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The Most Underutilized & Underrated Medium Features 2023

In my humble opinion


Medium is still the best blogging platform on the web in 2023. In my opinion, obviously.

You can write for free about whatever you want, whenever you want, tap into a humongous and growing audience without SEO skills, and earn money without ads or marketing.

To make your Medium 2023 even better, here are 3 features you should keep an eye on.


#1 Lists everywhere

You’re probably using Medium lists wrong.

Most people I see use lists to categorize their posts and nothing else. While this is the use case Medium intended and a good one too, you’re missing out on some powerful use cases if you stop there.

Get a little clickbaity

Do categorize your posts into lists, but give the list a click-worthy title. Don’t just call it “Stories about X”. Be a little clickbaity.

I’ll give you an example.

I have written many stories about Gumroad and creating digital products. Instead of calling a list of those articles something like “Creating digital products”, called it “How I’ve made $20K in 2022” (in my case), or “How to successfully sell digital products on Gumroad”.

You see what I mean? Just like a story headline, list titles should be click-worthy. Make readers want to click and browse through your lists.

Lists provide options

Use lists everywhere.

Don’t just create a list and then let it sit on your profile waiting for someone to find it. Share it! Use it!

I’ll give you an example:

Throughout a new story, you will find places to add links to relevant related stories you wrote in the past. The obvious choice here is linking this relevant article, right?

Right and wrong. What if you could link multiple fitting articles?

Exactly, use a relevant list with those articles and link that list in the current post.

This increases the chances that your audience reads a few stories from that list, instead of just one single article.

Another example: At the bottom of my stories, I used to reference one or two related posts. Then I thought, “hey why not use a list here”.

Same principle as before. Reference a list at the bottom of your stories and your readers might click through multiple stories.

Basic logic.


#2 The power of friend links

I’ve written about friend links in the past. Every Medium story has a friend link. You’ll find that in the “Story settings” section of your story, or directly under the three-dots menu.

Screenshot by author

This friend link is powerful.

In general, friend link means everyone can read your story for free, even if they’re not a Medium member.

What’s the benefit of this?

Reach! External views still increase your audience, might lead to referrals, or other opportunities.

But it gets even better:

If a Medium member clicks on your friend link and reads the story, you will still get paid for their reading time. Medium accounts for member reading time via friend links as if they were “normal” links.

Screenshot help.medium.com

So, you don’t lose anything. By posting friend links on social media (or anywhere outside of Medium), you get more views and still get paid for reads from Medium members.

Win-win, in my book.


#3 Practical tagging & top writer tags

You’ve heard about top writer tags. Everybody on Medium has. And many people are still pushing toward top writer tags as if they were success guarantors. They’re not.

They used to be, but not anymore. A top writer tag might do nothing in terms of views, reads, and money for you.

But here’s the thing. They can still be a valuable tagging method for distribution. It is important, however, to pick low competition top writer tags. It’s easier to get in on those.

I have a list of all top writer tags sorted by competition in my Gumroad store. I use this list to pick relevant top writer tags with relatively low competition. Or I used to do that.

Now, that I’ve grown my Medium audience, it is somewhat easier to also get into high-competition top writer tags. But for newbies, it’s definitely easier to go with low competition tags.

Ideas”, for example, is a more general tag that fits many stories, and it is still on the low end of competition, although not completely easy. It’s rising in popularity and therefore in competition.

I would suggest to use 1–2 low-competition tags in your stories, and fill the rest of the tags with either of top writers tags or non-top writer tags that fit your articles best. It might even be worth considering SEO tagging principles for the remaining 3 tags. This could be long tail keywords that appear multiple times in your article.

This way, you might get more external traffic to your Medium stories which does have benefits as well.


The bottom line

These three are the most underutilized & underrated Medium features for 2023, in my opinion. I’ve been using all three consistently for a year and have seen great success. From a growth in followers and subscribers to a referral increase, and in terms of earnings.

Now, will those lead to quick success and money on Medium. No!

But you might have learned a thing or two, and find these tips to be useful for your Medium journey.

If you do, tell me! I love to hear feedback.

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