Medium

Blogging CMS

Updated January 12, 2019

1 updates


SCORE BREAKDOWN

User Interface

25/25

Cost

25/25

Differentiation

20/25

Effectiveness

21/25

Pros

  • WYSIWYG text editor
  • Integration tokens and API with external CMS software
  • Easy to learn

Cons

  • Publications are limited
  • Support isn’t the best
  • The $5 fee

Medium is an online blogging website and content management system created by a former CEO of Twitter, Evan Williams. The platform is easy to learn and serves as a unique means to get messaging out quickly. Despite a few setbacks, Medium is a delight to use and organizations of all types should give it a try.

Medium, a modern CMS and social network

Medium offers a variety of experiences for its users, the most apparent being the ability for users to read content from user-creators and to create and curate proprietary content for their user following. The Medium software has native integration with Twitter, allowing users who connect their accounts to find friends, followers, and accounts that they support with Medium profiles. Like any blogging network with social components, Medium serves as a means for users to connect to others via the comments section under any piece or by sharing an article to Facebook or Twitter. The closest comparison that we can provide is how WordPress users can interact with individual blog posts without having to visit a user’s page.

More CMS than friend maker

Though there are social interaction capabilities built into Medium, the platform is still a content management system (CMS). This means that users can create and host their content and curate it through several management schemes. For example, any user can create a “publication” on Medium. This is done by a user creating a landing page with a title for the digital “publication” and post their content, or the content of contributors, and populate it together. Medium also gives users the means to create a “series,” or a list functionality allowing users to sort related content. We implore users to remember that Medium is a blogging CMS as well. This means that the “publication” features the platform offers are limited and don’t necessarily replace the benefits of a CMS that’s also dedicated to web design like Joomla, WordPress, or Drupal.

Creating stories and visual editors

Creating a story on Medium is very easy. Once a user sets up their account, they can find the “New story” button on the drop-down menu under the user’s profile photo. There, users can begin writing on the platform’s WYSIWYG word processor and visual editor. Users can control font characteristics (i.e., italics, bold, etc.), input multimedia, insert block quotes, emphasize major points, and create titles, subtitles, and headers. Once a piece is complete, users can publish the piece to a publication, series, or on its own. Users can rest assured that what they create in the editor is what they see, due to the nature of a “what you see, is what you get” (WYSIWYG) visual editor.

Integrations

Users can integrate Medium with external software. For example, each user can access a unique API or integration token and develop a software connection between the Medium ecosystem and any content management system. There is also a plugin designed for users who wish to integrate their WordPress sites with their publications. Medium also has integrations with cloud-based word processing software (e.g., Google Docs, etc.), among other augmentations and software connections.

Ease of use

Lincoln Network uses Medium to host the company’s corporate blog, Six Four Six Nine (named after President Abraham Lincoln’s only patent). In our experience, we’ve never had any significant issues with publishing content on it. Members of the network’s policy staff, a few of Telegraph’s reviewers, and the founders of Lincoln, like CEO Garrett Johnson, have all published pieces on Medium with satisfaction. According to our user satisfaction research, most people have very few complaints when it comes to using the platform. Whether it’s the clean dashboard and user interface or the intuitiveness and simplicity of the visual editor, Medium is a visually pleasing experience. Medium also has a well designed mobile app available to Apple and Android devices for free.

For the users who don’t share our opinion about Medium’s ease of use, there is a continuously updated corporate blog, platform-made tutorials, and an invasive help FAQ. Users can submit tickets to Medium’s help desk staff if DIY troubleshooting is beyond the individual submitting the request. Keep in mind that users have indicated the support team has more “off-days” than “on-days.”

Pricing and the partnership program

Just like any digital publication that has a paywall, Medium has a similar business model. The Medium subscription is only $5 a month, or $50 annually, with unlimited access. Though not expensive, this premium membership scheme could be a deal breaker for an individual or organization. This was mainly the case when Medium was virtually free, and the platform was used by campaigns and organizations to make a message viral with minimal effort quickly. Users still can post content for free, but getting people to read it could be stopped due to the paywall. Campaigns and organizations could also benefit from joining the Medium Partner Program. This program pays users for good content, ensures distribution throughout the platform, and could be an active front for any organization’s digital strategy.

What we think

Campaigns and organizations could benefit from Medium. Though we don’t recommend it as the primary content management system for any organization, Medium could be an option for long-form quick reaction content or to serve as a corporate blog. Despite a few small elements, we find no downside with Medium. The only thing left to the organization is to enjoy a truly affordable and flexible experience.

If you have any feedback on this review or you would like to suggest an app for us to review, please drop us a note – telegraph@joinlincoln.org.


Screenshots

SCORE BREAKDOWN

User Interface

25/25

Cost

25/25

Differentiation

20/25

Effectiveness

21/25

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