I talked with a handful of government agencies to better understand why and how they use (or intend to use) Medium. The attraction seems to coalesce around three key areas: content discovery, simple design, and features that foster conversation.
Outreach to New Audiences: Tech-Savvy and Engaged Readers
Medium offers an opportunity to reach people that may not be engaging with you on other platforms. Jared Benoff at the Department of Labor says Medium helps the agency expand its footprint and, specifically, reach a tech-savvy audience that is very engaged online. It is less about the total number of potential readers Medium offers and more about their readers’ tendency to stick with content and engage with it. At the Peace Corps, Erin Ruberry says the organization chose to showcase its in-house experts—such as career services and digital innovation—who don’t often get the spotlight. Medium offers an opportunity to reach people who might not otherwise have the Peace Corps on their radar.
Content Strategy: Quality vs. Timeliness
If Medium is a “place to tell stories” it makes sense to prioritize narrative content. At Labor, content is selected for publishing on Medium based on its storytelling quality—in terms of both text and images. Some agencies focus on feature article and special reports (“things you’ve already worked hard on” as the National Science Foundation’s Jessica Arriens says) while others post more frequently and with looser criteria. As more organizations begin sharing content on Medium, it will be interesting to compare notes about what content performs best and why.A differentiator for Medium compared with other social sites is that “high quality content” is prioritized over the date a story is published. Medium’s editors select content to be featured on the main page and engagement is measured through “total time reading.” Interestingly, how long a story takes to read is sometimes easier to spot than the date the piece was published.Read DigitalGov’s complete post about Medium here.