I became a top writer in less than 2 months — how I think I did it

No, I did not use any cheat codes

I’ve actually been on Medium for quite some time, mainly for reading articles, but not really into writing them. My first ever Medium article was on 14 Oct, it was actually some research I did that I just decided to post up (with some touch up). In fact I had been procrastinating for some time because I was under the impression that getting an article up was a lot of effort (remember the blogging days?) That first article proved my fears wrong; it turned out to be pretty easy to get started writing on Medium, and from there, more and more articles appeared as I started jotting down more ideas. I got the email about being a top writer on 3 Dec, just shy of 2 months since the first article, completely by surprise.

The topics I write about are pretty niche but as I pondered over what I did right and wrong (so that I could learn from it), I thought that these points could be useful for all types of articles and could be useful for anyone who’s just starting out like me. This is what I think I got right.

I wrote about my interests

When I first had the thought of maybe writing something, I struggled to find anything to write about. Where should I start? What should I talk about? Would anyone care to read it? Meanwhile, I find myself reading many articles about a particular topic I am interested in. One day a thought struck me: “Why not both?” <insert meme here>

I decided to try writing about the topic I‘m interested in, starting with covering some then-recent announcements that some teams in the field were making about new technological updates. For one, I get an excuse to read even more articles about this topic. I also get to document in writing what I read about or was thinking about. Win-win!

I had a niche topic and audience

The topic that got me the most engagement was an accidental one.

There was a new feature that just got announced from a team i was following. I wanted to know more about it, but had found it difficult to locate information, which was spread over multiple articles and sources. So I thought, why don’t I consolidate some of these information and some of these frequently asked questions? I even approached the team to get answers for some gaps in information.

So I set about doing that, starting first with a summary of what I had found from multiple official sources, then an FAQ section. I then followed up with another article with some research Idid about the topic. And then another that went into further detail about one particular part of that new feature.

Not only did I get a better understanding about the topic myself, I was sort of helping the community document the information better as well. Because the topic was so niched, not many others were covering it, other than the official team. I suppose that helped get the eyeballs.

I tried to give my readers value

If a person spends time reading my article, I would want them to take away something useful. This was also important because I wanted to article to be useful to me in future if I needed a quick reference.

I did proper research, especially when covering an event or announcement, and when presenting a finding. I looked for information in official sources, gave references and credits where due. I also tried to consider the audience. If it was a technical topic for a general audience, I tried to break it down into simpler sections. If some section got too detailed, I split it out into its own article. Again, all these were to help future-me understand this topic again were I to forget, so it wasn’t just about my readers, it was about me as well.

I let others know about my article

When I first posted those articles, views trickled in. It was basically lost in the forest of other Medium posts. One day while browsing Reddit about the topic, I saw some people asking the exact same questions that I had written about! I posted a reply together with a link to my article. And then I thought, maybe if I start a post about it, fewer people would have these questions, so I did that. Word spread. Some of my articles were picked up by other writers and tweeted about.

I also cross-referenced my articles to each other (since I had to split some of them up over several posts). From one article, I led the reader to another related article they might like, or to further details covered in another post.

That’s all I did, I think. Getting the top writer came as a total surprise to me, but it was a pleasant surprise nonetheless. I hope this article helped you and I hope you become the top writer in your field as well!