Why Views Matter on Medium
If Medium puts it on our dashboard, we ignore it at our peril.
Recently I bought some new clothes, and they helped me understand my Medium dashboard.
Let me explain. I’m new here, seven weeks in, and I confess to a bad habit. I don’t read manuals until I run into a brick wall. So when I started writing articles, I learned just enough about the TOS and how to download a photo and upload an article to get going.
But I didn’t really understand the difference between Views, Reads, and Fans.
I had beginners luck with my first article, and it made me pretty cocky. I thought I knew enough. That’s my MO. You’d think I’d learn after all the decades I’ve been doing this life thing.
But no, same old me, doing the same old thing. Blam, hitting the same old brick wall that was holding me back from maximizing my success. Yeah, I’m talking about you, Views metric.
See, nobody seemed willing to part with useful data on why Views mattered.
I’m not a data girl, but I’d managed to figure out everything else on my dashboard by reading articles. Claps, Reads, Fans, and eventually Ratios. But what about Views?
I read somewhere that I could ignore Views. Instead of checking for myself, like maybe what Medium had to say about Views, I went with it.
Ignoring Views worked for me. Until it didn’t.
Pro tip: Don’t just “go with” someone’s advice until you know if the source knows what they’re talking about.
It turns out, Views are a big deal. Views matter.
I spend most of my day at my workspace. That is, my kitchen table where I have my computer set up. So my work wardrobe is often my ratty old gym duds, because, let’s face it. Who’s going to see me in my kitchen?
But when I invested in some new tops and pants, then pulled out some of my nice jewelry and shoes to go grocery shopping or hop on BART to visit friends, people noticed me for a change.
Something that rarely happens to little old ladies. We reach a point where we become invisible. But if we work to make ourselves stand out, some folks will pay attention.
In other words, we get VIEWS.
On Medium, we can have a great looking article, but unless we put it in the spotlight, the equivalent of my supermarket or local public transportation outing, nobody’s going to see it.
And if my article doesn’t get Views, it can’t get Reads, Ratios, Fans, Claps, Followers, or any of the good stuff that will put money in my pocket every month.
How had I missed understanding Views all these weeks? Well, let’s not go there.
Let’s just see how checking my Views has opened up a new way of understanding my dashboard.
I’m not going to tell you how to get Views. That would be stealing Jun Wu’s thunder. I want you to read her article and give her all the claps she deserves.
Now when I look at my dashboard, instead of looking at how many new Fans I have (because Fans=Claps=money), I step back. My Views have become my most important metric.
I try to figure out what was going on during the day I had many views. What kind of articles was I posting? In what categories? Were the topics pulling in readers? Or were they of interest only to me? Was I doing enough marketing, letting folks know my well-dressed piece was out and about?
And on days when my Views tanked, how did that affect my other metrics? Well, that was easy to check.
I have one day this month when my Fans hit my all-time high. But I was looking at it in a vacuum. After reading Jun’s article, I clicked on the Views for that day. Sure enough, they were also the highest in a very long while.
I recalled I had published four articles that day, a high for me. That meant my writer persona was visible on Medium.
More chances for readers to View me. I had engaged with a lot of writers because I had time to read many pieces and make comments. Again, more opportunity for readers to View me. Some of those writers took a look at my pieces and became fans because that’s the way things work here.
Just looking at the spike in Fans initially made me think, wow. People like me. But I was missing the point. Views pointed to the work I’d done to get the fans
If I’d had no Views, that would have likely told me that work hadn’t been as productive.
Just looking at the spike in Fans made me think, wow. People like me. But I was missing the point. Views pointed to the work I’d done.
Now when I look at my dashboard, I look at the rise and fall of those bars. If the Views are down, I need look no further until I figure out how to make my piece more visible. You know, marketing.
In other words, I have to change my ways and read the instructions.
When I finally understood Views, I had another light bulb moment. How many other juicy data points does Medium have waiting for me that I’ve been ignoring? Like maybe I need to take a look at my profile and click on the links under my photo and learn what they mean.
One thing I know for sure. If Medium gives us a link, it means something. Ignore them at my peril.
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