Mark My Words: Medium Will Win — Here’s Why

Lauren Holliday
The Startup
Published in
8 min readMay 13, 2016


People laugh at me and my ideas all the time.

In 2012, I clearly remember my entire advanced reporting class laughing at me as I pitched a story about “sugar babies.” The big local newspaper editor at Orlando Sentinel laughed at me too.

Orlando Weekly didn’t though, and my cover story was a massive hit — so much so — I got Facebook tags, like the one below, from former classmates:

”Big ups to Lauren Holliday for having the foresight to appreciate the appeal/newsworthiness of this story a year and a half before local news media covered it. We all thought she was a bit nutty for pursuing the story and that it belonged in the Weekly, not the Sentinel, but this will likely be one of their most popular stories this month. On behalf all of us in Speere’s Fall 2011 Advanced Reporting class, we stand corrected.”

In 2014, I clearly remember my editor at the time rejecting one of my favorite pieces I’d ever written because “it wasn’t consumer-facing.”

Embarrassed because I’d been rejected by this hot-shot, former CNN editor, I’d forget about the post for a couple months and press pause on publishing it.

Then one night, I was up late, bored, and I was just aching to publish the post in discussion on Medium.

I did. Within a day, this became the most popular post I’ve ever published. Look at the numbers from just the first week:

This screenshot does not even mention the number of personalized emails from really big deals, who’d read and loved my post.

Investors, potential partners, prospects, inspired readers, interview requests, etc. The list is pretty long.

My Medium following, which hovered around 400, skyrocketed.

A question I get quite often is: Why do you publish on Medium as opposed to somewhere else — like your own blog perhaps?

The above is just one reason why I choose to publish on Medium. In total, there are seven reasons Medium has stolen my loyalty and why I predict it’ll win the war on publishing. Here they are.

1. Medium has a massive and engaged built-in audience.

See above. Anyone can be somebody on Medium… Anyone who publishes phenomenal content of course.

2. Medium believes in native advertising.

How annoying is it to read on Forbes?

The Forbes experience makes me cray cray. So cray cray that I always take the risk of missing a really great article as opposed to uninstalling my ad blocker or opening a different browser, like Safari, to read the post.

For the sake of this post, I uninstalled my ad blocker, as I waited for Forbes to load and read my quote of the day.

Look at this…

… this is Forbes “Ad-Light” version.

This page not only kills my eyes, distracts the hell out of me and completely ruins my reading experience, but it also costs me (and you) a nice chunk of money in the form of Internet data fees.

“Beyond loading times, web page sizes matter because most of the latest smartphone plans have data limits. Some carriers, like AT&T and Verizon, charge fees if you surpass your data allotment. So the websites with bloated ads not only take longer to load, but they can pad data consumption and phone bills.” (Source)

If you’re wondering which publications are costing you the most money in data, check out this super neat interactive chart from the New York Times.

So let’s recap.

Traditional Ads Drool…

  1. They cost you money in data usage, which gets pricey. My Verizon bill last month was $163 — a price so high because of my solo data plan. #Insane
  2. They’re annoying, spammy and ruin the reading experience.
  3. Ads significantly increase the time it takes for articles to load; therefore, wasting your time, your battery life and your money spent on data.

… and Native Advertising Rules.

Like it or not, content production isn’t free.

We’re going to have to pay to consume content, and personally, I’d prefer to have brands pay through native advertising that has strict editorial guidelines.

Sponsored content is a subset of native advertising, which The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)defines as ”paid ads that are so cohesive with the page content, assimilated into the design, and consistent with the platform behavior that the viewer simply feels that they belong.”

Basically, paid posts look like any other piece of content online; the difference is that brands pay publishers to post it on their site to reach their audience.


Native advertising is another post in itself so if you’re interested in learning more about it, read this post. If you want to read about how Medium is going to utilize native ads, go here.

