The Do’s and Don’ts of Publishing on Medium.com

The Manifest
Nov 14, 2018 · 6 min read

Medium.com is a unique platform — a social channel optimized for discovery, not search. Much like Facebook and LinkedIn, users use the platform to get inspired or entertained instead of looking for specific content.

Unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, there’s not a way to monetize the content you publish to Medium. Also, there is no clear path to conversions.

So, why do well-known authors and businesses like HubSpot publish to Medium? They do it to build an additional audience.

For example, HubSpot’s Medium publication, ThinkGrowth.org, reaches an entirely new audience. Nearly 90% of ThinkGrowth readers don’t exist in HubSpot’s database.

While Medium offers excellent opportunities to build an audience around long-form content, it’s not easy to do. Getting your content in front of new people will require extra investment.

In this article, we’ll explain the “do’s and don’ts” of publishing to Medium, plus give you some tips for building an audience.

Do Observe What’s Working for Others in Your Industry

Since the Medium personality is different from other platforms, take the time to learn what’s working.

Find some of the well-known personalities from your industry who are publishing on Medium. Follow them to learn what’s working for their audience. One way to do this is by browsing featured articles from the categories listed in Medium’s navigation menu.

For example, the Tech section offers featured, latest, and popular articles in technology.

The category pages also list related topics in the right-hand column, which may help you research your audience further.

Do Try to Get at Least 100 “Claps” Within the First Hour of Publishing

On Medium, the first hour after an article’s release is critical. Your content has 60 minutes to impress the algorithm enough to make it to the “trending” section.

Marketer Jeff Bullas recommends trying to get at least 100 recommendations within the first hour of publishing. His experience has taught him that driving many people to your article in the first hour makes it a “guaranteed hit.”

Some of the ways you can do this are:

  1. Build your audiences on Facebook and Twitter so you can drive all followers to your Medium article simultaneously when you hit “publish.”
  2. Place paid advertising on social networks.
  3. Build your following on Medium and follow other people, too.
  4. Share parts of your story on Twitter with text shots, which can give your stories 3–5X more engagement.

By simultaneously driving all your followers to an article within the first hour of publishing it to Medium, you give it the best chance to succeed. If your story makes it into Medium’s “trending” section, you’ll reach a vast audience of potential new followers.

Do Write 1st-Person Stories

Storytelling is the favorite format of Medium readers. The most popular posts are written in the first person and tell captivating stories.

For example, “Confessions of a Spammer” is a good example of a story that did well on Medium.

It’s okay to write a post that explains how to do something if you set it in a story.

For example, Mandela SH Dixon wrote about an experience in the workplace called “My White Boss Talked About Race in America and This is What Happened.”

Although the article is set in a first-person story, it’s an excellent how-to guide for people wanting to support their black coworkers.

Don’t Bother with Keyword Strategy

What gets your content ranked in the SERPs isn’t the same as what wins over fans on Medium.

To optimize articles for readers on Medium:

  1. Make your content easy to skim by adding bullet lists, drop caps, numbered lists, and subheaders.
  2. Make your content more interesting by including quotes, mentions, and embedded social media posts and video in your articles.
  3. Make your headlines “wow” readers with a bold statement.
  4. Include stunning images and add image grids.

With over 64,000 followers, Ali Mese is one of the most popular writers on Medium. He uses nearly all of the above tips to create well-formatted pieces for his readers.

For example, the following clip shows the use of a quote, stunning image, and subheader.

The above example is from an article titled “I Can’t Tell You Why Our Business Is Growing.” Throughout the article, Ali uses first-person storytelling to share “how-to” advice.

Don’t Use CTAs to Promote Yourself

According to Medium, readers say they get annoyed with repeated calls-to-action. In particular, reader complaints revolve around CTA’s that promote a newsletter or ask for claps.

Medium suggests that you consider avoiding CTA’s altogether.

However, some popular writers do include a subtle CTA at the close of their articles.

For example, Ali Mese includes a “Subscribe to get my essays” call to action at the end of his posts.

Janessa Lantz, of HubSpot’s ThinkGrowth, also includes a subtle CTA.

She tells readers to write to her if they have a good story idea — then includes her email address.

Her call for ideas is a great way to encourage a connection without appearing to promote something.

Do Work with Publications for More Exposure

Working with Medium publications is similar to submitting articles to any large publication. They offer built-in audiences that can help you gain massive exposure.

There are many different ways to submit your work to publications. Begin by discovering a few that you think would be a good match for your audience.

When your article is accepted and published by an existing publication on Medium, it will help boost your visibility and followers. This is a big advantage on the platform since it’s such a challenge to build an audience.

Write for Medium Readers to Build a Unique Audience

Publishing content on Medium isn’t for everyone. It’s hard work to build an audience and get your pieces in front of new readers.

Still, Medium offers a chance to build a new audience. You can reach people on Medium that you might not connect with anywhere else.

Keep in mind that Medium is a social media network where people browse for interest and entertainment. Optimize your posts, avoid self-promotion, and write great stories to make your efforts worthwhile.


The Manifest

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Practical business wisdom to help you make your business goals a reality. Visit us at https://themanifest.com.

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