We must treat change like an opportunity and not like something to avoid
September 2, 2022
Sergey Faldin: I wrote the book exactly one year ago when I reached my first 1,000 followers on Medium and made my first $1,000 from the platform. It took me three months of daily writing. It was a big milestone for me, as I just started writing in English — I am originally from Russia and never wrote anything publicly in English — so I decided to share some of the things I’ve learned witht the Medium community.
One year since, Medium has changed. It’s a different platform and I view it from a different perspective. I am not pushing myself to write there every day anymore. I am not a fan of writing for money — but I am a huge fan of blogging. Nevertheless, all the tactics I’ve mentioned in the book still apply.
SF: Medium is trying to revolutionize publishing. And they are doing it, slowly, quite successfully so. I think it’s an amazing platform, one-in-a-kind. Yet, it’s changed. The new UX design introduced in October changed the game for many writers. Now it’s less about the headline and more about your existing following. It became harder to build an audience from scratch. Also, I hear that people started to make less money lately from the MPP.
I don’t care about that since Medium was never my legitimate source of income, but for many it was… So you see a bunch of writers who are already successful on the platform turn to businesses like online courses and Medium coaching. While I personally don’t see the value in such products as means to learn to write, it’s a legitimate source of income for many folks and it works…
So speaking of changes, I would say: read Ev William’s post about transactional content, which he wrote when they were rolling out their new Medium design this October. It explains their philosophy and I believe that Medium wants to become a “safe place” for publishing. Personally, I think Substack is doing a better job at that now — but it’s less about Medium’s management as a platform and more about the platforms’ ultimate goals. They are different. Substack is about building personal connection with the reader and Medium was always this huge “Amazon for publishing” sort of platform. Now it wants to transition to where Substack is today and it’s hard. We’ll see where Medium ends up in the future. One thing is certain. Medium is still a startup and it evolves rapidly, with many pivots, like all startups do. Gotta bear that in mind.
SF: Don’t think Medium is a goldmine. Nothing ever is. Yes, people made a lot of money. That has nothing to do with you. Once a year Medium changes the rules and suddenly, you’re making twice as less.
Small lesson here: diversify, don’t put your eggs in one basket.
Big lesson here: don’t chase the money at all.
If you want to write, write. But if you write for the money, you’ll be playing a different game than what you need to be playing if you want to be a decent writer… Better start a blog on a platform like Substack and forget about making money on it. Do it for many years and reap other benefits that come as by-products. For example, the credibility that you’ll build. You can sell books to that community or buildbusinesses on top of it. I wrote about these things in my other book: Blog Is a Platform.
SF: Currently, 100% of my writing energy is on my Substack blog. I publish there every day and I try to come up with one honest thing I noticed in myself, the world around me, or in my work. Give it a try. Hope you like it. (www.faldin.blog)
In terms of my work, I am a Head of Content for a fintech startup, based in London, UK.
Looking forward to getting this COVID thing over with soon and lockdowns lifted…
Thank you Bertrand
The book: Success on Medium: Short and Actionable Book on Becoming a Successful Blogger and Getting Your First 1,000 Followers on Medium.com, KDP, Sergey Faldin, 2020