Melody Kramer

Things I Learned from Publishing A #1 Piece On Medium

15 Feb 2015 by melodyjoykramer

Last Saturday, I published a piece on Medium that sort of went viral, at least within media/tech circles. It shot up to the #1 piece on Medium and then stayed in the top 5 pieces for a few days. I thought I would look at some of the analytics, and also some of what I learned from publishing this piece on Medium in the first place.

  1. I chose to publish the piece on Medium because the piece was very image-heavy and I thought it might make my own website go down if it received a lot of traffic. This was both a good and bad decision. It was good because Medium has a built in social component, and likely attracted an audience that the piece otherwise would not have received. But people are more likely to see my other work on my own website and I could not see all of the analytics I see when pieces are published on my own site. I would recommend publishing to Medium if you are trying to attract a certain audience, namely people who work in journalism or tech. It already has an audience built in. However, I’m not sure if it draws people to you, specifically — and if you’re interested in other metrics, Medium isn’t the right place for you. If you make any advertising revenue from your blog (I don’t), then Medium isn’t the right place for you. Medium is the spot to publish if you don’t want to — or don’t need to — build an audience. There’s already a built-in one.

1a. Some people get paid to write or host articles on Medium. I didn’t know this. But several of the verticals you see on Medium — including The, which hosted my article — get paid by Medium. I learned this after someone mentioned it on Twitter, so I got in touch with The (They had reached out previously to host other articles I had written, so I automatically added this one to The I was not aware that they got paid before this.) I believe the pay is based on the Total Time Reading. If you’re writing an article for Medium that may receive a big audience, consider getting in touch with one of the verticals to see if you can get paid. I’m not sure which verticals pay contributors.

1b. I suspect that the Total Time Reading is skewed for pieces that contain a lot of visuals. Medium stated my piece took 13 minutes to read. I suspect the actual time to read the piece was much shorter, but that the total reading time was skewed by the number of images.

2. Medium gets far less traffic that I would have suspected. Here is the traffic the piece got, from last Saturday through today.

Screenshot 2015-02-15 18.55.40

36,600~ page views is a lot, in some respects, but still far fewer than I would have suspected for a piece that hit the #1 spot on Medium on a Monday. I know that top Medium spots are based on recommendations, but 36,600 is still far fewer page views than I would have suspected.

3. Here are a list of the top referrals to my piece. I thought it was interesting that most of the traffic came from people emailing, IMing, or directly telling people to read it. I suspect — though I can’t know for sure — that I would have had decent traffic had I published this piece on my own website, because it was naturally shareable.

Screenshot 2015-02-15 19.04.44

Would I choose to use Medium again? I suppose if I were trying to attract the audience that Medium already has, yes, I would cross-post to Medium. But I like that my blog is slowly growing a daily audience — and that I can see many more metrics.

4. A lot of people use Medium comments to promote their own product or brand. A lot of the responses to my Medium article were also written to promote other products or brands. I don’t know how I feel about this, but thought I should note that this happens.

5. Medium benefits if influential people use Medium. Influential people may not have time to grow their own audience. If Medium’s audience is composed of influential startup/tech/journalism people, then it’s smart for those people to publish to Medium. I wonder, however, if sometimes they’re just talking to each other — and not thinking about the audience outside of those people. This might be a reason to use Medium, if you want to reach those people. But if you’re trying to reach a wider audience, I’m not sure Medium is the only place you should post your piece.

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