We’ll be taking the Kira Hug Medium Challenge! We’re planning to publish all our posts on Medium, and we’re currently aiming to do so a week after the post first appears here.