My 30-day Medium experiment
On August 1, 2018 I committed to write and publish every day for a month. Today, August 31, 2018, I have accomplished that goal.
I decided to publish daily in part to experiment with and get to know the Medium platform, particularly the Partner Program. I started to dabble in publishing on this platform back in March, but this month I went all in.
Here are 10 things I learned from the experience:
1. I can go from (almost) 0 to 1,000 in a month
While I didn’t start from absolutely zero, I had plenty of days with zero views leading up to this experiment.
Consistent posting resulted in more than a thousand views over the course of the month!
2. Going even the slightest bit viral is fun
On the 25th day of this experiment I published Journaling ≠ “Dear Diary…” which quickly proved popular. It had 10X the usual number of views in the first twenty-four hours.
I’ll admit, watching my stats almost became an obsession for a little while…
3. Maintaining momentum is more important that going viral
As entertaining as it was to watch my stats, I knew that a single popular post would quickly drop in popularity unless I did something to maintain that momentum.
Since I had already planned to continue publishing every day, continuing the forward motion wasn’t too difficult. New posts continue to drive traffic to the old ones through links within articles or “Next story” and “Also tagged” suggestions from Medium. As a result, my journaling article continues to amass views.
4. Publishing every day is hard
I wrote at length about this more than once. Suffice it to say, I didn’t want to show up every day. I didn’t want to put in the hard work of not only writing hundreds of words, but then editing and formatting them into publishable articles. But I did.
5. Publishing every day is easier than I thought
I expected it to be hard; I didn’t expect to gain so much energy through the momentum of having a solid habit. By the end of the experiment I almost can’t help but show up to write. I’m excited to share my words with the world. In fact I may actually continue publishing daily even though this month’s experiment is over.
6. Medium treats its writers well
When I first encountered the Partner Program I dismissed it thinking that it would only cost me money. I assumed I would have to be a member myself in order to post members-only content. As soon as I realized I was wrong I decided to go all in.
Everything I had posted on Medium before the August experiment was available elsewhere online for free. I didn’t want to abuse the Partnership Program so I decided I would only post new, exclusive content behind the paywall. I also didn’t want to abuse the “Friend Link” so I hardly ever used it.
However, once I actually looked into why Medium created the Friend Link feature I realized I was underutilizing it.
I could go on and on about the ways Medium works to take care of its writers. Maybe I will write a whole article on the topic. (Highlight this and/or leave a response if you want me to!)
7. I can make money doing this
I had done some research on the Partner Program but I still wasn’t sure what to expect — pennies, probably, but pennies aren’t nothing!
I was right and I was wrong. Sure, most of my articles only earned pennies, but a few of them actually earned dollars. In fact, my earnings from July 30 to August 27 will more than cover my own Medium Membership two times over, which is enough for me.
I don’t yet know exactly what I earned over the course of the experiment, but I intend to update this article when I do. for now, here is a peek at my earnings from July 30 to August 27:
8. Medium likes members-only articles
My own experiment supported this, with one caveat:
9. Medium doesn’t like when all the articles are members-only
Midway through the month there was a lull in my stats. I suspected that this was because I was publishing all of my new content behind the paywall, but I didn’t stop. I wanted to be sure my suspicion was correct.
After a few more days of members-only articles I shared a four-day series that I had originally written for my blog years earlier. I updated and rewrote the content, then published it to Medium, but not behind the paywall.
Those posts didn’t do too well, but the next one that I published for members went kinda viral. While the previous day’s post still had 1 view, this one had 39. This confirmed my suspicion: Medium wants me to produce both kinds of content, but at the same time the algorithm favors articles behind the paywall.
10. Medium is big on experiments
Medium is not afraid to try new things. In my opinion they are doing a great job figuring out what works and what doesn’t instead of simply following what the social media giants say is the way to do things.
I love it.
Bonus — 11. I’ve heard that Medium likes articles submitted to publications…
So I’m on to my next experiment. I have not decided yet whether I will continue to publish every single day in September, but I do know that I want to keep working hard to learn how to succeed on this platform. My biggest experiment will be submitting to publications.
Let me know which publications are your favorites! Maybe I can start writing for them 😉 or at least learn how to make my articles better through reading your favorites.
PS — you can read all 30 articles that were a part of this experiment by signing up below! I’ll send you writing inspiration every day for the next month: