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What is Medium’s Boost Program Actually?

Overview, pros and cons, and verdict

In short: Medium’s Boost program is a way for the platform to highlight and promote high-quality stories to a wider audience.

The goal is to reward great writing and help stories find more readers, regardless of the author’s existing audience size.

So far, so good.

But let’s take a closer look at how Medium Boost works in 2024 and what it means for writers.

How Medium Boosts Stories

In the past, Medium relied on human editors (“curators”) to select the best stories to showcase. This was called “curation.”

Later, Medium shifted to an algorithmic “distribution” model. But in 2022, Medium brought back a human touch with the new Medium Boost program.

Here’s how it works:

  • Community nominators – A select group of publication editors on Medium can nominate stories for a Boost. They are called “community curators.”
  • Internal review – Medium’s own editorial team vets the nominated stories.
  • Algorithmic distribution – If a story passes the internal review, Medium’s algorithm widely distributes the Boosted story.

So Boost combines human curation with algorithmic distribution.

The goal is to find and highlight the best individual stories on Medium, not just stories from big-name creators.

The Benefits of Getting a Medium Boost

Getting your story Boosted on Medium in 2024 can be a game-changer. According to data shared by writers, a Medium Boost can:

  • Earn you 5-10x more money than a non-Boosted story
  • Result in 500 to 100,000+ extra views
  • Significantly extend the lifespan of a story on Medium

The financial impact is clear.

But increased exposure is invaluable too. A good Boost can introduce your writing to many new readers.

What Types of Stories Get Boosted?

Medium looks for stories that are:

  • Constructive
  • Original
  • Written from experience
  • Well-crafted
  • Memorable

The content guidelines are purposefully broad as you can see.

Medium wants a diversity of perspectives and aims to boost undiscovered gems.

Personal essays and niche topics have a chance if the writing quality shines. But low-effort or promotional stories won’t make the cut.

How to Get Your Story Boosted

Since community curators and Medium’s editors decide on the Boosts, there’s an element of luck involved.

But you can optimize your chances:

  • Write great stories. Duh. This remains the #1 criteria for getting Boosted. Focus on writing quality content that helps readers.
  • Publish in good publications. Editors often surface stories from their own publications.
  • Have an existing audience. While not mandatory, an established readership signals your writing resonates.
  • Promote your stories. Sharing to social media and your email list might help grab a curator’s attention.
  • Keep trying. Persistence and consistently good writing increase your odds over time.

But fretting over Boosts too much can backfire. The best strategy is to keep writing about topics you care about for your niche. That authenticity shines through.

The Evolution of Medium Boost

Medium first announced Boosts in late 2022. In 2023, they refined the program based on initial tests and feedback.

Some key evolutions:

  • More publications can nominate stories for Boosts.
  • The algorithm better matches readers to Boosted content.
  • The financial rewards for writers are potentially higher.
  • Medium aims to give each Boosted story 500+ extra views.

Medium will likely continue refining Boosts in 2024. The core goal remains spotlighting the best of Medium’s indie voices.

The Controversy Around Medium Boost

Not everyone is thrilled with Medium’s Boost program. Some common complaints:

  • Firstly, Medium has tons of writers and thousands of published pieces every day. But only up to 100 boost nominators. So the numbers are problematic. Not every boost-worthy story will get boosted because it’s simply too much input
  • The criteria are very broad which leaves a lot of room for nominators to choose what they like best. That’s cool, but also highly subjective.
  • The additional boost distribution can and will interfere with the distribution of other great content that wasn’t boosted.

The criticism is valid. No system is perfect, and improving diversity and transparency could help.

Yet Boosts do surface amazing writers who may have otherwise gone unnoticed on Medium.

The expanded financial gains are tangible for those writers, too.

Should You Care About Medium Boost?

That’s the main question, isn’t it?

I’d say, not really.

Medium Boost won’t make or break your success on Medium alone. But it can accelerate your growth if leveraged well.

Some truth about chasing Boosts:

  • Obsessing over Boosts may hurt your writing quality. Stay focused on your audience.
  • Even one good Boost can significantly expand your readership.
  • Not every piece you write will or should get Boosted.
  • Keep grinding either way. Your writing will improve, Boost or not.

See Medium Boost as a nice potential bonus, not the sole goal.

Keep providing value to your niche through your writing.

That’s the key to long-term growth on Medium and anywhere else.

The Future of the Medium Boost Program

It will be interesting to see how Boosts evolve in 2024 and beyond.

Hopefully Medium continues expanding the pool of potential nominators and Boost recipients.

More transparency around the process could help too. But the core idea of spotlighting hidden gems aligns with Medium’s mission.

Finding the right balance between algorithmic distribution and human curation is tricky. Medium is still experimenting to figure out what works at scale.

But for now, the Medium Boost program offers a lot of upside for writers (with manageable downsides).

A single Boost can change the trajectory of a writer’s journey on Medium.

It’s a no-brainer to aim for one boost, though best not to obsess over it.

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