How to Use Medium: A Beginner's Full Guide
Medium is a social publishing platform that is open to all and home to a diverse array of stories, ideas, and perspectives. As Medium founder (and Blogger creator/Twitter co-founder) Ev Williams wrote when he first launched the platform in 2012:
Medium is not about who you are or whom you know, but about what you have to say."
To help emphasize the importance of what it is you're saying, the overall design of Medium is minimalistic, featuring lots of white space and limited formatting options. Want to change the header typeface to Comic Sans? You can't. Medium won't allow for such atrocities of design.
But that's just one of many little nuances that come with the territory for Medium users. In fact, if you're just getting started on the platform, there's a fair amount to learn before you hit publish. Let's get into it ...
Why Write on Medium?
As a marketer, Medium presents an opportunity for you to reach a new audience with your content. But it's important to understand that this isn't just another Twitter, or Facebook. According to Williams, you can think of Twitter as "what's happening," you can think of traditional news as "what's happened," and you can think of Medium as "what really happened." The platform is geared toward sharing longer-form, more well-thought-out content. (But of course, given the open-to-all nature of Medium, that isn't the only type of content you find there.)
Whether you're looking into Medium for its publishing capabilities or you simply want to learn more about the platform before you set up an account and start exploring, you've come to the right place.
How to Use Medium
Getting Started With Medium
1. Creating an Account
While it's true that anyone can view Medium content (regardless of whether or not they have a Medium account), in order to publish and interact with folks on the platform, you need to have an account and be logged in.
Fortunately, you can create an account in less than a minute by going to Medium.com and clicking the "Get started" button in the center of the page (or the "Sign in / Sign up" link at the top of the page). From there you'll have four different sign-up options to choose from: Twitter, Facebook, Google, and email.
Add images and media.
Adding images, videos, and other media (e.g., tweets) to your Medium story can be as simple as copying and pasting their URLs into Medium's editor. The editor, in most cases, can automatically recognize the media's format and render it accordingly.
Alternatively, you can click on the plus icon to open the same menu you used to insert the separator in the previous step. From there, you can upload an image from your computer, insert a URL to a video, or insert the embed code to another type of media using the corresponding icons
Here's a quick rundown on what those metrics mean:
- Views: The number of people who visited a story's page.
- Reads: An estimate of how many visitors read a story all the way through.
- Read Ratio: The percentage of visitors that ends up reading an entire story (i.e., the difference between reads and views). According to Ev Williams, this ratio is an important factor in determining how a story gets ranked/surfaced on Medium.
- Recommends: The number of recommends a story receives.
Remember, this was just an introductory look at how to use Medium. There are several more features and options we haven't covered, but we'll do so in future posts.