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Cover image for Is it worth it to cross-post on Medium in 2021?

Is it worth it to cross-post on Medium in 2021?

Jean-Michel Fayard πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄
Weeks of programming can save hours of planning
・3 min read

Maybe, sometimes.

The writing

  • πŸ‘πŸΌ Copy-pasting from DEV basically works
  • πŸ€” Except when you use DEV liquid tags, but that's understandable
  • πŸ‘ŽπŸ»πŸ‘ŽπŸ» But Medium still does not support code snippets in 2021 and that's super lame. Instead of your article being a single source of truth, you have your article plus ten outside gist
  • πŸ€” Remember to use the option Customize Canonical Link to an URL on your personal website
  • πŸ˜ƒ Don't have a personal website yet? The wonderful people at DEV/forem have partnered with Stackbit. I use it for https://jmfayard.dev/ with great joy. See https://dev.to/connecting-with-stackbit
  • πŸ‘ŽπŸ»πŸ‘ŽπŸ» Medium uses a Dark Design Pattern to hide the Customize Canonical Link option. It's hidden in a submenu ...., then the 10th entry called More settings, then you have to scroll completely to the bottom, wait it's still hidden behind Advanced Settings, then it's still hidden behind a checkbox, and only then do you find Customize Canonical Link.

The paywall

  • πŸ‘ŽπŸ» As a reader, I hate the Medium Paywall

  • πŸ€” But that would be OK if it actually gives writers sustainable income. There is a paywall to access the Financial Times articles, and it segregates between users who don't want to pay and hate it, and users who get lots of value from the FT and pay. And that's OK.

  • πŸ‘πŸΌ And sometimes, you get real money on Medium. My article β€œWhat’s Your Current Salary?” Is a Red Flag That You Don’t Want to Work There got 21K view and I earned with it $923.36 to this day

  • πŸ€” But wait, there is a catch, it happened only once, and I have basically given up retrying

  • πŸ‘ŽπŸ» And that's because on Medium, Publications have all the power. If you publish on your own name, unless you are a celebrity, which I assume lots of my readers are, you will get few views and peanuts in terms of dollar

  • πŸ€” Isn't that normal if we follow the analogy of the FT paywall? Well no, let's be real here, Medium publications will not play the role of improving your writing the way a professional editor with a set of rules would. It's just one or few guys (probably not lots of women) who earn lots of followers

  • πŸ‘ŽπŸ» But actually publications don't earn the followers either, they just rent it to Medium. My friend at https://blog.kotlin-academy.com/ would like to move away from Medium, but it's only possible if you don't care about loosing all your readers.

  • πŸ‘ŽπŸ» And I really disliked the experience of submitting to publications. You put lots of work in your content, you click submit, a random number of days later you get a message "Thank you, but I will pass on this one".

  • πŸ˜ƒ On the other hand, if the publication owner is a friend, I would cross post to his publication.

  • πŸ€” I'm not sure readers get a ton of value from the content behind the paywall anyway. For example, my article What's Your Current Salary is available freely on DEV, and intentionally so.

  • πŸ‘ŽπŸ»πŸ‘ŽπŸ» Medium uses another Dark Design Pattern to confuse people into using the paywall whether they want it or not. I have just published an article today under my company account https://medium.zenika.com/15-command-line-tools-which-spark-joy-in-your-terminal-ec420d770bcc It's part of the paywall, not because we chose to because even after following the help page, neither my colleague in charge of the publication nor I can find how to deactivate it.

Summary

Cross-posting to Medium can be interesting for reach and sometimes for money, but there are big cons as well.

In general, it's not an enjoyable experience.

If you work at Medium, I think you should protest the lack of code snippets and even more against the dark patterns designed to screw the writers.

Discussion (10)

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christiankozalla profile image
Christian Kozalla

I tried medium when I started blogging and dropped it because of reasons you mention here. Additionally, I mostly stopped reading on medium, just the occasional article that's listed in my Google search
Thanks for this nice article πŸ‘

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jeikabu profile image
jeikabu

Come to think of it, I can't even remember the last time I saw a Medium article....πŸ€”

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄ Author

You're welcome!

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killshot13 profile image
Michael R. • Edited

I do agree with some of your points here @jmfayard however, there is a hidden secret that many Medium authors are not aware of. Still, Medium should have certainly done a better job of spreading the word about this feature. They only recently began to make an effort toward supporting features for developer authors, which is better late than never, I guess.

Using CRTL-ALT-6 to make a Medium code block

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄ Author

but no syntax highlighting, right?

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killshot13 profile image
Michael R.

That is a hard negative. The only way to do it, and it gets frustrating quickly, is to first create, and then embed, a Gist, Codepen, or JSFiddle URL.

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dgyk profile image
Dave Y. Kim

I was not able to verify if it's true but for those who'd like to try it out: If your post is behind Medium's paywall, then you get more eyeballs as Medium distributes it to more people.

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄ Author

It's true to a certain extent, but if that means you get paid $5 instead of $1, that's still peanuts. Maybe others can chime. Have you published on Medium outside of a publication and got significant traffic?

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dgyk profile image
Dave Y. Kim

Haha. Yes. I think it's not a good way to make money. I think Substack is a better option if you are trying to make money through writing. I assume many of the readers there is more inclined to pay for information. For Medium, I'm more interested in the traffic.

For publication, my teammate has tried it in our last startup. We did get a boost, but it's not a good long term value add. Your point below is spot on.

... would like to move away from Medium, but it's only possible if you don't care about loosing all your readers.

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killshot13 profile image
Michael R.

Here is a screenshot from my best Medium post, which is behind the paywall. While more worthy articles have certainly been penned, this does offer a realistic look at how much an average author might make from a single post.

a realistic look at how much an average author might make from a single Medium post