The journey so far.
Think of the items on this list as “personal observations” rather than results of proper statistical assessment.
The 71 stories were published in the last 7 months — January to August 2022. Some of them are republished Medium content that I had previously deleted thinking I no longer want to use the platform, and a small percentage are reposts of content from my main website, Psychology Corner.
I used Medium to mainly share views and analyses in niches such as personal development, social and current affairs commentary, writing on Medium, and content writing.
Here are my takeaways so far:
- What works on my main blogs does not work on Medium. Even though the same niches might be present — personal development, psychology, etc — the voices that convey the messages are different. Personal stories over credentials and authority in a field seems to be the case on this platform.
- The posts with the highest engagement — most claps, most comments — are not necessarily the highest earners.
- Quantity over quality seems to be the main rule of the land here. The algorithm appears to only reward — read serve the content of — writers who are active on the platform with no significant gaps. You stop posting, they stop showing your older content to new potential readers.
- Quantity helps one’s reach, up to a point. Write just a handful of articles, you may not reach the right audience. Write too many and you drown your own content. Medium can only use a limited amount of promo resources on you as a content writer. If you flood the platform with content, they won’t be able to keep up with the impressions for it. Only some of your stories will be promoted internally no matter how much content you produce.
- Stories about making it on Medium seem to perform best. This is a sign of the platform’s main limitation.
- Stories about content creation work almost as well as those about making it on Medium. Once again, it shows that the platform’s audience mainly means other content creators or writers.
- You can see success in any niche especially if you bring your own audience to the platform. But it’s not worth it, in my opinion. This is supposed to be a collaboration — writers bring the content, Medium promotes it to the right audience. If one puts in the work to create the content and also works toward expanding their audience, then why bring it to Medium? Why not guide it to your own platform?
- It doesn’t matter if you “niche down” or write on every and any subject that interests you. The algorithm seems to resemble the one on YouTube — it treats each piece as a standalone product.
- Medium is an extension of your online presence, it shouldn’t be the main hub. This is the case for any other websites and online platforms that you do not own.
- Having your own publication is better than sending your stories to other publications on Medium. You can achieve the same or even better results without the hassle and frustration of the story submission process.
- Timing is important. You can use trending topics to give your profile a traffic boost. Evergreen content works as well but quick results — at least in my case — are rather linked to topics that are present in the news at the time of writing a story.
- The same thing can be talked about in a million voices. Probably tons of other writers will post about the same thing as you and that gives you more chances to have your story recommended on their page as well. Competition on Medium is not similar to competition in search engine results. Just because a subject’s been covered by many before you, it doesn’t mean there is no point in you giving your opinion on that topic as well.
- Not everyone plays fair. Expected but sad to have this realization confirmed time and time again, regardless of the platform one is using. Follow-for-follow, paid traffic, scams, harassment, sensational yet bad advice, and all the other shady practices of the internet — they’re all on Medium as well. Learn to navigate the waters instead of waiting for them to calm down until you start sailing.
On Medium and elsewhere, trying to please a crowd to get a few likes and a few bucks is not worth it.
No matter what your main platform is — one that you own or an external one that is hosting your content — think about your own message and brand first, and then see how the trends and popular content writing practices match your style.
Compromise is part of the game but not if it chips away bits of self-confidence or self-esteem.
Thank you for reading and have fun wherever you write!
This article was originally published on an external platform on August 24, 2022.