Blogging platform, Medium, founded by Twitter founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone, just announced series C funding of $57 million at a valuation of $600 million. That’s a big bet on Medium becoming a very popular blogging platform.
Founded in 2011, Medium is self billed as the place that “connects people, stories, and ideas that matter.” Ev Williams believes that with all the content being produced today, no one has the time to go all over the net to read it. So building a central place for publishing and reading is the answer.
But is Medium the right fit for lawyers and other professionals? On the face of it, Medium looks pretty sweet. A free technology sound publishing platform with a nice look. You can even easily port your current blog content from WordPress onto Medium.
As someone in the publishing business, I am always intrigued by innovation in publishing. And it’s tough not to bet on Ev, who also co-founded Blogger, later sold to Google.
But Medium’s business model, as evidenced by it’s latest offering, Medium for Publishers, makes me wonder if Medium is a good fit for blogging professionals.
Perhaps not tailored for small publishers such as lawyers, Medium for Publishers, offers a publisher revenue from two sources. One, running third party native advertising (advertorials) in their publication run on Medium. And two, by charging subscriptions to users.
You get great technology, but neither of these two are going to attract blogging lawyers. Professionals have their own revenue model – selling their services.
Set aside the questionable fit of Medium’s business model, why publish on a third party platform when it’s so darn inexpensive to get the equal, if not better publishing technology for less than a hundred bucks a month?
We’re talking about valuable time in the case of blogging lawyers and other professionals. Give some thought to the following factors.
- A professional’s blog content ought to be on a platform controlled by the publisher. The blogger need not own and maintain the publishing platform, but the publishing platform ought to be maintained for and licensed to the blogger for their independent site.
- A blogging professional’s content ought to up on the Internet for all the world to see as an independent publication, just as a book penned by a professional can be viewed as a sign of the professional’s leadership status. Read or not, a niche blog signals that a lawyer is a “go to” lawyer,” something very difficult to accomplish by folks looking for your content in Medium.
- Blogging professionals need to be able to easily move their content around if need be. A publishing platform you control will enable this, with Medium this may not be as easy. WordPress based published platforms will make it easiest for moving content when it comes to flexibility and cost.
- Blogging professionals need to control their looks and surroundings. This not only means the design, but what’s going on in the Medium publishing community. Who’s using the platform? What for? How is Medium tailoring things to grow revenue – do they conform to a blogging professional’s goals?
I totally agree with Ev that more content than ever is being produced, but that’s no reason for independent publishers to throw in the towel on their own sites.
Content is viewed far differently than it was only a few years ago. People no longer go to the front page of a digital publication and browse for content. The New York Times, which produces the best journalism around, has lost over one-half of the visitors to their front page on the web.
People get content directly (email and RSS subscriptions), Google search retrieving a signal piece, socially (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and via citations in other publications.
Content is accessed and flows seamlessly across the open web. It seems unlikely that one central place which most people have yet to hear about is to become the source of record for reading content.
Maybe there’s a place for Medium for the blogging professional – to try out publishing to the web or periodically posting to Medium, much as you may guest post for exposure.
But for day in day out publishing to build relationships and a word of mout reputation, an independent publication accompanied by use of social media has it over Medium.