An Infallible Guide: How You Can Be a Top Medium Writer — Key Learnings From My Experience
Dakota Shane

To the (Word)Smithy, Go!

Thank you for this, Dakota.

One thing I’d add. Part of what makes the different social media platforms interesting is the different unwritten rules that develop around their content.

Instagram’s grid view requires thought across posts and not just within them. Snapchat is silly and informal. Twitter is the front porch, where the internet says its howdy’s to passers-by and occasionally one stops for a longer chat. Facebook is a bingo game kids still go to sometimes, because Grandma has unflattering pictures she’ll show off if we don’t come stop her.

One thing I’ve noticed with delight as a relatively late finder of Medium: it’s writerly. Readers here may skim, but they want writing that is more than spoken dialect typed out. It needs to be structured, clever, and evocative. This is not the place to make a point and scram. As I look at what gets the best response, I see real craftsmanship with words.

Medium audiences want to be informed (to your point about delivering value) and entertained. So if you’re gonna write business content, you better be right, but you just as well better have style.

All the exceptions I can find to this rule (and there are some – e.g. Gary Vaynerchuk, Larry Kim, and people like that) are people who brought their audiences with them.

Native audiences here enjoy the rhythm and run of the written word. It’s my hope that the Medium Staff lean into this as they roll out features, algorithm updates, and monetization opportunities.

I love Gary, Larry, and Co. But Medium was built to allow creators to focus on the words in a way these guys just don’t. User bias is toward discussion that is artful, even literary, whatever its subject matter. That makes discussion here harder to get but better when it comes.

This is why Medium is like nothing else on the internet. Many of its composing tools can be found on LinkedIn, for example, where I also do a lot of reading. But that stuff is all value and no vision. Business writing on Medium is sometimes plain beautiful!

I hope Medium sees this and cherishes it. I hope that those who do it better and are more likely to succeed with native users get the lion’s share of Medium’s attention, instead of those who simply bring huge audiences from other platforms.

This bias towards craftsmanship is the heart and soul of the product and its primary differentiating value.

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