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4 Surprisingly Underrated Medium Features In 2021

They all impact your growth and success on Medium

I did the 4 Overrated Medium Features recently. So, here’s the counterpart. Let’s take a look at 4 surprisingly underrated Medium features.


This is one of my favorite Medium features. Comments. I love comments. Leaving and receiving them.

More than that, I do think that comments are quite underrated in terms of their effect on growth and success on Medium.

  1. Comments are a driving factor for subscribers. Subscribers are a driving factor for views and earnings. This goes perfectly hand-in-hand.
  2. Comments and engagement are factors for Medium to determine trending and popular stories. They were also one major factor for the bonus payment in Spring and summer this year.

Not to mention that commenting builds and grows your community. When you’re starting out, commenting on other writers’ posts is one of the best ways to gain followers, subscribers, and views on your content.

Comments are somewhat underrated because people don’t think they influence earnings directly. Which is true. But indirectly they influence earnings and reach a whole lot. That’s why they’re number one on this list.

If only we could get rid of those pesky spam comments.


Ironically, followers also made my list “4 Largely Overrated Medium Features”.

Why do I have them on both lists? They can’t over- and underrated at the same time, can they?

Yes, they can. Let me explain!

To learn why followers are overrated, read my other post, but let me tell you why followers are also underrated.

Of course, this has to do with the recent partner program updates. Whereas entry into the program had been open to anyone previously, since the updates you need at least 100 followers to get in.

That makes the follower count extremely important for beginners. Luckily, it sounds worse than it is. Getting 100 followers usually doesn’t take that long.

Once you’re there though. Followers quickly lose importance.

3. Subscribers

The much more important metric is this next one. It’s a rather new one too. The subscribers. Since Medium introduced the subscribe feature earlier this year, this is the number to grow!


Followers don’t really translate to views or earnings. Subscribers do! People who agree to get your posts into their inbox usually truly want to read them. Or at least skim them quickly. In either case, this means you’re getting views, reads, and therefore money.

Honestly, this feature is not really underrated. Most people know of the importance by now. Email lists are everywhere. It’s nice to have those integrated into Medium.

I’ll say it again: Focus on growing your subscriber list instead of the followers.

4. Popular on Medium

The last underrated feature is the “Popular on Medium” section. This one is harder to explain as it is a somewhat hidden feature.

I bet you’ve seen the term though. It’s usually found on your Medium home feed. Some stories get the tagline below the title.

Screenshot by Burk

This tagline means the article is trending on Medium. What determines that? Good question. I suspect this to be a mix of view-to-read-ratio within a specific timeframe, engagement on the article (comments, claps), and (auto-)curation.

Getting that tagline on your stories is not easy, compared to the top writer status, for example. You also don’t really know it because you don’t get a shiny badge or an email for it. And since you don’t get your own posts recommended on your home feed, you can’t find out that way either.

This makes Popular on Medium an elusive construct. But in terms of performance, it’s a great thing.

A similar aspect is the Trending section that you can either find on the tag pages or on the mobile app under search. There you typically find 6 numbered stories under the header “Trending on Medium”.

Screenshot by Burk

The bottom line

I could have listed more features or aspects of Medium that are underrated but these 4 are the top ones.

As a beginner, I’d focus on these 4 areas specifically, although number 4 is largely out of our control.

What you can actively do is comment on posts and this is the gateway to more followers and subscribers.

Of course, the number 1 thing to make it on Medium is writing great stuff. Maybe that’s the most underrated feature after all. What do you think?

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