A Life of Words
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A Life of Words

How I Got Curated — and How You Can Do It Too

Hint: I wrote about something I do know.

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

While some fellow Medium bloggers claim to maintain a curation rate – the rate of one’s posts that get distributed in topics – of around 75%, it is a different story for many of us.

None of my first twenty, thirty stories got curated. Not distributed in topics was the expected message after a few days of publishing a piece. I thought I was doing something wrong, probably.

Until that one post.

A few months ago, I reached an egocentric milestone on Medium: I wrote my first curated article. After many stories never seeing the light of curation, it was a tremendous joy.

If you have never published an article that got curated before, let me tell you how it goes.

I received an e-mail titled, Your story has been recommended in topics on Medium.

Whoa, I thought.

And when I opened it, it contained the following words: Based on its quality, they selected it to be recommended to readers interested in Books and Writing across our homepage, app, topic pages, and emails.

I was flattered by the based on its quality part but I had another thought in mind:

If I did it once, then I can do it over and over again.

That’s a general principle for success. If you get a client, then you can get more of them. If you make a dollar online, then you already know the path to making a hundred.

If you write an article that got curated on Medium, then you know what you have to do to write another. And another.

In this article, therefore, I will share with you some tips I learned after writing my first curated article. You can regard it as a checklist to improve the quality of your post.

Tip #1: Write about something you do know

It should go without saying, but I can’t stress this enough.

Don’t write about things you are unsure about. Don’t try to be the expert in places where you are an amateur. If you do it, people (and Medium curators) will notice. Believe me.

Instead, write about topics you love — things you have read, researched, seen, and done. Themes about which people would want to listen to you.

Don’t try to be the expert in places where you are an amateur.

If you write about things you know, then the odds of providing quality content explode.

In my case, my first curated piece of writing was about Middle-Grade Horror fiction and how to scare children through written stories. Specific, isn’t it? It is, however, a topic I have read about extensively, and it showed.

Don’t be afraid of being “too specific.” Write about your passions — it is a cliché, but a cliché that works.

Tip #2: The right tags

Don’t just add random tags to your article.

Ideally, research the articles that come up when you look into a tag. What pieces can you find under the tag “Stephen King”, or “Books”, or “Productivity”?

Matching your story with the right tags increases the number of potential readers and fans. Choose random tags that have nothing to do with your article, however, and nobody will find (or read) you.

Tip #3: Your post has an appropriate format

Don’t underestimate formatting.

It is essential that your post has a logic structure that facilitates reading. You have probably come across some posts that looked liked printed scrambled eggs, with changing directions with every passing paragraph. Articles written without a single goal.

To make sure that my articles have an adequate format, I check the following milestones:

— Is my headline attractive and correctly capitalized?

— Do I start my article with a picture that is both engaging and correctly credited?

— Can my introductory paragraphs hook the reader? Are they alluring enough?

— Do the introductory paragraphs depict the goal of the article?

— Is the body of my article divided into logical parts?

— Does the body of my article provide useful content?

— Does my post provide a conclusion that stresses the key points of the articles?

Tip #4: Proofreading

Please don’t submit articles infested with typos. Be it on Medium or elsewhere.

Before I hit the “Publish” button, I read my drafts at least three times. Slowly. Paying attention to every line and paragraph.

After that, I use Grammarly and ProWritingAid as further proofreading tools. By using them, I check:

— If there is any typo I couldn’t find by myself (which is often the case);

— If I repeated any word (I tend to repeat “then” a lot);

— If my article has an appropriate readability, with easy-to-read sentences.

Both feature free versions, so you could use them as a proofreading support without paying a cent for it.

If you are in doubt about whether to use Grammarly or ProWritingAid (if you are not a weirdo like me who uses both), then the following article might be useful to you:

Tip #5: An editor (or someone who can provide an unbiased opinion about your text)

If you are submitting your post to a publication, the odds are that someone — who serves as the editor of that publication — will analyze your text. They will likely highlight passages they think are not appropriate and offer relevant suggestions.

This is especially important if you want your article to be curated. Editors know what kind of post attracts what kind of audience, and the odds are that they know the structure of a good Medium article from the inside out.

In the case you are not submitting your post to any publication and you do not have an editor, then at least ask for a friend to read your draft and give out their opinion.

Don’t underestimate the value of another pair of eyes reading your words. It often makes a decisive difference.

If you are curious about my first curated article, you can find it here.

Hope you have fun and success in your writing!

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Making life (and a living) out of our words.

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Morton Newberry

Morton Newberry

Interactive fiction and horror writer based in Germany. Check out The Vampire Regent: https://www.choiceofgames.com/user-contributed/vampire-regent

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