Medium for Publishers: What Media Companies Should Know

May 18, 2016 Katie Carlin

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Take a look at Medium, and you’ll find a passionate community of smart people who love great content: you’ll see commenters, sharers, and writers who are seeking out a forum to share their thoughts. Founded by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams in 2012, Medium has created an entire social media ecosystem around thoughtful, engaging content. And now, the company is opening its doors to publishers who are seeking new opportunities to reach new audiences.

Enter Medium for Publishers, “a new corner of the Internet specifically designed for people and publishers who want to experience a deeper level of discourse and engagement.” The new platform gives media companies new tools to express their own identities on the platform.

So why should media companies take note of this new opportunity? For one, Medium is a new, untapped content distribution channel that creates a sustainable way for publishers to reach new audiences. Long story short, here’s what you need to know.

Publisher-Friendly Distribution & Monetization Features

As a recent article from Fortune points out, Medium’s goal is to give publishers a “one stop shop” to reach new audiences with great content. That being said, key features of the future include the ability to plug in sponsored content and manage reader memberships. In other words, media companies can start testing ideas for monetization without needing to build an entire sponsored content offering from scratch. 

As Williams explained in a recent interview for AdAge, monetization features on Medium for Publishers are still in their planning stages. The company is currently researching how brands are using the platform for content marketing—data that publishers will find valuable when developing new marketing programs for advertisers, from the ground up.

“I think long-term we definitely see ourselves as a marketplace for brands and publishers to find each other in an efficient way and to do things together,” says Williams for AdAge.

While new revenue opportunities aren’t yet available, there are initiatives on the horizon. For instance, Medium has created a private beta for select publishers who are looking to take advantage of the platform, early. You can learn more and see if you’re eligible here

The Opportunity to Build a Brand

Media companies can think of Medium for Publishers as a new door for audience growth that’s being cracked open: it won’t happen overnight, but the publishers who invest in the platform early will reap some of the strongest rewards long-term.

What Medium has brought to market now is a series of branding tools that publishers can leverage to build their identities. Now, when you establish a presence on Medium, you can differentiate your unique brand from the many voices who are on the platform. Here’s how Medium can help you build and optimize your relationships with your reader-base:

  • Design your homepage with your unique colors and logo so that your media brand is instantly recognizable.
  • Create your own custom domain so that your content is easy to find in one central hub.
  • Send personalized email newsletters to your existing fans and followers by importing contacts from Facebook and Twitter.

Medium has also built in several moving pieces that often slip through the cracks for publishers: SEO and media rights. Instead of letting these topics rest in a gray area, the social network has built these topics into its new offering. You own the rights to your content, and you won’t need to take extra steps to make sure that it’s visible to search engines.

Missing Pieces

Medium is giving publishers a brand new platform to extend their reach and build a brand among smart audiences of avid-readers. You can even monetize your content directly on the platform. But ultimately, it’s important to treat Medium as one piece of your overall puzzle and continue to build a funnel back to your company. Some extra steps that you’ll want to take:

  • Capture email addresses whenever possible, to continue to maintain a 1:1 relationship with your readers (so that you can collect their data to build your own database, too).
  • In addition to bringing your branding to Medium, make sure to generate visibility around your products and services. If you’re hosting a conference or looking to promote your education products, Medium can be a powerful channel for generating awareness. 

For a quick guide to mastering Medium, check out this podcast here. It features an interview with Sophie Moura, head of B2B partnerships at Medium, with detailed tips for how to build a content strategy. As you would imagine, you’ll want to do the following in your strategy:

  • Invest in quality stories that generate comments and conversations.
  • Treat Medium as a distribution channel, in addition to a hub.
  • Focus on tactics to get noticed.

The Bottom Line

An investment in Medium is an investment in your media brand. Don’t just tinker: use the tools that Medium has created to your advantage. Take steps now to prepare for up-and-coming opportunities that will help your content get noticed. Pave the path for new monetization sources along the way.

Personalize or Perish  

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