Medium can be a great tool to write down your thoughts, especially if you don’t have a platform of your own. But if you do have a platform of your own, it’s not a good choice. The cons of writing for Medium outweigh the pros.
First, it’s important to note my perspective comes from my work building web traffic for brands who have concrete deliverables. Second, I’ve written for reputable publications, and I’ve seen the impact my writing had on my own brand. If you want to write just for fun, or just to document your thoughts, my advice may not apply. But if you’re trying to increase your companies traffic or build influence, this is for you.
The cons of writing for Medium
As an emerging tech PR communications professional, I’m always a bit disappointed when I see clients or colleagues “throwing away” their great writing on websites like Medium. The reason for my disappointment is simple: if you put in the work, you should see the benefit. Medium doesn’t benefit you or your brand.
To over-simply how the internet works, great writing that addresses a problem or succinctly answers a web searcher’s query typically ranks well in search engines. If you write something great, over time it will rank well, and someone will click it. If you wrote a great piece on Medium, they get the traffic. Not you. That’s bad.
Traffic is basically internet currency. The more traffic coming to your website, the more clients you can attract. If you want to make money off advertising, the more clicks you get, the higher the rate you can charge to advertisers. The cons of writing for Medium, is that your hard work and intuition give someone else that highly coveted traffic.
But Medium gets better reach, right?
Yes. Medium gets greater reach than your brand’s blog. According to SpyFu, Medium currently gets somewhere around 15.5 Million organic clicks per month. That’s amazing. But if you think you will get a fraction of that traffic, it’s highly unlikely.
Medium, like any other contributed-driven website like HuffPost or Forbes, isn’t going to promote your article. You have to get an undisclosed amount of reads before your article gets placed in the trending category on their front page. That means you have to drive traffic or write for other publications to trend; this is one of the biggest cons of writing for Medium: you have to put in the work, but don’t get much of a reward.
Even if you do get traffic on your Medium post, it’s nearly impossible to convert that reader into a customer or visitor to your website. Engagement is difficult even when someone visits your page directly. Having someone jump through two hoops (from Medium, then from your website.) Is unlikely.
If you’re going to drive that much traffic, or get recommendations, you’d be better off driving that traffic to internet real estate you control.
Using Medium To Recycle Content
One interesting use for Medium a few best-selling authors have pointed out to me, is using the platform to publish recycled content. The idea works like this: publish your content on your blog platform you control, then later re-publish to Medium for some extra eye balls. In sounds good in theory, but it backfires over time.
Remember, Medium gets far more traffic than your blog. And search engines favor sites like Medium over your own. Therefore, if you write a truly great piece on your blog, publishing later to Medium, you can very well outrank your own page, for content you created. This was the case for a client of mine. They were being outranked in search engines by their own content on Medium! Writing that very well may have converted to a new client, was lost.
They found out the hard way, (which we are rectifying) the cons of writing for Medium include losing internet capital for your own ideas. Would you be happy if a piece of artwork you donated to a museum was sold for thousands of dollars, and you only received a plaque? If your intent was to help them raise money, sure. But if your intent was to grow your brand. Absolutely not.
Summary: Should you write on Medium?
The bottom line is this: Medium isn’t bad. Go ahead and write on the platform if you want to have fun, and/or don’t care about your personal brand, and web traffic. It’s an easy-to-use tool and takes the tech nonsense off the table.
But, if you’re trying to build something, get clients, or eventually attract ad revenue. The cons of writing for Medium, far outweigh the pros. If you want to write for a publication to expand your reach, you’re better off writing for a reputable one with a large following. If not, keep it on your internet real estate you worked so hard to build. As people start using AI to write articles, you need all the great content you can get.