Lessons Learned From My First Month on Medium
Last month, I decided to make the jump: I began writing “full-time” on Medium.
This is not my first rodeo on Medium. I’ve been publishing since 2016 when I joined the now-shuttered NBA blog 16 Wins A Ring (which I still sometimes miss). I have published on-and-off since the blog shut down in 2017.
To begin September, though, I realized I needed to get to writing. I’m a recent journalism graduate from IUPUI and have yet to find a job, so I figured, “Hey! There’s always Medium!”
I will admit, seeing people have some financial success on this platform was a factor in me committing to daily writing — and almost-daily publishing. I’ve always had a talent and passion for writing and letting my creative juices dry up didn’t seem like a great idea whether I was raking in the dough or not.
While 30 days may not seem like a long time, that’s 30 days of writing and publishing content of my own as well as reading and interacting with the other lovely writers on Medium (there’s a lot of them!).
So, here’s what I learned.
Stockpiling stories can relieve a lot of future stress
Writing every day is hard. The motivation to write, especially after a hard shift at your day job, isn’t always there.
Early on in the month, it was fairly easy for me to stick to the schedule and publish something every day. I would try my best to stay one day ahead so I could relax and not write one day if I needed it.
This plan started crumbling towards the end of the month. It would have completely crumbled if I didn’t take advantage of my good days and write a ton.
While there were days where I didn’t write anything, there were others where I wrote 2–3 stories. This helped me publish almost every day in September. And, moving forward, I will be sure to milk my good days for all they have so I never have to worry about missing a day.
Not all stories die
A fun surprise in September was that stories don’t just die a few days after they’re published.
The biggest surprise was a story I wrote in May, which was curated, still receiving views four months later. It’s still earning money!
“Rodeo” is Travis Scott’s best work
The majority of Travis Scott’s fanbase has likely assembled thanks to his work in the past three years, namely Birds in…
This was a promising revelation as it showed me that publishing a large portfolio of work overtime gives you more chances to attract an audience and, therefore, earn money.
I look at Medium like YouTube. How many YouTube videos get recommended to you that are 6 months, 1 year, or 5 years old? Stories never die just like videos never die.
If you are creating valuable, evergreen content, it could catch fire at any time — even if it’s months or years old.
Make a niche fit you. Don’t just join an established one
One interesting lesson I learned in my first full-time month on Medium: your stories sell!
Creating your own niche of stories that you find interesting will help you attract a reliable audience of fans that love you. It may take longer to establish yourself this way; contributing to a defined niche that has a large audience could certainly help you grow quicker.
But will people really stick around?
I joined Medium wanting to write about business and investing. As I started going, though, I realized that wasn’t all I wanted to talk about. I created my own niche, discussing a bunch of different things that interested me and told some of my own personal stories.
These personal stories can become hits, too. Just look at some of the recommended stories on your homepage.
The story below was curated and published by The Startup because I offered a unique story and angle that not just anybody could put out there.
How Working for a Large Corporation Helped Inspire My Creativity
They will milk you for everything if you let them
Trying to fit into an already-established niche can work out, but you don’t need a ton of supporters to make it. Write what you know and you will get all you need.
The Importance of Making 10 True Fans
Before worrying about your first million, worry about your first ten
Curation can lead to more than just views
Curation is great. It shows you that the Medium editors respect your writing and think readers will benefit from seeing it. It can get you a lot more than that, though.
In the previous lesson, I linked to an article that was published by The Startup. That piece was self-published and eventually curated. Not long after its curation, the publication reached out to me to publish it.
This was exciting, obviously, as The Startup is Medium’s largest publication and publish only the best stories.
It showed me the power of curation and how self-publishing isn’t always the worst route to take.
You don’t need publications, but they certainly help
To add onto that, publications are great and put you in front of a new audience. It doesn’t guarantee a large number of views, though.
On the flip side, self-publishing doesn’t always guarantee a low number of views. This piece, though published now, got a lot of traction when it was self-published.
Medium members aren’t the only people reading your stories
One shocking revelation was how many random external views my stories got this past month.
This story has received 91% of its views externally, most of those external views coming through Google search.
The earlier story I linked on Travis Scott has received 78% of its views externally over its lifetime. The vast majority of its recent views have been from external sources.
So despite these stories being locked behind the Medium Partner Program paywall, they still receive a large number of external views.
Here’s to another great month and more lessons on Medium!