How do you use Medium?
To write or to read will be the natural response but if we delve a little deeper, then we can see patterns emerge. People use Medium in different ways and to get attention, you need to be observant and most importantly, not write what about what you want to write.
As a fledgeling writer, I joined the partner programme six months ago. In that time, I have gone from being unnoticed to gaining followers daily. On top of this, I have seen my work published by different publications and have an understanding of what works.
You need to experiment. In a scientific manner, you need to write and publish. Simple really, but you need to see what works and what does not work. What is picked up by publications and or Medium itself for further distribution and note down the patterns.
Before writing on Medium I had a long-standing personal blog. Within which I covered varied topics that interested me. As I was the Editor and was not being paid for my work, I could quite literally do what I wanted. This is not how you should approach Medium, as it is a very different beast.
Stories relating to Call of Duty are unlikely to gain traction unless they cover an aspect of the game, which no one has thought of. Given that a new release occurs each year and there are thousands of articles on the subject, it is unlikely to gain attention. You will be in a crowded room, full of people shouting, with the conclusion here being that few will pick up your piece.
Choice of Subject Matter
Any marketers out there will recognise the term, long-tail keyword. These are words that are specific and receive less traffic each month, but by that token are an easier means in which to make headway in your chosen market.
‘Focusing on long-tail keywords is a great SEO tactic. Long-tail keywords are keywords or keyphrases that are more specific — and usually longer — than more commonly used keywords. Long-tail keywords get less search traffic, but will usually have a higher conversion value, as they are more specific. They allow you to gradually get more traffic to your site and be found by new and motivated audiences.’
Why focus on long-tail keywords, Yoast.com
By choosing subjects that are around those you want to write about, you will be up against less traffic. Then, when you are established in your profession, people will be more likely to listen to your review on the latest Call of Duty.
Make no mistake, there are hundreds of thousands of writers out there and you need to strategize to stand out.
You may read this and think that you are not interested in getting noticed and gaining traction within your career, and that is fine. You are entitled to move forward in a manner that works for you. My only point here would be to say that you are probably more suited to running a personal blog if you are only writing for yourself.
I look ahead when I consider my content and aim for a mixture of the subject matter.
Choice of How Often to Publish
I began my Medium journey by publishing once a week. After a couple of months, this moved to twice a week, and now it is up to four times a week.
I have adopted this approach as it gives me a chance to explore. I concentrate each week on subjects that I am interested in, those with a niche subject matter, and publishing for the publications that have listed me as an author.
By adopting an approach such as this I am testing my assumptions, seeing what works and what doesn’t, whilst ensuring consistency. The consistency comes from maintaining contact with those publications that have listed me as an author. Here I have access to a wider audience than that which is listed on my profile, gaining more traction with each piece.
By publishing four times each you will give yourself a chance to see what works, and gain access to new audiences. Publications are key to this process.
Publications on Medium
I cannot overemphasise how important publications are.
The odds are incredibly low, even with the latest updates to Medium, that you will be noticed as a fledgeling author. You need help and guidance. Research a few publications via Google. Do not do it through the Medium search feature as I have always found this to be lacking. Google top Medium publications within your area of choice.
Once you have a list, follow them, and see what style of the piece they publish. Then get yourself added as an author and pitch or submit. This experience has been invaluable to me. You see the differences between publications and what will get through in one, will not in another.
All I can say here is that you need to be patient and always be respectful as most receive multiple submissions a day.
Listen to the Feedback Provided
Sometimes you can be absolutely convinced that what you have written is Shakespeare. We all feel this way when you won’t take no for an answer, but you need to listen.
On Medium, you are creating content for others, not yourself. You need to pay attention to the feedback. If your piece gets rejected by a couple of publications, then ask for feedback (if not provided) and ask why?
Yes. It is humbling to be placed under the microscope and potentially be told what you do not want to hear, but you need to listen. These publications exist to help others but if when they do help you, your response is simply to ignore them, then they may not help again.
Be polite when approaching publications and open your ears. Never get too close to your content and accept what is said. If this proves to be too much, then maybe you should stick to a personal blog.
Choice of When to Publish
‘On average, it’s true that posts published during peak hours (6am — 3pm PST on weekdays) tend to perform better.’
When is the best time to publish? Wrong question. Medium
The quote above is from an article on Medium. It is from the conclusion and taken completely out of context. The reason I have added it here is simply to showcase that you need to consider when to publish.
Medium, like all of us, has peak hours, but that does not mean that when you publish your article, it may be lost as it is done so at 9 pm. Medium is a worldwide entity and so someone may be looking at that time.
What I will simply say is that if you are crafting an article about schools in England (my home country) and publish at midnight GMT time, then it may be lost. Your article here is country-specific and will most likely be lost in the world context. You need to ensure that your primary audience is given the chance to see your piece when it is most relevant.
This article is not meant to be a definitive guide. It is based on my experience and contains my opinions. Some of these you may be able to prove wrong, but I wanted to share as Medium is a community. You are rewarded here for interesting content. You need to then pay attention to the voices in the community or concede that this is not the platform for you.
Every platform operates differently but at their core, you hope that content is rewarded, being humble and appreciated is encouraged and experimenting is essential.
You need to find what works for you in life and if you only take one thing away from this article, then it is that you need to be patient and find what works. Write and listen. Keep in mind that you are writing for the community and not yourself on Medium.