It all debuted in 2012 when Medium brought in the New Year by laying off 50 people and closing 20 offices without champagne or same-old resolutions. Over a five-year course, this platform has raised USD 130 Mn, and its founder, Ev Williams, is also the prime mover of Blogger and Twitter. Despite Blogger being acquired by Google, Ev Williams could easily pass as the LeBron James of online publishing. Well, he may not always have the best templates to work with, but he can sure bring championship anywhere. Perhaps that bolsters the opinion that if someone founds an online publishing platform, rather than throwing questions around, you wire the money and urge that he figures out a way to monetise the idea.
Thanks to Williams, Medium makes it easier to blog, as there is no need to maintain your website, alongside the internal provision traffic which could be judged modest. Since its inception, it’s apparent that bloggers are willing to trade control for design and advertising. For bloggers who are yet to pick up the SEO pebble and understand the basics of web analytics, Medium is more than just a no-brainer. With wins on design, indescribable publishing strength, defiant simplicity, slick UI, and the possibility of making ads go farther, Medium is to some no short of a significant alternative. Well, slick UIs can be replicated, great content creators can be loyal to other publishing platforms as politicians are to policy positions, but Medium is yet one of the most scintillating new online platforms in years. And there are a lot of reasons what it is said to be so.
It’s A New Competitor
No, you didn’t read that heading wrong – Medium is a new competitor, and that’s why companies such as WordPress and similarly-positioned CMS platforms need to take heed by its rise. Yes, WordPress already boasts of what can be said to be an unassailable market position, but all we can do is learn from recent histories rife with examples of big names being blown out of the water by new entrants. If there’s one accurate thing I know about disruptions, it’s that they often start with companies who serve smaller total addressable markets than the existing market selling a product that offers lower margins and overall costs. As we saw in Uber’s outset, the ride-hailing app offered on-demand services to people who couldn’t afford limousine services and chauffeurs, yet having experienced enough with traditional cabs. Uber went on to create a network that pulled from the excess capacity of formal industry and bring lower-end customers into the market.
Medium is doing something in semblance to disrupting the cab market by addressing the niche alongside the relatively unprofitable market of individual writers who wanted to build individual brands without having to worry about web properties. They quickly graduated to more prominent names such as Walter Isaacson, Richard Branson, Elon Musk and others. Medium doesn’t yet service the higher-end content market of publishers, but that doesn’t mean they can’t. The platform can leverage superior unit economics to outshine conventional CMS platforms in terms of customer acquisition and growth. By nailing one of the cores causes of customer cancellation for content platforms – time to value – Medium has been able to achieve a drastically cut-down churn rate than the normal content management. With the Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV), the users can afford significant Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) to enable them to spend more on growth.
New competitors always have something in their coffers they intend to use as leverage. While we have seen substantial breaks from the norm by Medium, it is still like the game of chess – what do they have and how can they use it to make a difference in future?
A Whole New Audience Game
Medium has no APIs, despite that they are essential. Perhaps 99.9 percent of spams cases from fake followers and garbage content owes to the aggressive API usage. This platform, instead, affords publisher an entirely new avenue to reach a new audience, carry them along and generate real social media followers – all with minimal or no fuss. The algorithmic timeline used by Mediums allows content to be open to a different audience that you would otherwise never had heard your bells ring. It essentially creates a new audience for you, regardless if you have already had a large audience or not. For one, no matter how extensive your readership base is, it could always get bigger, can’t it?
The gameplay here is getting people to recommend your posts, and with that comes more eyeballs. Being that medium is all about hearts, the more people who click on the heart icons, the more the chance the content will show up in another user’s timelines, including those who don’t even know your first name. Should you able to scoop 200 hearts in a day, there’s every chance your content would be one of the top stories of the day – which are called Medium unicorns prominently featured on the Medium app and website. It doesn’t end there, as the system also sends out personalised email digests to users.
With Medium, you can take your audience with you, especially if you’ve already accumulated a reasonably-sized social media following, as you can afford a built-in audience without having to put your back into it. Your profile can be anchored to your Twitter and Facebook IDs, after which the system will determine which of those users, are as well on Medium and connect you with them automatically. This means that Medium helps you generate followers from both platforms – little wonders why it’s touted as the number one traffic driver.
Run Your Own Publications, Get Discovered
Medium publications are another great way to gain brand exposure. Even if you are not followed by people individually, they can start following your publications – making it significantly likely that they would get exposed to your content anyway. Because of this reason, some brands have given up on traditional blogging altogether and started publishing their content on Medium. When you don’t have to worry about SEO, analytics, UI and even engagement metrics, you’ll have enough time to commit to the quality of your stories and hammer down the nail that sticks out.
Medium allows you to analyse an infinitely long tail of potential use cases without having to invest in them. It may be hard to accept, but a good number of big publishing enterprises no longer accept publications from authors, perhaps because they’ve grown weary of constant inundation coming from shabby pitches. Unfortunately, it has become a “Don’t try calling us, we’ll call you” kind of situation. But that is not the end of the tunnel for publishers, because they are still finding and adding new contributors to their sites by scouting for popular authors on Medium. So long as you are already hitting the publish button, and sharing great posts, you will eventually hit a home run. Who knows? With cards played right and seams burst at, Business Insider, Huffington Post or even the New York Observer and other prolific sources of publishing dash-and-dare may discover you one day and request to syndicate your posts or even ask you to become one of their regular contributors.
Randy Miller, the former Director of Amazon once said that “If you don’t know anything about business, launch it through the marketplace, bring retailers in, watch what they do and what they sell, understand it and then get into it.” While it can be thought to be a significant and continuously growing community, Medium could be the enabler of conventional software application marketplace where third-party developers could build apps for retargeting or analytics integrations. This two-sided marketplace has publishers supplying content and readers demanding it – making it no short of an Amazon-like environment for electronic content distributions.
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