I tend to get caught up in semantics and narrow my focus too much. Case in point: I write a lot about blogging because I’ve been a blogger for many years. I can’t even remember the number of blogs I’ve set up and maintained since I started over 20 years ago.
So forgive me when I say that when I talk about blogging, I am talking about posting a daily journal, essay, or article on a self-hosted website, created specifically for the purpose, as in, “I am a blogger. I like blogging. I have my own blog.”
So when I first heard people referring to publishing on Medium as “blogging,” I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Like everyone else, when faced with something that contradicts my own understanding, the first thing I want to do is push back.
And I did push back for some time until I got over myself.
Change is Good — Even in Blogging
Times change, Mr. Weiland. Yes, blogs used to be a place to post thoughts daily, much like a paper journal (back in the dark ages of the 1990s), but they quickly evolved when businesses and brands started creating blogs as another way to market their products and services.
Comic artists were showcasing their best work. Authors were writing essays for their fans and posting them on their blogs. Soft drink companies were using blogs to post news, updates, and entertainment to put their names at the top of their fan’s minds. Before social media, blogs were the place to go if you wanted to keep in touch with a celebrity, brand, or business.
Everything changed back then, and things are changing again now. Now, instead of blogging on a self-hosted site, you can write and publish on platforms like Medium, LinkedIn, Elephant Journal, and Vocal.Media.
Is it still blogging? You bet your ass it is.
Is it Better to Blog on a Platform You Own?
I’ve made it very clear about how I feel about self-hosted blogs in 2020. As people focus more of their attention on social media and platforms like Medium, especially considering what media companies may do now that net neutrality is a thing of the past, smaller blogs will fall by the wayside.
It’s already happening. Have you ever tried to build organic traffic to a self-hosted blog with no domain authority? It’s a nightmare! Yes, a few bloggers see immediate success, but for most, it’s years of struggle to build a blog to a point where you can monetize it, or you see any real traffic.
Most people are posting their work to Medium (which has tons of domain authority), who Google loves and where there is already built-in traffic.
Blogs are dying.
I know you shouldn’t put your fate in the hands of a platform you have no control over — how many times have I heard that? But, if Medium went belly-up, how many other platforms would survive? Or, don’t you think that like blogs, something would come along to replace Medium?
The internet is always changing — who knows if the internet will be replaced by some AI-5G-quantum-driven-augmented-reality-online-world soon? (sorry, I had a dream) Have you thought about the shelf-life of our precious internet and if it can keep up with the demands of our world today?
Bottom line — your blog won’t save you because everything is changing fast. Am I saying you should never have a blog? No. It can still be part of your strategy, but you should also always be keeping an eye out for the future and adapting your personal, business, or brand plan to include future platforms and technology.
Dogs Need to See the Future
Change is difficult for me too! I’m the guy who got his panties in a bunch when people were calling posting on Medium “blogging.” Even us old dogs need to learn all the new tricks, and if you are a writer or creator, you can’t be stuck relying on outdated ideas and technology to take your career into the future.
Even though some things remain evergreen, like the need for a mailing list, everything will change eventually. Change is the only constant on which you can rely.
Fight it as much as you want — but as sure as you will be pushing up daisies one day — you will have to change everything you know about publishing or posting your work on the internet for the world to see.
This story was not curated. If you write and publish on Medium, you know what that means — a quick death. If not, it just means that it won’t be promoted to other readers on Medium.
But it doesn’t always have to be like this, and this is where I add value to your life. It works like this:
We all write free content for Medium. They don’t pay for it. The money we pay to be members is more than enough to pay the writers who are making money. In return for us writing millions of words of free content and paying the writers who engage with the readers (us again), Medium forbids us from adding any more than a simple text link to the bottom of posts to promote ourselves.
If you do everything right, you get curated.
I have no problem with that. I’ve been with Medium for over a year-and-a-half, and I absolutely fricking love that they gave me a platform to earn and share my writing. I tell everyone I know to join Medium and start writing.
But, if I don’t get curated, my stories die. I don’t earn. The only traffic I get comes in is from Google, and if the people they are sending are not Medium subscribers, I don’t get paid.
But Medium benefits greatly. Every time we bring eyeballs onto the platform, Medium gains authority and in turn, members. They also get income from writers paying them for exposure by featuring them in publications and other places on Medium, even if they aren’t members. It’s a great business model.
I thank Medium for giving me the platform, and I respect them, especially when they curate me and my stories live on.
So Medium, I love you, and if you curate me, I will follow the rules and only put a small text link to my newsletter at the bottom.
But, if I am not curated, I am going to use my work to promote myself and my brand.
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