You’ve likely heard a lot about Medium lately. If your goal is spreading the word about your nonprofit, you may be wondering how it could help your cause.
Medium is an online publishing platform, created by Twitter co-founder Ev Williams, where writers, journalists and anyone with something on their mind can publicly share content. From there, posts can be sorted, searched, read and shared, with the most popular moving towards the top of the Medium homepage and topic sections.
That meritocracy is one reason that Medium has gained in popularity. Another is it’s easy-to-read, no-frills layout – perfect for reading on mobile devices. Plus, the platform can learn registered user preferences and suggest articles for your interests.
This has all caused a change on Medium in the past year or two. While content had been provided mostly by independent writers, now, brands and organizations have begun posting their own articles directly. Often, they are bypassing their own website blogs.
Is posting on Medium a good fit for your nonprofit? There is no simple answer, but we can help you decide with some clear pros and cons.
Pro: Free access to a larger readership
There is no cost to using Medium, and the benefits can be big. Per Alexa, Medium is one of the top-200 most popular websites in the United States, and top-500 in the world. If your article succeeds, it could reach hundreds of thousands of Medium readers that wouldn’t see an article on your own website.
Con: No guaranteed audience
Every reward has a risk, and this is no different with Medium. While your article could go viral and be a smashing success, it could also get lost in the shuffle and reach very few readers. While your supporter-base will give you a minimum audience on your website, that floor will be lower on Medium.
Pro: Medium readers are educated, high-earners
Another reason to believe in the upside of Medium is the demographics of its readership. Native Advertising notes that 95% of Medium readers are college graduates and 43% earn more than $100,000 per year. As your nonprofit looks to identify and steward new donors, this is a valuable group to target.
Con: No direct website connection
While you will have a chance to reach a great audience on Medium, it may be tougher to convert them to a supporter or donor. Your own website blog can easily feature your branding and bold links to your donation form. But on Medium, you will be limited to some simpler graphics and hoping that your readers click links back to your website.
Pro: Easy to use and read for your existing supporters
Of course, nothing is stopping your nonprofit’s supporters from seeing social links and going to Medium to read your post. Luckily, the simple layout and interface will make them feel comfortable using Medium, even if they have never been on the website before.
Con: Building your website’s SEO
A disadvantage to using Medium is that it could hinder your own website’s search engine performance. Clicks from blog posts on your website will gradually boost your SEO standing. But with Medium, the clicks go towards a third-party, so you will need to rely on other tactics to boost your search rankings.
One option: Use your website blog and Medium!
It’s a best practice to choose one home for each piece of content you write. But the right choice may differ based on the content you’ve written. Luckily, if you think Medium can help your cause, you can still pick-and-choose which articles are best for each platform.
One approach would be to try posting high-quality, widely-relevant pieces on Medium. These could be detailed stories about those affected by your cause or in-depth articles on the impact your nonprofit has. This type of content is more likely to be read and shared by the Medium audience, and can help build awareness and interest in your orgnaization.
On your website blog, you may be better-served by sharing more specific articles. Perhaps these are the updates on a key project, appeals for a new campaign, or information about an upcoming event. These are the articles that your existing supporters will find most relevant. Plus, with links to your donation, event or volunteer sign-up forms nearby, you will have a better chance to convert interested readers.