3. Medium puts writers first.

One of the most important pieces of a marketplace is not demand; it’s supply. At the earliest stages, how effective are you at getting suppliers on board, and how loyal are they to your service? A lot of times that actually leads to demand. If your supply is loyal, the demand will come. (Source)

Medium will win because it’s the ONLY place that actually protects writers from trolls.

A recent story on Buzzfeed is a prime example of the above quote.

In short, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and others are all competing for influential Vine stars to create content for their platforms because remember, Facebook is only a platform — the content comes from individuals.

Facebook is already paying media companies and celebrities to post video via its Live product. The company is offering around $250,000 for 20 posts per month over a three-month period, according to one source with knowledge of the arrangement. (BuzzFeed is among the group of Facebook Live paid media partners.) (Source)

We’re seeing a great awakening for content creators, including writers, and Medium is the ONLY place protecting writers from nasty trolls — this is a HUGE benefit for me.

Last year, I nearly quit writing after I wrote a touchy post. The commenters were brutal, and I just felt like giving up.

I write because I enjoy teaching and bringing awareness to issues near and dear to my heart. I enjoy debating. I’d love to debate with commenters, who have differing opinions because they know information I don’t. [#GrowthMindset] Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to do that because it’d mean I’d actually have to read all the comments — even the nasty and downright mean ones from trolls, who I can’t even dignify with a response.

I’m not the only writer who feels this way after reading a nasty and pointless comment. Publishers that don’t take writers feelings into consideration are going to lose because, remember, supply drives demand.

Here’s a screenshot of what Medium does to suppress trolls.

4. Medium is actually transparent.

If you haven’t read this remarkable piece in Gizmodo, I highly suggest it. It was a somewhat shocking piece (depending on what you do for a living) about how Facebook uses human curators to boost “good” content and demote “bad” content.

These curators are all faceless contractors.

One reason Facebook might want to keep the trending news operation faceless is that it wants to foster the illusion of a bias-free news ranking process — a network that sorts and selects news stories like an entirely apolitical machine.

After all, the company’s entire media division, which is run by Facebook’s managing editor Benjamin Wagner, depends on people’s trust in the platform as a conduit for information.

If an editorial team is deliberating over trending topics — just like a newspaper staff would talk about front-page news — Facebook risks losing its image as a non-partisan player in the media industry, a neutral pipeline for distributing content, rather than a selective and inherently flawed curator. (Source)

Facebook’s ranking algorithm should NOT be a secret and neither should these contractors.


We’re praising coders for their algorithms like there’s no tomorrow, but it’s actually humans — journalists in fact — who are the algorithm. This is another blog post but just something to chew on.


I don’t know about you, but I don’t like companies trying to BS me. Medium doesn’t do that. I can easily read about Medium’s News + Curation Team here — even see a freakin’ face behind Medium — how refreshing.

Then I can read Medium’s Curation: Guidelines and Principles.

Transparency is fair, which brings me to my next point.

5. Medium is fair.

There’s justice on Medium. It’s like the American dream for bloggers — any blogger, any lil’ ole’ blogger like me — can make it on Medium with just one post.

6. There’s actual people — like team members — behind Medium, who are accessible.

I love that Medium shows who posted jobs.

Medium isn’t some black hole on the Internet. Its team members actually use the platform and add value to it.

#AccessibilityRules #BlackHolesDrool

7. Medium is beautiful.

I love writing on Medium. I love highlighting on Medium. And I think there’s a lot of potential for me to love responding on Medium.

It’s simple, intuitive and focused on your words. I love that I can highlight. When I’m not reading on Medium, I use a Chrome extension, called Highly, but it’s not as enjoyable to use as Medium’s highlighting feature. This brings me to my conclusion…

Imagine how beneficial it would be to us — readers and writers — actual platform users if Medium was the publishing platform of choice. I think my wish will come sooner rather than later, and there’s your seven reasons why.

Liked this? Don’t be shy, click reply and tell me why. (Okay, sorry — took the rhyming too far there)