The Medium Experiment: My Interview With Paul Ellsworth

Paul Ellsworth Medium.com

Have you heard of Medium.com? It’s a great place to get exposure for your writing!

Paul Ellsworth did an experiment in one of my writing groups. He invited us all to write an article on Medium.com. Then at a specific time – like 1PM on Monday – we would all green heart (recommend) each other’s articles before 1:10.

For those of us who participated, we have all seen dramatic growth!

Here’s the text of a conversation I had with Paul about his experience with Medium. You’ll find lots of useful information here, so bookmark it, print it, and use it!


1) You’ve made some great strides with your writing this year. What was it that made the difference?

I guess I mentally reached a place where I was determined to figure this platform thing out no matter how many roadblocks I hit.

The same day that I met with my writing mentor Jeff Goins and really decided to commit, I had two rejections for guest posts and a couple unsubscribers from an already low email list (less than 20). That kind of activity is discouraging, but I decided to keep moving forward. Rejection is a part of the process.

Take the hit, adjust, and move on.

2) You started this thing called the Medium experiment on Facebook. Tell us how you got the idea and a little about how it works.

That experiment has been a blast! Based off of a conversation with my mentor about getting ten likes in the first ten minutes after publishing on Medium, I decided to start a text group with friends to see if people would promote my writing. At first, the text group wasn’t working. Few signed up, and then some of the ones who did sign up didn’t follow through with their commitment.

Out of necessity for more people, I reached out to the Facebook group of writers to see if we could mutually help each other by posting at the same time. We post our Medium articles at a designated time, and we all like or “recommend” each other’s posts.

I don’t know all the details of what 10 “recommends” does with Medium.com, but it has something to do with the algorithm for trending articles. It helps push our articles out to a new audience.

The Facebook group has taken it a step further by commenting, highlighting, and tweeting each other’s articles. It has been very helpful!

Rejection is a part of the process. Click To Tweet

3) How has Medium helped you grow your email list? What strategies do you use to get the most subscribers?

Medium has helped tremendously! On May 5th, 2017 when I started taking Medium seriously I had only 20 subscribers. As of right now, I have 134 subscribers and get about 2 new subscribers a day, even on days I don’t write.

Here are my tips:

  1. Take a few weeks and try posting to Medium daily. It is very difficult but very rewarding. You can even re-post old articles or import from your own blog. By doing this, you will see a burst in your momentum.
  2. Invite people to like your articles. I use this message which I stole from another writer, Mark Lee: “Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article, be sure to click the green 💚 so others will see it.”
  3. Have a lead magnet! Give people an incentive for signing up for your newsletter. Don’t have the lead magnet link go back to your blog. Instead, have it lead them straight to your lead magnet page where they will sign up for your newsletter. Here is my lead magnet phrase:

If you are breathing, you are an educator.

Everyone is an educator of something. If you want to increase your influence and expand your impact, download my FREE ebook: “Profe Pablo’s 25 Teaching Tips that will instantly make your life easier”.

4) How important are publications on Medium, and how do you choose the right ones?

The average views that I could get on my articles without a publication were about 50 views. With publications, I would get anywhere from one hundred to thousands of views. The difference is incredible.

Choose a variety of publications. Look at published articles in those publications and see how many “recommends” they are getting. (For more info read this article.)

The ones that are the hardest to submit to are the best. One of my Thrive Global articles had grown to over 4,000 views as of last night. When I woke up this morning, it had over 5000 views. It just keeps going. That article took a week to write and a week to be accepted, but it has been worth it.

Have a lead magnet! Click To Tweet

5) Is it better to run original articles on Medium or give blog posts another outlet?

I think it is fine to re-post from your blog. Use this tool: https://medium.com/p/import?backdate=0

However, if you submit it to a publication, you will need to check their guidelines. Some publications only want exclusive content.

6) How can you use Medium to drive traffic to your blog?

Again, have a lead magnet. That will get subscribers to your newsletter which is really the most important piece of your platform. Also, have a link to your website in your Bio, and drop references to older articles from your blog in your Medium posts. All that will help drive traffic to your blog, but again, your email list is more important.

7) What opportunities has Medium given you that you didn’t have before?

Medium has been great, but it is not Medium itself that has given me opportunities.

My text group, the community from the Facebook writers group, and the connections I am making in the comments of Medium have been the most impactful to my writing. Community is key.

Community won’t just happen. You need to ask people to support your writing.

The community that has come around my writing has given me more confidence as a writer, has shared resources that I would not have discovered on my own, and has encouraged me when I felt discouraged.

Without my community, I would not have achieved any form of success.

You need to ask people to support your writing. Click To Tweet

8) How has Medium made you a better writer?

Through Medium and its easy to read stats, I am learning what makes an article more shareable.

Here is what I have observed:

  1. Self-improvement articles do very well because people want to better their lives and want to share with others how to do the same.
  2. The formatting of your article is very important. You need to be intentional with white space, pictures, and bolding key sentences. It is not enough to write well, you need to present well. It’s kind of like cooking. It is not enough to cook an amazing meal. The presentation is half the battle.
  3. Easy to read articles are best. People don’t have time to process hard to read articles. Make your articles palatable by using short sentences and simple language. You can still write quality articles and make them easy to understand.

Closing thought: I still don’t have Medium 100% figured out. I am learning along the way. That is the beauty of calling something an “experiment.” If it doesn’t work, you can change it and try another experiment.

I think the most important thing to remember is to build community and keep pressing forward. Interpret your failures as learning experiences. Interpret impossibilities as challenges to overcome.

 

Paul Ellsworth (aka Profe Pablo) is an educator and a writer. He loves trying “out of the box” classroom management techniques to create a fun and productive classroom. He also loves exploring topics through writing such as psychology, learning, and relationships.
Paul’s Website: ProfePablo.com

 

Want to get in on the Medium Experiment? It’s as easy as joining the Tribe Builder’s Network. Paul’s there every Monday to lead you into Medium greatness!

 

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6 Comments

  1. Great interview! Very interesting and thought provoking about using Medium. Paul the Medium Experiment is fantastic! I’ve truthfully not used Medium much as yet! After reading this I think it is time I get started taking this avenue more seriously! Love how you explained how medium has helped grow your email list! Totally agree that the most important thing for every writer is community! 😀

  2. Loved the interview! A thorough look at what Medium is, and how to become part of it. Thanks for posting. I have seen success and continue to see my numbers improve and I attribute it being part of this community.

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