Recently I joined Medium. Medium is a social blogging site that gets its name because it has no problem with people posting content that is only medium length. Evan Williams and Biz Stone co-founded Twitter, and later founded Medium in 2012 as a place for posts longer than those allowed on Twitter, but not as long as most blog posts.
The site promotes itself as a publishing platform where opinions and stories count more than how many views you get. You can publish content you are passionate about and encourage people to comment on it. Controversy might even invite more interaction. Posting your words and images is very simple. So what’s not to love? There is no direct monetary reward for your posts.
So why do people publish on Medium? To be read and to interact and, perhaps, to demonstrate their authority on certain subjects so that people may be interested in reading work they publish elsewhere.
Medium has some features other sites do not have. An example is that you can highlight favorite lines of a post to share with others. Your profile page also looks different those on most other sites, which tend to list your own work exclusively. Here’s what my Medium profile looks like. I chose one of my posts (one that used to be on Bubblews long ago) to feature at the top. Other posts are listed in the order in which I posted them on Medium. You will also see that comments I have made on the posts of others are there, as well as posts I have “liked.” Each comment you make on the post of another can becomes a new post for you that you can edit and write more about later. Each post on Medium tells readers at the top how long it should take to read.
Another feature of Medium is that you can import posts from other sites. I love this feature. It’s especially handy if you know a site you are posting to is about to close. I imported In Quest of the Blooming Almond Trees from Persona Paper. It is still also remains there. I tried several times to delete it and even emailed the site owners asking them to delete it when it would not delete for me as other posts did. So far it’s still there. Medium doesn’t consider it duplicate content. If Persona Paper does, they might be finally motivated to delete it, since the site is closing anyway. Many people import some of their blogs posts to Medium, but there is still some disagreement about whether Google will penalize it as duplicate content on the site it came from. I’m not willing to risk it.
So why do businesses, bloggers, and freelance writers use Medium when they get no direct income from it? They hope to gain influence and exposure. Some Medium writers have been offered freelance work because someone saw one of their posts on Medium. There are over 725,000 members on Medium who may see your article, and site traffic is in the millions. You may get some new readers or even have a post go viral if some influential Medium members start sharing it. You can link to your blog or website in your post. That will help you try to lure visitors there. You may make connections with others you would not meet on other sites, although it’s also easy to import any Facebook and Twitter friends there as an audience. Medium had approximately 35 million visitors in November, 2015, and that is a lot more eyes than come to most of the other places where I post work.
Have any of my Medium posts picked up significant traffic yet? No. I’m still nosing around, finding a lot of good reading there, and commenting, and hoping to make connections. I believe if I keep posting I will eventually find what works. I try to post well-written articles there that originally appeared from sites that have closed or are about to close. I’m importing many of my Persona Paper articles in as drafts if I have no plans to use them somewhere else. When I’m ready, or when Persona Paper finally goes offline, I will have those posts saved and ready to go.
One thing that is important if you post on Medium is that you post well-written, grammatically correct articles. People have no incentive to read or share your work if it doesn’t grab their attention or if it’s full of errors. It may take awhile to discover what people consider interesting enough to share — or even read.
Medium is where you want to post some of your best work as a sort of advertisement of what you are capable of doing. It’s a place to offer people samples of your writing. It is a fishing hole where your posts can act as bait to get people to your own blogs. I would not recommend it as your only place to post your work, since you can’t monetize your posts. Since you don’t own the site, you also run the risk of having it disappear at some time as so many other sites have done recently. It’s always better to own your own real estate on the internet if you don’t want your work to disappear someday without notice.
I hope I’ve given you enough information to decide whether Medium would be a useful publishing platform for you. As I learn more from my own experience, I will share it by updating this post. Stay tuned.