Wednesday is an important day for any Medium writer. It’s payday. Yes, we all love looking at how much we earned for that week.
But Wednesday is about more than looking at the final score, as it were. It’s a chance to reflect on that week’s articles and determine what worked and what didn’t.
So every week I analyse my performance.
Here’s how you should do it and the value you can get out of it in order to make the following week a better one.
Start with the Money
Like everyone else, my first stop is to see how much money I made that week. You need to be careful about how you put the amount of money you made into context.
There are a few key flaws when it comes to judging your performance based solely on money:
· We don’t know exactly how payouts are calculated. We know it’s based on the pool of paying subscribers, but we don’t know the algorithms for how that’s distributed.
· We don’t know if claps are the only factor when it comes to money. Do highlights count? What about comments? Maybe even shares are factored into it?
We always see a correlation, of course. The more fans you have the more money you make. We know that.
But because we can’t read into it any further than that, we shouldn’t become fixated on judging performance based on our earnings.
It’s an indicator. Nothing more.
What about Curation?
Curation is a tool. It’s a promotional tool that may or may not make your article money. The one thing you can guarantee from curation is that you get more views.
You get nothing else from being curated, yet I see so many writers become obsessed with it. One of my top 10 performing articles is an article on Medium.
According to the rules, articles about the platform can never be curated. So I go into these types of articles knowing I’m automatically excluded from curation.
Yet they still make money.
Your focus should be on the readership of Medium. Curation has its uses, but you can’t base your performance off of the opinions of a small team of curators. Their opinions don’t pay you.
Look at Individual Articles
To begin with, you should look at the performances of the individual articles you posted that week.
Let’s say you have an article published in the ‘Travel’ genre. That article has a 30% read ratio, it had 100 views, 30 reads, and 15 fans.
I’ve kept the numbers simple to make things easier.
How would you read into this article?
I would say that the article didn’t hook my readers from the beginning. A lot of people simply weren’t interested and clicked away from it.
I would also say that those who did read got value from it, with half of your readers liking it enough to engage with it.
My conclusion would be that I would need to figure out how to improve my hook going forward.
Let’s use a second example.
You have an article published in the ‘Finance’ genre. It gained 100 views, 70 reads, a 70% read ratio, and 15 fans.
This article clearly managed to hook readers in. The problem with it is that most of the people who read it didn’t like it enough to engage to it. So you either didn’t follow through on the promise of the article, or you gave an opinion that people simply disagreed with.
Comments can, of course, be helpful in getting feedback. But, at least on Medium, most people will either leave a positive comment or nothing at all.
Taking Individual Article Performance and Contextualising It
Now that you’ve monitored your articles for the week, it’s time to put their individual performances into context.
I will say that this gets easier the more articles you write. Someone with ten articles will always find this less useful than someone with a hundred articles.
There are a lot of ways you can put this week’s articles into context, but I’m going to show you how I do it.
I keep a colour coded spreadsheet with the individual performances of articles, plus their earnings. I do this because with each column I can then order that data based on performance, so I can instantly see what my top-performing articles were.
After entering the data, I look at what my top five or my top ten articles were. I can see their genre and which subjects they focused on.
If I do this now, I can see that 40% of my top ten is made up of travel articles. 30% is made up of finance, 10% is from Medium, and 20% is made up of business and freelancing.
I’ve tried a bunch of genres. Other than poetry, I know how my articles in those other genres have performed.
So now I know where I need to focus my time. I’m not going to waste my time trying to write another political article, for example.
From my top ten, I can see that my long finance articles full of data did really well. I can also see that going into the mindset of travel and the ‘how’ to travel long-term also did really well.
In the future, I know my articles need to concentrate on these subjects.
Why do you think I’m writing this article now?
It’s not for the good of my health. My Medium articles on these subjects have done well. I can see that they’re useful to the Medium community because they make me money. I have enough articles now to be able to more accurately judge what people want.
It’s All About the Trends
Following this process (or a similar process) is not going to give you a straight answer.
Analysing stats in our position is about trying to pinpoint the trends that work for us and our target market.
I’m not a believer in reworking articles that fail. I move on, learn from it, and write the next article. We are not writing the next great American classic. It’s the Internet and the name of the game is throw shit at a wall and see what sticks.
Each success and each failure have a lesson to teach us about where we need to go the following week.
Every Wednesday I carry out this process and I know that I’m in a more confident position than I was the week before.
How do you analyse your weekly performance on Medium?