I am also a writer on Medium who has been assigned a “smaller stage” and a “shorter reach” with my microphone, but I don’t necessarily let the numbers bother me. I’ve also have had a mixture of articles that have done well or done poorly.
There are three things I’ve noticed about writing on Medium. One, that articles tend to do better over time than in the short term. There is a short piece I wrote about time traveller which mostly asks a question, and that’s it, but it is still drawing readers and has gotten a lot of recommendations. I wouldn’t have predicted that this would have happened, because it was just something new I was trying out.
Two, I think that much like anywhere else one the web, it is worthwhile to experiment a little on Medium. I have found that people tend to respond to questions, and (no surprise) images help, even if they simply serve as eye candy at the top of the page (and in the index). I’m still trying different ideas.
It’s a little strange to me to approach the written word as if it is a part of an experiment — after all, much like you (I infer from your article) I’ve grown up with the idea that if one wrote an interesting piece which was superior in structure and spelling that it would naturally draw an audience. Kind of a “if you write it, they will come” mentality. But, I am also a product of the web industry, and I have learned that a lot of what we do for the web comes very close to being like a social experiment. Thanks to platforms like Medium, we are not limited to writing only for our niche audience — we can write from the heart but still tweak our presentation so that it appeals to a broad audience. And, because it’s on the Internet, we can continuously make changes until we see what works. The writer has also become the editor, the publisher, and also the marketer. That’s a pretty powerful combination.
But it is also a bigger range of responsibilities. It would be easy to settle for writing well and focussing a little on the final product, but you can’t forget about the other aspects. I have always posted links to Medium stories on other sites like Facebook and Twitter just to get the word out.
Finally, number three is that I have found that it is possible to “piggyback” on one of those louder “microphones.” As individuals we can join the larger publications instead of standing in our own corner of Medium. I have aspirations of drawing my own audience with my own Medium publication but for now I’m content to submit material somewhere else, just to get my name out.
Hang in there. I enjoyed your article and am happy to say you’ve attracted at least one other follower. Sometimes it is just a matter of growing an audience reader by reader, and that’s how it has always been.