There’s a new player in the social media sphere that’s getting a lot of attention from broad audiences. Medium is also getting noticed by thought leaders and business execs for its open-range style, a space where they can talk shop … but in more of a story-telling and personal way. In terms of networking, think of Medium as a hipper version of LinkedIn. For entrepreneurs and other small businesses who depend on reach larger audiences to stay in the game, it’s worth a look-see.
Is a Twitter … Is It a Facebook? Is It LinkedIn? No … It’s Medium!
Medium is a combination of the major social media platforms and a stand-alone publication. It’s classed as “social journalism,” which merges contributor and reader content. You could call it a hybrid that has some of its own bells and whistles added, which all together, give it super powers. Before getting into the benefits of using Medium, a short discussion of how Medium works is probably helpful.
At first glance, Medium looks like endless postings of blogs belonging to different users. You soon discover there’s more than meets the eye. Anyone can become a user and post articles directly from Medium or you can copy content you’ve posted on your website or elsewhere, and vice versa. At the end of your story, readers are invited to engage with you – the author – and your story. They can recommend it (using the all-familiar heart icon), respond to it publicly, share it on other social networks, and bookmark it. They can even embed your story in their website, highlight sections of your post, and respond and share to those highlights. See why it’s like a cross between a publication and Twitter?
Here’s where Medium seems even more like a publication. You can put your posts into different categories – called “publications.” They become part of your Medium profile. You’re the curator of your publications. You decide what those categories are. You can invite people to read and even write for your publications. And your followers will be notified when you add stories to your publications when they “subscribe” to them. You can also send letters to followers asking them to subscribe to your new publications. So Medium is like a website, publication, blog, and Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts all rolled into one space.
A Little Help from Your Friends at Medium
Medium gives marketers opportunities to spread their message far and wide … and you don’t have to do it all by your lonesome. Medium invites readers to subscribe to a Daily Digest of popular stories and gives them a brief synopsis of suggested publications to follow and a cute little icon next to each. How do you get to be in these Daily Digests? A lot of people have to share, like, recommend you, and share highlights from your stories. Here’s one blurb for The Startup: “#SWLH — Handpicked business, marketing, design, and technology articles for entrepreneurs and startups. Also home to inspiring Medium stories in productivity, life lessons, creativity, writing tips, and self-improvement.”
Are you getting the hint about how laid-back Medium is? Good. That’s the impression Medium wants you to get. It was created as a forum, to be more about your content; more specifically, your opinions, rather than your company, your brand and who you know. Users of Medium gather here for their reading pleasure. Hidden agendas are frowned upon. You job is to tell a story and express yourself – at least that’s the intent for now.
Does audience building in Medium really work? According to Kiki Schirr, co-founder of the fitness goals app Fittr in an interview with Social Media Examiner, it sure does because of its automatic, easily-tapped audience. By cross-posting a small article each day, Kiki was able to attract an impressive 10,000 subscribers to her Medium publication in 66 days.
19 Ways to Impress Your Audience
So how can Medium help grow your small business? Let’s count some of the ways:
- Gain exposure to a global audience.
- Medium gives you access to 35 million visitors each month and an estimated 13 million monthly users.
- You’re sharing a space with thought leaders and public heavyweights like Barack Obama, WordPress’s Matt Mullenweg, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo.
- Your current followers on Twitter and friends on Facebook automatically get to follow you on Medium when they join.
- Readers discover new voices, so it gives the small business the same status as larger companies.
- Medium presents you as an individual and your content as a personal expression.
- Articles lean toward the provocative. Readers are compelled to respond.
- You can collaborate on ideas with your readers.
- You get to impress someone with your story. They may write you back and recommend it to others.
- There are no sidebars, plugins, or widgets to distract your readers. It’s just your words and images on the screen.
- If your story gets recommended by someone with a large following, your story has a chance to make it on Medium’s home page.
- Medium automatically formats your articles and images so they look good on cell phones and other devices.
- You get the exposure without the commitment of a blog that requires regular posting. You contribute when you want.
- You’re free to use your original or repurposed content.
- Users receive a digest by email of your latest “publications” that they follow. So your followers (including Twitter and Facebook) will get notified in a digest email when you post a story (based on their settings).
- You can copy your content from other places on Medium, and vice versa.
- Readers can highlight their favorite quotes or phrases from your story and share them with their online friends.
- You don’t have to limit yourself to 140 characters but your stories get to sort of act like Twitter.
Medium has evolved since it began. It’s still probably trying to figure out what it is. New bells and whistles have been added since its inception in 2012 to help you publish in your own style, edit, share and attract a following. However you might describe Medium, it should include one thing: a social network that rustles up a large audience from sheer captivating storytelling that extends beyond its borders.
Also published on Medium.