The Two Articles You Need to Write to Take Advantage of The Latest Medium Changes
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably noticed that there have been a lot of changes around here recently. From a redesigned logo and Homepage to new functionality to help ‘Design’ your profile, Medium is a very different website to the one I fell in love with last year.
The changes have been controversial, and it appears that much of the community is split into those who love Medium’s new look — and those who hate it.
Personally, I dig the new Homepage. I like the fact that it shows me how many articles I’ve yet to read from my favourite authors (Galit Birk, PhD, I’m sorry, I have some catching up to do!) The new Homepage seems like it’s tailored to the reader-writer connection, which can only be a good thing.
As far as the new logo goes, it’s yet to grow on me. If you’re looking for more insight into the rationale behind the branding changes, this article by Medium’s VP of Marketing Karene Tropen is a good place to start:
A more expressive Medium — starting with Medium
An introduction to our evolved brand identity
And while the Homepage and logo are significant changes, the most significant change is the one that’s been made to our profile pages, as shown below:
As you can see, the new layout displays the first hundred or so words of a story to a reader, before they’ve even clicked on the story.
For longer articles, this will unlikely cause much of an issue. But what about writers who write poetry or Haikus? For them, entire pieces will be on display with no clicks required from readers, potentially impacting reading time and earnings from their stories.
To combat this, we should try to make it as easy as possible for readers to find the content they want. This is why I am recommending that all writers on Medium spend time creating the following two sections of their profile:
An ‘About Me’ Section
Other than a 160-character length bio, Medium has never really provided the tools to allow readers to get to know the writers they follow. Sure, a writer’s personality will shine through if you read enough of their work, but what if you’d like to know a little more about them?
With articles now being automatically displayed, why not have an ‘About Me’ article pinned at the top of your profile?
My ‘About Me’ provides a bit of an insight to who I am and what I tend to write about, as well as what publications you can find me in. Further down, I provide a few recommendations of my most popular articles.
It doesn’t have to be a novel, it only needs to give readers a taste of who you are as a person and a writer. Credit for this idea goes to Casey Botticello, who is the first writer I’ve seen on Medium with an ‘About Me’ section.
Now you’ve given readers a taste of who you are, it’s time to help them find what they want to read:
A Table Of Contents
Credit to Aimée Gramblin for this one — she recommends writing a table of contents, and I firmly agree.
I started out by listing all of the categories I’ve written about:
Then I provide a link to each article underneath its category heading, listed alphabetically for ease of navigation. For example:
This way, if someone wants to read my content on ‘Parenting,’ they can simply scroll down to the relevant section, and the link will take them to the article they want to read. Alternatively, using the ‘Find’ function (Ctrl-F) allows readers to search for a category, and a single click of the mouse will take them straight there.
This will make it easier for readers to find the content they want, but it also means that older content will have as much chance at being read as the new. I believe this will provide a better reading experience for my readers.
To clarify, the ‘About Me’ and Table of Contents on my profile are both published articles which I have pinned to the top of a page. To do this, click on the ellipsis at the bottom of a story and click ‘Pin story.’ You can pin a maximum of three stories to the top of your page. The newest pin you make will be at the top of the page, so remember this when making multiple pins.
Writing on Medium can be a turbulent experience, and it’s changed drastically in the short time I’ve been here. You have to roll with the changes, and if you want to be successful, you have to give your readers the best reading experience you can by making these changes work for you, not against you.
Jon Peters is a freelance writer who lives in Cornwall, UK with his wife and two children. When not writing you’ll probably find him with his head in a book. If you enjoyed this piece, you can get to my profile super quickly by clicking here. Happy reading.