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The 4 Pillars Of Getting Content In Front Of Medium Readers

You should focus on two of these

This is Medium 101.

Let’s skip the fancy intro and cut straight to the point here.

On Medium, there are 4 ways readers will find and hopefully read your stories.

#1 The follow button

The most basic way of getting your content in front of readers is Medium’s follower architecture. Anyone can follow you. Any Medium user, that is. External readers can’t follow without creating an account.

Followers are both, a vanity metric and a meaningful measurement for new Medium writers. Let’s dive deeper:

  1. Followers are a vanity metric because the follower count in it of itself has very little to do with views, reads, fans, and earnings on Medium. Ask big names like Tom Kuegler. He has over 50K followers and yet, on average, less than 1% of these followers read his posts. This is partly due to Medium’s algorithm and partly due to the fact that many followers aren’t really interested in reading. They just follow. Either to get a follow back or to see what other writers are up to.
  2. Followers are meaningful for newcomers, because since the end of 2021, you need 100 followers to get into the Medium partner program and thus be eligible to earn money on this platform. This has boosted the follow-for-a-follow game to new heights, but it also means that some writers won’t even try to get there. For better or for worse.

Followers are the first way to get people to read your stories. They’re the most unreliable way, though.

#2 Publication followers

Next are publications and their followers. Whenever you write a story, you have to decide whether you want to publish your story with a publication.

If you decide to go with a publication, you have access to a whole new audience. The followers of that publication. Anyone can follow publications, just as they can follow individual writers.

The upside of publishing with publications is their follower pool and therefore a larger potential audience.

Let’s say you have 200 followers. If you self-publish, 200 people could read your story. If you were to publish with a publication that has 10K followers, chances are good that more than 200 people read your story.

Like personal followers, publication followers are an unreliable source of reads, though. Most pub followers don’t read all or even any posts from the publication. They might just be followers because they write for the publication as well.

#3 Subscribers

The next best metric is subscribers. Here is where it gets truly interesting. Subscribers are much more than followers. Subscribers are people who agreed to receive your stories in their inbox. That’s a huge deal. You should always strive to get subscribers over followers.

If you send out a post to 200 subscribers, the reading rate will be higher than with 200 followers.

Subscribers are valuable. These are more often than not true fans of your writing. I subscribe to very few people and those are the ones, I want to stay in touch with all the time.

#4 Distribution

The last, but arguably most valuable way of getting in front of readers is Medium’s distribution system.

Now, curation has been mostly bashed in recent months. Distribution is not like it used to be. That might be true. It still is an important factor on Medium, though.

My most viewed and highest earning stories are almost all curated ones. They have been published in large publications as well. Like Better Marketing, Better Humans, Start it up, or Illumination.

Curation means your story will be recommended among Medium users throughout the platform. This will increase the chances of getting reads and getting in front of readers who haven’t read your stories before.

This is the way people discover you.

That’s why, to me, curation is the most significant pillar of Medium success.

The bottom line

These are the 4 ways to get in front of Medium readers in 2022:

  2. Publication followers
  3. Subscribers
  4. Curation

Of these 4, the last two are crucial for success on this platform, I believe.

Subscribers are the way to gain true fans who want to follow you and keep up with your content, and curation is the way to get in front of new eyes.

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