Medium is a long-form content publishing platform originally built as a “great tool for writing…without the complications of starting a blog,” according to its founders. After launch, the site quickly blossomed into a social networking platform and hub for media rich and engaging content. As we now watch its user base continue to grow, you may be thinking about publishing your own blog-worthy content on Medium. We’ve made it easy for you with this quick 101 course.
A brief history of Medium: Medium was founded by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams as a blog publishing platform in 2012. By 2013, it already had 30 full-time staff and in 2015 it had a fully WYSIWYG editing interface, shareable quotes functionality for Twitter, upvote-style ‘liking’ and tagging features. Posts evolved to be sorted by topic rather than by writer and the platform now boasts several full in-house publications as well as independent publications.
Uses for Medium:
- Content Creation and Authority Building: This shouldn’t be a surprise — Medium is a blogging platform and blogging is a known asset in building content and authority. Authority building content makes up a large portion of Medium content. Currently, one of the top posts on Medium is a post from an app developer on how he earned 2.3 million downloads and sale of his app in under 18 months – that has garnered 3,900 recommendations and 52 comments. Posting what you know and how you know it is a surefire path to success.
- Op-Eds: A recent op-ed story on the hazards of Airbnb gained significant traction on Medium and around the country (and it’s definitely not the only post to do so). Pieces do particularly well if they challenge certain norms or mainstream ways of thinking – this writing style isn’t always possible for brands but has proven highly successful.
- PR Responses: Medium gives public figures, large brands and politicians a channel to respond freely, without having to work with a publisher or manage a press conference. That might sound like it’s eliminating a middle-man (i.e. media) but it also, in some ways, legitimizes the message. The most recent and noteworthy example of this is Amazon’s SVP of Global Corporate Affairs, Jay Carney, who took to Medium to pick apart the New York Times article on work and life at Amazon. The benefits of this route? The responder gets to control the message without ever having a single interview – and media tends to pick up the news just the same.
- News Announcements: One of the most exciting forms of content on Medium is the evolution of the news announcement or press release. We don’t recommend publishing a formal press release in the AP accepted style, but posted in the form of great content. Example: in May 2015 Google turned to Medium to reveal the 11 accidents that attributed to its self-driving car, a post that received attention from several publications including The Associate Press, in addition to 1,500 recommends and 35 comments it received on Medium.
How to post:
Now that you know what to post, we’ll review how to post on Medium. With its clean interface and a simple editor, building content is a breeze:
- Simply begin typing or paste your content directly in the editor. Be sure to tag header and paragraph content appropriately.
- Insert images, gifs, videos and embedded material easily using the “+” sign next to a new line break.
- Don’t forget to tag your work – this helps your content get discovered.
- Hit ‘post’ and your content is live!
Using content that works:
There are three main elements to a popular Medium posts: (1) posts written in first person, (2) are experiential nature, and (3) contain a degree of emotion. Thinking back to posts like the Google self-driving car article or the AirBnB post mentioned above — both are written from the first person perspective, with varying degrees of emotion, and authored from immediate experiences or anecdotes.
Breaking down the data:
Don’t take our word for it, see for yourself! Medium hosts your own ‘Stats’ page that gives you a lovely report of how your content is performing. This page is easy to access here: www.medium.com/me/stats. On this page you’ll find article views, full reads, recommends (or likes) and referral source rates.
There you have it, the basics of Medium. With careful thought and an articulate voice, you should see success on Medium in no time. Do you have thoughts, questions or experiences publishing on Medium? Let us know!