Medium has been around for a while. Some people sing its praises. Others are vocal about how Medium continues to change their business model to their detriment
That’s not why I’m on Medium. Though I’ve been republishing articles on the platform for a while, I’ve never focused on it. It’s never been and will never be our base of operations. It’s more like a loosely defended outpost.
It was always a small piece to an overall content marketing strategy. One of the reasons I never went too deep into it was because when you publish on Medium, you’re just another Medium writer.
I cease to be Daniel Ndukwu or KyLeads. You lose your identity unless you’ve already brought a huge audience with you. I didn’t. Apart from that, the reporting features leave a lot to be desired.
I’ve never adopted a consistent strategy specific to Medium. If I wanted to write something that didn’t fit into the topic of our blog then I’d just publish a Medium article. That was all the thought I gave to it.
Some of them were successful. Most weren’t.
In April 2018 that changed. I decided to give it 30 days of consistent effort and measure the results. This article sums up my learnings.
Where I started my Medium experiment
On April 12, 2018, I started my Medium experiment. The premise was simple. Write an article every day for thirty days. I also put a few limitations on myself:
- I couldn’t email my list
- I wouldn’t promote it (apart from Twitter) across the internet
- The only extra push would be from Medium publications
- I wouldn’t tell anyone about the experiment so they wouldn’t visit my Medium profile more often.
Apart from that, I was free to write about any and everything. The only other thing I tried to do was link back to KyLeads on relevant articles. This wasn’t a big deal; it was just something I kept in mind.
I started the experiment with 731 followers.
I had 420 article views and 134 reads in the thirty days before I started the experiment.
It’s important to note I wasn’t exactly starting from scratch. I’m by no means the most popular writer on Medium but a few people follow me and clap for my articles regularly. In addition to a few followers, I’m also a writer for a half a dozen publications.
During the course of the experiment, I didn’t hustle for my articles to be featured in any new publications. If you’re brand new to Medium, that may be one of the most effective things you can do to get more eyeballs on your content.
Now, let’s look at what actually happened during my Medium experiment.
The Medium Writing Experience
As I mentioned before, I’m a writer for many publications on Medium. The plan was to write an article and submit to them on a daily basis.
I quickly ran into a snag. The editors are busy people. They get submissions all day every day. It takes time for them to review and accept a submission. I didn’t take that into account.
I’d submit one article a day and sometime three of them would get published at the same time. If you look at my timeline, you’ll see I would publish up to four articles at the same time.
That wouldn’t work for what I was trying to accomplish.
I stopped submitting first. Instead, I’d publish directly then submit to publications. They could accept at their leisure and I’d get the benefit of adding my work to a publication while keeping a consistent schedule.
It worked out pretty well. Not all my articles were accepted. Either it wasn’t a good fit or I removed it from one publication and added it to another because I felt like I’d get more exposure that way.
In the end, out of 30 articles, 19 were accepted to publications. Not bad.
One thing I noticed was an increase in engagement across the board. I was expecting a few shares and claps. I got more than that. People were commenting on the articles and highlighting parts that stood out to them.
I think this was in part due to the way I was writing. Usually, I write about topics related to entrepreneurship and marketing. During the thirty day period, I touched on a wider range of topics. With many of them, I was shooting from the hip.
What I mean by that is my articles weren’t as narrow in scope. I wrote about a variety of subjects like how I felt like giving up at times, not going for broke, and overwork. It appealed to a wider audience.
There was just a larger amount to consume. Gary V refers to this as content, on content, on content. His process is a bit more sophisticated.
Many of those people may not become subscribers or customers. It’s all good. They may still introduce me to the person that will. Apart from that, it’s interesting to see which parts of an article resonate with people the most.
The results of my Medium writing
The part you’ve been waiting for. What actually happens when you write on Medium for a full month?
For me, the metric I wanted to improve the most was my Medium follower count. While I got a little boost, it was negligible. This is probably due to the fact that I didn’t promote the articles much.
I started with 731 followers and ended with 759 followers.
That’s an increase of 28 followers or roughly 4%. My target was to hit a thousand followers or a 36% increase. I failed woefully in that regard.
Looking back, I could have utilized more calls to action. For the most part, I just wrote and published. Only a handful of the articles had any sort of call to action to speak of.
Let’s look at my traffic stats.
After thirty days of writing on Medium, I got 1421 views on my articles and 488 reads.
I started with 420 views which is a 338% increase. Not bad. As far as actual reads, I started with 134 and increased it by 364%. Also not bad.
Even though I started with pretty low numbers, I’m happy with the increase. But these are stats for my Medium activity. More important to me is how many people left medium and went to my websites.
Google seemed to have trouble picking up the referrals sent from Medium. Luckily, I was also using a short link via bit.ly (but there are many options like Rebrandly).
That one picked up 27 clicks to our website.
Out of the 488 people that read my articles a little over 5% clicked through to my website. Ehn, it’s not great and it’s not horrible. If it was an advertisement I would be jumping for joy.
It could’ve been improved a lot if I was actively promoting something. What I was doing was linking in the body of my content. There was no call to action or anything of that nature. So, I’m ok with the results.
I still believe in the power of Medium. Even though the results of my case study appear to be lackluster, you have to consider a few things. I basically published and prayed. I tweeted each article once, maybe twice, and did absolutely no more promotion.
If I were to do that on a normal blog, my views would’ve been much lower. I was also able to drive traffic to my website. Even though it was only 27 clicks, that translates to about two subscribers (the website is converting at 10% or so.
That’s two subscribers we didn’t have before so it’s a win.
If you’re going to throw your weight behind Medium, make sure you promote your articles and get accepted to publications. You can get much better results than me.