There have been plenty of articles written on why you shouldn’t use Medium. Generally they are high level and include things like owning your own content (Medium licenses your content so they can share it), brand dilution and the like but I honestly can’t see much written about the practical reasons you shouldn’t.
When a platform can promise huge amounts of reach and maybe even a pay day if their premium service really explodes, saying they have some legal right to use your content is really only going to convince a subset of people. Saying that your brand will be diluted is just going to be ignored by a massive number of people.
I wrote not long ago about my switch from Medium to Github Pages, but I didn’t go into the WHY of it - instead focusing on the how.
In this post I want to talk about the why.
How do you follow up?
There is a bit of a pattern with the things I write: the majority of my writing will get some interest, a few shares and a bunch of reads by people who follow what I have to say - once in a while though a piece of mine will suddenly go viral and I’ll get hundreds of thousands of visits.
These flash in a pan viral posts back when I was on Medium would result in… well… not much. A day or two after they go viral the traffic dies down to normal and I get maybe 1 or 2 new subscribers.
One remedy was to add an email collection strategy but these days people aren’t using those as much as they used to - and as I mentioned in a previous post, people don’t read the emails as much as they used to either, even if they do subscribe. As a note Medium doesn’t offer this out of the box, you have to hack together a solution.
My advice to small companies is that you need to have Google Analytics on your site so when these viral things happen you can create an audience of those people and then do display advertising to them later to remind them of your brand. With Medium you can’t do that.
What about schema?
SEO is always important and I don’t think I need to talk about the basics which I’m sure Medium does support, what it doesn’t support is things like custom schema mark up.
With the ever increasing use of voice search (Google Assistant, Siri, etc), and the fact that information boxes at the top of searches are showing up more and more, you need to be giving Google (and other search engines) this data in the right format so you show up in those boxes and you answer those voice questions.
While not 100% schema related, I’m also going to use this section to complain about the lack of control over social cards - you can’t have a different image for Twitter over Facebook - while not a big deal for many, this level of control allows you to make sure CTA’s and important messaging within the social images are seen no matter the size of the image that pops up. You should also be able to test different excerpts that may be better than the automatic ones.
Custom dimensions (ahem, nps)
One of the most powerful tools in a marketers back pocket is an in depth understanding of analytics. Being able to create custom dimensions (or eVars & sProps if you use Adobe) can give you a level of power that can take you from a lowly digital marketer to a profit making machine.
A huge portion of the advice I give on this subject, such as tracking NPS to the user so you can target users based on NPS, requires the ability to set up custom events, dimensions and more for your analytics tool - something Medium doesn’t allow you to do.
I think you can see my point: the lack of control. When you are a startup you may not be considering the above and just want the reach - the issue comes down to what then? Once you grow to a certain level you’ll need the control and you wont be able to take advantage of the traffic and emails you’ve built through the blog you were working on.