Launched in August 2012, Medium has been called a lot of things, including a blogging platform, a blend of publisher and platform, and an online magazine, to name a few. But what is\u00a0it, really? What is Medium, Really? Imagine an online platform that allows you to write your learnings, thoughts and tips and share them with a built-in audience for potential viral traffic. Imagine an easy to start blog with zero overhead. Imagine an upscale content management platform and a really great writing app. It\u2019s slick and snappy and worth a deeper look for both first-time bloggers, small business owners and digital marketers alike. How It Works Medium accounts are free and open to anyone (or any brand) to start writing. Anything goes on the platform posts ranging from short-form to long-form, teasers to full posts, light to deep and the topics cover just about anything. Signing up for an account is super easy. You just have to link the platform to your Twitter account (either company, brand or personal) and get to personalize your profile by clicking the \u201cM\u201d on the top left corner of your homepage. Your profile thumbnail is pulled from Twitter, but you can change/edit the photo that your readers see when they click on your name. You can also edit your display name and your description. It\u2019s always a good idea to use the description to link back to your blog or website. You will also notice three sub-sections on your Medium homepage. First is the Top 100, which is a list of the 100 most read posts of the month. You will also encounter your reading lists, which are basically a list of content that\u2019s recommended by the service based on the people and collections you follow. Finally, the third sub-section that you will encounter is Bookmarks, which gives you a chance to save stories that you would like to read later. Ready to Start Writing? Click on \u201cWrite Story\u201d to start creating a new post. You will be taken to a pared-down editor that asks you to enter a header image, article title, and subtitle and then to compose a story. Place your cursor just below the \u201cSubtitle\u201d area and a plus sign will appear when clicked. A toolbar will appear allowing you to embed online content or insert an image. One of the platform\u2019s novel features is the ability to create notes at paragraph level so your readers can always comment on specific sections that resonate with them. You can create a note by clicking the plus sign floating inside a speech bubble at the right side of the page. Medium also gives you a chance to share drafts of your stories with your community before you publish them. This allows you to get feedback that can help you improve your copy before it is published. To share your draft, click the \u201cShare Draft\u201d button that appears on the upper right-hand corner. Submit your published story to collections, which are basically themed categories that organize relevant articles in one place. Medium readers always follow collections that interest them like Editor\u2019s Picks, Consumer Technology or IMHO, which makes it easy for the you to deliver to your intended niche audience. Submitting your story is easy. Find the collections\u00a0that best fit your story and click the \u201csubmit your story\u201d button available in the upper right corner. Medium Best Practices Write a headline that best reveals your story. Use a high-quality photo (minimum 900 pixels, or 900\u00d7900) for the top of the story. Get feedback on your draft before publishing. Stories of 400 words and up have generally been the most popular. There is however no designated word count. Submit to relevant Medium collections (now called \u201cpublications\u201d).\u00a0 Analytics Medium analytics will tell you the number of people interacting with your stories. This is available under \u201cStats\u201d on the left-hand sidebar. You will be able to see the number of people you are following and those following you back. You will also be furnished with the total number of reads, views and recommendations for your stories. Medium for Business Medium offers businesses several potential benefits. One that is very obvious is that the platform relieves you of the pressure of having to setup and maintain your own blog. You also don\u2019t have to have a budget to start using the site. Just as important, Medium puts your content in front of your target audience's eyes as it centers on sorting stories into themed publications. Summary Medium presents an interesting mix of content creation and social sharing. It is, of course, a free and simple place to get going for anyone who is just starting to blog. The platform also offers some interesting ways for brands and businesses to expand their reach to a built-in audience.