An Introduction to Politics on Medium

Matt Higginson
Politics Guide
Published in
5 min readSep 7, 2016

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Medium is democratizing the op-ed page and changing the way people talk about politics and public policy.

Medium is a place for the well known and unknown to share their expertise and insights. It is for people who increasingly feel stuck in a media echo chamber, dissatisfied with hot takes on headlines and the social media clamor that fill their daily reads.

Our politics crave substance, candor, and credibility more than ever, from people who can deepen your perspective and/or challenge your bias.

Page views are a misleading metric created by Silicon Valley and Wall Street to monetize content on the internet, but page views alone don’t deliver value. This has led to a world where content runs a mile wide but an inch deep, and digital publications have been optimized for clicks, not engagement.

Think about the implications. Success is often defined by the website’s ability to distract a reader’s attention away from quality content through a barrage of digital clutter. They dangle tantalizing images, distracting ads, and salacious headlines across the page to convince readers to click on more and more. The last thing they want is for people to stop, think, and react.

And those who do stop to think encounter comment sections laced with anonymous, vitriolic ignorance.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

You can own your words, in your own space, on a neutral and deeply connected platform. You can reach the right audience, build a network of readers to engage as true participants in the political process, and move the public discourse forward through conversation.

Below are four ways politicians, elected leaders and political campaigns can get more out of Medium and participate in the way it is intended. At the bottom of this post is a table of contents for the remainder of the guide, including case studies, tips and tricks, and best practices:

1. Say something of consequence.

If your first instinct is, “Finally, somewhere to publish our press releases!”, you should reconsider. People aren’t paying attention to your press releases just because they aren’t published to a well-designed network of civically engaged readers. They aren’t paying attention to your press releases because they are banal and say little of consequence.

If you want to captivate the reader’s attention, challenge or enhance our perspective. Tell us a personal and impactful story. Make your case with conviction and compelling evidence.

The Medium community values nuance. This is not a request to be provocative for the sake of being provocative, nor is this an invitation to abandon passion. So bring us your press releases, but reimagine what a press release should be. Say something that matters and abandon your tired boilerplate.

The internet is crowded. Candor stands out.

2. Emulate how you want others to interact with your content.

Medium, as place to broadcast your message to a thoughtful audience, is great. Medium, as a place to interact with a thoughtful audience, is much better. Like any community, the more active you are, the more meaningful interactions you will experience.

Occasional drive-by broadcasts will yield moderate results. There are a variety of engagement tools on Medium to deploy — highlights, text shots, and tags. Use them, and others will too.

When you find an inspiring (or infuriating) story anywhere else online, there is very limited recourse to strengthen or push back on the author’s point of view. On Medium, that is precisely what you are supposed to do. Find writers who are discussing topics you are interested in. Build upon their ideas or challenge them with a response.

3. Start a publication.

Publications are a powerful way to aggregate content into verticals — to build your very own magazine on Medium. You can host content from multiple writers in your publication; staff, policy experts, volunteers, constituents, colleagues, and validators can all contribute their thoughts. If someone you trust can say it well, recruit them to publish into your publication. Conversations benefit from a variety of perspectives.

With publications, you can also take advantage of Medium’s ability to email your stories directly to the inboxes of your readers through our letters tool.

4. Incite a discussion.

Medium wants to help facilitate what comes after a story is read: that high-quality conversation around the issues and ideas that matter to people. Use the response feature often. If Twitter is, “Here is what’s happening now,” Medium is, “Here is what I think we should do about it.”

Think of the last time you read an article so compelling, it changed your perspective and you emailed it to your friends and family and/or brought it up in conversation with colleagues. Your friends may have objected to the author’s conclusions or built upon their insights and deepened your own critical thought. Chances are you left those discussions a little smarter, with a greater appreciation for the issue and the people you talked to about it.

Bring those same conversations to Medium, capture that dynamic, and give the world a seat at the table to participate.

Table Of Contents

Case Studies:

On Medium:

FAQ:

Medium in the Press:

You can also find an extensive list of guides in the Medium Help Desk

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