The Medium Advantage

A recent article by Linda Caroll discussed her reasons for signing on the dotted line and driving off with a shiny new Medium membership. I also signed up, and for the very same reasons.

But I have more.

As a writer I find Medium to be the perfect outlet for my longer publicly facing thoughts and rantings; creations I wouldn’t normally put on Facebook or even my own website’s blog page. However, it’s also a great resource for new writers, or for someone who is working to attract more copywriting and content marketing clients (me), to showcase their work.

Medium provides a platform upon which an unknown writer can find exposure and followers overnight. Simply commenting on other people’s stories brings eyeballs to your own page, and often leads to followers if your work is worthy. Or, it introduces you to writers who you can follow and learn from. That’s a couple of words that are worth repeating — and learn from.

Medium also gives people a place to write where visitors expect to find longer articles instead of quick, Facebook style blips. They are more likely to read your work from end to end, no matter what the length, because they already know what they’re in for when they see the little “5 minute read” hint at the top of the page.

Then there are the Stats, which are a much more important tool than many people understand. Who doesn’t want to check in and see their reader count go up every day? But the extra value is in the ability to see the numbers and the links to the people who click the little heart symbol without the need for them to sell themselves. At the other end of the links? More writers with experiences and opinions- creations they hope people will read, just like you.

This system has removed the need (not completely) to self-promote unless you wish to. Again, you can go around the web and leave comments on other people’s blog posts, but then you need to include a link to your own stuff and a reason why someone would want to go there. This is a practice that always leaves me feeling like my hands are a little dirty afterward.

It’s kind of like “Hey there, unknown writer person, I liked your post. No, really! So much that I would love for you to follow this link to my own blog and invest 15 minutes of your life in my creation. I’m not trying to sell you on my own writing, I swear. And I really did like what you had to say although I have no way to show it that’s worth much, so would you please help me lead people away from your site and deposit them at my doorstep?”

Medium has allowed us to be read and followed without any “salesy” stuff, unless we want to be salesy. We write, we comment, we are hopefully read in return, and the cycle continues. If we are any good it continues a lot. The entire environment feels like a platform created by writers, and targeted at writers, more than anything else.

As Linda stated, hosting your own website with a blog can cost $5 a month or more. However, drawing people in to that blog is a challenge. Getting them to come more than once can be a full time job. For a beginning writer or business, something posted on your own blog may never be seen by anyone but comment spammers.

But something posted on Medium is almost guaranteed to be read. To keep people coming back to your own blog or site you’ll need to constantly provide fresh content and hope your visitors will sign up for a newsletter or alert.

If you post something on Medium, and people like it, they’ll come back for more. Even if you haven’t provided something new in a month your readers can easily find other engaging content without leaving the site. There is no vacuum, so your visitor is not going to go away feeling empty handed.

As an extra bonus, someone trying to get more freelance writing clients (me again…) can use Medium as their showcase. Their samples and examples can be put up in from of the world for review, where feedback and likes can also drive the writer’s education and growth. If something’s bad, they’ll know. If something is good, they’ll be rewarded. And, they’ll be able to use those rewards to prove themselves to potential customers.

Is all of that worth $5 a month? Is that kind of return worth a single, tall can of Red Bull, or a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich? I certainly think so. I would gladly pay $10 a month (shhh….) for the value I get from Medium. Especially if it gives me all of that without the ubiquitous, creeping advertising sludge that’s invading every single crack and crevice of our lives.

I subscribed to Evernote when they were brand spanking new. I didn’t do it because I was anywhere near the limits of the free account. I didn’t do it because there were some special features I wanted access to. I did it because I wanted Evernote to survive. I did not want to wake up one day and find they had disappeared.

For the same reason I will gladly give Medium $5 a month for as long as they will allow me to write on their pages. They give me far more than that in return.

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