The Un-Curatable: What To Do When Medium Won’t Curate Us?
NOTE: This is highly platform specific for Medium.com but the learning of what to do when we get new information about our business plans should be helpful to many folks in all types of situations.
Medium.com has told, or at least, hinted to some of us that we are not “curatable.” We’ll dig into how we know later.
So what’s the big deal? Why does this even matter?
Well for those of us that have found — or gotten the strong suggestion — that we won’t be curated it fundamentally alters the business deal we have with Medium.com. After all, many of us are participating in — and relying on — the “Medium Partner Program”. We are business partners, at least in name.
So like any business deal, when the mix of information changes we have to make a business decision whether to stay the course or change.
Since learning that I am probably never going to be curated I’ve had to rethink my business deal with Medium.com and my overall business strategy. I’ll take some time to discuss what I am seeing and considering in hopes it will help you.
How Do We Know We Won’t Be Curated?
Curation at Medium.com is a big of a mystery. There are some details available at Medium.com.
And while the page explaining curation says it is “everything writers need to know” the truth is, based on what I am hearing in Medium writers forums and my own experience, there is a lot of writers want to know that isn’t on that page.
According to that page there are 35 curators looking at thousands of stories every day. That’s a lot of work.
And for many writers, like myself, when we post stories we get a message back saying that our stories were never reviewed by a curator because of “high volume.” And it makes sense. With thousands of stories for 35 curators not everything can possibly be reviewed.
But it seems that not a single one of my stories has ever even been reviewed. From searching past stories every story I have sent into Medium has not been reviewed due to “high volume.”
As for me, with a 0% curation rate, I wrote to Medium.com asking why I was never curated.
I got a series of messages from “Matthew.” Unlike most businesses I deal with Matthew did not have a last name. Just a first name. Kinda like Madonna.
For a week or so I would write to Medium/Matthew and every day (or two) Matthew would reply back. My base question was always this: “Is there something wrong with my account causing none of my articles to be reviewed for curation?”
I got a number of replies from Matthew but none of them ever answered my question. Several times I asked Matthew to just answer the first question but with no luck.
What I did get is one email suggesting, in unclear language, if my none of articles have been reviewed for curation it’s likely that none of my future articles will be reviewed either.
Meaning, somehow, my account is marked to not be curated. I asked Matthew about this at which time he sent me an email saying he can’t discuss the curation process with me.
Days before he could send me an unclearly worded message about curation. But Matthew couldn’t explain to me what that message really meant.
NOTE: Other authors have written in about why none of their articles were reviewed for curation and then had some, or even an entire block, of their articles curated.
As for me, and several others I’ve heard about, I am in the no curation list it seems.
Matthew did encourage me to send articles to my own networks on social media and bring my own traffic to Medium.com.
Can We Build Critical Mass on Medium.com Without Curation?
So the real question is can we build critical mass on Medium.com without curation? I am just not sure and this is a current question in my head.
The curation process which allows your article to be distributed to more readers seems like a great way to get more readers. Like so many social media things today getting people to follow your work is a key to building success. Each new follower gives you that chance for exponential growth. Yes, publications are an option too, but not having curation as a possibility cuts off much of the exponential growth possibility.
Since Medium.com has suggested my articles will never be curated it’s time for me to think can I build an audience and following without some support from them?
For users like me, who Matthew suggests won’t be curated in the future, Medium.com becomes like a forum to host our personal blog EXCEPT when we bring traffic to Medium.com Medium will show them articles of other writers to move our traffic away. If they were on my personal blog, however, they would be more likely to stay and read another of MY articles on my blog.
Will Medium.com Ever Be Our Partner?
So being enrolled in the Medium Partner Program I have to wonder if Medium will ever be my “partner.” Other than paying me for traffic I bring to them to redirect elsewhere are they going to help me?
It seems apparent that Medium is not going to help me get my view numbers up. Without curation I am guessing Medium.com won’t be bringing much traffic to my articles.
But Matthew still encourages me to use my social media to bring more traffic to Medium.
How about Medium.com giving me an occasional chance to earn some more traffic. I get the randomness of curation. I get that for some reason they may never like my work. But could one of the 35 curators read one of my articles once in a while to see if I’ve grown enough as a writer to be worthy of a curation?
Matthew’s email seems to suggest that that won’t be happening for me.
Can We Meet Our Business Goals Without Curation?
So the question becomes can I meet my business goals without getting curated on Medium.com. The true answer is I don’t know.
I like Medium and I love the other authors I have meet. Groups like Medium Partner Program Friends, Medium Magic and Medium Mastery have lead to new friendships and getting to see a lot of great writing from other authors like Michael K. Spencer, Vanessa Torre, Daniel Goldman and Christina Ward.
But my core reasons for join Medium.com — to build the network of people that know my body of work on the Future of Business — seems to be thwarted. I know many are on Medium.com for the direct income it may pay. I think that a payment from Medium would be nice — but I really want more people to know what I do so that they hire me for training their employees, bring me in to consult or hire me as a keynote speaker to speak at their next conference to enhance the audience’s knowledge on the future of business.
If I am not gaining new eyeballs on my work I am not sure why I am on Medium.com.
Since the news from Matthew of not being curatorable is new I have to remap my strategy. I don’t know if Medium.com now meets by business goals.
So I am not sure what is next. I started on Medium.com with one goal and understanding and Matthew has told me that I might not be able to EVER achieve my goals on the platform.
So it’s a time for re-evaluation of what’s next for me.
Exploring Some Other Options
I’ve asked others what they would do and the long-term plans of other writers on Medium.com. Maybe I’ll keep writing in hopes of refining my skills and being picked up by a mainstream platform where I can get to more of my audience.
Maybe I’ll use my time that I spend writing for Medium.com for something else. I really don’t know where I will go next but it’s getting clear I need to explore other options.
My Plan (For Now)
So you’ll seem me on Medium.com for a bit while I keep writing and evaluating what to change next in my business plans. Maybe it’ll work and I’ll stay for a while.
I’d love to hear from others what you are seeing with curation, your business goals and what is next.
If I get enough input from the community I’ll do a follow-up on piece on what the non-curated should do and what are the options for all writers outside of Medium.com.
I am glad to collect your great thoughts as I work through this process and try to make something useful for my new friends who are my fellow Medium writers.
By: The Our Shawn McBride who is constantly studying the Future of Business as the host of The Future Done Right(TM) Show. If you want regular content on the future of business subscribe to get new blog posts from us here.
One of my recurring themes on Medium.com is looking at what words mean. Here are some prior articles on the subject:
And for some completely different topic from me check out Why I’ve Given Up On Work-Life Balance.
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