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16 Point Checklist To Draft Your Best Medium Article

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After writing about 100 articles here and reading 36 articles each week, I have come up with a checklist that helps me to quickly gauge and polish my medium drafts that are yet to be published.

I have made a lot of mistakes at the beginning 🙆, I still do. But the moment I introspect and realize, I try to document all those learnings. And, to help me further not to repeat, I develop a structure, or a habit around it.

You learn quickly with your mistakes. But, you learn faster with others’ mistakes.

Here I’m sharing my checklist that I follow every single time I plan to publish an article.

My framework is very simple:

I maintain a content calendar in my diary journal. I run in advance of 7 days so as to make sure I don’t run out of my publishing schedule. So this one that you are reading, might have been written a few days ago.

The moment I finish off a draft, I don’t publish it right then and there. Because I do feel that there is still some scope of improvements to my articulation.

The day before the scheduled date, I open my draft and go through this checklist to ensure I have everything in place.


My Medium Process In Nutshell

  1. Maintain a Content Calendar
  2. Write in advance
  3. Draft but don’t publish at the moment
  4. Go through the checklist before publishing

This checklist helps me to structure my article way better than the draft mode. This also ensures that I’m not missing out on important elements that may go wrong in the first publish.

When you’re a writer, you’re your own tester as well.

1. A Strong Relevant Clickable Headline (Listicles / How to/ Why/ This is / Here you will)

Make sure your headline resonates with the readers and compel them to click and open the article. If you see, most of the articles on Medium that have got good virality revolves around listicles, how to, why, this is, a checklist, template.

2. Relevant sub-headline

The sub-headline helps in giving the glimpse of the article and additional inputs on why the reader should even read the article. Make sure you make it relevant and as an add-on to the article.

3. Relevant Image

A strong relevant image draws attention to your article. An image speaks more than the words. Headlines are important, and a relevant image is equally important. Unsplash is a brilliant source to add more soul to your article. Or, if you are into photography, your pics will do far better. Don’t forget to add the required credits.

4. Conversation

The best way to engage a reader is to articulate your story in a conversation structure. If you get the topic, start recording your voice as if you were speaking to your friend. Once you have the recording in the place, start drafting the article.

If you do the other way round, the story will sound flat, like an essay with affirmations and statements. Make sure that your story makes you look like storyteller.

5. Quote

If possible, consider including quotes in your articles. This should revolve around thought leadership of your story. I have seen a lot many highlights on the quotes, a lot many retweets to the articles. I myself highlight, note it down and try including in my weekly learnings.

“More honest content creates more loyal readers”

6. Pointers

Wherever possible club sub-parts in points. This helps in setting up

  • better readability
  • easier navigation
  • right context

7. Separators

If you there is something you need to emphasize, include a separator to add a new section. I often use it before conclusion/ summary or for the quote.

8. Hyperlinks

You can use interlinking your previous articles. This will diversify and add more readership to your previous content. External hyperlinking is also good but you must take care that you’re asking users to leave your content and read some other content. In such a case, ensure that the external hyperlinks are good value addition to the users. You don’t want to show them an exit gate through this.

9. Disclaimer

Wherever you’re claiming somethin or promoting any affiliate product, it’s a good content strategy that you add a disclaimer and let your readers know the hidden truth.

Disclaimer: I’m not an expert writer (I’m aspiring to be). And, this process has taught me a lot many valuable lessons. I’m just sharing my part here so that even if at least one of you resonate with this, my learning will multiply.

10. Question

The question resonates with people, it makes them pause for a moment, gather some thoughts and introspect for a bit. What’s That One Thing That Sits On Top Of Your Mind 70% Of The Day?

11. Emojis

Emojis have become a writer’s friend. These little elements convey even when you don’t wish to add any word. The beauty is this one even helps in navigating people around your content. 👇

12. Value Addition

This is the most important of the checklist. What value are you adding to your readers? What will they take from your content once they are done the reading? Are you helping them in anyway? Are you inspiring them? Are you giving any template that will save a ton of their time? Are you giving them any checklist that will help in structuring things? Are you sharing any personal experience that will help in opting-in their life?

13. Conclusion

The flow of your content should lead to a destination. Sometimes it does happen that we write out of the flow and end the story without summarizing it. Adding a conclusion helps the reader to understand that he has reached a destination.

14. CTA

What if you end without a call to action? However, few medium publications don’t encourage you adding a CTA at the end and this is probably because they want their readers to consume a selfless content piece. But your call to action can be anything, it doesn’t explicitly be mentioned to drive people take some actions. It doesn’t need to be sign up to my weekly newsletter, it can be to share their views and if your content resonates to them.

15. Email Subscription Form

Content is a solid channel that ensures you can build up your followers. But to retain those followers you need to have a database. You can even gain followers on social media but those followers can’t be nurtured if you don’t have their coordinates. It’s important to capture their coordinates so that you retarget them, nurture them, or drive them to take certain actions. You should build up your email list right from your first article.

16. Tags

Last but not the least, medium searchability gives tags a lot of sense. Right relevant tags certainly help your articles to rank in your search. Don’t go for the most popular tags instead add the ones that are more relevant to your topic.


Conclusion

Having the checklist in place helps me to go through my draft article and add the necessary missing elements to make it more authentic and easy to consume. Remember a reader’s time is equally important to yours, make your article worth of their time.

May I know if I’m missing out on any? You can also share your checklist in the comment. Help me learn more?