Read on Medium.
I’ve been active on Medium for more than three years now, more than on any other platform.
A platform like Medium has several advantages for bloggers, but it also comes with heavy drawbacks.
You can earn money, but the Medium Partner Program is usually not that generous.
You may get more views than on external websites, but you don’t own that traffic. It’s all traffic toward a platform that you don’t control.
It’s easy to publish, but you have no identity. You have no decent profile page, nor a custom domain, nor the possibility of categorizing and featuring your own content. No showcase. No reference portfolio.
And the list could continue.
At some point, you feel the need for an external platform that you own and control, that would be more difficult to grow but likely a better fit for your goals.
At first, like anybody on Medium, I submitted to publications. A means to get some exposure, which is overwise zero.
But, with a few exceptions, I soon discovered that publications are not about curation. Most popular publications are popular just because they publish quite anything. So, they grow a “community” of writers, but not a real audience of readers. And posts are soon flushed away by fresh content. The exposure, especially to a real audience of readers (not a clapping circle), is largely overvalued, and it’s not uncommon to hear crickets also when publishing in top publications.
In the meanwhile, my writing started to focus on a few well-defined areas.
So, I started a few publications of my own, two in English (Inside Blogging and The Human Core) and one in Italian (Davvero), my native language.
Since then, I usually publish only there, when I post on Medium.
This way, I can grow an audience around a curated and focused publication. And, reflexively, I get more exposure for myself. Especially since I’m still the main contributor there.
Running a publication shouldn’t be taken lightly. It shouldn’t be just a container, or results won’t come. And I must admit that I put too little effort into them, having to split my energies into multiple streams. But some results came. My main publication has still fewer followers than myself, but it contributed to my exposure.
On Medium, you can’t ignore that a paywall is there, and wonder if it’s worth putting all of your articles behind it.
In my case, some of my articles could clearly address search engines, and I had no choice but to let them be public. This means no curation and no money, of course. But, this way, you get some effective Google traffic. You need that too, especially if you want to understand how your articles could perform outside Medium.
Also, I wanted some articles accessible by everyone. And the paywall, even with friend links and three free stories per month, is a barrier.
Thus, the paywall has been one of my concerns for a long while, but I finally solved that too for the best when stepping outside Medium.
Outside and inside Medium
In the last months, I finally tuned my writing identities. Not easy, and still a work in progress. But the thing is settled enough for building on it.
First, I created my website for the “humanistic” writing (personal stories, poetry, and self-help). Then, I created the one about blogging and tech.
More on: Finally, My Writing Website. Wow.
Those blogs gain little traffic, but a couple of my stories hooked Google, and that’s a sign that something is possible there. For Vico Notes, the “serious” one, I’ve no expectations, but I wanted a reference site to share, and I have it now. I would keep it even at ten views per day (like it is now…).
So, I finally have a solid publishing strategy that I’m happy with. And, as you’ll soon see, that solves my problems with the MPP, keeping its advantages.
Unless the post is too Medium related, or too topical, or outside the focus of my websites, I publish on my websites first. And that happens quite always.
Then, I republish on Medium, usually in one of my publications. And, now, I can put it in the MPP independently of wanting it to be public. The public one gets traffic from Google on my website. The Medium one gets the money.
It already happened with one of my stories, that I would leave public a few months ago. Now it’s not only public on my website, and earns money on Medium, but it’s also been curated by Medium.
I only leave out of the MPP those stories where I rant about Medium. Earning money from them would subtract from my karma.
All my stories in the external websites explicitly point to the Medium republish (with the friend link), for those who prefer Medium. I don’t do the contrary because it’s unlikely that someone wants to switch from Medium to outside. Putting the “published on…” would be a waste of attention that I prefer to use otherwise.
On Medium, I set the canonical link to the original version on my website.
Occasionally, I repost on other platforms (like Ello), but this is marginal for me, currently.
I now own my traffic. I have my stories on my ground. I can feature them on my websites. I have their address in my own domain. I have a portfolio. I have my stories public while earning money with the MPP.
It’s a good setup for me. My writing has finally found home.
Time to get back writing and promoting.