Why your Writing Persona Matters

Reaching 30k followers for me is a significant milestone.

Michael K. Spencer
Aug 22 · 6 min read

I don’t believe like some of you in the power of personal narratives and that sharing our experiences online uplifts us all. However, Medium does celebrate the personal essay like few other places online.

I do, however, believe in the curiosity to explore how society is evolving and what it means for the future of business, technology, civilization, globalization and for humanity.

Essentially the narrative of my personal brand on Medium has been all about my passion for everything from business to universal basic income, cryptocurrencies to journalism, and a whole lot of in-between.

Medium’s “Futurist in Residence”

  • Medium gives you badges on what you write about. (Top Writer Tags).

Cultivate a Central Persona around Your Writing Topics

Whatever your writing style, the personal brand you create matters to how memorable you are. For me, I’m proud to call myself an amateur futurist. It’s allowed me to create my own job.

  • I first started writing on Medium in October 2016. I didn’t pursue it seriously until at least a year later.
  • I joined the MMP in April 2018.
  • On August 22nd, 2019, I reached 30,000 followers on Medium.

I don’t know what it means to be a vulnerable, authentic or a storytelling writer trying to heart your way into the minds of other writers.

That’s certainly not a pursuit that I find a valuable use of my mental resources. I’m not here to life-hack or pop-psych a following, but I can share my insatiable curiosity with my readers. That’s all that I can offer.

I adore identifying emerging authors and finding intersections between topics, that’s part of my curiosity too.

I’m not a viral author or a Medium influencer! I don’t believe subjective sharing is the answer to the internet’s woes.

But I do believe that in becoming a “Futurist”, I chose an online identity that enabled me to be me.

If you feel like writing motivational content and that’s your personal brand, then great power to you!

Whatever writing persona you choose, I recommend you repeat it and build your themes around it. It’s a focal point of value and a frame of reference for your topics, and possibly even your audience.

The more congruent this persona is with your real self, the easier your intrinsic motivation will be — and the less like “work” writing on Medium will seem. Don’t let anybody tell you differently.

You cannot acquire this through a course, a vlog of an influencer, you have to find that inner voice that speaks to you uniquely and manifest it in your work.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

Let the Words You Create Build to Something

The articles and stories you share on Medium can take you places.

You might, like me, want to become a freelancer content specialist who dabbles in marketing consultancy (e.g. social media campaigns, brand awareness, ghostwriting). I manage on some months to make a living doing this.

Medium can be a springboard to becoming a kind of solo-preneur. But it’s not an easy path.

There have been months when I have despaired over the challenge and the insurmountable path to financial freedom of being a writer online.

Like a Tim Dening I wrote for free for years before I earned my first cent on Medium. I wrote because I loved to write and it enabled me to research where my curiosity led me. I didn’t create to make money. I wasn’t a “professional blogger” ever.

Like Ayo, I have the capacity to be prolific and write a lot. Being able to be a volume/quantity writer, like Shaunta mentions, is valuable in places like Medium that has in the area of 90 million monthly active readers. This is because there are so many incredible topics to write in.

I’m always happy to share my insights and you can AMA.

  • In April 2019, as an altruistic experiment, I built an entire community of groups and channels to empower Medium writers. Today it has over 600 members and the first dedicated Reddit Medium place to share your writing.
  • I’ve built publications that have thousands of followers around the persona of my central writing topics.
  • I came out of the closet as one of the more prolific poets on Medium (formerly I did not share my poems).

So why is this important? It’s important because what we do online can scale, it can grow and we and we alone are in charge of our manifest destiny as writers. Failures are inevitable.

In summary, it took me well over two years to grow my Medium followers to over 30,000. This is around the equivalent of 2,000 articles. I am not even joking. Do you know how many weekends, late nights and time spent at home that means?

I’m not here to tell you how much I made in some whacky headline over and over again. I didn’t take shortcuts. I paid my dues.

My only rule is I write about what I’m passionate about in complete freedom. I’m not here to impress curators or even win over an audience. These are not my primary objectives!

Medium should be your start or your middle, it should not be your endgame. Because, let’s face it, you are your own endgame. If your personal brand can scale, you can transition into a full time job around writing, into vlogging, into something that’s stable.

You should never be dependent on just one gig or one MRR (monthly recurring source of revenue). That’s not a smart way to hustle.

What Are We Doing Here?

We are Makers, crafters, BUIDLers — we have to redefine our personal brand online to remain congruent with who we are and who we become, not the other way around.

We are creators. We don’t owe our peers, an app, or even our tribe anything.

We should not conform to Medium, Medium should conform to us.

If we have genuine talent, our tribe will grow.

Not because of the tricks we learn (to hack an audience), but because of the value we create for others (no matter how fleeting it may be!).

What I have Learned in Two Years on Medium

After earning serious money on Medium, and volunteering hundreds of hours of my time to the community, I can honestly say that my stats are and followers online are numbers, they don’t define me, and they shouldn’t define you.

You aren’t here to write what you think will be popular.

Pushing yourself to learn your craft isn’t a game. To deepen your understanding of the world and discover ideas that matter means something for others as well.

So the ideas we share online aren’t about if your writing peers will like you, or if you can gain some fleeting attention from an app or advertisers, it’s about the value you provide to readers because you are you and have serious interests in those core topics, ideas, values, and spirit around your writing persona, that I mentioned previously.

Photo by The Joy of Film on Unsplash

What happens to content when we are the Medium?

What Drives your Writing Ambition?

What can you do personally to contribute to Medium, the latest attempt to be the best place for reading and writing on the internet?

What will be your persona as a writer that drives you and informs the layer of value for others?

How will your love of writing translate into its impact upon the world?

Hitting 30k followers reminds me of how hard I’ve worked, the sacrifices I’ve made, and all the unread articles I’ve written.

I remain obsessed with asking the big questions about technology that nobody else is willing to ask.

I’m obsessed with developing superior coverage across those futurism topic areas, that help identify trends and carve out part of humanity’s story of the 21st century.

I’m a collector, I’m a curator and I’m a fanatic about those topics.

What are you obsessed about? What keeps you up at night, that you will write about when morning comes?

What ideas revolve around you that you can’t put down until they have expressed something through you?

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By Medium Partner Program Friends — a publication about what unites us all.

Michael K. Spencer

Written by

Blockchain Mark Consultant, tech Futurist, a prolific writer. Always writing. 🌞 DM me on Twitter for quotes: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelkspencer/


By Medium Partner Program Friends — a publication about what unites us all.

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