Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

How to grow your Medium Following in 2019

Top actionable tips for new writers

So you are a writer on Medium, it’s like a theme park of stories. Yet, there’s always something more you can do to engage with the platform and not only grind at your writing desk, if you know what I mean?

Let’s take a drive through some of the most popular writers and see what they do, maybe we can grow by imitation as well.

I’m thinking of people like Shannon Ashley, Tom Kuegler, umair haque — truly prolific and viral creators on Medium.

Because let’s face it, the most popular writers on Medium become like influencers and learn to scale, monetize and grow their personal brand which is a craft in and of itself.

1. Pair your Medium with Another Channel

While some advocate Instagram, if you are young and enjoy creating video, a YouTube channel may be an even better fit.

  • Instagram
  • YouTube Channel
  • LinkedIn (in my case)
  • Other?

2. Actually be of Value and Display Helpfulness

  • Share actionable value in your posts
  • Display vulnerability, authenticity and personal relevance (this develops rapport)
  • Create community and build relationships (reply to comments, like the work of others, highlight/comment on the work of others, etc..)
  • Actually display your genuine and kind side (people want to support creators they see as human and good willed)

3. Gain and Retain a Following

  • It’s one thing to grow an audience of followers, but can you retain and convert them to being part of your tribe?
  • Share about your success on Medium on a regular basis (Tom & Shannon are experts at this)
  • Use an Email Newsletter approach to improve retention rates among your followers (turning passive followers into more active ones)
  • Network in related Medium groups on other platforms (e.g. Facebook Groups)
  • Offer another tier of value (courses, workshops, tips via your Newsletter)

4. Choose a Niche that’s Trending

Some topics and tags on Medium are golden since they get absurdly high ratios of reads to fans and claps to comments. In particular I’d like to mention the writing and sexuality topics here are incredible.

For this reason there will always be a correlation between the top writer tag of writing with some of the highest earners on the Medium Partner Program.

The other topics and tags worth tackling are just really huge high-traffic ones, here you will see lower read ratios and comments, but higher engagement from external traffic (it’s not clear how much Medium actually values this).

  • Writing
  • Sexuality
  • Life Lessons
  • Programming
  • Technology

5. Write Prolifically

Many of the most popular and successful writers on Medium have traditionally been high value and high volume writers. The more you write, the better you will get at it, it’s only natural.

You will find your own tone, style guide and favorite topics. You will win fans who enjoy all of the above. It is a numbers game, so writing more may increase your chances of writing something more popular.

6. Increase your Daily Active Fans

Now listen carefully, to earn on Medium and grow your audience it’s imperative to build up daily active followers (DAUs). In your stats page look at the total fans, and divide that number by 30. You want to consistently be beating your average each day.

Let me give you an example:

April 21st, 2019

So on average I have 5000 fans per the last 30 days, that’s 167 followers a day. So in my stats Ill try to have days where I surpass my average. I want to keep growing this number. Whatever your baseline is, try to grow your audience and fans little by little.

7. Write Emotional Bomb Content

So what do I mean by this? Medium stories are designed to be personal, vulnerable, authentic and personal narratives. The more spirited your stories, the more emotions and mirror neurons they will elicit in your audience.

Shannon and Tom both applied a ‘rags to riches’ narrative deeply embedded in their stories, that’s relatable, like an underdog hero you want to support. You will notice they repeated this theme in dozens of their stories.

Hey, I too want to support an awkward kid or a single Mom to become like online legends. That is, there’s an emotional theme where being their fans isn’t just about their writing but about them as people. It becomes personal. It’s memorable.

Umair Haque is also memorable in his treatise on Capitalism or on what’s wrong with American politics. There’s enough material here for him to write daily about it. It’s his thing. Like a muse that never dies.

So my question to you is what’s your personal narrative and your thing?

8. Submit to Big Publications

It’s almost universally accepted that having your work featured and in publications of note tends to increase engagement where you can build your following faster.

This includes especially Medium’s own publications like OneZero, Elemental and Human Parts. (But don’t be offended if they don’t have time to reply to your submission).

  • Check out the popular writers you would like to emulate and see which publications they use or used.
  • Build your own publications, to have a double-notification strategy to increasing engagement.
  • Don’t just look for engagement, look for actually reaching your intended audience!

Writing on Medium isn’t just a hobby of creativity, it’s actually a personal branding boot camp. Don’t imagine it’s all about the quality of your writing. Doing these other things at the beginning can save you time and help you grow faster.

If you could give yourself advice when you first joined Medium knowing what you know now, what would you say or what advice would you give? Share in the comments.