How I Got Two More Top Writer Awards Amid the Desert of Notifications

And this time it has to do with hacks…

Source: Wikimedia Commons

I had a busy weekend, so, on Monday, I didn’t check emails from Medium until late afternoon. My Medium notifications during the weekend were quite inexistent, so there was no activity at all to handle.

Just a few days before I was complaining about the 7 views on a story. Then, on Friday, I published an article which had some feedback mainly by the mentioned people (around 30 views), but that’s all. A silent weekend followed.

Only 156 followers and deafening silence.

When I finally checked emails from Medium, I had a surprise. Top Writer in Social Media. The email was of Sunday and I didn’t even notice, among the daily digests.

My first Top Writer

Going briefly back to my first Top Writer (in Writing), 45 days before, I had a similar silent condition, but then one story suddenly got feedback, and after that I got the Top Writer award.

A burst of four days of comments, clapping and new followers. Around 2k views. A completely different situation. I expected an award only in a similar scenario.

My second Top Writer

Well, I was glad of this additional award, of course, but there must have been a mistake. Where the hell did it jump out?

1k? A story with only 8 fans and no comments?

Well, that story, of many days before, had around 400 views, and more than 500 additional external views. I didn’t think that these external views really count, but they do.

So, a story with around 400 views non-RSS, 8 fans (the 9 you see is nowadays) and no comments. A very poor scenario, for an award… I like that story, but definitely it’s not a masterpiece, and the feedback has been literally inexistent.

And slightly more than 1k seems much less than the views that triggered my previous award. Maybe something else contributed, as we will see.

My third Top Writer

After only three days, amid a persistent terrific silence, the third award (in Reading).

At that point, I was really puzzled. 288 views in total for the three stories mentioned by the email from Medium. An award for that is quite embarrassing…

Better not to ask Medium, but I was convinced that something was really wrong with their algorithm.

Then, I started to think about a behavior I adopted weeks ago.

Tactic tagging

In one of his articles, kevin wrytes opened my eyes on tagging. I was aware of them before, but since that article I took the habit of keeping a spreadsheet of my favourite tags. Included my target tags. I turned my attention to tags into a tactical use of them.

In that spreadsheet I note if they are target tags for me (topics about which I think I have something to say), if they are handpicked by Medium, if there is the Top Writer list for them and some other few data that, to be honest, I don’t care too much yet but I’ve started tracking for the future.

Part of my tags spreadsheet

I still don’t have a well-defined strategy in blogging. I leave my inspiration quite free. But there are topics I tend to explore more, so I did two things.

The first is to pay attention to include one (at least) of my target tags in my stories (when relevant, of course). And I choose my target tags among those with a Top Writers list (the possibility of handpicking is a good plus).

The second is usually to add tags to my comments. And as they are generally about topics I’m interested in (of course!), I take care of letting my target tags slip in when they are relevant. I don’t comment lightly. I often read/clap without commenting and I’m not interested in changing this attitude. But when I comment, I often include tags.

But how did that exactly lead to my two awards?


In November, in eight days, I already wrote 47 comments.

In October my comments were more than one hundred.

Many of them include my target tags. Many of them have dozens of views, if not hundredths of views. I would be happy if my stories had the same stats of my comments.

This easily added over a thousand of views per month to each of my target tags. That, added to the recurring tags in the stories, did the trick.

I would say that my Top Writer in reading is someway deserved. Maybe not because I write so much about reading but because I, um… read a lot!

The many lessons I learned

Even if I adopted the tactic tagging, I was not focusing my stories on certain topics. It happened. I just paid attention to include one among my target tags when relevant. My lesson was that focusing pays and I should also pay attention in picking among my tons of ideas in a more focused way (but not too much!).

The other lesson is that not all the awards are so amazing as they seem. I now have the impostor syndrome not for my writing but for my awards…

The third lesson is that I gained only three new followers in a whole week. The Top Writer awards don’t help stats. For that, you need consistency and exposure, not awards.

Finally, I learned that the advice on social media from some people who succeeded before you really work. Kevin, these two additional awards arrived thanks to your advice. Thank you!

Originally published on The Writing Cooperative.